Hundreds testify about controversial bathroom bill

The hearing before members of the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee was a replay of arguments heard during the regular session. While lawmakers debated the issue of states rights, others view the hearing to be fight between personal rights and traditional values.

"And a dangerous thing is we don't know what the replacement looks like, at best it's secular humanism, at worse it's chaos and we're already to getting to see it," said San Antonio Pastor Charles Flowers.

Chaos, according to Ethan Avanzino would be forcing him into the women's restroom because he was born female. "It's not logical and it's not safe and it's not appropriate I don't belong in there I don't want to be in there and women don't want me in there so why would you put me on there based on what's on my birth certificate," said Avanzino.

More than 200 people signed up to speak for and against the Senate Bill 3 and its companion SB 91.

The legislation would restrict access to restrooms by a person's gender at birth and not gender identity.

Among those to testify Friday was Ashley Smith  who is transgender. "You don't immediately know when someone is transgender just by looking at them,  some cases you can tell and some of the cases you just can't," said Smith.

To prove that point Smith took this picture with gov Greg Abbott at a recent gathering in San Antonio. The pic posted on social media noted how the governor couldn't tell smith was transgender- it went viral.

"I thought it was funny I never expected it would go nationwide and people around the world would  be seeing that picture. I've even seen articles in Japanese with my picture on it, it just blows my mind," said Smith.

The enforcement of this proposed law was a big focus of the hearing. Supporters say only school boards and building managers will be held accountable but there's concern children will also be punished.

The contrasting testimony the committee heard Friday was personified by two little girls, Kai and Shilo. They appeared to be similar, but Kai  was born male. Rob, the father of Shilo, who asked for their last names to be withheld, says they are not against Transgender people, but wants the privacy promised by the Senate Bills.

"In the same way when kids come over, kids of opposite sex don't go to the bathroom with our kids, the way with our kids it's boy and girl don't share the bathroom at the same time, we that safety should extend to the school," said Rob.

The mother of Kai, Kimberly Shappley doesn't accept that argument.

"Some people just don't know, I would say her parents are welcome to meet us at Chick-fil-A will put the kids out on the playground and by the end of the day I'm pretty sure that the girls will be friends," said Shappley.

Voices of opposition to the legislation were also heard outside the committee room in the Capitol extension. The Rallies included business and religious leaders who warned regulating access to bathrooms is unnecessary and could end up causing more harm than good.

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