I am the Reverend Laura Walters, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Lake Travis, an ordained minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church. I am here today to speak AGAINST SB6. As a person of faith, I am called to speak out against any actions that promote hate, discrimination, division, and violence. This bill is yet another example of the violence and discrimination acted out against transgender people. I would hope that in 2017 this would not be the case, but it is.

I am a pastor. In that role I have had the privilege of working with and counseling many youth and adults including transgender people. I’ve spoken with young folks as they are beginning this journey. I can tell you transitioning is a struggle I can’t imagine. It is a journey that requires so much bravery, strength, and fortitude. It is a journey full of obstacles and pain and sometimes cruelty. It is a journey I don’t think I would be capable of making. We, as people of faith, need to be helping these courageous folks not adding to their pain and suffering as this bill does. And we certainly don’t need to be telling them what bathroom they can or cannot use.

Look, transitioning may be something we, you and I, never fully understand. How could we, if we have never walked in those shoes? But we don’t have to understand to do the right thing. I do know this, in my experience as a faith leader in Austin, transgender people are NOT the problem. And let’s be honest, this bill is NOT about women’s safety. It is about discrimination. Trust me, as a woman of faith, as the mother of 2 daughters, I would love to speak to you about violence against women. But the truth is that is not what today is about.

We must have the human decency to help transgender people find their place in this world. We must give them the human dignity to choose their own bathroom. As a Christian minister, my faith tells me, that is the least we can do. Thank you.

The Reverend Laura Walters – Pastor, Presbyterian Church of Lake Travis


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