Texas Republicans scrap bill that banned trans students from using toilets at school

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A bill that would have banned transgender people from using toilets in Texas schools has been withdrawn by the House State Affairs Committee.

The Bathroom Surveillance Bill, otherwise known as HB 2801, was authored by Republican representative Gilbert Peña with the intention of restricting bathroom use in public schools based on biological sex.

It stated: “A school district shall adopt a policy providing that only persons of the same biological sex may be present at the same time in any bathroom, locker room, or shower facility in a building owned by the district.”

The bill also specified that cisgender students could have received up to $2000 in ‘damages’ for reporting that a transgender student was going to the toilet.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) had branded the bill “harmful and unnecessary”, adding that it “encouraged the harassment and bullying of transgender students just for using appropriate bathrooms”

HRC Senior Legislative Counsel Alison Gill had said: “We urge you to oppose HB 2801 because it will bring harm and stigmatisation to transgender and gender non-conforming students.”

Although the bill was withdrawn, the legislature in Texas continues to consider other anti-equality legislation. A list of ‘bathroom surveillance bills’ are still pending, all entailing the potential criminalisation of transgender individuals if passed.

HRC warns that these bills “hurt businesses and individuals by leaving them open to unnecessary litigation”.

In January, a Kentucky senator proposed a “bounty” for anyone who reported trans people using the correct bathroom for their gender.

Near-identical language was present in the Texas bill.