Position Paper: Extremist “Bathroom Bill” Legislation

There has been an exponential increase in anti-transgender hate speech, discrimination and violence in the months following the June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality. Despite the absence of any evidence whatsoever that transgender children, youth or adults pose any risk to the safety of non-transgender (cisgender) people, religious and political extremists have committed themselves to inciting irrational fear of those who are gender diverse and transgender.

State legislators and other officials are proposing so-called “bathroom bills” that would in effect, ban transgender people from using gender segregated public restroom accommodations that correspond to their gender identity. Some of these bills go so far as to allow private citizens to challenge the gender of someone they observe entering or using a public restroom or other gender segregated facility and, astonishingly, demand the person provide proof of genitalia or risk the equivalent of a ‘citizen’s arrest’ and subsequent detainment and excessive fine for violating a “bathroom bill” law.

This legislation attempts to criminalize the existence of transgender people by denying them access to public accommodations (restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms) through imposition of an arbitrary and discriminatory ‘proof of anatomical status’ standard that the majority of non-transgender people in their communities will not be subjected to.

Further, this legislation is being proposed without ANY evidence that the use of gender segregated public accommodations by transgender people poses any threat, danger, disruption or inconvenience to others. Indeed, there is ample evidence to the contrary from schools, communities, counties and states have had transgender public accommodation rights in place for a number of years.

The Wrong Side of History

Throughout the history of the United States of America there have been attempts on the part of some to abridge the natural and civil rights of others without cause or justification. It cannot be denied that a great source of shame related to the founding of this nation was the 1787 “Three-Fifths Compromise“.

Discrimination against women resulted in denial of their write to vote until less than 100 years ago and “Jim Crow” laws permitted apartheid to exist in the USA long after passage of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865.

Japanese-Americans were interred in camps during World War II for no reason other than racial/ethnic discrimination – an action that some want to repeat in the present day against Muslims living in this country…again, without reason or justification.

Transgender children, youth and adults are the latest vulnerable minority being oppressed by those promoting intolerance and hate towards those who do not share their beliefs, ideologies, identity or so-called “family values”.

For all of the above stated reasons, TransActive Gender Center stands:

  • STRONGLY opposed to passage of anti-transgender “bathroom bill” legislation on the grounds that it is not in the public interest, is intentionally discriminatory and ultimately, unenforceable in any logical, safe or equitable fashion
  • STRONGLY opposed to passage of anti-transgender “bathroom bill” legislation on the grounds that it would legalize, endorse and increase instances of emotional, psychological and physical abuse of transgender children, adolescents and teens, leading to heightened risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts
  • STRONGLY opposed to passage of anti-transgender “bathroom bill” legislation on the grounds that it may or will ‘deputize’ every person in the affected state(s) to interrogate, examine and police the gender and genitalia of ANYONE in, or about to enter a public restroom
  • STRONGLY opposed to passage of anti-transgender “bathroom bill” legislation on the grounds that it is a ‘solution in search of a non-existent problem’, intended solely to discriminate against transgender children, youth and adults
  • STRONGLY opposed to passage of anti-transgender “bathroom bill” legislation on the grounds that it empowers and legitimizes harassment of girls/women/boys/men who may not conform to arbitrary stereotypes of femininity or masculinity
  • STRONGLY opposed to passage of anti-transgender “bathroom bill” legislation on the grounds that it creates a situation in which any individual’s ignorance or prejudices would be empowered to legally violate the personal privacy, physical safety and civil rights of another person based solely on their perception of that person’s gender and physical anatomy

  • STRONGLY opposed to passage of anti-transgender “bathroom bill” legislation on the grounds that it will increase the likelihood of physical violence, unlawful detention, bullying and harassment of students at every grade level in violation of federal Title IX protections

  • STRONGLY opposed to passage of anti-transgender “bathroom bill” legislation on the grounds that it will increase litigation against individuals and businesses
  • STRONGLY opposed to passage of anti-transgender “bathroom bill” legislation on the grounds that such bills impose the religious and political extremist views of some on a vulnerable minority that poses no threat to the communities in which they live.

These discriminatory actions violate existing Constitutional protections, common human decency and those things we hold most precious as citizens of the United States of America including, but not limited to the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

STAND UP | STAND STRONG | STAND TOGETHER

JB Signature 2
Jenn Burleton
Founder & Executive Director
TransActive Gender Center