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