AERA Speaks to "Texas Bathroom Bill"

January 18, 2017
Dear AERA Members,
As many of you are aware, Senate Bill 6—the Texas Privacy Act—was introduced in the Texas legislature on January 5, 2017. The proposed legislation, referred to as the “bathroom bill,” mirrors the ideas in North Carolina’s HB2 which was enacted in March 2016. The proposed Texas bill would require people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, hence discriminating against transgender persons.
Since that time, we have been investigating the situation and responding to inquiries. We have expressed our grave concerns about discriminatory practices that would deny equal access to transgender persons in our country. Some who wrote to us were particularly concerned about this situation because of the forthcoming AERA Annual Meeting in San Antonio in April. We have heightened concerns about AERA convening meetings of our diverse membership in a state that might engage in such discrimination. Fortunately from the vantage of the safety, security, and equal treatment of attendees at the AERA 2017 Annual Meeting, the proposed bill would not go into effect until September 2017, if it were to pass as proposed.
It is also fortunate that yesterday convention and visitor bureaus throughout Texas, including San Antonio, along with several local employers, chambers of commerce, among others, announced the formation of Texas Welcomes All, a coalition pledged to fight the legislation. AERA Council will also be discussing this issue when it meets in February.
Both of us and the AERA staff are monitoring developments closely. We will work collaboratively with the San Antonio convention center staff in our plans for the Annual Meeting, will continue to follow the unfolding of events, and will support commitments to eradicating discrimination in its different forms in education and the public domain.
Vivian L. Gadsden                                                               Felice J. Levine
President, 2016-2017                                                         Executive Director
William T. Carter Professor of Child
Development and Professor of Education
University of Pennsylvania

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