I’ve made every attempt to distance myself from the so-called “bathroom bill” issue during the regular and special sessions of the Texas Legislature, but it has more legs than it deserves and that I originally thought it might, so here goes.
First, we don’t need a state law that preempts local ordinances governing access to public restrooms by the transgendered. We’re perfectly capable of dealing with the issue locally, as we did in Houston two years ago with the decisive 61-39% defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which would have opened a set of access rights based on “gender identity”. I strongly supported this outcome and I don’t see any significant conflicts in other communities in the state that warrant a state law of preemption of similar ordinances. It’s a solution in search of a problem.
Second, I have followed the various lobby efforts and statements of opposition to this bill by the major business organizations and leading corporate CEOs and while I agree with their opposition, I do so for a different reason. Their opposition is based on the threat they perceive of the economic damage that such legislation would have to Texas and the message of discrimination that it might send and they point to the experience of North Carolina, which suffered from conference and sports events cancellations due to the enactment of anti-HERO-type legislation there that was considered discriminatory. Although convention officials opposing the Texas bill estimate that some damage has already been done with the debate on the bill, I think this threat is overblown and primarily the product of intimidation by and pandering to the LGBT activist lobby. In the two years since HERO was voted down, I am not aware of any significant cancellation of a major event or corporate relocation to Houston. And, incidentally, substantially all of the Houston business groups and leaders opposed to the current bill were in support of the HERO initiative.
My third point is simple: For me, the transgender issue is all about chromosomes. While I am fully aware that a predisposition to identify with a gender other than biological can be in evidence as early as age three and I sympathize with the psychological problems that might pose for some, to my knowledge there is no “transgender gene”. Human genetic sex is determined at the time of conception. A female has two X chromosomes, a male has one X and one Y. That is definitive enough for me.