Indeed, the bill goes beyond transgendered people to criminalize anyone entering the restroom of the opposite gender with three exceptions: if they enter for custodial purposes, to give medical attention, or accompanying a minor under eight years old. I can think of more than one instance in my life where I would have committed a Class A misdemeanor under this provision, how about you?
My wife suggested that many women may have violated this proposed law at nightclubs or public events because the lines to women's restrooms are always quite long and the stalls in the men's room are frequently empty.
Criminalizing that demographic may be an unintended consequence. But to me, what makes it look like the bill targets transgendered folk are the particular gender definitions imposed in the bill:
For the purpose of this section, the gender of an individual is the gender established at the individual's birth or the gender established by the individual's chromosomes. A male is an individual with at least one X chromosome and at least one Y chromosome, and a female is an individual with at least one X chromosome and no Y chromosomes. If an individual's gender established at the individual's birth is not the same as the individual's gender established by the individual's chromosomes, the individual's gender established by the individual's chromosomes controls under this section.
Ironically, it's likely that, if this bill passed, it would hasten the move toward unisex restrooms so that building managers wouldn't risk committing a state jail felony if the wrong person uses the wrong toilet. It'd seem like the only rational response from a business perspective. Why risk committing a state jail felony when you can eliminate the possibility by posting two stick figures on the door instead of one?
Unintended consequences, anyone?
*My "favorite" not because I approve of the suggestion but because I'm entertained by it.
MORE: Apparently this group has been promoting this idea for some time. Their effort appears to have begun in earnest after Houston Mayor Annise Parker issued an executive order allowing "transgendered individuals to use restroom facilities in city-owned buildings for the gender with which they identify." Last year she backtracked on the issue, to a degree. AND MORE: Checking Google News, I discovered there is legislation on this topic (failing) in Kentucky and Florida. According to this source (Feb. 10):
In 2013, a proposed bill in Arizona (why is it always Florida and Arizona?) would have allowed police to stop anyone suspected of using the "wrong" bathroom and demand identification. Had the bill not been defeated, violators would have faced a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail. Earlier this month, a Colorado bill that died in committee would have banned transgender students from accessing changing rooms.So this is a coordinated effort across multiple states, not just one oddbird bill in Texas.
AND MORE: This article from Towleroad followed up on Grits' story and has been driving a lot of traffic here. WOAI Radio covered the bill and contacted Debbie Riddle's office, who surprisingly declined to comment. Rep. Riddle hasn't been microphone-shy in the past. The San Antonio Current also ran a piece. AND MORE: Texas Monthly picked up on the story. See coverage from The Advocate and State of Trans.
And three days after Grits broke this story, there's this: Via the Dallas Voice, Equality Texas put out an action alert opposing Riddle's legislation.