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Amber Briggle

Paxton’s dinner with the Briggle family

So he did go, and he managed to behave himself.

Best mugshot ever

Best mugshot ever

Lots of preparation led up to the moment, but Amber and Adam Briggle still exchanged nervous looks when their doorbell rang about 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

“I was terrified,” Amber Briggle said.

They had invited Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his wife, Angela, to come over for dinner and spend a little time with them and their transgender son. The Briggles occupy a much different political space than Paxton, a conservative Republican who has opposed expanding civil rights for gay and transgender people.

A lot of the usual insecurities went through Amber Briggle’s mind — worrying about the food she prepared, whether she would spill her drink, what they would all talk about over dinner.

She needn’t have worried.

“Honestly, it was a very pleasant evening,” Amber Briggle said.

[…]

The Briggles called their invitation to Paxton an act of diplomacy. He has opposed gay marriage, and he is against the idea that transgender people be allowed to use a public restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

The Briggles see the state’s latest political battle with the federal government over transgender civil rights as one that directly affects their child.

“I’m concerned that the lawsuit, and all these injunctions, and the legislation that’s coming our way is putting my son in danger,” Amber Briggle said.

Many families of transgender children don’t draw attention to themselves out of self-preservation. But that also feeds ignorance, the Briggles say.

They weren’t sure whether the Paxtons had ever knowingly met a transgender person before. The Briggles wanted to show that they are an ordinary Texas family and that they really aren’t alone.

[…]

The couple didn’t ask Paxton for anything specific in relation to the politics surrounding LGBT rights in Texas. Instead, they asked the attorney general to remember them and their son when considering future actions.

See here for the background. The Briggles are better people than I would be in this situation. I wish I could say that I believe Paxton will become a better, more empathetic person as a result of the Briggles’ hospitality, but alas, I can’t. I expect he won’t say, do, or feel anything different. Worth the effort, but this audience wasn’t ready to hear the message.

Paxton says he will meet with transgender child’s family

It’s a start, I guess.

Best mugshot ever

Best mugshot ever

Attorney General Ken Paxton has pledged to meet with the Denton family of a transgender boy, even as his office continues its legal fight against federal school bathroom guidelines that the family supports.

Paxton was asked Monday by KXAS-TV (NBC5) if he would take up the Briggle family — including 8-year-old son, MG — on the offer of dinner. The Republican, who hails from McKinney, said he would be “happy to do that.”

Paxton spokesman Marc Rylander on Tuesday said his office is “already planning to reach out to this family.”

“He is absolutely willing,” he said. “I assure you he wouldn’t have gone on television and said he was going to meet with them if he wasn’t going to do that.”

[…]

Amber Briggle has said that her son deserves to be more than a pawn in a “pissing match” between the state and federal government. And the Briggles, who attended a court hearing this month over the school guidelines, have extended multiple offers to Paxton to meet.

But it wasn’t until the KXAS-TV interview that the attorney general gave an affirmative answer.

It’s unclear when and where a meeting between Paxton and the Briggles would take place. But Amber Briggle took to Twitter on Tuesday to celebrate the apparent success, writing to Paxton that she “can’t wait for you to #meetmychild.”

Don’t give him too much credit just yet. For one thing, he hasn’t actually done or committed to doing anything just yet – “planning to reach out to this family” is the equivalent of “I’ll have my people call your people”, and it’s not like Ken Paxton is renowned for his honesty. And if he does follow through, one dinner with one family hardly balances out his litigious onslaught against the rights and dignity of transgender people. Frankly, I don’t expect anything to come out of this no matter how hospitable the Briggle family is or whatever scripted nice things he may have to say to the press after dessert. I don’t believe an un-compassionate, non-empathetic person like Ken Paxton has it in him to change. I’d love to be wrong, and I’ll be delighted to admit it if I am, but I ain’t gonna hold my breath in anticipation. All that said, he has at least agreed in principle to meet with this one transgender child, which puts him a step above the craven coward Dan Patrick. For what it’s worth. Texas Standard has more.