LGBTQIA Community Faces Mixed Support On Texas State Campus

Sixteen states have proposed and passed legislation in either the House or Senate restricting transgender access to bathrooms based on gender identity according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

By Cristina Carreon

The Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual community has mixed support in the face of several state and federal legislative movements, and this trickle-down has begun to affect Texas State University students.

Issues concerning such underrepresented groups began at Texas State with the proposal of a “no safe spaces” bill by Student Government in February, which was protested by LGBT students and minority rights activists at the meeting.

Despite failing due to vagueness and several student objections at the meeting, the bill proposed by student Sen. Mason McKie showed division in the student body.

Student Body President Andrew Homann said his administration had nothing to do with the bill.

“In most instances, a senator will introduce a piece of legislation because they believe that it will make a positive change on campus,” Homann said, “But our administration didn’t really have much to do with that piece. That was an individual act the senator decided to pursue.”

Incumbent Student Body President Connor Clegg said the bill was unanimously voted down.

“It was a poorly thought out piece of legislation, which had no merit,” Clegg said. “And I think that became evident when it was nearly unanimously voted against by the entire senate,” Clegg said.

Now the issue of transgender bathrooms comes to the fore. Sixteen states have proposed and passed legislation in either the House or Senate restricting transgender access to bathrooms based on gender identity according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A few of these “bathroom bills” have already passed through the House or Senate of some states and three have failed, but none of the pending bills have passed into law yet.

Matthew Flores, Texas State University spokesperson, said Texas State currently has 106 single-person or family unisex restrooms open to use by anyone around campus.

“In the same way that a Starbucks has a unisex bathroom, or the San Marcos Recreation Center for example, which has a multi-sex family restroom, it is not uncommon in many places,” Flores said.

Flores said the university has not yet decided how it will respond if a “bathroom bill” passes into law in Texas.

“Texas State has not looked into the impact of the proposed legislation as it remains in its unpassed form,” he said. “The proposed legislation is still subject to change as the House considers it.”

With the revocation of transgender student protections by President Donald J. Trump in February, transgender rights are now up in the air.

North Carolina recently repealed a bathroom restriction bill passed last year in a step towards transgender rights, but one repeal shows the slow progress of rights and protection for the transgender community.

In Texas, a bathroom bill, Senate Bill 6, passed the first chamber of the Texas Senate Mar. 5 prohibiting local governments from making decisions about restroom use and requiring users to choose the facility associated with their “biological sex” according to the state legislature.

A Texas house bill prohibiting nondiscrimination ordinances and banning transgender persons from using facilities associated with their gender identities is currently pending.


 

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