Repub­li­cans cen­sure Nathan Deal over Ge­or­gia anti-gay ‘re­li­gious free­dom’ bill veto

GA Voice - - Newsbriefs -

A Ge­or­gia State Univer­sity study pub­lished re­cently in The Jour­nal of Ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity found that trans­gen­der univer­sity and col­lege stu­dents are at a sig­nif­i­cantly higher risk for sui­cide at­tempts when they are de­nied ac­cess to bath­rooms and gen­der-ap­pro­pri­ate cam­pus hous­ing.

“An alarm­ingly high pro­por­tion of the trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als par­tic­i­pat­ing in this study – 46.5 per­cent – had a history of at­tempted sui­cide,” said Kristie Seel­man, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of so­cial work in the An- drew Young School of Pol­icy Stud­ies in a state­ment.

That at­tempted sui­cide rate jumped higher for those de­nied ac­cess to bath­rooms (60.5 per­cent) or gen­der-ap­pro­pri­ate cam­pus hous­ing (60.6 per­cent).

“Hos­til­ity, ha­rass­ment, dis­crim­i­na­tion, in­vis­i­bil­ity and marginal­iza­tion are com­mon ex­pe­ri­ences for trans­gen­der stu­dents,” Seel­man said. “The in­sti­tu­tional and so­cial sup­ports that may con­trib­ute to their re­silience, cop­ing and aca­demic suc­cess are of­ten lack­ing. Taken al­to­gether, th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences of­ten tear down their psy­cho­log­i­cal well-be­ing.”

Seel­man paired data from the Na­tional Trans­gen­der Dis­crim­i­na­tion Sur­vey (NTDS), a study of more than 6,000 trans­gen­der adults, in­clud­ing more than 2,300 in­di­vid­u­als who self-iden­ti­fied as trans­gen­der while in col­lege, to come to the con­clu­sions in her study. Con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­cans are still smart­ing about Ge­or­gia Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of House Bill 757, the con­tro­ver­sial anti-LGBT so-called “re­li­gious free­dom” bill passed by both cham­bers of the state leg­is­la­ture. And they showed it as they cen­sured Deal at one of the dis­trict con­ven­tions held on April 16 to se­lect del­e­gates to this July’s Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

The Third Dis­trict, which cov­ers parts of west Ge­or­gia and is rep­re­sented by U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, made the move per the AJC:

“Though it is purely sym­bolic, it’s a star­tling sign of the con­ser­va­tive back­lash to Deal’s de­ci­sion to re­ject the leg­is­la­tion – and an­other re­minder that the de­bate over the mea­sure never re­ally ended.”

But one key fig­ure in the de­bate over so­called “re­li­gious free­dom” bills the past three years, state Sen. Josh McKoon, spoke out against the move.

“I said that it was not con­struc­tive for the GOP to lash out at the gov­er­nor, and that if we want to pass con­ser­va­tive ini­tia­tives next year, we need to make a pos­i­tive case for their adop­tion,” he told the AJC af­ter the vote.

The cen­sure of Deal passed over­whelm­ingly de­spite McKoon’s ob­jec­tions.

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