Texas Bathroom Bill Could Expose Transgender Kids

School districts that have been keeping secrets could be forced to expose children
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2017 4:58 PM CDT
FILE - In this March 24, 2017, file photo, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott talks to reporters outside the White House in Washington. A transgender "bathroom bill" reminiscent of one in North Carolina that caused...   (Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – Each morning, Joanna Smith's 7-year-old son pulls on a T-shirt and shorts, boasts how fast he can tie his sneakers, and heads to school. An honor-roll student who loves science and spelling, he often stays after class to run on the playground with his large group of friends. But teachers may soon have to disrupt his routine by revealing a secret: This energetic boy was born a girl. Legislation headed for passage in the Texas Legislature this month could forbid him from using the boys' bathroom and effectively divulge his transgender identity to classmates, the AP reports. The measure poses an excruciating dilemma for Texas schools that have quietly agreed at parents' requests to keep secret the birth genders of some students.

A broad bill requiring transgender individuals to use the restroom of their birth-certificate gender passed the Senate but stalled in the House. Supporters revived it late Sunday, advancing a proposal applying only to the state's public schools. The final details of the measure are still being worked out. A similar law in North Carolina was partially repealed this year after protests and boycotts. Comparable proposals have been offered in other legislatures, but none has been approved. Currently, each school and school district determines how to handle students whose birth genders are secret—a small portion of Texas' thousands of transgender minors. Some districts have nondiscrimination policies that explicitly include gender identity. Others have no formal policy but still shield students on a case-by-case basis. Click for much more on the bill. (Read more transgender stories.)

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