COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As a Senate committee hearing heard testimony from those for and against Sen. Lee Bright's proposed bathroom bill that would prevent local governments from granting protections to transgender individuals from going to their bathroom of choice, a pair of transgender teens delivered their own testimony on the issue.
Grayson, 13, and Dex, 13, sat before Bright and his fellow committee members during Wednesday's hearing.
Grayson, a female-to-male transitioning teen, recounted his story of having to go to the nurse's bathroom to avoid having to answer questions about his identity.
"All I want is to be able to use the men's restroom with the rest of my non-transgender peers, but this doesn't happen and it won't happen if this bill is passed," Grayson said. "The people introducing this bill are victimizing the innocent. When I enter a men's bathroom, I just want to use the facilities, wash my hands and leave. I do not deserve to have my gender identity washed away like a fingerprint on a windowpane. I do not deserve to have the person I am replaced by someone I don't want to be. I do not deserve to be forced to use a restroom where I do not feel safe."
Grayson also called out supporters of the bill, saying none of them understood what it was like to prove themselves and who they are constantly.
"We were brought into this world to live, not to be targeted by people who don't know what it's like to be born in a shell that doesn't match your interior spirit," Grayson said.
Most recently, Uphold, an international financial services company with U.S. headquarters in Charleston, announced it would move its offices to Los Angeles to protest the proposal.
Bright said he's had enough of tolerance if that means "men who claim to be women" going into a bathroom with children. Following the hearing, Bright said he would continue to support the bill.
State Chamber of Commerce CEO Ted Pitts says Bright's creating a nonexistent political crisis to save his political career. Bright faces three GOP opponents in June.