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State laws attacking transgender persons:

2017-JAN: Texas: Proposed "Bathroom
Bill" SB 6, is passed by the Senate.

Part 1

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"Bathroom bill" introduced to the Texas Legislature:

On 2017-JAN-05, State Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), introduced bill SB 6, the "Texas Privacy Act." It has the title:

"Relating to regulations and policies for entering or using a bathroom or changing facility; authorizing a civil penalty; increasing criminal penalties." 1

If it becomes law, it would become effective on 2017-SEP-01.

It would require transgender persons to use only the public washrooms associated with the their birth-identified gender. The end result of this bill would be to force an individual who was identified as male at birth, who now identifies as female, looks female, dresses female, and exhibits female mannerisms to use only the male washroom -- and vice-versa.

Although the practical results of such a law are rarely discussed, one can imaging the inevitable disturbances in washrooms, which might turn violent, if the law is implemented and if transgender persons followed the law.

Her bill would also:

  • Prohibit all municipal governments in the state from passing ordinances that prevent individual businesses from establishing their own policies governing access to their washrooms and locker rooms.

  • Prohibit municipal governments from considering the access policies of businesses when they are awarding contracts. 2

Governor Dan Patrick (R) regards SB 6 as his most important legislative priority. He issued a statement saying:

"The people of Texas elected us to stand up for common decency, common sense and public safety. This legislation codifies what has been common practice in Texas and everywhere else forever — that men and women should use separate, designated bathrooms. It is supported by an overwhelming majority of Texans including both Democrats and Republicans, Hispanics, African-Americans and Anglos, men and women.

SB 6 also ensures that businesses have the freedom to determine their own bathroom policies and that no public school can institute a bathroom policy that allows boys to go in girls restrooms, showers and locker rooms and girls to go in boys restrooms, showers and locker rooms.

This issue is not about discrimination — it’s about public safety, protecting businesses, and common sense. I congratulate Sen. Kolkhorst for filing SB 6 and for her commitment to protecting the privacy of Texans and keeping them safe." 3

The Governor clearly defines a person's gender as being fixed at their birth-identified gender (a.k.a. biological gender) and being unchangeable during their lifetime.

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As in other states, there is disagreement over this type of bill:

  • Governor Patrick said that "It is the right thing to do." Supporters generally believe that these bills are important because they are viewed as offering common-sense protection against sexual predators.

  • While the Governor was addressing a news conference, protestors nearby were yelling: "Shame, shame, shame." They viewed the bill as an infringement on the human rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

  • The Texas Association of Business (TAB), worked with other groups in the state to study the financial impact that this type of law would cause. They estimate economic losses in the state would range from just under a billion dollars to $8.5 billion. They estimate 185,000 lost jobs. TAB President , Chris Wallas said:

    "Senate Bill 6 is discriminatory and wholly unnecessary legislation." 4

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Webmaster's opinion [bias alert]

The total population of Texas is on the order of 30 million. There are on the order of 180,000 individuals (0.6% of the total population) in the state who either have a transgender identity, or are transsexual, or who will identify as transgender later in life.

To pass a law that limits the rights of transgender individuals and causes them inconvenience at the cost of slightly more than one job lost per transgender person inconvenienced seems like an irresponsible act. In addition, if the bill were to become law, it would require transgender women who identify as women, act female, appear female, and have female mannerisms to use men's washrooms. That would be certain to cause an enormous number of disturbances in the state every month -- to say nothing about the possibility of physical assault. Yet, this aspect of the problem is rarely discussed.

I feel that it would be better if the bill is withdrawn or defeated. Then, transgender persons could continue to to use the washrooms with which they are more comfortable.

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Chuck Smith is the chief executive of Equality Texas, a group promoting equality for the LGBT community. He said:

"If this legislature is interested in dealing with predatory behavior, then the target of this legislation needs to be sexual predators. Transgender people are not the predators. Transgender people are more likely to be the victims." 2

Hudson Taylor is executive director and founder of Athlete Ally, a non-profit group that works to end discrimination in sports world. He said that Bill SB 6:

"... regardless of any workaround, would not make (a safe environment) possible -- namely because any fan or athlete attending a sporting event is also going to be required to eat somewhere, sleep somewhere. More than anything it's about the larger transphobic message sent. A lot of these anti-trans efforts work under the guise of safety for women and children when statistically that doesn't hold up. In reality, there's way more trans women killed each year. ... States requiring trans people to use a different restroom creates an atmosphere that's very overtly putting the trans community in harm's way." 5

Bob Burda is the National Collegiate Athletic Association's commissioner for communications. He said:

"The Big 12 Conference is aware of the filing of Senate Bill 6 in the Texas State legislature. We will track the bill’s progress through the legislature, and at an appropriate time discuss its impact with our member institutions." 5

The Big 12 Conference is located in Irving, TX. The league sponsors 23 sports in a five-state area which have a total of almost 38 million people. Nearly 5,000 student athletes compete in the Big 12.

Sarah Marloff, writing for the Austin Chronicle, said:

"The bill is both sexist and transphobic and hides behind the guise of privacy protection. ... If passed, SB 6 will overwrite local nondiscrimination ordinances in cities like Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.

[Lieutenant] Governor Patrick (R) said Thursday that the Texas Privacy Act 'stops local cities from passing policy that allows men in ladies rooms.'

At both the press conference and in the bill, [Lt. Governor] Patrick and [Senator] Kolkhorst use dangerous language, confusing trans women for men -- an inaccurate issue that can have much larger implications than where one pees. Trans women are the most targeted population within the LGBTQ community. According to a 2014 survey from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, trans women are 1.6 times more likely to experience physical violence and

'1.4 times more likely to experience hate violence in public areas'

than their cisgender counterparts. Additionally, 55% of 2014’s LGBTQ murder victims were trans women, 50% of which were trans women of color. Laws such as SB 6 help bolster ignorance and create justifications for transphobia and hate crimes." 5

Since only about 0.6% of the adult population are transgender, and about 10% are lesbian, gay or bisexual, then transgender women are more than three times greater risk of being murdered than others in the LGBT community.

State Senator José Rodríguez, (D) issued a press release saying:

"Discrimination of any kind is antithetical to Texas values of equal opportunity for all people. 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 ... [Child Protective Services] system. These issues deserve our focus, not the demonization of transgender Texans." 5

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Bill SB 6," Texas Legislature, 2017-JAN-05, at: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/
  2. Jon Herskovitz, "Texas unveils 'bathroom bill' that critics say targets LGBT rights," Reuters, 2017-JAN-06, at: http://www.reuters.com/
  3. "Lt. Governor Patrick Announces the Filing of Senate Bill 6 – Texas Privacy Act," 2017-JAN-05, at: https://www.ltgov.state.tx.us/
  4. Sarah Marloff, "Texas Bathroom Bill Battle Officially Begins," The Austin Chronicle, 2017-JAN-05, at: http://www.austinchronicle.com/
  5. Scott Gleeson "Texas bathroom bill on the radar of the NCAA, Big 12," USA Today, 2017-JAN-05, at: http://www.usatoday.com/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2017-JAN-07
Latest update : 2017-JAN-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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