Society

Texas Republican Proposes Bathroom Bill

| by Ray Brown

A Republican Texas state senator has filed a bill to prevent transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.

The “Texas Privacy Act” is a legislative response to the federal government's directive issued in 2016 that requires public schools to allow individuals to use bathrooms based on their "internal sense of gender," according to a press release about the bill from the Texas State Senate.

"This bill is written not to begin a controversy, but to end one," said Republican Texas State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, who introduced the bill. "The Texas Privacy Act is a thoughtful solution to a sensitive issue. It preserves an expected level of privacy for our public schools and buildings. At the same time, it also allows for schools and universities to make personal accommodations for those requesting an alternate setting. Senate Bill 6 also allows Texas businesses to determine their own policy without government interference."

Kolkhurst said in a press release that she has been “studying the issue for months” and hopes to use her influence as an elected official to restrict bathroom availability to transgender people.

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"This is a significant step for the majority of Texans who are alarmed by misguided efforts to shatter our expectations of security and privacy, especially for our children,” she said. “Senate Bill 6 may have my name on it, but the responsibility falls on all of us to protect citizens and ensure that their personal and private rights are secured."

Democratic Texas State Sen. Jose Rodriguez, criticized the bill.

"Discrimination of any kind is antithetical to Texas values of equal opportunity for all people," he wrote in a press release, according to the Austin Chronicle. "Any legislation that would attack transgender Texans — especially vulnerable transgender children — is not only morally wrong, but, as we've seen in states like North Carolina, will hurt Texas' economy and reputation around the world. Frankly, the Texas Legislature has real issues to address like adequately funding our schools, improving health care, and fixing our broken CPS system. These issues deserve our focus, not the demonization of transgender Texans." 

Sources: Texas State SenateAustin Chronicle / Photo credit: Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections

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