A Texas mom says she has no regrets about grabbing the phone of an anti-gay “ex-trans” activist who was harassing her transgender son at the Texas Capitol earlier this year and deleting pictures he had taken of the teen.
Lauren Rodriguez, the mother of 17-year-old Greyson, was at the Capitol in April to protest several proposed bills targeting transgender youth, including one bill in particular that would have potentially criminalized parents of transgender minors by labeling them “child abusers” if they allow their children to receive gender-affirming medical treatments.
Rodriguez says Greyson and some of the other transgender kids who had come to Austin to testify against various bills were hanging out in a reserved space, occasionally being accosted by anti-trans activists.
At one point, Greyson left to go to the restroom in the basement of the Capitol building, when Rodriguez saw a man following him, carrying a phone and shouting, “What bathroom are you going to use, tranny?”
Rodriguez grabbed the phone out of the man’s hand and deleted the pictures he had taken of her son while he screamed at her. Security showed up and escorted the man away from her, reports The New Republic.
Rodriguez claims the man was Kevin Whitt, a far-right agitator who claims to be”ex-gay”and “ex-transgender.” Whitt appeared in political campaign ads attacking President Joe Biden and other Democrats for supporting transgender rights. The ads, from the conservative advocacy group American Principles Project, argued that children can be “confused” or take a while to grow into a gender identity that matches their assigned sex at birth.
Whitt, who regularly advocates against LGBTQ rights, was fired from his job as a Texas Republican Party staffer after he recorded himself attending the U.S. Capitol riot in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. He has also trafficked in various conspiracy theories, such as “Pizzagate,” and has written social media posts defending he right-wing white supremacist group the Proud Boys.
During the regular legislative session, Texas lawmakers introduced 13 different bills targeting members of the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender youth. Gov. Greg Abbott has since added a ban on transgender athletes competing on sports teams matching their gender identity, and a ban on gender-affirming treatments, to his agenda for the second of two special sessions he’s called to order in the Lone Star State this summer.
Unfortunately for Abbott, many of the bills he’s pushing have passed the conservative Senate, but are unable to pass the House because House Democrats left the state in protest, in order to deny legislative leaders a quorum.
Rodriguez says she’s not certain her son would be alive today if he hadn’t been able to access the type of gender-affirming medical care that Texas lawmakers are trying to ban. She added that she’s put together a “safe folder” that includes “letters from therapists, doctors, friends, families” to protect herself should someone report her to Child Protective Services for supporting her son’s transition — an issue of contention in her custody battle with her ex-husband, who has rejected Greyson’s gender identity.
“When CPS shows up at your house because some random bigot decides to call, then you have this file,” she said.
She also compared the political attacks on transgender children to “being with an abusive partner, but your abusive partner is the flipping state you live in.”
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