Resistance against 'bathroom bill' begins on Day 1 of special session

- There are other ways to let one's "voice be heard" rather than actually turning up the volume.  Keep Austin Proud wanted to do something a little different to protest the bathroom bill.

"There's nothing wrong with screaming and shouting outside the Capitol holding signs but what we're trying to do is a covert operation in which we are going in waves and standing outside of the different bathrooms," said Mike Hendrix with Keep Austin Proud.

Hendrix wants to run against Dawna Dukes for House District 46.  Hendrix is hoping the proposed legislation will just go away.

"This should not even be an issue.  I cannot believe we're standing here having to fight this," Hendrix said.

Volunteers held gender-neutral bathroom signs specifically in front of men's restrooms in the Capitol.

Carlos Diaz who also goes by Cynthia said because of the silent protest, he's hoping people will realize the LGBTQI community is diplomatic and respectful.

"I believe that people have already that type of resilience and they understand our community is a community of love and we are coming in peace just only to fight for our rights," Diaz said.

Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values is a supporter of the proposed legislation.

"Now if there needs to be an individual accommodation the law allows for that and we're supportive of that but we don't want a situation where women are surprised and little girls are surprised because a man walks into their bathroom," Saenz said.

There's an economic side to the issue as well.  Travel and business experts said the state could lose millions from conventions and events leaving if the bill becomes law.  Saenz doesn't think the state will be hurt economically.

This week, IBM took a stand against it.

"You have to wonder is that how they handle it.  Is that what IBM and Google and these companies do in their business environment, do they allow men to go into the women's bathrooms?  And if a woman complained about that, how would she be treated?  Would her privacy be respected?" Saenz said.

We spoke with Greg Lambert by phone, President of the American Association of Law Libraries.  He said even with the bathroom bill pending, recent anti-LGBT legislation passed in Texas is against their policies to be inclusive and diverse.

"Therefore we made the decision as a board not to include Texas in any consideration for any further conferences until those laws are repealed," Lambert said.  

The Chicago-based association sent letters to chambers of commerce officials and mayors throughout Texas informing them of the decision.

Lambert is from Houston.  The Texan says being put in this position breaks his heart.

"I have a 15-year-old who is a trans-gender male and so this silliness with the bathroom bill on a personal level is harmful to our family and I'm very proud that the association is standing up," Lambert said.

Last month, California Attorney General Xavier Bacerra announced he's prohibiting state-funded and state-sponsored travel to Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas joining a list of  states he feels have laws that discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
               
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office felt like that was just grandstanding.
 
 

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