This may surprise Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, but transgendered Texans have been using the bathrooms of their choice for a long time.
So how many assaults of innocent girls has this resulted in?
The Charlotte Observer, in the overheated state of North Carolina, recently conducted a thorough PolitiFact investigation into the question.
The study noted that the entire state of Maryland and a long list of cities around the nation have had nondiscrimination laws in effect for years permitting transgendered men and women to use the bathrooms in which they are the most comfortable.
Not mentioned was that fact that many transgendered persons do so in states, like Texas, that have no laws covering the question.
The Observer found three cases in the past 17 years in the entire nation in which a biological male was convicted of a crime involving entering a women’s bathroom or locker room dressed in women’s clothing.
None of the cases occurred in a state or city with a law allowing transgendered persons to use the restrooms of their choice.
And none of the crimes involved sexual assault.
One of the men punched a woman in the bathroom in the course of a barroom brawl.
One exposed himself in a Walmart bathroom.
And one committed trespass for entering a woman’s restroom in Oregon and attempting to talk to children.
It’s not clear if any of the men considered themselves transsexual.
I think three inferences are appropriate.
The first is that transgendered people are not by nature sexual predators.
The second is that there is no indication that actual sexual predators are using nondiscrimination laws to invade women’s restrooms.
The third is that we already have appropriate laws — if we choose to use them.
The most notorious case of restroom assault in San Antonio history makes that point.
In 1978 a 15-year-old up-and-coming Golden Gloves champion boxer named Tony Ayala didn’t bother to put on a dress when he snuck into the ladies room at Mission Drive-in Theater and attempted to rape a girl.
She fought and suffered terrible consequences: a beating so severe that it ruptured her bladder and bruised her kidneys.
Ayala pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, with a possible sentence of 10 years.
But Bill White, the now-deceased district attorney, agreed to repeated delays in sentencing while Ayala’s lawyers tried to buy the girl’s agreement to probation.
She at first testified she would rather see Ayala go to prison than take his family’s money.
The case dragged on for nearly two years before the girl wept on the stand before asking for leniency for Ayala while prosecutors stood silent.
She was paid $40,000 for her pain and suffering.
The judge agreed to 10 years probation, but within two years Ayala was caught breaking into an apartment, apparently looking for a female who wasn’t home.
Again the judge, with the DA’s assent, allowed Ayala’s lawyers time to induce the apartment dweller to agree to a plea deal.
Unbelievably, the judge didn’t revoke Ayala’s probation and send him to prison.
Instead he merely added a condition. Ayala had to stay out of Texas
As a result a school teacher in New Jersey was brutally raped and sodomized by Ayala in her home.
Without the Texas good old boys watching his back, Ayala was sentenced to 35 years, serving 16.
So we don’t need more laws to protect women and children.
The laws are there.
But it is politically much more profitable to play to irrational fears of people who are not like us than to take on the things that are truly scary.
Such as the fact that 171 children died in Texas last year of abuse or neglect — clearly related to a Protective Services and foster care system overwhelmed by more than 108,000 cases of reported abuse.
Working on that very real problem would require hard work and the political courage to find funding.
Fostering fear is much easier — and cheaper.