By Jack Fink

FORT WORTH (CBS11)Two bathroom privacy bills have just been filed before the Texas Legislature reconvenes in a special session next week.

Those bills are among those requested by Governor Greg Abbott.

During CBS11’s Facebook Live panel discussion on the issue Tuesday night, it didn’t take long to see just how emotional the issue is involving privacy in school and public bathrooms and locker rooms.

Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman and member of the Dallas Mayor’s LGBT Task Force responded to a comment by Republican State Representative Scott Sanford of McKinney, “When you said boys should use the boys’ room and girls should use the girls’ room, which bathroom should I use?”

Representative Scott Sanford said to McMurray, “Let me ask you this.  Are you comfortable with your grandchild is being alone in the restroom as a girl then a big, hairy, burly guy walking in because he identifies himself as a woman that day?”

McMurray replied, “It doesn’t happen that way.  That’s an insult to every transgender person because we don’t just decide one day, this takes years.”

Conservative businessman Vince Puente told McMurray, “You’re assuming that this is only a transgender issue.  This is not a transgender issue.  This is a privacy issue.”

Alison, a mother whose students are in the Fort Worth ISD said, “When we’re looking at rights, and I say this so respectfully, we have to come up with something where everybody has something, their rights, their privacy, their dignity protected.”

McMurray said, “I couldn’t agree more.”

The new bills, authored by Republican State Representative Ron Simmons of Carrollton,  would negate city and county ordinances and school district policies that offer protections to a class of people not protected under federal and state law — specifically as it relates to multi-occupancy bathrooms and locker rooms.

That could impact transgender men, women, and children.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican, has opposed this kind of legislation.

Phillip Jones, CEO of Visit Dallas praised Straus.  “I would just say thank God for Joe Straus.  He’s the grownup in the room.  He’s doing the right thing.  He knows it’s a bad bill for Texas.”

Democratic State Representative Nicole Collier also praised Straus, and disagreed with Puente and Sanford who said Straus alone kept bathroom privacy legislation from passing.

Collier said other Republicans opposed it as well.

Speaker Straus will be the key person to watch because he runs the House.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott support bathroom privacy legislation.


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