Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

Texas Speaker Vows To Fight GOP On Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bill

The moderate brand of Texas Republican politics practiced by Joe Straus, the Jewish speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, may be on the line as a 30-day special legislative session begins Tuesday.

The main event is Texas’ version of the bathroom bill, which could restrict transgender people to using bathrooms for the gender assigned to them at birth in schools and government-owned buildings.

Straus, whom the New York Times called “the public face of the opposition to the bathroom bill,” is one of the last remaining high-profile Texas politicians taking a stand against far-right wing conservatism.

“I’m not embarrassed to say that I know how to govern without being an extremist,” Straus told the Times.

Straus, born to a major Jewish family in Texas, has been elected speaker five times. In 2010, emails circulated among Texas Republican Committee suggesting that Straus be replaced as speaker because he was not Christian. Straus’ opponents in the fight against the bathroom bill are also largely religious Christians.

“Too many of our state leaders spend too much of their focus and attention on divisive social issues,” Straus said. “You can count me out.”

Contact Ari Feldman at or on Twitter @aefeldman.




Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.