The Republican Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives has said he doesn’t want to be responsible for the suicides of transgender teens.
Joe Straus has vocally opposed Governor Greg Abbott’s efforts to pass a bill to restrict transgender bathroom use in the state.
Straus has been a critic of the efforts to pass a bathroom bill over the past six months.
In a New Yorker magazine column, Straus’s comments go further to oppose a bathroom bill.
He says: “I’m not a lawyer, but I am a Texan.
“I’m disgusted by all this. Tell the lieutenant governor I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands.”
Straus earlier this year cast doubt on the future of a bathroom bill, which has been widely condemned by business leaders and LGBT campaigners in the state and across the US.
A Republican lawmaker is set to introduce two new anti-LGBT bathroom bills in a costly special legislative session to take place later in July.
The bills will be introduced by Representative Ron Simmons, who introduced a measure in the regular session which failed.
He said one of the bills will be the same and another will apply specifically to public schools.
The Governor of Texas, a fan of Simmons’ bill, earlier this year said that passing a bill to stop transgender people using public bathrooms is his top priority.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott has been a leading voice in backing a frenzy of anti-LGBT legislation in Texas, after the Trump administration ended Obama-era legal resistance from the federal government against discriminatory state laws in North Carolina.
Governor Abbott announced a special session at the Texas State Capitol.
The so-called “bathroom bill” has already received negative attention as some of the nation’s top business CEOs, including Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook, have denounced any sort of discriminatory, anti-trans legislation.
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said: “Governor Greg Abbott is proving everything is bigger in Texas including prioritising discrimination.
“If the governor moves forward with this harmful legislation against trans students, LGBTQ people, businesses, and fair-minded Texans will respond in Texas style – Big.
“Trans Texans have experienced harassment and threats because of this last session and if any anti-trans bills get signed into law, then Governor Abbott’s legacy will be turning Texas into a state known for harming some its most marginalised people.”