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Texas takes its potty obsession to court

Oh, brother.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration over recent federal guidance issued to protect LGBTQ people in the workplace, including a directive that says employees should be allowed to use the bathrooms, locker rooms and showers that correspond with their gender identity.

The guidance also clarifies that misuse of a person’s preferred pronouns could be considered harassment in certain circumstances.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in the Northern District of Texas federal court, Paxton claims that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it issued a technical assistance document outlining the impact of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year. That ruling prohibited employer discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Title VII prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of sex.

Defendants in the lawsuit include the EEOC, commission Chair Charlotte A. Burrows and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The EEOC guidance, released on June 15, specifies that employers must not prohibit transgender employees from dressing in correspondence with their gender identity or using bathrooms, locker rooms or showers that are consistent with their gender identity.

In a statement, Paxton called the guidance “illegal” and an “unacceptable” attempt “to force businesses, including the State of Texas, to align with their beliefs.”

“If the Biden Administration thinks they can force states to comply with their political agenda, my office will fight against their radical attempt at social change,” Paxton said.

In the lawsuit, Paxton also argued that the EEOC violated the First and Eleventh Amendments, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act, which specifies how government agencies issue regulations.

The EEOC said in an email on Monday that it does not comment on pending litigation, but that it will be represented by the Department of Justice, which declined to comment Monday.

For a variety of reasons, not the least of which being my searing contempt for the walking dirtbag that is Ken Paxton, it’s hard to take his nakedly political lawsuits seriously. We’ve certainly seen plenty of examples of shoddy lawyering on his part, not to mention him lying about court actions in a way that makes him look good to his knuckle-dragging base, and that always makes me think he’s in this more for the publicity (which he can get immediately) than the (often years-off) results. That said, if there’s one thing Ken Paxton is unquestionably good at, it’s picking federal judges who are likely to give him what he wants. As such, we have no choice but to take this seriously. Daily Kos has more.

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One Comment

  1. policywonqueria says:

    RE: “The guidance also clarifies that misuse of a person’s preferred pronouns could be considered harassment.”

    What? … It’s now against the law that “we” in policywonk underground use the gender-neutral “we” per “our” “we-preferred” public communications policy?

    As for this iteration of the bathroom issue: Why not make them all unisex?


    Years ago there was great Lege concern that the female stall-lines at the Astrodome or -arena or wherever it was were longer than at the piss-in-a-wall-mounted recepticle facilities. It was still binary then, so with recent geners proliferation, it’s only getting more comlicated.


    Why not have unisex toilet facilities (who takes a bath there?) with choice of stall-privacy and alternatives for all. Problem solved. And this will also promote efficiency from the facility utilization perspective.

    For high-traffic facilities, check out Buccee’s: wall-mounts facing East, stalls facing West. Privacy safeguarded.

    For low-volume facilities, how about Starbucks as a model? A holy trinity of (1) toilet seat et (2) urinal et (3) handwash basin all together in one lockable room or cubicle.

    Add a bidet perhaps for fancy venues. (With proper instructions of how to use and not use it).