A transgender woman’s photo with anti-trans Texas Governor Greg Abbott has gone viral after the politician posed without realizing the woman accompanying him in the photo identifies as trans.
Ashley Smith shared the photo on Facebook on Monday with the caption “How will the Potty Police know I’m transgender if the Governor doesn’t?” and the hashtag #BathroomBuddy. The photo went viral, amassing thousands of likes and shares.
The hashtag is a nod to Texas’ ongoing debate about whether to force trans people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender they were assigned at birth rather than the gender they identify as ― a measure Abbot supports.
According to the San Antonio-Express News, Smith snapped the photo after a speech announcing the governor’s intention to run for a second term.
“I did not think [shouting] would work, or that I would be heard and was more interested in the getting the photograph and not getting thrown out,” Smith, an LGBTQ activist, said.
Texas’ controversial “Bathroom Bill” mirrors a number of other pieces of transphobic legislation that have popped up in several states over the last several years, including North Carolina’s infamous House Bill 2.
Many of the arguments against allowing trans people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity are rooted in sensationalist rhetoric about trans people attacking people in gendered spaces. However, there are no reported cases of people using trans identity to attack someone in a public restroom.
If anything, trans people are the ones experiencing disproportionate rates of violence in these public spaces.
“Those anti-trans bills, far from being about ‘privacy issues’ as the Texas Republicans have repeatedly claimed, are nothing more than naked legislative oppression aimed at the Texas trans community,” Monica Roberts noted in a recent piece for TransGriot. “Unfortunately, it is our Black trans community and other trans communities of color that will be disproportionately affected by the negative repercussions of it should these bills unfortunately pass.”