Debbie Riddle to the rescue: Defending Texans’ virtue since 2002

Debbie Riddle and the horses

Texas state Rep. Debbie Riddle

Once again, a Republican lawmaker is sallying forth to defend the virtues of Texans by making it a criminal offense for transgender people to use public restrooms in the Lone Star State.

State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Spring, has introduced two pieces of legislation that just goes to show how utterly ridiculous some people are in their zeal to make sure that people who aren’t like them don’t get to be treated fairly.

Equality Texas today (Tuesday, Feb. 24) issued an action alert against HB 1747 and HB 1748, both of which were introduced by Riddle.

According to Equality Texas, Riddle’s HB 1747 amends the definition of “disorderly conduct” to make it a crime for transgender people who have not been able or do not choose to correct their official gender markers to use “public gender-segregated space appropriate to their gender identity or expression.”

HB 1748 makes it a state jail felony for most business owners if they repeatedly allow a person who has at least one “Y” chromosome to enter a space designated for women, or a person with no “Y” chromosome to enter a space designated for men. The bill also makes it a Class “A” misdemeanor for a person with at least one “Y” chromosome to enter a space designated for women or a person without a “Y” chromosome to enter a space designated for men.

You can go here to read what Equality Texas and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund have to say about Riddle’s bills and to find the link to Equality Texas’ Action Center and let Riddle know what you think. This is what I think of it: As a butch cis-gender woman who has spent my whole life in dread of having to use public restrooms because I am so often mistaken for the guy, the very idea of this stupid woman and her stupid bills make me want to pitch a fit. I cannot begin to imagine the anger and the fear of the transgender men and women these pieces of so-called legislation are intended to target must feel.

But we can’t say good ol’ Debbie didn’t warn us. In a Jan. 13 post on her Facebook page (which also went out on her Twitter feed), she notes: “This is the 1st day of our Legislative Session here in Texas. I am rolling up the sleeves of my new red dress & getting to work. I have several bills I think you may like. One will protect women & children from going into a ladies restroom & finding a man who feels like he is a woman that day.”

She also noted that she planned to address “property tax” and “2nd Amendment rights & my Open Carry bill will be a major focus for me this Session.” of course, along with “not raising taxes … & limiting the size of government … . I set politics aside & focus on getting the job done with honor & dignity. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.”

Riddle, just so you know, is 65 years old, and was raised in Houston. Her bio on the Texas Tribune website notes that she has been a realtor, volunteer firefighter, volunteer EMT, Cub Scout den mother and preschool Sunday School teacher at Champion Forest Baptist Church. She is married to a lawyer named Mike Riddle. They have three child and own R&R Horse Farms.

The Tribune says: “Riddle has served the Republican Party as the Harris County Republican Party’s Finance Committee vice chairwoman and as the Texas Federation of Republican Women’s chairwoman. She is also past president of the Texas Tea Party of Republican Women and has served on the board of the Spring Independent School District’s Education Foundation and Klein Independent School District’s Education Foundation. Riddle also serves on the board of the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs out of Washington, D.C.

“Rep. Riddle currently serves as chairwoman of the Select Committee on Criminal Procedure Reform, and is a member of the Corrections and Transportation committees. She has previously served on the State Affairs, Ways and Means, Financial Institutions, and Border and International Affairs committees. She has also served as the chairwoman of the Joint Interim Committee on Long Term Care.

“Riddle has an associate degree from South Texas Junior College and attended Southwestern University in Georgetown.”

Riddle was first elected to the Texas House in 2002, and won re-election to her seventh term last November with about 72 percent of the vote.

In a March 6, 2003 interview with the El Paso Times, Riddle was quoted as saying: “Where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education, free medical care, free whatever? It comes from Moscow, from Russia. It comes straight out of the pit of hell.”

She has defended the Texas House’s unwritten policy to cast votes for absent and indisposed members, because, she said, lawmakers often do not get breaks to tend to any other business. That came after she was shown on an Austin TV station voting for Rep. Edmund Kuempel.

Riddle made the claim on Anderson Cooper 360 that Middle Eastern women were coming to the United States to give birth and were then returning to their home countries to raise their babies as terrorists who also had US citizenship. And she opposed legislation protecting breastfeeding in public because she believes women should be “modest.”

And, if you need any more evidence of where good ol’ Debbie stands, here is her Tweet from Jan. 7: “I just thought of a cool new T shirt idea — ‘Hands up — praise God!’ I Timothy 2:8.”

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About Tammye Nash

Dallas Voice Managing Editor