The downside of true intersectionality is that it can be exhausting. I don't know how people manage it. Putting one's beliefs into practice consistently, even on one issue, is a full-time job; it helps if one can actually make a living from it. Imagine doing that for a whole cross-section of related issues—i.e., every issue on which well-funded reactionary elements are trying to roll back all the social and environmental progress of the last century.
Very few colleges and universities in North America offer programs for students to major in social justice. My alma mater certainly didn't in the 1980s and still doesn't. I'm grateful to count several full-time activists among my friends; I don't know how many of them are doing what their degrees (or unfinished degree plans) prepared them for.
This type of big-picture thinking also makes one more effective as a legislator, particularly in the state of US Senate. Senators may serve on multiple issue-related committees (Education, Health, Appropriations), some of them clearly related, others less obviously. They must also be able to see the consequences of the bills that they consider passing into law.
Lois & Joan
This brings us to Lois Kolkhorst, Republican state senator from Brenham, whose District 18 extends from Giddings to northwest Harris County and down to Port Aransas. Over the past week, Kolkhorst managed to ramrod her Senate Bill 6 through the State Affairs Committee and the full chamber. The Senate vote was 21-10, with all Republicans and Brownsville Democrat Eddie Lucio voting Aye.
Current talk is that it will not pass the House, although that is mostly due to Speaker Joe Strauss's worries about how it will affect the state's "bidness" climate.
Kolkhorst does not serve on the State Affairs Committee. Joan "You're the Pervert" Huffman from the neighboring District 17 is its chair, however. These two, along with other Republican senators and Lucio, heard testimony from transgender and intersex Texans, including two friends of mine, who would be adversely affected by the bill's public facilities provisions.
They refused to see these people's humanity.
They refused to understand the science behind their conditions.
They refused to accept that "biological sex" is much more than the sex one is assigned at birth, and that a larger segment of the population than their Christian dogma realizes is not 100% male or female.
They refused to acknowledge that transgender people are frequently murdered for being themselves.
Instead, they stuck to their proverbial guns in the name of protecting "women born as women" from the nonexistent threat of transwomen molesting them in public restrooms.
The text of the bill does not even contain the word transgender, which is why Huffman can say with a straight face that the bill is not about the Transgender community. But it does have the effect of prohibiting people who are externally male and internally female (or vice versa, or some other combination thereof) from using facilities that match their internal gender.
Couldn't or Wouldn't?
Or perhaps they were simply unable to understand all that, because it doesn't square with what they've been indoctrinated to believe. My impression, however, is that they didn't want to. No legislative body should be spending so much time and effort on a bill like this, when there are real problems that need immediate fixing, from education and transportation to the dumping of toxins in the water and the dumping of children foster care. This is especially the case in a big state where the Legislature meets for only five months of every 24.
The zeal with which many Republicans, including Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, have defied common sense and pushed this potty bill smacks of motives beyond simply protecting women. It may even go beyond wanting trans and intersex folks, including trans and intersex children, to just go away. I'm betting that there's campaign money involved. Somebody is making it worth their while to grandstand on this issue and crowd out legitimate issues.
The icing on this urinal cake is that not only do these Republicans want to render state government ineffective, but they also have voted for a bill that prevents local governments from deciding who can or can't use which facilities.
Back to Intersectionality
We cannot always be on the spot to protect our LGBTQI+ neighbors, friends, or relatives from people (whether civilians or officers of the law) who get the notion to beat them up. Thus we need the law to protect them. This law does the opposite of protecting them.
To the best of our knowledge, transgender people make up about 0.1% of the US population. That's about the same percentage as Unitarian Universalists. Would we want laws that discriminate against UU's, or that make them vulnerable to lavatory battery (no matter how insufferably smug we UU's sometimes are)? At least UU's have chosen their beliefs; transgender folk have no such choice, their gender identity being thrust upon them by genetics and hormones. This is why, as a UU, and as a straight cisgender ally, I have been following the progress of this bill and rooting for its defeat.