Houstonians mourn the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, after those in opposition mounted an ultimately successful "No men in women's restrooms" campaign.
Houstonians mourn the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, after those in opposition mounted an ultimately successful "No men in women's restrooms" campaign.
Daniel Kramer

Sen. Kolkhorst Claims Bathroom Bill Not About "The Transgender"

This week, State Senator Lois Kolkhorst told the San Antonio Express-News that she's been having conversations with "lots of women" and people "from all walks of life" about her so-called bathroom bill, which explores the deeply divisive issue of who can use what bathroom. But, after claiming that her bill is "not about the transgender," one thing appears to be pretty clear: She must not read Internet comments.

Who can blame her? They are often full of vitriol and accusations of being a stupid liberal or a crazy conservative or vice versa, and, we estimate, 99.7 percent of the time fail to change anyone's mind. Inevitably, conversations about the bathroom bill devolve into conversations about the difference between sex and gender, with one group believing for whatever reason that being transgender is not a real identity and that Senator Kolkhorst's bill supports this, while the other group defends transgender people and explains why Senator Kolkhorst's bill is a waste of time.

But perhaps you don't need to read Internet comments to know it: The bill — which would require all people to use the bathrooms in government buildings, schools and universities corresponding with their biological sex at birth — is definitely about transgender people.

Whether Senator Kolkhorst wants to believe it or not.

Kolkhorst, after not even uttering the word "transgender" when she announced the bill with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, finally acknowledged to the San Antonio Express-News that she understands the bill would require transgender men to use the ladies' room and vice versa. But she went on to explain that this is not the point. She's thinking exclusively about bathroom predators, particularly creep-ass straight men. As she told the Express-News yesterday:

“It’s really not about the transgender. It’s about other people that will abuse that. And that side of it’s not been told very well,” Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, told the San Antonio Express-News, while acknowledging transgender people would be affected by the bill restricting which restrooms they can use in government buildings, schools and universities.

Citing discussions with “lots of women,” Kolkhorst said, “The true transgender, this is not what that bill is about. It’s a slow erosion to straight men being able to say, ‘I have the right to go into that restroom.’”

Let's break this down.

The under-reported scenario Kolkhorst appears to be referring to is one in which a creep-ass man enters a women's bathroom or locker room under false pretenses in order to creep on women or even assault them — then justifies his actions by lying about his gender identity, saying he identifies as a woman.

Is it technically possible? Sure. Then again, does it matter what any creep-ass man's justification is for entering a women's restroom under false pretenses? As we and countless outlets have reported before, this man will get arrested anyway should harassing or creeping on women be his intent — even if he falsely claims to be a woman.

Yet Kolkhorst for some reason appears to believes that her largely unenforceable bill is what will deter such predators — never mind that most twisted minds likely already understand that there are laws against such crude behavior. Meanwhile, thousands of "true transgender" Texans across the state, as Kolkhorst describes them, will be forced into uncomfortable situations under a trivial law that infringes on an otherwise basic, private human function: using the toilet.

Perhaps it is also worth nothing that, unless there is a self-appointed bathroom vigilante checking genitals at the door, following this law as a transgender person appears to be pointless and instead increases the chances that they will be harassed, as we discussed with Legacy Community Health senior public affairs director Kevin Nix.

Nevertheless, there is one solid thing that Kolkhorst's bill accomplishes, given its stated purpose of protecting people's privacy: It enhances the punishment for anyone caught committing a crime in a bathroom, locker room or changing room — something, we imagine, most people who oppose creepy men can get behind.

Perhaps all Kolkhorst needed to specify was that "gender identity" is not a defense for a crime, just in case any of those creeps try to use it.

But we'll leave it to the Internet commenters to sort this one out.

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