Metro Weekly

Texas governor says he’s stopped pushing for anti-transgender bathroom bills

Abbott had previously advocated for legislation restricting transgender people to facilities that match their biological sex

Gov. Greg Abbott – Photo: World Travel & Tourism Council, via Wikimedia.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) says he will stop pushing for anti-transgender bathroom bills, which restrict access to public facilities based on biological sex.

Abbott said pursuing such bills was “not on my agenda” during a debate with his Democratic rival for governor, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

Valdez, who is lesbian, asked Abbott about Republican lawmakers’ dogged attempts to pass the restrictive bills last year, including calling a special legislative sessions to advance the transphobic legislations.

Those attempts ultimately failed, despite both Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick making the issue a top priority.

Abbott said he would instead be focused on taxes, veterans, and “arresting dangerous gang members” as governor, LGBTQ Nation reports.

Asked whether he would sign another “bathroom bill” should it cross his desk, Abbott refused to confirm, instead saying, “I will not sign hypothetical bills.”

Valdez slammed Abbott’s response, as well as his efforts as governor to deal with aftermath of Hurricane Harvey last year. Valdez said he was more focused on hurting the transgender community than on funding cleanup and rebuilding in the wake of the hurricane.

“He calls a special session for bathrooms but does not call a special session when people are dying,” Valdez said. “The Rainy Day Fund is the biggest savings account in the United States. Governor, it rained!”

Abbott responded that as governor he “has the authority to spend state money without having to call a special session to tap the Rainy Day Fund.”

The latest polls show Abbott with a commanding lead over Valdez. Should she manage to emerge victorious in November’s election, Valdez would be Texas’ first Hispanic governor, its third female governor, and its first openly LGBTQ governor.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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