By James Lee
On Monday, Senator Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, Texas, announced his support for Senate Bill 6, the Texas Bathroom Bill. This is not the first time Lucio has gone against the party’s core values and gone unchecked. On multiple occasions the senator has gone against LGBT equality and issues of women’s health, and each time our party’s leaders have let him slide.
Lucio’s decision to support this jobs-killing bill is not reflective of the Texas Democrats I know and love. The Texas Democratic Party I know is the party of liberty, freedom, and equality for all. We owe it to the people of Texas to ensure we stay true to those values and fight for all our communities.
At the end of the day, this bill is about discrimination against transgender Texans—plain and simple. Texas business leaders know this to be true, which is why the state’s top business officials, led by the Texas Association of Business, have come out strongly against this bill.
Lucio and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick claim boogiemen in bathrooms are the problem, but in recent years we’ve seen the real predators hide online and pose as teachers in our schools. Over the last year alone, law enforcement across the state have caught hundreds of online predators pretending to be teenagers in Houston and parts of North Texas, and the number of reports of indecent student-teacher relationships have been on the rise. If predators are the real concern, Lucio and Patrick need not look any further.
Far too many Texas Democrats are willing to excuse Lucio’s actions because of his faith and his background. I was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. The values and beliefs I carry with me today are strongly rooted in the good nature and neighborly ways of communities on the border, like my hometown of Brownsville. The Texas bathroom bill is not reflective of those values, and Senator Eddie Lucio’s support of this bill does not reflect the people of South Texas.
We have an obligation to speak up when our leaders stray. No matter party affiliation. Growing up in a conservative Catholic household I was taught that all people are created equal in God’s sight. That rings true for transgender Texans, too.
James Lee is the Hispanic Caucus State Committeeman of the Texas Democratic Party, representing Hispanic Democrats across the Lone Star State. James can be found on Twitter @jamesmateolee.