Texas “Bathroom Bill’ Dies In State Legislature

"The voices of tens of thousands of Texans prevailed over anti-transgender discrimination."

Efforts to deny transgender Texans the right to use facilities that match their gender identity died on Tuesday, as the state House of Representatives ended its special legislative session without taking an action on the so-called Texas Privacy Act.

“Finally, Texans can breathe a temporary sigh of relief,” said HRC’s JoDee Winterhof. “Texans don’t want harmful, anti-transgender legislation.”

“Tonight the voices of tens of thousands of Texans prevailed over anti-transgender discrimination,” Equality Texas said in a tweet.”

The attempt to police bathrooms in the Lone Star State were fueled by North Carolina’s HB2, which resulted in boycotts and sanctions before it was repealed in March. It’s estimated a similar bathroom bill would have cost Texas $5.6 billion in lost revenue over the next decade. (The NFL said it wouldn’t consider Texas for another Super Bowl if the measure passed.)

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House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) continually insisted a bathroom bill was not a priority for the legislature, calling it “manufactured and unnecessary.” But it enjoyed almost rabid support from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who insisted it was vital to “stop sexual predators from taking advantage.”

While opponents are savoring victory, it could be resurrected in the next legislative session.

“The legislation might be dead but the issue is still very much alive until it is solved at the state or federal level,” said Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), who authored the House bill. “A patchwork of local ordinances or policies is never best for all Texans.”

Republicans forwarded several anti-trans bills this session, including SB3, which would have required individuals to use bathrooms in schools and government buildings that match the gender on their birth certificate.

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A proposal by Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) would have prohibited agencies backed by the state from using funds to construct, renovate or reclassify bathrooms, showers or locker rooms “to allow or enable a man to enter a women’s restroom facility or a woman to enter a man’s restroom facility.”

Another amendment, authored by state Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), would prevent the Texas Department of Criminal Justice from providing trans inmates with “any surgery related to sex reassignment or gender transitioning.”

Earlier this year, Cain landed in hot water for calling violence against trans women nothing more than “dudes walking around in dresses getting beat up.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery