Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 52: Eyes That Do Not See

Today is the 52nd day of the 82nd Texas Legislature. The House reconvenes at 10:00 am, the Senate at 1:30 pm.

The House will continue to debate the controversial "sonogram" bill this morning. The bill would require women who wish to terminate a pregnancy to both listen to the fetal heartbeat and view a fetal sonogram. Expect the debate to be long and passionate.

Also this morning the House will honor the wedding anniversaries of six different straight couples. Each session both chambers pass numerous resolutions honoring the lives and accomplishments of Texans. There are hardly ever passed recognizing queer Texans (last session the House passed one), and certainly none honoring their relationships.

This is particularly striking after listening to the debate on HB 224 (the "big" anti-bullying bill) in which representatives of the Texas Eagle Forum and the Freemarket Association railed against the inclusion of the words "sexual orientation" (which had already been removed in the committee substitute that was actually be discussed) in the bill's reporting requirement, claiming they created "special rights". Originally the words were in a requirement that schools report instances of bullying to the state enumerated by the motivating cause of the bullying, there was no protection provided by this requirement. Since the reporting requirement didn't grant any student a right (other than the right to be a statistic) it's hard to see how it would have granted a "special right".

But there's the rub! To far right wingers even acknowledging the existence of queer people, let alone queer kids, is a "special right", while routinely, daily, recognizing and celebrating straight people is par for the course. This is the heart of straight privilege. The privilege of living in a world that constantly says that people like you are special, and the privilege of then being able to pretend that if anyone else's existence is recognized that it somehow discriminates against you.

For more information on congratulatory resolutions read Legislative Queery's post "Why Congratulatory Resolutions Matter".

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