On Friday, Texas senators voted 8-1 to pass a controversial bill restricting bathroom usage for transgender people.
For 10 hours before the vote, people offered emotionally charged testimony, largely opposed to the bill. Transgender people, their friends, families and allies took the floor to plead with Texas legislators not to pass this bill.
The bill, called Senate Bill Three, was passed by the Senate State Affairs Committee, and restricts bathroom usage for transgender people in public schools and government buildings. SB Three also aims to restrict some aspects of public bathroom use for transgender people, as other bills before it have that ended up foundering in the House. SB Three is expected to be speedily approved by the full Senate, and sent to the House for approval this week.
The bill’s author Sen. Lois Kolkhorst said the bill was meant to be a middle ground “between the right to declare your gender and the right of a parent to protect your child.” She referred to the now-rescinded guidelines from the Obama administration, protecting transgender use of whichever public bathroom they chose, as the government dictating state law.
As often happens with issues of this nature, supporters of this bill say trans-inclusive policies for bathrooms will make it easier for sexual predators to target children. Opponents questioned this at Friday’s hearing, citing an almost complete lack of evidence.