"My kids were visibly frightened. I was scared. And I was ill-prepared to answer their questions," she said. "I've been asking those same questions, and now I want to raise an honest conversation about them."
The ACLU declined to comment on Smith's resignation, citing personnel matters, but a top official circulated a memo to staff arguing that restroom rights are often center stage in civil rights battles. James Esseks, director of the organization's LGBT & HIV project, said other minorities, including blacks, gays and the disabled, had to wage similar fights for equality in bathrooms.
"It’s no accident that this issue is surfacing now, as protections for transgender people increasingly become part of the national conversation," wrote Esseks, adding: "Opponents of transgender equality are seeking to exploit the public’s lack of knowledge about transgender people to incite fear and stop any further progress for transgender rights or more broadly for LGBT rights."
While the Georgia Legislature sidestepped the debate over transgender rights this year, some conservative lawmakers are weighing a range of proposals that could revive the debate.
And Georgia was one of 11 states to join a federal lawsuit challenging the bathroom guidelines released by the Obama administration in May that directed public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.
Gov. Nathan Deal said the "one-size-fits-all solution to this is totally inappropriate," and Attorney General Sam Olens termed it a dramatic overreach that flouts local control.
Dillard Smith, meanwhile, launched a new website dubbed "Finding Middle Ground," with a goal of hashing out a compromise over the bathroom debate. It stars her daughter, Micah, who sounds skeptical about "boys in the girls bathroom" as slides flash with sharper questions.
“How do we KEEP OUR LITTLE GIRLS SAFE and PREVENT TRANSGENDER DISCRIMINATION?” says one.
Watch the video here:
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