HOUSTON, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Texans are divided along political lines as several states and school districts have joined Texas in lawsuit against U.S. President Barack Obama's directive that allows transgender students to use restrooms of their choice.
"Texas will sue to stop Obama's transgender directive to schools," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a Twitter post on May 25, the day the state's attorney general filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
The suit has so far been joined by the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, two Arizona and one Texas school districts and Governor Paul LePage of Maine.
Kentucky's governor said on May 27 that his state will also be joining the suit. North Carolina has filed a separate lawsuit against the Obama administration after the administration sued the state, calling its March requirement for people to use restrooms matching their biology a breach of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill.
"I agree with the State of Texas stance," said Houston police Sgt. J. Nessanthaler, who most frequently espouses conservative Republican ideology. "This is an issue that should be handled by each individual state as they feel that serves the citizens of their state."
Nessanthaler said that Obama's decision is a case of the president's inclinations "to step all over and totally disregard the Constitution of this country," particularly states' rights to govern themselves.
He told Xinhua that he opposes choice in restroom selection for everyone, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
As a police officer, Nessanthaler said, he sees danger in the mixing of genders in the same bathroom simply because they psychologically identify themselves differently than their physical gender.
"There are perverted people in our society who will prey on our young children and defenceless females," he said. "A simple solution is to have separate male, female and LGBT restrooms."
A retired social worker and vehement supporter of progressive candidates and causes, Dianne Anderson couldn't disagree more.
"Men and women, whether heterosexual, homosexual or transgender, were using the same holes in which to deposit bodily waste before the Roman Empire," said Anderson, 62. "Unisex bathrooms today are common to the point of being unremarkable and even routine. It's a practice in Europe, Asia and much of the planet, and was probably in place with the first cave dwellers."
Throughout the short timeline of man's history on the earth, Anderson said, there have been few assaults or rapes involving transgenders in bathrooms, or not enough to merit sociological study.
Anderson told Xinhua that she agreed with Obama's reasoning for issuing the directive, that it would provide greater safety from bullying to transgender students.
Chef Ian Ainslie, 25, who identifies more with progressive causes than with conservatives, called Texas's suit silly and erroneous. He told Xinhua that the suit was simply a matter of the state legislature pandering to the fears of the religious right-wing Republicans, a substantial voting block in Texas.
"It's people from the church wanting control over who can use what bathroom and a fulfilment that they have actually achieved something," Ainslie said. "They shouldn't succeed. When it starts with bathroom rights, where does it stop? This is a flashback to the days when there were white-only and black-only bathrooms."
He agrees with Anderson that right-wing fear of the directive increasing the number of rapes and assaults in school bathrooms is unjustified.
"It is far less likely that a transgender person will rape a man or woman than a heterosexual or homosexual male seeking control over his victim through fear,"
A respiratory specialist who votes along conservative ideological lines, Robert Cummings, 61, said that the Texas lawsuit is appropriate against Obama who ignores the Constitutional law he once taught.
"People have a right to be whoever they want to be, but that doesn't mean 99.99 percent of the people need to be pushed aside or suffer for the likes of a few," Cummings said. "If it is that big a deal, they can put gender neutral bathrooms at facilities."
Martha Sayre, professor of English literature and a staunch progressive told Xinhua that the lawsuit by Texas is giving heightened importance to a non-issue by Republicans seeking to stir things up in a presidential election year.
"People choose their bathroom based on how they look on the outside. Transgender men who identify and dress as women have been using the women's room for years. No one notices or cares," said Sayre, 51.
Ainslie said that despite the current fear-mongering from the right, should transgenders legally gain freedom of access to public restrooms, it wouldn't cause any rise in assaults.
"Anyone who is worried about the safety of women -- and we're talking about Texas women here -- shouldn't be concerned. A large number of Texas women carry concealed weapons. So if they feel threatened, they'll just shoot it out and ask questions later."