Texas' New 'Transgender Bathroom Bill' Keeps Biological Sexes Separate in School Facilities

25 May 2017, 01:44 | Noah Barnes

A wide-ranging bill more similar to North Carolina's that would have affected all public restrooms and preempted local anti-discrimination ordinances was passed by the Texas senate earlier this year but stalled in the state house of representatives, where the speaker, Joe Straus, was anxious that businesses and sports events could pull out of the state and damage the economy. Texas lawmakers proposed a bill similar to North Carolina's transgender bathroom law in Senate Bill 6, which would have required transgender individuals to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings, and public university campuses that correspond to their biological sex. "This is about accommodating all kids". Lois Kolkhorst - had threatened to push for a special session if the Legislature didn't pass that proposal or a measure with language from House Bill 2899 by state Rep.

Texas has become the second state to pass a so-called "transgender bathroom bill", but unlike North Carolina's version, Texas' is narrowly tailored to impact only public school students.

Amid threats of a special legislative session over the "bathroom bill", the Texas House on Sunday took a last-minute vote to approve a proposal addressing bathroom use by transgender students. "Bathrooms divided us then and bathrooms divide us now ..."

"I want to talk to you a little bit about history because I've lived through the separate but equal period", Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, told the floor in a passionate speech against the amendment. Forcing children to use bathrooms that are different from other students, however, puts them in the position of being inherently different and opens them up to all kinds of questioning, bullying and potential ostracism from their peers. This year, the Trump administration rescinded the guidance.

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Gov. Greg Abbott, R, has in the past expressed support for bathroom restrictions and is expected to sign a measure if it reaches desk. This bill's appearance in Texas confirms what we suspected: "that these extremist bills are being shopped around the country by those who do not have local interests in mind". "The only question is whether Lt. Gov. Patrick considers this to be a 'bathroom bill'". But the NFL, NBA, leading business lobbies and Hollywood celebrities have urged Texas to avoid the issue. Additionally, the NCAA is scheduled to host the Final Four in San Antonio next year.

Supporters described limiting the scope to schools as "middle ground" and hinted that it could soften the kinds of costly boycotts that hit North Carolina after it approved its bathroom bill a year ago. Federal judges this spring found intentional discrimination in the state's voter ID law and Republican-drawn voting maps, and last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a sweeping Texas anti-abortion law that prompted more than half of the state's abortion clinics to close.

The bill cleared the House on Monday in a 94-51 vote.

Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas, ridiculed the idea that the bathroom amendment was somehow a compromise, saying: "T$3 here can be no compromise on discrimination. This is not about a class of children or transgender children", Paddie said, adding that the language prevents a school from disclosing intimate details about a student.



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