Emotional testimony heard in Texas ‘Bathroom Bill’ debate

gender neutral bathroom sign
Gender neutral bathroom sign (KXAN Photo/ Jay Wiles)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of people showed up to speak out on Senate Bill 6 at the state capitol. Many of those who signed up to testify were against the bill, but some came forward to speak in favor of what’s known as Texas’ ‘bathroom bill.’

There was a long list of people signed up to speak, so much that there were multiple overflow rooms dedicated to SB 6 testimony.

“This bill is not against them; it’s a bill to protect our ladies and our young boys, as well, from sexual pedophiles going in and using this bill as a gateway to be able to infiltrate locker rooms, changing rooms and bathrooms,” said Gabe Hatch, Pastor of a North Texas Church.

Other’s don’t see it that way at all.

“This is plain and simple a bill to push us out of the way because they’re uncomfortable with us. They don’t know who we are, they can’t understand who we are and that makes them nervous and they’re in a position to make political gain by attacking us,” testified Jess Herbst, Mayor of New Hope, Texas.

It’s clear there’s passion for the opposing views: those in favor of the bill say it’s a matter of safety, they fear criminals will take advantage and pose as transgender people.

“If it does not get passed and we do not protect our young ladies and our young men and our mothers and sisters and lives and all that or open up a Pandora’s box to ultimately allow sexual pedophiles, rapists and even possibly human trafficking to happen in our restrooms and locker rooms and all that,” Hatch said.

“Do we say police officers can’t go into schools because someone can pretend to be a police officer and go into the school with our kids? You know that’s just such a deflection. It’s just so fundamentally wrong to target one group of people because somebody else might pretend to be them,” Herbst added, “If you go into a bathroom and you know what’s between somebody’s legs, you’re doing it wrong. That’s just not how the bathroom works.”

If the bill passes committee it will move onto the full senate where Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick says he has the votes necessary to pass the measure and send it to the House.

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