A Texas Legislator Thinks You'll Accept His Anti-Trans Bill Because He Gave It A New, Offensive Name
The battle over the bathrooms has moved to Texas. But rather than argue about keeping transgender people out, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas is hoping to rebrand the fight over who can use which bathroom as a means to protect women's privacy. The only problem is the fight still feels a lot like a hunt for a problem that doesn't exist, and now it's being relaunched with a new name: the Women's Privacy Act.
Before we get too far into this, let me just say up front: As a card-carrying member of the female sex (we have cards now thanks to Donald Trump) who has used more public restrooms (in Texas even) than I care to count, I feel more than qualified to speak about the issue of women's privacy. I'm a woman after all. Now, back to the man speaking for women.
When dispute over House Bill 2, which sought to regulate what bathrooms transgender individuals use erupted in North Carolina in May, Texas' lieutenant governor vowed to fight back against Obama's order that states allow transgender students enrolled in public schools to blow their nose, wash their hands, stare at their acne in dismay, and even pee in whichever dang bathroom they preferred. Patrick began to make good on that promise Thursday when he introduced a rebranded version of what has become commonly known as the bathroom bill to the Dallas Regional Chamber — the Women's Privacy Act.
"Transgender people have obviously been going into the ladies' room for a long time, and there hasn't been an issue that I know of," Patrick said, acknowledging there is little cause for the bill he's hoping to introduce during the next legislative session. "But, if laws are passed by cities and counties and school districts [that] allow men to go into a bathroom because of the way they feel, we will not be able to stop sexual predators from taking advantage of that law, like sexual predators take advantage of the internet."
I'd like to point out that there's currently nothing stopping a man from walking into the women's restroom and attacking a woman. Sexual assault is criminal with or without so-called bathroom bills. It happens and will in all likelihood continue to happen even if every state passes a law dictating you use the bathroom that corresponds to the genitalia you were born with. As Chase Strangio of the ACLU's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project told ABC News, there's still no explanation of how a bill like Patrick's Women's Privacy Act would be enforced without violating people's constitutional right to privacy.
Furthermore, states and cities with non-discrimination laws in place, meaning transgender people can use whichever bathroom they feel suits them best, haven't reported a rise in bathroom attacks. Meaning there's no evidence to back up conservative lawmakers' claims that continuing to allow transgender people free choice over which bathroom they use will result in sexual predators attacking women.
It shouldn't have to be said that transgender people aren't predators — they are in fact more likely to be the victim of assault than the attacker, Chuck Smith of Equality Texas told local Austin broadcaster KXAN — but I'll say it anyway: transgender people aren't predators. They just need to pee. So, please, Lt. Gov. Patrick, don't launch your attack against transgender rights under a futile attempt to say you're protecting me.