AUSTIN (KXAN) — Transgender advocates are upset about a bill that would make it a crime in Texas for a transgender person to use a bathroom based on their gender identity.
House Bill 1748 authored by Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Spring) says if someone over the age of seven uses a bathroom that doesn’t match their gender, they can be charged with a felony.
Similar bills have been passed in Florida and Kentucky.
Transgender advocates say it criminalizes people for being who they are.
“Our biggest obstacle is having people understand who transgender people are,” said outreach specialist Lou Weaver. “There are fears and misconceptions. Really, we are individuals who want a job, a safe place to live, to live our lives.”
Austin has already adopted regulations requiring all businesses to install gender-neutral signs for public restrooms.
While the bill has gained a lot of attention from advocates, it has not even had a committee hearing, necessary for any bill to become law.