Metro Weekly

Texas Governor Wants to Ban Trans People from Being Teachers

Greg Abbott implied that openly transgender and gender-nonconforming people should no longer be allowed to teach in Texas schools.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott – Illustration: Todd Franson; Original Photo: Jay Godwin

Several high-profile Texas Republicans are calling for a ban on transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals from teaching in schools, following comments by Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Abbott made the comments during the keynote address at the annual convention of the Young Conservatives of Texas on April 20.

He seized on the story of Rachmad Tjachyadi, a former teacher from Lewisville, Texas. Tjachyadi resigned in March after Libs of TikTok posted pictures of him in dresses, tutus, and a costume of Ursula, the sea witch from The Little Mermaid.

The famously anti-LGBTQ Libs of TikTok claimed Tjachyadi was a crossdresser and drag queen with a “fetish for wearing women’s clothing to work.”

Tjachyadi was placed on administrative leave in February while an investigation examined his attire during school “dress-up days,” in which students and teachers are permitted to wear costumes or other attire that match a specific theme.

Even though the internal investigation found that he had broken no policies, Tjachyadi decided to resign, stating that the negative press the school had received — and hateful comments posted to social media — had become a “distraction” for students.

Abbott had previously weighed in on Tjachyadi’s attire, seeking to marshal conservative outrage over gender-nonconformity into support for his plan for school vouchers, writing on social media,”No parent should be forced by the state to send their child to this school.”

Abbott claimed that Tjachyadi was “a man who would go to school dressed as a woman in a dress, high heels, and makeup” in his speech to the Young Conservatives on Saturday.

“A man, dressing as a woman, in a public high school in the state of Texas [is] trying to normalize the concept that this type of behavior is okay,” said Abbott. “This type of behavior is not okay. And this is the type of behavior that we wanna make sure we end in the state of Texas.”

Journalist Steven Moncaelli reported that Abbott appeared to be suggesting that people who are openly transgender should not be allowed to teach in schools.

Journalist Erin Reed noted on her Substack that within hours, multiple GOP officials throughout Texas announced their support for Abbott’s call to stop transgender and gender-nonconforming people from serving as teachers.

This included Texas GOP Chair Matt Rinaldi, Texas State Rep. Brent Money (R-Greenville), and Bo French, the chairman of the Tarrant County Republican Party.

Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), wrote on X, “Perverts should not be teachers.”

Rolando Garcia, the State Republican Executive Committeeman for Senate District 15, defended Abbott’s remarks on X. “[Abbott] doesn’t even suggest banning anyone from teaching, just not allowing them to play dress up in the classroom. It’s astonishing that this is even considered controversial,” he wrote.

While Garcia is correct that Abbott talked about ending certain behaviors — namely, dressing in a way that does not conform to one’s assigned sex at birth — and never said the word “ban” explicitly, it is essentially a distinction without a difference. Abbott inferred that the only way a transgender individual could remain a teacher is to “closet” themselves by dressing in a manner that conceals their gender identity.

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