A Republican lawmaker wants people to go to the toilet that matches their birth-assigned gender
A Republican politician in Florida has proposed a law that would ban transgender individuals from entering bathrooms or changing rooms that don't match their biological sex at birth. The advocated law would make it illegal for a trans woman to use a female bathroom if she'd been born male. Pretty cruel, right?
Frank Artiles' proposal trots out the tired idea that trans people are dangerous deviants who are a threat to those around them. Artiles states: "Single-sex public facilities are places of increased vulnerability and present the potential for crimes against individuals using those facilities, including, but not limited to, assault, battery, molestation, rape, voyeurism, and exhibitionism".
Just to put this into perspective, trans people are typically those on the receiving end of physical violence. According to a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, trans people face the brunt of LGBT hate; in 2013, they were 1.4 times more likely to experience threats and intimidation.
Under Artiles' law, any trans person who uses "the wrong toilet" is "liable in a civil action to any person who is lawfully using the same single-sex public facility at the time of the unlawful entry for the damages caused by the unlawful entry, together with reasonable attorney fees and costs."
It's pretty difficult to imagine exactly how this backwards law would work – are people going to be asked to display their genitals at the bathroom door in Florida?
Daniel Tilley, an attorney for LGBT rights group SAVE, told Al-Jazeera: "In addition to dehumanizing transgender people in particular, it invites humiliation and harassment of anyone who is not considered sufficiently feminine or masculine in the eyes of the beholder. Will girls in soccer uniforms be stopped at the bathroom door and asked to produce their birth certificates?"
The proposal tries to alienate transgender people even further and seeks to decide an individual's gender for them. Aren't we trying to move past that?
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