Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Utah joins 10 other states in regulating bathroom access for transgender people

By 37ci3 Jan31,2024

Utah then became the last state to regulate transgender bathroom access Republican Governor Spencer Cox Under the law signed Tuesday, people must use the bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government buildings that match their gender assigned at birth.

Under the law, transgender people can defend themselves against complaints by proving they’ve had gender-affirming surgery and changed the gender on their birth certificate. Opponents noted that not all states allow people to change their birth certificates, and many trans people are reluctant to have the surgery.

The legislation also requires schools to create “privacy plans” for transgender students and others who are uncomfortable using group bathrooms, such as allowing faculty to use the bathroom — which opponents say could “out” transgender children.

“We want safe and livable public facilities for everyone, and this bill increases privacy protections for everyone,” Cox said in a statement Tuesday evening.

At least 10 other states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee — passed laws regulating which bathrooms trans people can use, and nine states regulate which bathrooms trans students can use at school. Legislature of West Virginia is considering a transgender bathroom bill for students this year.

The Utah bill requires any new government buildings to include single-person bathrooms and asks the state to consider adding more bathrooms to increase privacy protections in existing government buildings. It has not provided any funding for such improvements.

The sponsor, Republican Rep. Kera Birkeland, said she was trying to make it illegal for a naked man to be in a bathroom with an 8-year-old girl. He said the situation happened at a public facility in Salt Lake County and that authorities couldn’t do anything about it because the man said he was trans.

Opponents argued that the legislation should target behavior, not transgender residents and visitors.

“This bill perpetuates discrimination, places unnecessary barriers to the everyday needs of people in Utah, and risks harming and discriminating against transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah said in a statement Tuesday. . letter urging the governor to veto the legislation.

“It invites verification of people who are transgender or who are legally perceived to be transgender as they go about their lives,” the letter reads.

Anyone who uses a changing room or locker room that does not correspond to the gender assigned at birth, if “the person enters or remains in the changing room under circumstances that a reasonable person would expect to cause offense or alarm, upon or in the presence of another person ” in accordance with the law.

Violators may also be charged with vagrancy, lewdness or voyeurism, depending on their behavior.

Opponents said the law would still legally require a trans man who takes testosterone and grows facial hair to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms.

“Nobody I know cares if a transgender woman walks into their bathroom, uses it for its intended purpose, and leaves,” Birkeland said. “That’s not what this bill is about.”

The bill easily passed the Republican-controlled House and Senate on January 26. A conference committee amended the law to clarify that public school students cannot be prosecuted for using bathrooms that match their gender identity. Equality Utah, a nonprofit that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, supported the amendment but still opposed the bill.

No legislators or members of the public spoke against the part of the bill that would have allowed the state to enforce certain federal Title IX provisions requiring equal opportunity, equal opportunity and equal access to preferred playing and practice times for male and female athletes in schools. .

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By 37ci3

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