Monday, Democratic Senator Eddie Lucio Jr publicly supported a bill many of his constituents are strongly against. Senate Bill 6, is called the Texas Privacy Act by some but for many it’s called an attack of transgender men and women. SB6 is commonly referred to as the “bathroom bill” but for those the proposed law would impact say it is much more than bathroom rights, it’s putting them in serious danger. The 12 page bill would require a transgender person to use a bathroom or changing room, in schools, universities, or government buildings that matches their “biological sex” on their birth certificate or ID.
Senator Lucio, D-Brownsville, outraged many voters in the Rio Grande Valley, including rights activists Juan Villela and Sadie Hernandez. Within hours of Lucio’s public support of SB6, Villela and Hernandez were outside Lucio’s Brownsville office demanding answers. Outside of Lucio’s office Villela explained “This bill is specifically targeting our trans [transgender] community members. It is to put them as a minority and strip them away from their rights. [Lawmakers] don’t consider the trans community members as human beings. Trans rights are human rights.” Hernandez agrees with Villela and said “by policing people’s gender identity and not allowing them to go into the bathroom and putting laws…this opens up the floodgates for other kinds of discrimination against transgender people.”
The outrage is also being felt in the Lucio family by his son Texas Representative Eddie Lucio III. On facebook, Lucio III wrote,
“Earlier today my father State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. signed on to Senate Bill 6 the “bathroom bill”. Essentially the bill would require Texans to use a bathroom associated with their biological gender and not the gender in which they identify. This bill targets the transgender community. Shortly after it was made public that my father supports SB 6 and participated in a press conference, my office started receiving negative feedback from across Texas on his position on the bill. Unfortunately, most of the people who were calling my office were mistaking me for my father. On this issue, I respectfully disagree with my father and I oppose SB 6. I believe this bill to be nothing more than a political ploy to appease certain narrow minded constituencies at the expense of some of the most vulnerable and marginalized people in society. Our office has yet to be provided any evidence demonstrating that the transgender community provides a security risk to others in bathrooms. The people that this bill targets are just trying to live their lives and have a safe place to use the restroom. I believe and teach love, tolerance and acceptance in my home and approach my service in office in the same manner. My father preached love and service in my house growing up, and although I sincerely believe that his position is not rooted in hate, it is still wrong and will create adversity for many. This is not a priority in Texas and should not be treated as one. I will stand up and oppose any attempt at oppression or prejudice whether the target group is gay, straight, white, brown, man, woman or child. I discussed this issue with my father today; it was very civil and respectful. We hugged and agreed to disagree. I hope that regardless of your position on this or any issue you would approach your views and discussions with the same love and respect that my father and I displayed this morning.”
Wednesday, after supporting Senate Bill 6, Lucio went on to vote during a Senate Committee hearing in favor, 7-1 moving the bill forward to a full Senate.
If the bill is passed, it will take effect September 1, 2017.