ROCKWALL -- On Monday, Rockwall's City Council will wade into a national debate over transgender access to public restrooms.
The council will consider an ordinance, drafted by the mayor, that would make it unlawful for a person to use a multi-stall public restroom that doesn't match a person's "biological sex," meaning the sex listed on their birth certificate.
The mayor says it's about safety, and a response to constituents' concerns over policies at Target and Planet Fitness that allow transgender people to use facilities that correspond to the gender they identify with. The mayor fears those policies could be used by potential predators as an excuse to be in a restroom where they do not belong.
"I just think that it's insanity not to have those protections in place," said Mayor Jim Pruitt, when asked about the proposal today. "These folks aren't transgender that this is targeting. This is targeting folks of the opposite sex that are going into those restrooms under the guise of being transgender and having access."
Pruitt said he believes the subject is important to debate and he believes the ordinance has a very good chance of passing. While similar laws have led to backlash in other states, he doesn't believe it will cause problems with businesses in his city.
"This is not about sexual orientation or anything of that nature," Pruitt said. "It is about privacy and the protection of our children."
But transgender advocate Lou Weaver says such a law is unnecessary and discriminatory.
"It is now and always will be illegal to enter a restroom to commit a crime," said Weaver, who lives in Houston and is a programs coordinator with Equality Texas.
It would force Weaver to use the women's room while in Rockwall. While he lives his life as a man, his birth certificate still lists his gender as female.
"Transgender women belong in the restroom with women, and I belong in the men's room with other men," Weaver said. "I've been going into the men's room for 20 years, and nothing's happened. It is not transgender people that are praying on our youth."
But Pruitt is unswayed by those arguments.
"Well, because that person may be a little uncomfortable, we should put children at risk? I don't think so," the mayor said.
Nell Gaither is sharing her struggles as a transgender woman living in North Texas.
"Policies like this are almost nothing but hatred," Gaither, president of the Trans Pride Initiative said.
She's rallying hundreds to block a bill from passing.
"I use the bathroom according to my gender identity and I’m going to do that regardless of what the policies are, even if that means I’m arrested for using the bathroom that I’m safe in," she said.
Gaither adds that a law designted to protect one group would greatly hurt another.
"What they actually do is increase violence. Not just against the trans community, but also against non-trans persons who don’t fit gender stereotypes," she said.