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The School Newspaper of Texas High School

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The School Newspaper of Texas High School

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Abbott v. Expression

Governor Greg Abbott delivers a speech claiming Texas teachers must conform to gender
Braylen Garren
Texas Governor Greg Abbott delivers a speech at Big Jake’s Barbecue in Texarkana, TX on Nov. 1, 2022. His campaign traveled through the state, stopping in Texarkana midway through.

In April, Texas Governor Greg Abbott gave a speech in Dallas directed toward the Young Conservatives of Texas Convention. In this speech, he claimed that Teachers in Texas must conform by dressing to the social standards they were assigned at birth.

He recounted a story of a male chemistry teacher at Hebron High School who wore a dress for a school’s spirit day and acted as though a teacher dressing this way may confuse students and normalize this behavior.

Ever since middle school spirit days, I vividly remember my teachers who were women dressing with bow ties and fake mustaches. As well as my male teachers wearing elaborate and colorful tinsel skirts. This expression never confused my developing mind about gender roles or the integrity of my teachers. Rather, I was impressed by my teacher’s confidence and commitment to making school more entertaining for students.

This anti-trans rhetoric is extremely harmful, transgender person or someone deferring from traditional gender norms isn’t pushing rhetoric, it’s existing as a victimless individual.

Abbott did not suggest that he wanted to regulate teacher attire, but his speech received approval from upcoming and current lawmakers. The teacher stepped down due to the hate he and his school received, and Abbott said that due to instances like these, he would strive to give parents taxpayer dollars to send their kids to private schools.

Instead, Abbott should be uplifting public schools in Texas so that parents don’t feel the need to send their children to private schools. Considering that Texas was ranked 40 when comparing states’ education levels including factors such as attainment, quality and gaps in achievement between race and gender. 

This is certainly not Texas’ first attack on transgender people in recent years. Legislature passed laws restricting sexually explicit drag shows and excluding minors from receiving puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

At Texas High specifically, Miss Ugly was essentially a drag show, drag shows are a form of entertainment in which female impersonators dress in elaborate costumes and makeup and perform singing or dancing. At the Miss THS pageant male students would perform wearing feminine clothing and make up. At the time this was seen as a funny joke, now professionals doing this in front of kids is seen as perverted and politically motivated. 

Greg Abbott and other influential people who target transgender people are exploiting their minority status to use them as scapegoats. In the U.S. around 5% of adults identify as transgender. Yet, conservative politicians hyper-fixate on their existence to polarize citizens. This division has been exemplified when discussing trans athletes, trans healthcare and trans rights.

This discrimination heavily impacts LGBT youth, with nearly 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth attempting suicide in 2022, and the chances for non-white youth are even higher. This harsh truth is why we must move throughout life with empathy and understanding when raising the future citizens of tomorrow.

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About the Contributors
Ashley Davis
Ashley Davis, News/Feature Editor
Ashley Davis is going into her second year of newspaper as News and Feature Editor. She spends her time in activities such as National Honors Society, History Club and TigerVision. Davis plans on taking her love of journalism to the next level and eventually writing as a career. She loves movies, especially those that star Timothee Chalamet. Davis is thrilled to take on her senior year with eyebags and airpods blasting Frank Ocean.
Braylen Garren
Braylen Garren, Assignments Editor
Braylen Garren is returning for her third and final year in publications. She is the assignment editor for photography, photo editor for the newspaper, and helps run the social media accounts. When she’s not in Room 50A, Braylen can usually be found at her church running media, babysitting, or hanging out with her friends. Braylen is a member of National Honor Society and founded Texas High's Bible Study. Braylen is excited for her final year, yet sad to leave the program at the end of the year.

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