Houston Transgender Bathroom Bill Debate Centers on Differing Definitions of ‘Men’

The noisy debate over this city’s Proposition 1 has centered on whether it would allow men to use women’s public restrooms, which boils down to how you define “men” and “women.”

In a battle that has ranged from bathroom etiquette to gender rights to constitutional debates over religious freedom, a key skirmish broke out after former Houston Astros baseball all-star Lance Berkman appeared in an ad saying that the Nov. 3 ballot measure would “allow troubled men who claim to be women to enter women’s bathrooms, showers and locker rooms,” and the Yes on 1 campaign fired back.

“Prop. 1 will NOT allow men to enter women’s restrooms,” says a post on the website Houston Unites, the group supporting Proposition 1.

By “men,” however, the campaign is excluding biological men who identify as women. Proposition 1 would ban discrimination in public accommodations such as restrooms based on 15 characteristics, including gender identity.