Two Views: Bathroom bill is about women’s rights


In May, President Obama issued an edict that all schoolchildren could declare their own gender and use the restroom and shower of their choice.

Thankfully, the newly appointed attorney general has rescinded that order, saying it was done “without due regard for the primary role of the states.”

I agree, which is why I’ve been joined by over a dozen of my fellow state senators in authoring the Texas Privacy Act, Senate Bill 6.

The bill codifies what most Texans already expect. The act designates separate showers, locker rooms and restrooms for males and females in public schools, colleges, universities and government facilities.

When we talk about a child declaring their own gender, we are talking about allowing male students to enter the female restroom and locker room. Unless we define boundaries, young men who are “curious” or hold more nefarious goals will be free to experiment, while girls and parents are left legally powerless. Schools will face lawsuits, pitting parents against school boards, as we have seen in Fort Worth, Dripping Springs and Pearland.

Texas must set a sensible, nondiscriminatory gender policy — or someone else will do it for us.

We must put safety and dignity ahead of social engineering that is disguised as civil rights. The Texas Privacy Act is inclusive, allowing personal accommodations for special circumstances while also respecting those who do not consent to a male entering a female restroom.

Let’s remember that parental rights and women’s rights are indeed human rights.

Victims of sexual abuse often say that predators will seek any opportunity. The media has painstakingly ignored this point, instead framing the issue in every other context imaginable.

Some have made predictions that our economy may suffer if our state passes SB 6. The opposite is true. SB 6 allows private businesses to make their own decisions while providing clear direction to public schools and government buildings, which will bolster our economy.

A superb example is Houston, where voters supported a pro-privacy policy, then went on to successfully host the NCAA Final Four and the Super Bowl. Or look at North Carolina, which posted a $425 million budget surplus and announced 5,000 new jobs after addressing the issue.

Much has been made of the claim that our state may lose an entertainment or sporting event if SB 6 is passed. By this logic, where exactly does the boycott threat end? Do sports teams and Hollywood stars next decide our health care policy?

Texas is the 10th-largest economy in the world. We cannot sell our children’s safety for 30 pieces of silver or any price quoted by political shakedown operatives.

As a former NCAA athlete, I am a product of Title IX and the advancements made in women’s athletics. Since Title IX began in 1972, we have seen a 600-percent increase in college women’s sports. Unless we act, those advancements may erode into a gender-fluid swamp of litigation.

If males can instantly declare to be female, then what becomes of female athletics — or women’s rights for that matter?

The Obama order was based on an idea that Washington, D.C., can tell us that gender boundaries no longer exist. Unfortunately, anyone who disagrees may be labeled as intolerant or bullied into silence.

This bill is about more than bathrooms; something much deeper is at stake.

Texas was built on a moral foundation. Sam Houston spoke of “doing right” and risking the consequences. Houston’s words still ring true — but incredibly today we risk consequences for the high crime of defending the safety of women and children.

Out-of-state activists have arrived to derail SB 6 — but we won’t be deterred.

My job is to protect everyone’s rights and tell the truth, even if I draw the wrath of liberal elites or agenda-driven journalists.

And the truth is that we need and deserve the Texas Privacy Act.

Kolkhorst is a Republican member of the Texas Senate.

Kolkhorst is a Republican member of the Texas Senate.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Letters to the editor: Oct. 15, 2017

Re: Sept. 24 article, “Is Austin the landlocked surf capital of the world? Some say yes.” A recent Statesman article highlighted an inland surfing park in Austin that doesn’t rely on boats. It would be great if all the wake surfers on Lake Austin were to take their sport over to the surfing park. Wake surfing relies on really big...
Letters to the editor: Oct. 19, 2017

Re: Oct. 16 article, “CodeNext: Is Austin doing enough to reach out to non-English speakers?” Why translate? If anyone wants to live in the U.S., let them learn the talk of the country. Last I heard, here it was still English. If I moved to Mexico, do you think that they would print everything in English? Of course not. When my ancestors...
Commentary: Let’s build global consensus for reconnecting with nature
Commentary: Let’s build global consensus for reconnecting with nature

During the past few weeks, millions of people around the Gulf of Mexico have experienced the fury of Mother Nature. Four massive hurricanes and two earthquakes have devastated numerous communities. It is humbling to realize that despite enormous technical advancements, we are still as much at the mercy of nature’s wrath as the Teotihuacanos in...
Commentary: Why Hartnett White is dangerous for environmental council
Commentary: Why Hartnett White is dangerous for environmental council

With each new appointee to the Trump administration, it’s like the president is trolling us. Put someone who sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 14 times in charge of the agency? Check. Appoint a man who wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy as its head? Check. But you ain’t seen nothing yet. Trump’s newest choice...
Opinion: Trump’s scary strategy on North Korea

On just the first day of a war between the United States and North Korea, according to a Stanford University assessment, 1 million people could be killed. Yet after my five-day visit to North Korea with three New York Times colleagues, such a nuclear war seems terrifyingly imaginable. In the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, it was clear that President...
More Stories