Written by Zack Ford
Last month, the City Council of Phoenix, Arizona passed sweeping nondiscrimination protections, ensuring that people have equal access to employment, housing, and public accommodations regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. One state lawmaker, Rep. John Kavanagh (R) is not pleased that transgender people will be protected when using the correct bathroom, and so he has introduced a new bill to ban them from doing just that.
Kavanagh gutted a Senate Bill about a Massage Therapy Board to use as a shell for his new amendment, which prohibits a person from entering a “public restroom, bathroom, shower, bath, dressing room, or locker room” if the sex designation of that facility does not match the individual’s birth certificate. He defended his “show your papers to pee” bill in an interview with 12 News Phoenix:
KAVANAGH: The city of Phoenix has crafted a bill that allows people to define their sex by what they think in their head. If you’re a male, you don’t go into a female shower or locker room, or vice versa. It also raises the specter of people who want to go into those opposite sex facilities not because they’re transgender, but because they’re weird.
Violating this law would constitute “disorderly conduct” and could be prosecuted as a class 1 misdemeanor. The bill describes itself as “an emergency measure that is necessary to preserve the public peace, health or safety and is operative immediately as provided by law.” Inappropriate behavior, such as the potentially harmful or invasive actions of the “weird” people Kavanagh referenced, is already illegal.
In Arizona, it is possible for transgender people to receive a new birth certificate with their proper gender, but only if they undergo gender reassignment surgery, which not all trans people choose to pursue. In addition to being quite expensive, it also results in sterilization. Were Kavanagh’s bill to pass, trans people would have to sacrifice their ability to ever have children just to legally use the proper bathroom.
This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.
Photo: Editor B/flickr
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