A conservative Texas State Representative reduced anti-trans violence to nothing more than “dudes walking around in dresses getting beat up” in a recent panel discussion.
Rep. Briscoe Cain made the comments while in conversation with the Texas Tribune Tuesday when moderator Evan Smith asked him to defend Senate Bill 6, one of two new anti-trans bathroom bills currently proposed in the state legislature.
Like North Carolina’s HB2, SB6 would require people to use the restroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate, not their true gender identity.
“It wasn’t a problem when I was a child,” Cain explained. “Was it a problem when you were a kid? I don’t remember dudes walking around in dresses getting beat up. It wasn’t a thing, and now I think we’re encouraging it.”
When asked what exact problem a bill like SB6 would alleviate, Cain said it all comes down to the issue of private businesses being forced to make accommodations for people who want to use restrooms that have “nothing to do with them.”
“[SB6] is just to say, ’Look, we’re not going to allow government funds or government buildings to be used for social engineering,'” Cain remarked. “Men need to use men’s restrooms.”
Cain added that he and fellow Republicans were “emboldened” to pursue SB6 after witnessing the defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in 2015. HERO would’ve protected LGBT people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in both housing and employment.
“That’s really when we began to be emboldened,” he said. “We realized it wasn’t just a political thing. That parents, grandparents, everybody’s concerned about men and women’s bathrooms, shower rooms and locker rooms.”
What Cain fails to acknowledge is just how harmful bathroom bills like SB6 are for the transgender community. Not only do they affirm an anti-trans narrative, but they normalize it, which leads to rampant abuse and discrimination, often with dire consequences.
In 2016, 27 transgender people were killed in the United States and nearly all of the victims were transgender women of color, according to a report from GLAAD. 2017 has already seen the murder of three transgender people and will undoubtedly see more as hateful anti-trans legislation continues to spread throughout the country.
Last May, Cain was the target of an anti-gay smear campaign in which Rep. Wayne Smith tried to persuade constituents not to vote for him because he was “secretly gay.” Even if he were, his pro-discrimination and anti-abortion platform proves that his interests are aligned with a single demographic whose livelihood will never be affected by the laws he wishes to instate.