The State of Texas: Transgender Bathroom Battle Heads To Court
Plus: Houston schools are about to get some new names, the Alamo diggers discover a cool Mexican sword, and Texas A&M reaches a new ”12th Man” deal with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“My VP candidate will be my handyman.”
—Travis County GOP Chairman Robert Morrow to the Austin American-Statesman. The controversial conspiracy theorist recently announced his intention to run for president, and he apparently already has a running mate in mind. Also, here are perfectly normal (and, a rarity for Morrow, totally safe for work) photos of his lovely garden on Instagram.
The Texas-led battle against federal transgender bathroom policies heads to court today in Fort Worth, and Attorney General Ken Paxton is expected to ask a federal judge to temporarily block rules that make public school restrooms transgender friendly, according to the Texas Tribune. It’s the first hearing in the lawsuit filed by Texas and twelve other states in an attempt to reverse the Obama administration’s bathroom guidelines. Paxton has also requested the court expedite this case to try to get a ruling before the school year starts in Texas later this month. According to NPR, the feds say Texas doesn’t have the legal standing to ask for a preliminary injunction on the transgender bathroom guidelines because they are non-binding, haven’t been enforced by law, and are only recommendations. Of course, if districts don’t follow the guidelines, they risk losing federal funding, which states challenging the lawsuit say is pretty much the same thing as “enforcement.” The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit is Harrold ISD, a tiny, tiny school district in North Texas. Although Harrold clearly has reservations about the progressive transgender friendly bathrooms, it is apparently all in for gender-inclusive football. The Vernon Daily Record has an interesting story about Harrold High School’s six-man football team. The sixth “man”? Not a man. The high school only has eight dudes overall, and only five tried out for the football team, so it looked as though they’d have to forfeit the upcoming season. But 5-foot-4-inch, 115-pound Olivia Perez stepped up to save the day, tossing on the shoulder pads. “I think I can handle some contact and come out all right,” Perez told the Daily Record.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Eight Houston ISD schools named after Confederate loyalists will get new names soon, and the school district approved the renaming plan’s $1.2 million price tag last night, according to the Houston Chronicle. The proposed changes, per the Chronicle: Richard Dowling Middle to Audrey H. Lawson Middle; Henry Grady Middle to Tanglewood Middle; Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson Middle to Yolanda Black Navarro Middle School of Excellence; Albert Sidney Johnston Middle to Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School; Sidney Lanier Middle to Bob Lanier Middle; Jefferson Davis High to Northside High; Lee High to Margaret Long Wisdom High; and John Reagan High to Heights High. Most of those soon-to-be axed names aren’t exactly big-name Confederate players (the exception being, of course, Stonewall and Lee), and the district’s plan has sparked protest from some parents and teachers, who filed a lawsuit against HISD in June in an attempt to stop the renaming process because they say they feel it’s a waste of money.
The archaeologists digging at the Alamo found what might be their coolest discovery yet: an old Mexican sword, according to KENS. Diggers had found some other “historically important” stuff, like pieces of an original wall, but that was objectively kinda boring. But this? This is a sword! To someone who isn’t trained to recognize what a sword would look like after spending 180 years buried underground, the artifact might look a little like an ugly rock, but researchers say they’re pretty sure it’s actually the tip of a sword used by an noncommissioned Mexican Army officer sometime before or during the Battle of the Alamo in 1836 (it may have been buried during the building’s construction a year earlier). It’s unclear if it was broken off in battle or just weathered by time and the elements, and there’s almost no way they’ll be able to find out who, exactly, the sword belonged to.
It will be at least another five years until the real 12th Man stands up. The Texas A&M Aggies just renewed a leasing agreement with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, allowing the Pacific Northwest team to borrow the school’s trademark crazed-fan nickname until the deal expires in 2021, according to ESPN. The Seahawks will pay A&M a total of $140,000 over the next five years for the “12th Man,” but the new contract says Seattle can no longer use it on social media or on their stadium’s ring of honor. The Aggies also lease their 12th Man to the Buffalo Bills, and in February, A&M settled a lawsuit filed against the Indianapolis Colts for using the name without their permission. “The 12th Man is a cherished tradition,” A&M President Michael Young said in a statement, according to the Texas Tribune. “Keeping it alive is important because it reflects the willingness and readiness of Aggies to fearlessly step in whenever and wherever needed.” How very #OnBrand.
WHAT WE’RE READING
The state of the Confederacy in Texas Politico Magazine
Here are a bunch of pictures of Matthew McConaughey’s face while watching the Olympics Dallas Morning News
Trump leads Clinton in the latest Texas poll CBSDFW
This new Hell or High Water movie is set in Texas (and written by a Texan), and it’s supposed to be pretty good New York Times
Texas hired a PR firm with a very shady client list to fix its voter ID law disaster San Antonio Current