In the United States, everybody knows that you don’t mess with Texas. That’s because you don’t have to. Texas will undoubtedly mess with you.
Honestly, you could just be someone who needs, say, electricity on a regular and reliable basis and Texas is most definitely messing with you. Their dusty ass power grid is featured in the opening scene of 1985’s “Back to the Future.” And it hasn’t been updated since.
But the “messing” part is especially true if you’re a part of a marginalized group. Transgender people and their families have been the target of oppression for a long time. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been obsessed with transgender people for years, specifically obsessed with limiting trans rights.
You’ll remember Paxton from hits like “parents of trans kids are guilty of child abuse” and “the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality lawless so Texas clerks should just keep on discriminating” and “I’m coming for Target because they let trans people use their toilets.” And the hits just keep on coming!
Way back in 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case called Bostock v. Clayton County involving people who were fired for being LGBTQ+. The Court found that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ+ employees against discrimination.
And so that was that and no one was ever discriminated against for being LGBTQ+ ever again. The end.
Haha. If only.
Paxton filed a suit saying because, as I mentioned, he is obsessed with discriminating against LGBTQ+ people. And a federal judge just ruled in Paxton’s favor, saying that the Bostock v. Clayton County ruling goes too far.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a judge that Donald Trump appointed and whose last name I would wager that Trump could absolutely not pronounce, issued the ruling.
According to the Advocate, Kacsmaryk wrote that employers “do not have to allow workers to use the restrooms corresponding to their gender identity or dress according to that identity, nor do they have to use employee’s preferred pronouns.”
Literally the least an employer can do for their employees is let them pee in peace and bother to learn their names or pronouns. But OK.
It should be noted that when Kacsmaryk was confirmed to a lifetime appointment in 2019 his anti-LGBTQ+ positions were well known.
The Human Rights Campaign, in a press release responding to Kacsmaryk’s nomination, said he was “among the most anti-LGBTQ judicial nominees put forward by the Trump-Pence administration.”
“He has a long history of virulently anti-LGBTQ opinions and positions — including his deeply disturbing opposition to same-sex marriage, his vocal hostility towards legal protections for gender identity and sexual orientation, and his shocking refusal to recognize the basic humanity of transgender people,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow after the confirmation. “Kacsmaryk fails the basic expectation of impartiality and commitment to equality under the law that we demand of every member of the bench.”
Also according to HRC, “Kacsmaryk has implied that transgender people are ‘delusional,’ opposed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s position that sexual orientation and gender identity are covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, publicly slammed non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people throughout his career, and in opposing aspects of LGBTQ equality like same-sex marriage, has derisively dismissed equality as unwanted symptoms of a ‘sexual revolution.’”
This guy was so bad that even Susan Collins was like, “Uh, no.” EVEN SUSAN COLLINS.
Bears repeating that this guy was appointed by Trump. FOR LIFE. Hashtag Elections Matter God Damn It.
Needless to say, Paxton is super happy that his partner-in-hate Kacsmaryk ruled in his favor.
A press release from the Texas AG office reads, “Attorney General Paxton has secured another major victory over the Biden Administration” because Paxton considers being able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people a “major victory.”
“The court decision is not only a win for the rule of law, but for the safety and protection of Texas children,” Paxton says in the release. “The Biden administration’s attempts to radicalize federal law to track its woke political beliefs are beyond dangerous. I will continue to push back against these unlawful attempts to use federal agencies to normalize extremist positions that put millions of Texans at risk.”
Paxton will continue to push back against normalizing extremist positions like “transgender people are human beings with feelings.”
And what, exactly, are “millions of Texans” at risk for? It’s unconscionable to paint transgender people as some kind of threat. The real extremist threat in Texas is Paxon. He must go.
Rochelle Garza, running against Paxton, is an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Check her out at rochellegarzafortexas.com and donate if you can.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.