Transgender Texan Tracks Bathroom Visits

AUSTIN, TX— - The state’s version of a so-called ‘bathroom bill’ was advanced to the full Senate in an early morning vote Wednesday.

After more than 13 hours of public testimony, which began Tuesday, the State Affairs Senate Committee recommended Senate Bill 6 to the Texas Senate in 7-1 vote.

More than 250 people spoke out against the bill, while close to 30 others who support the SB 6 said the legislation would increase safety in public restrooms.

To show how this bill could impact Texans, one transgender woman is tracking all of her trips to public restrooms.

Posted online, the spreadsheet includes the date, location, and the reason for the restroom visit.

“Then I record whether or not people have a problem with being in there,” Carina Magyar explained.

Magyar began to document all her public restroom usage when the legislative session started in January.  

A writer and comedian in Austin, Magyar was born in a male body but identifies as a woman. She started transitioning two and half years ago and said she can often go in and out of women’s restrooms unnoticed.

“However, with the kids and the talking and they call me dad, so it’s a little obvious that I’m trans still,” Magyar said.

Over the last two months, Magyar recorded one "questioning look,” and counted 49 other bathroom breaks with no problems.

“It’s a lot of touching up makeup, and helping my kids out,” Magyar said.

She has two daughters, ages 5 and 2, the girls still need help in the bathroom and for safety reasons, Magyar doesn’t want the children in public restrooms alone.

“I think boys are boys and girls are girls,” Magyar said. “As long as we can all acknowledge that people’s gender is not exactly what it looks like to you from the outside,” she added.

Even though only transgender people would be directly impacted by SB 6, supporters of the bill insist the legislation does not target transgender Texans.

The author of SB 6, State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, said the bill is about keeping predators out of public restrooms and protecting women’s privacy.

“I’m concerned about safety in bathrooms, that’s why I follow my children into bathrooms and don’t just send them in alone,” said Magyar.

Known as the Women’s Privacy Act, the revised version of SB 6 approved Wednesday no longer includes increased penalties for assaults committed in a bathroom, locker room or changing room.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick described the legislation as “a public safety issue” and declared SB 6 a top priority this session.

“When we introduce men into ladies’ rooms we introduce a danger,” Patrick said after the bill was filed in January.

SB 6 requires people to use the public restroom and locker room that matches their biological sex, not their gender identity. 

Most of the public restroom stops Magyar listed are private businesses, SB 6 applies only to government buildings, and public schools and universities.

If passed, SB 6 would require Magyar to use the men’s restroom at a few of the locations listed on the spreadsheet, like city-owned parks.

“I think it’s important just for people who might not have encountered transgender people in their everyday lives to see that we’re doing the same normal things,” said Magyar. “There is no disruption caused by us being around and using bathrooms,” she continued.

SB 6 is expected to pass in the Republican controlled Senate.

So far, 18 State Senators have spoken out in support of the legislation, 19 are needed to pass the bill out of the Senate and over to the House.

Speaker Joe Straus is expected to push back against the bill after he’s expressed concerns over how SB 6 would impact the state’s economy.

Magyar said, “I believe that most Texans do not think this is a necessary bill and that it's kind of in itself an invasion of privacy.”

A poll by the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas conducted last month found 76 percent of Texas Republicans think a transgender person should use the restroom that matches their biological sex.

 

Only 27 percent of Republican voters in the state believe it’s an issue that needs to be legislated and 35 percent said it wasn’t important at all. 


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