Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Stalls under fire

By Maddox Price 

Chief Layout Editor 

In a future not far from now, one Texas lawmaker wants to build a space-age Gattaca-like panel to appropriately confirm the sex chromosomes of people entering restrooms.

It would be like a “Mission Impossible” sex-recognition key that allows entry into an individual’s top-secret chamber – or what is commonly known as a toilet. “You have been granted entrance into the lavatory kingdom,” is how the device might respond. If this sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is.

Four House bills were introduced this year that would criminalize transgender and gender-variant people from using the proper restroom facilities.

Texas state Rep. Debbie Riddle (R) introduced HB 1747 and HB 1748.

According to, the bills would make it a felony for building owners to allow people over the age of 7 to use a bathroom that does not match their birth-assigned sex.

Additionally, HB 1748 would make it a Class A misdemeanor for a person over the age of 13 to use the bathroom that does not match their sex. The bill states: “The gender of an individual is the gender established at the individual’s birth or the gender established by the individual’s chromosomes.”

And the bigotry does not stop there. Texas Rep. Gilbert Peña’s (R) bills, HB 2801 and HB 2012, specifically discuss schools and public accommodations. Peña’s bill would not only criminalize gender-variant people from using their restrooms, but also award $2,000 to cisgender students who find people using the “wrong” facility.

The term ‘cisgender’ refers to individuals who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. In addition to $2,000, these students would also receive “damages for mental anguish even if an injury other than mental anguish is now shown.”

Peña’s trans-phobic law would undoubtedly set a bounty on people simply trying to use the restroom. Laws limiting transgender rights are international. An online protest erupted last month, according to, with advocates taking selfies in bathrooms and hashtagging #wejustneedtopee.

As a female-to-male transgender student, I’m grateful the Dallas County Community College District added gender identity and expression to its non-discrimination clause two years ago. Otherwise, I would be in a very vulnerable position at Brookhaven College.

While I completely understand, firsthand, that safety in bathrooms is a problem, banning transgender people from using the correct facility creates a much larger safety concern.

Many gender-fluid people, myself included, take hormones and/or endure surgeries that transform their physical appearance to match the gender they identify with.

If a woman feels uncomfortable with a man in the restroom, I doubt she will enjoy being forced to share a facility with a fully bearded, barrel-chested transman in the next stall.

But the people I worry the most about are my transgender brothers and sisters who do not wish to, or cannot due to medical conditions, seek hormone replacement therapy. They are the most at-risk, and many are grade-school children.

To solve this giant conundrum, there should be gender-neutral restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms to eliminate segregation from one another. Our genitals are not cause for concern – how we treat each other is.

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