A suite of new laws went into effect on Sept. 1. One law that was noticeably absent was the Texas Bathroom Bill, which failed to pass earlier this year. Students across Sam Houston State University have responded to the legislation in various ways.
Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican State Senator, proposed the Texas Bathroom Bill. The bill deals with the issue of sex in the bathroom and what rules should be in place when people visit a public bathroom with either one or multiple-people. The legislation says that individuals must only enter the bathroom which coordinates with their biological sex. There are special circumstances, such as a custodian entering the restroom to clean.
Supporters of the bill, including Gov. Greg Abbott, argued that the bathroom bill would reduce sexual assaults within public restrooms. Opponents of the bill said that allowing transgender people to enter a bathroom of their gender preference would not increase cases of sexual assaults in public restrooms.
Despite support from conservatives and Christian organizations, the bill failed to pass as a law in a special legislative session with Texas senators. Today, it is legal for people to enter the bathroom based on their preferred gender.
Freshman and Business Administration major Joshua Brown is in support of the bathroom bill.
“If you’re a male, well, you’re born a male, you should go to a male bathroom,” Brown said. “If you’re a female, you should go to a female bathroom. As for it being defeated, that’s the power of democracy.”
Freshman and Criminal Justice major Alisha Harrington sees both sides of the argument.
“Well I think that if you’re a female, you should use the female bathroom,” Harrington said. “As for transgender stuff, I guess if you’re a girl, then you can use the bathroom, even if you decided to change your gender. But there are some safety issues about it. Like what if a guy said, ‘Oh I’m a girl but I’m actually not a girl’, that becomes scary, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Freshman and Biology major Kenzie Walker opposes the bill and supports the right of transgender people to use the bathroom of their preferred gender.
“I don’t think it should have failed,” Walker said. “I believe that it should be just how it’s supposed to be.”
Freshman and Criminal Justice major Gavin Walker personally believes that people should use the bathroom of their biological sex, but also said that from an American perspective, he supports individual rights when it comes to bathroom use.
“From a personal standpoint, I’m in support of the bill just because if you are going to be born with something, yeah it’s who you are and nothing can change that,” Gavin Walker said. “But as an American, I think everyone should use the bathroom of their choice.”