Texas Republicans fuel new row with transgender toilet bill


Texas Lt Gov Dan Patrick and Senator Lois Kolkhorst introduced Senate Bill 6 known as the Texas Privacy Act, which provides solutions to the federal mandate of transgender bathrooms, showers and dressing rooms in all Texas schools.

Top Republicans in the US state of Texas have unveiled a bill that would ban transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.

The Texas Privacy Act follows similar legislation in North Carolina that sparked protests and business boycotts.

The Texas bill would force transgender people to use toilets in schools and other public buildings according to the gender on their birth certificate.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Lt Gov Dan Patrick as he set out the plan.

“The people of Texas elected us to stand up for common sense, common decency and public safety.”

Public bathrooms have become a flashpoint in the battle over transgender rights in the US.

Like other conservative Republicans, Lt Gov Dan Patrick, who holds the second highest position in Texas government, has argued that the bill in necessary to protect women from being attacked by men in public toilets.

But that argument has been rejected by opponents, who say legislation should be used instead to target sexual predators.

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North Carolina’s law, which went into effect last year, caused companies, entertainers and sporting events to pull out of the state, potentially causing it to lose billions in revenue.

Despite that fallout, lawmakers in at least two other states, Virginia and Kentucky, have also introduced similar bills.

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A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access adorns the bathroom stalls at the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina, 3 May 2016Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionA similar bill in North Carolina has drawn fierce backlash from some businesses who say refuse to back what they say is a discriminatory policy