Nikki Kelton, a Dripping Springs resident, believes Texas lawmakers should support the so-called bathroom bill to avoid jeopardizing the faith principles of students.

She said she was concerned about her school district’s decision last year to allow an elementary transgender student to use the girls’ bathrooms.

“This speaks loud and clear to our children by saying you may be born a boy or a girl, but that is relative or fluid depending on how you feel,” Kelton said Wednesday at a news conference at the state Capitol. “This is also in direct conflict with the word of God and the biblical principles upon which our nation was founded.”

 Texas Values, a conservative Christian group, organized the news conference to urge House members to support Senate Bill 6, authored by state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham. The bill would prevent transgender Texans from using bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity in government buildings, public schools and other publicly owned facilities, sparking the most controversial debate for LGBTQ rights during this year’s legislative session.

“Even if a boy wants to be a girl, he’s not. He might emotionally feel like he’s a girl, but he’s physically a boy,” said Shiloh Satterfield, a 10-year-old from Dripping Springs.
The bill was passed by the Senate and is on its way to the House, but House Speaker Joe Straus has said he’s “not a fan of the bill.” If it were to become law, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Houston say they could lose up to $407 million in out-of-state business, tourism officials have told the San Antonio Express-News.

Advocates say the bill is an effort to protect the safety, dignity and privacy of women.

Dana Hodges, state director of Concerned Women for America of Texas, a women’s organization based on Biblical principles, said the issue was personal to her after being videotaped in a restroom with a camera placed by a man.

“How many women have had pictures of them taken by hidden devices they’re not even aware of?” Hodges asked. “As a rape survivor myself, the last thing you want is to be accosted in your private space.”

Standing beside a sign that read, “It’s common sense: men shouldn’t be in bathrooms with little girls,” Nicole Hudgens, policy analyst of Texas Values, was asked about concerns regarding transgender men who no longer look like women entering women’s restrooms.

“If that is the case, they have the opportunity to change their birth certificate,” Hudgens said.

After the news conference, Kathy Miller, president of Texas Freedom Network, a religious freedom advocacy group, said in a statement that SB 6 is one of 25 bills that would cause discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

“It’s disturbing when politicians use faith and misleading claims about safety and privacy to hide their true intentions,” Miller said.

This article was published in the San Antonio Express-News April 12, 2017.

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