‘It’s crazy’ | Gov. Abbott touts restricting transgender teachers’ attire, sparking outrage among LGBTQ+ advocates

Sofia Sepulveda of Equality Texas, said any legislation introduced would face legal challenges due to a 2020 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

SAN ANTONIO — Advocates within Texas’s LGBTQ+ community argue their rights are under attack once again after a new proposal by Gov. Greg Abbott involving fashion and transgender teachers. 

Abbott addressed the Young Conservatives of Texas convention on Friday in Dallas, where he referenced a Lewisville high school teacher who wore a pink dress to work. 

The teacher, Rachmad Tjachyadi, resigned last month when he started receiving “hateful comments” after a conservative social media account posted a video of him wearing the dress. Lewisville ISD officials didn’t find Tjachyadi violated any district policies. 

A reporter with the Texas Observer captured Abbott’s comments.

Here’s an excerpt: 

“This person, a man, dressing as a woman in a public high school in the state of Texas, he’s trying to normalize the concept that this type of behavior is okay,” Abbott said in the recording. “This type of behavior is not okay, and this is the type of behavior that we want to make sure we end in the state of Texas.” 

Sofia Sepulveda of Equality Texas isn’t surprised by Abbott’s proposal but at the same time believes this is another attempt at infringing on the personal freedoms of the LGBTQ community. 

“I’m a transgender woman, fifth generation Mexican American, 47 years old and I knew who I was since I was 4,” Sepulveda said. “My first thoughts was just another push for Governor Abbott to privatize the school system and push for vouchers. It’s another way to discriminate against the LGBTQ communities in particular and it’s another way to continue control on people’s lives. What he’s doing is literally discriminating on the basis of sex.” 

Sepulveda noted any such legislation introduced in the Texas Legislature wouldn’t stand due to precedent established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020. 

“They ruled in favor of a transgender woman who was fired from her job for being trans,” Sepulveda said. 

The 6-3 vote maintained that an employer who fires an individual for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 

James Poindexter, who serves on the board of Pride Antonio, is baffled by the priorities of Texas GOP leaders. 

“Schools are a microcosm of society so schools need to be reflective of the village around them,” Poindexter said. “He’s basically equating fashion with behavior. You’re talking about the way someone’s dressing that makes them feel comfortable. It’s crazy.” 

The governor’s office did not respond to an emailed request for comment on the issue.

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