Girls and women de­serve to feel safe from preda­tors

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEWPOINTS - STATE SEN. LOIS KOLKHORST Spe­cial Con­trib­u­tor

In May, Pres­i­dent Barack 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 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.

BAR­RERA / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN RALPH

Dana Hodges dis­plays a cam­era she found in a bath­room as she makes a point in fa­vor Se­nate Bill 6 while tes­ti­fy­ing Tues­day at a hear­ing be­fore the Se­nate State Af­fairs Com­mit­tee. Hun­dreds of peo­ple signed up to speak be­fore the com­mit­tee.

Kolkhorst

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