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The bathroom bill is still terrible (and still about bathrooms)

I don’t care what they do to it. It’s discriminatory, it solves no problems, and it will hurt many people as well as the state’s reputation and economy.

With the measure scheduled for a committee hearing Tuesday, Texas Republicans are expected to offer a new version of the controversial “bathroom bill” with two significant changes.

The modified bill removes a section that would have increased penalties for certain crimes committed in a bathroom or changing facility, according to a copy of a committee substitute obtained by The Texas Tribune. It also adds a new “legislative findings” section that would write into statute the reasoning that the bill’s lead author, Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, has provided in pushing for the bill.

Senate Bill 6 would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities that match their “biological sex.” The measure would also pre-empt local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender residents to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

Those regulations are largely unchanged in the substitute language expected to be presented tomorrow, but the modified bill does not include a lesser-known section that would have increased penalties for certain crimes in bathrooms by one degree. That would have meant that the punishment for an individual who commits an assault, for example, would have been higher if the assault occurred in a bathroom versus a parking lot or on a sidewalk.

Here’s a report from the committee hearing, for which something like 400 people had signed up to testify. There was of course plenty of bathroom talk, but some of it went like this:

The tone of the hearing shifted slightly when Rev. S. David Wynn, the lead pastor of the Agape Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth, sat down to testify before the committee.

A transgender man sporting a full beard and a black suit, Wynn detailed the complications he would face under SB 6. Because the gender marker on his birth certificate still reads “female,” the legislation would require him to go into the same restroom as young girls while visiting government buildings like the state Capitol.

“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.”

I’ve still yet to hear Dan Patrick or Lois Kolkhorst or any other supporter of this travesty answer why they want the Rev. Wynn or people like Mack Beggs or any other transgender man in the state to be in women’s bathrooms. I mean, they can’t answer it, so they do their best to avoid the question. You will have to ask yourself why this is. If there is one good thing to come out of this mess, it’s that it has really fired up the trans community and their loved ones.

The strategy has also shifted to making this all about imposing a specific and narrow “Christian” morality on the population. It’s the anti-HERO playbook, right down to the lies and the utter perversion of religious faith. The pastors who are out there now saying things like “we’re attacking, ‘Did God really create us male and female?’” were saying things like “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” twenty years ago. Patrick and his acolytes have no answers for the business community. The only message he will ever understand is an electoral message. We need the business community, which by the way also opposes Patrick’s cherished SB4, to remember that next year. In he meantime, SB6 was passed out of committee late last night and will be taken up by the full Senate next week. RG Ratcliffe, the Observer, and Think Progress have more.

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  1. Jonathan Shaw says:

    There is the question of the rule of law, which I think tends to get removed from these discussions. And that is if we can simply self-identify, then this law, or any law, really, becomes unenforceable. I could self-identify as a non-taxpayer for example, and could claim I was born a non-taxpayer, I could claim that making me pay taxes is humiliating. There is no scientific test you could perform that would be possible to test the validity of my self-belief. And if you believe in full liberty, then you would allow me not to pay my taxes.

    I’m slightly conservative/moderate, so often the rule of law has to be balanced with creating a space, if possible, for any given minority.

    I think its a poor argument to call anyone who isn’t comfortable with gender-self identity a [insult] [insult] [insult] [insult], given the rule of law argument..because, quite honestly, they have a point. And now at least, we have a full understanding of the problem.

  2. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    No one is firing you, not hiring you, or not providing you public accommodations simply because you pay or don’t pay taxes. There is a real issue for Trans persons in Texas, and that is marginalization and discrimination. Its not trivial. And if you can’t get a job or go to school or even conduct commerce because of an irrational law passed by a body (due to gerrymandering) on which you have no proportional representation…you have no liberty.

    And the same people voting for this bill support RFRA bills, which allow someone to say “Jesus” and get exemptions from all sorts of laws. The people voting for SB6 support self identification. And religion, unlike gender identity, is unquestionably a choice and 100% self identification.

    If one supports SB6, one advocates cruelty and marginalization against Trans persons. Full stop. I don’t know if it makes one a bigot, but it certainly makes one malevolent. Trans people are being called names right now by virtually the entire Senate GOP and some Dems. Why are the names that they’re being called (and yes scapegoating someone is name calling) in support of SB6 irrelevant?

    There is no rational argument for SB6, especially while they (the GOP) support Donald Trump, a man who walked into a little girls changing room for the specific purpose of peeping at little girls changing (and bragged about it on national radio) as President.

    So don’t whine about being called names when the SB6 supporters are doing nothing but calling Trans people names and scapegoating them for crimes Trans people don’t commit but which ARE committed by leaders they support.