John M. Becker

Texas Lawmaker Proposes Trans Bathroom Bounty Bill

Filed By John M. Becker | March 11, 2015 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: backlash, bathroom bill, bathroom panic, gay marriage, locker room, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, trans panic, transgender bathroom, transgender students

gilbert-pena-texas.jpgGilbert Peña, a Republican state representative in Texas, has filed a bill (HB 2801) that would make it illegal for school districts in the Lone Star State to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity. Districts could face fines for noncompliance.

Towleroad's John Wright reports:

Under Pena's proposal, school districts would be required to adopt policies saying "only persons of the same biological sex may be present at the same time in any bathroom, locker room, or shower facility in a building owned by the district."

Schools could provide "reasonable alternate" facilities if students assert they are transgender and parents sign off on it. But districts could be held liable for $2,000 in exemplary damages -- plus actual damages, court costs and attorneys fees -- if employees knowingly allow transgender students to use restrooms in accordance with their gender identity. In other words, the bill would place a bounty on the heads of transgender students, offering rewards to peers who report them for going to the bathroom.

Pena's bill is the third anti-transgender bathroom bill introduced in Texas this year. Two other proposals would make it a crime for transgender people to use restrooms or similar facilities in accordance with their gender identity. Last week, the Texas Department of Public Safety sent a warning to lawmakers after the author of those bills, GOP Rep. Debbie Riddle, allegedly received a glitter bomb in the mail.

The transgender bathroom bills are among at least 11 anti-LGBT measures that have been introduced in the current Texas Legislature.

A similar measure passed the Kentucky Senate last week, and a bill pending before the Florida House would make it illegal for trans people to use the correct facilities not only in schools, but in any public place.

While these bills are unlikely to pass, would be a nightmare to enforce, and would probably be thrown out in court, they are part of an increasingly desperate and belligerent anti-LGBT backlash in state legislatures across the country in response to the advancement of marriage equality.

It's not over, folks. Not by a long shot.


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