For many people, choosing which bathroom to use is a non-issue, but for those who don’t identify with their sex assigned at birth, going to the restroom is a source of insecurity and
For trans, gender non-comforming, and non-binary people, Senate Bill 6, better known as the Texas Bathroom Bill, has only heightened the emotions associated with the pre-existing struggle. The bill is currently pending in the Texas senate and is accruing a lot of controversy.
As the co-director of Texas Queer and Trans Student Alliance, third year humanities major, James Che, has been intimately involved with the conversations surrounding these issues of exclusion and transphobia. Even without the bill in place, Che said he feels that the UT campus still has a lot of necessary effort for accommodating and accepting the trans community.
“This bill isn’t drastically changing the way campus is functioning,” Che said. “It’s been more of an issue for campuses that have made no efforts to be trans-inclusive, not that The University of Texas has made any leaps or strides, they’ve just had more single-use bathrooms available, but then again not really.”
Though the Texas Bathroom Bill has not yet been approved or enacted, that doesn’t make it any less of a topic of concern.
“It’s mostly been a psychological issue, not so much a direct impact issue,” Che said. “It’s led me to realize that nothing has changed. The campus has always been structured in a transphobic manner, so it comes as no surprise that the state government is attacking us.”
Plan II sophomore Mia Goldstein works closely with community members dispirited and offended by this sort of treatment. As an affiliate of the Gender and Sexuality Center, a leader in Voices Against Violence, and a member of the LGBTQ community herself, she has participated in several discussions over the upsettingly anticipated bill.
“People are very shocked,” Goldstein said. “Well, not shocked because this is almost expected from Texas, but incredibly disheartened to see this has been introduced.”
Like Goldstein, Che is unsurprised by this effort from the Texas legislature.
“It’s not anything new to us,” said Che. “More than anything, it’s just been irritating and makes us want to seek options outside of traditional responses.” Douglas Snyder, communications director for University Democrats, marketing and government sophomore, has voiced his strong opposition to more legislation purposed to infringe upon trans rights.
“(Senate Bill 6) is such an important piece of legislation intended to ostracize people,” Snyder said. “This is a marginalized group that has done nothing to deserve this.”
Goldstein said the best way to combat this sort of scrutiny and discrimination is by coming together.
“Showing solidarity with the trans community is really important as a campus,” said Goldstein.
As some LGBTQ individuals seek out a support system, particularly following situations in which they feel their identity being persecuted, Che hopes to help provide that environment
“There are a lot of different ways we provide support,” said Che. “It comes down to building a strong community that has a sense of empowerment to enact change beyond just voting. That’s how we’ve channeled a lot of our anger with how things have progressed.”