Texas politicians weigh in on gender-neutral bathrooms

Texas could be the next state to try and enact a bill restricting transgender people from using the bathroom of their gender identity.

Transgender refers to those who do not identify with the gender on their birth certificate.
More Texas politicians are weighing in on whether transgender people should be allowed to choose which bathroom to use.

“Transgender people have been using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity for decades without problems,” said CEO of Equality Texas Chuck Smith.

Lieutenant Governor of Texas Dan Patrick posted a petition on Facebook this week asking his supporters to "Keep men out of women's bathrooms."

“We're creating a problem that doesn't exist and I think we're doing it just to torture and torment a group of people that many people don't understand,” said Smith.

Patrick posted the petition with a statement reading, "I will not spend a single dollar with a business that allows men to use women's bathrooms." his statement comes a week after Target announced it will allow transgender people to use whichever bathroom fits their gender identity.

“Target has said that they care about the safety of their customers and they care about the safety of their employees and if we really do care about public safety then this is reasonable and rational and makes sense,” Smith said. 

Patrick is not the first Texas politician to say he does not want men in women's bathrooms. U.S. Senator and hopeful presidential candidate Ted Cruz recently aired an ad expressing the same fear.

"It doesn't make any sense at all to allow an adult grown man, a stranger, to be alone in a bathroom with little girls," Cruz said.

“Transgender people are more likely to be victims of an assault, not the perpetrator, and this idea that men are going to dress up to go into bathrooms is simply not true and that has not proven to be the case,” said Smith.  

Since North Carolina passed a bill restricting transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, more than 100 businesses have signed onto a petition to repeal the law.

Smith said Texas could suffer the same economic losses if a similar bill passed in the Lone Star State.

"Every time that something like this happens we see additional businesses that have signed on to Texas Competes, which is a coalition of businesses here that don't want something like North Carolina to happen here in Texas," Smith said.

Smith said the list of businesses that don't want any bills filed targeting the LGBTQ community has grown to almost 900. He expects a bill will be filed in the upcoming legislative session. That’s less than nine months away.

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