July 05, 2017
If Texans want a fair shake on their privacy bill, they’re not likely to get it from House Speaker Joe Straus (R). One of the effort’s biggest antagonists, Straus isn’t hiding whose side he’s on -- and based on polling, it’s not the state’s. Probably the most telling evidence of the speaker’s allegiance is in his newfound fame in the LGBT community, which has had nothing but praise for the politician’s most recent comments. In a stunning interview with The New Yorker, Straus sounded more like a far-Left extremist than the leader of the Texas House. “I’m disgusted by all of this,” he said of the privacy debate. “Tell [Lt. Governor Dan Patrick] I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands.”
They were astonishing comments for anyone -- let alone one of the state’s highest ranking officials. After all, the majority of Texans agree that men shouldn't be allowed to use girl's restrooms, showers, or locker rooms. Sixty-nine percent, to be exact (and that includes 56 percent of Democrats!). Obviously, Straus has decided to cater to the small fringe who think safety should place a distant second to “sensitivity.”
Lt. Governor Patrick, who’s led the charge for privacy, hopes Straus’s comments were misreported. “Obviously, no one wants to see harm to anyone as a result of any legislation that is passed,” his office responded. Of course, as FRC’s Peter Sprigg points out, the most harmful position may be the House speaker’s. Suggesting that protecting women and children would lead to suicide is a ridiculously false and disingenuous statement. Even the Left cites studies by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Ann Haas, who says, “Years and years of research has taught us that the overwhelming number of people who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental disorder at the time of their death.” In other words, people do not commit suicide because of the passage of legislation, or even because of “bullying,” but because of mental illness (which gender dysphoria, according to the APA, is!). There’s absolutely no evidence that which bathroom someone uses will cause them to commit suicide.
In an older article of the journal Pediatrics, the authors wrote: “….suicide attempts were not explained by experiences with discrimination, violence, loss of friendship, or current personal attitudes towards homosexuality.” A 2005 analysis of this article, by conservative scholar Neil Whitehead, Ph.D., is still available online. “So these last two points,” Peter points out, “that public hysteria about LGBT suicides may actually contribute to them, and that early self-labeling also increases them -- suggest that Straus’s own comments (reflecting fear of transgender suicides, and implicitly supporting self-labeling even by schoolchildren) might do more to cause suicides than passing the Privacy Act would!
Then, of course, there’s the important 2011 Swedish study, which showed that even AFTER having gender reassignment surgery, people who identify as transgender had a suicide rate 19 times higher than the general population. This undermines any suggestion that simply giving those who identify as transgender everything they ask for will do anything to reduce their suicide rate.
The American College of Pediatricians calls agendas like Straus’s child abuse. This week’s Daily Signal highlights one such pediatrician, who says that this ideology has infiltrated her field and offered a deeply-flawed narrative. Read why here. As for Texas, let’s hope leaders like the House speaker can set aside their own prejudices long enough to do what’s in the best interest of the state -- which research shows is not a gender-free existence!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.