AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas bill that would require those using restrooms and locker rooms in government buildings and public schools to use the facility that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate has been advanced by a Senate committee.
“My thanks go to the entire committee and all of the witnesses who listened and contributed to the debate,” sponsor Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, said in a statement after the bill was approved 8-1. “Ultimately the Senate committee agreed that we must put the safety, privacy and dignity of our children above anything else.”
An estimated 400 Texans, both for and against the proposed legislation, lined up to speak their mind about the issue on Tuesday—an hours-long hearing that carried into Wednesday.
Shiloh Satterfield, 10, told the Senate Affairs Committee that she found it “scary, awkward and very, very weird” when her school district made allowances for a boy who identifies as a girl to use the girls’ restroom.
“I felt very uncomfortable knowing that a boy can come into the restroom with me. A restroom is a private place, and I’d like to keep it that way,” she said.
But Marilyn Morrison, 8, a boy who identifies as a girl, told those gathered that it would be embarrassing to use the boys’ restroom.
“This bill is horrifying to me and all my other trans friends,” he said.
Seth Wynn, who leads Agape Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth, said that bill’s requirement to use the restroom that corresponds with one’s birth gender poses an issue, since Wynn’s birth certificate says female, but she sports a full beard.
“There’s been a lot of conversation, too, about having men in the women’s bathroom,” Wynn said. “And I guarantee you there’s going to be a problem if I show up in a woman’s bathroom.”
However, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, asked a psychiatrist who testified if he believes mankind should be undoing God’s handiwork by trying to make themselves into something other than what He created them to be.
“You believe in God and you believe in His creation. Do you also believe in altering His creation, changing His creation?” he inquired.
The measure is three pronged: It prohibits local municipalities from creating ordinances that control restroom usage at private businesses, requires those who use lavatories or locker rooms at government buildings and schools to use the men’s room if they were born a man and vice versa, and increases criminal penalties for crimes committed in restrooms, dressing rooms or locker rooms.
“A political subdivision or state agency with control over multiple-occupancy bathrooms or changing facilities in a building owned or leased by this state or the political subdivision, as applicable, shall develop a policy requiring each multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility located in the building to be designated for and used only by persons of the same biological sex,” S.B. 6 reads in part.
The bill will still allow schools to make a determination on a case-by-case basis, and the rules would not apply when a private entity rents a government-run building.
The measure now moves to the full Senate for a vote.