Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Toilet humor isn't always for everyone

Republican lawmakers in Kentucky, Florida and Texas are a little too concerned with the bathroom. Bills were proposed in these states to prevent people from using the “wrong” bathroom.

Each bill is designed to restrict the freedom of transgender Americans to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

Texas’ proposed bill is, of course, the harshest. It states that anyone who enters a restroom, shower or changing room for the sex different from the “gender established by the individual’s chromosomes” will face up to a year in jail and a fine of $4,000.

The proposed bills in Kentucky and Florida are similarly loaded with thinly veiled discriminatory language. Florida has apparently never read Judith Butler, as gender for this state is defined as “biological sex, either male or female, at birth.”

Kentucky’s proposal applies only to schools, and begins promisingly. It reads that transgender students “whose parent or legal guardian provides written consent to school officials shall be provided with the best available accommodation.”

Yay, Kentucky!

However, I must mention the caveat that basically erases that last sentence: “that accommodation shall not include the use of student restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms designated for use by students of the opposite biological sex while students of the opposite biological sex are present or could be present.” This type of transphobic legislation is not uncommon. Much of the country has passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, while some states, like Colorado and Arizona, have attempted and failed to pass these types of bills.

This is great. It shows we now have a somewhat decent understanding of gender. But the reason these current discriminatory bills may pass is because they have the support of the ironically titled conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom. ADF has a network of 2,000 attorneys intent on defending the religious right’s definition of “freedom,” which includes mostly anti-LGBT rights legislation disguised as ?“religious freedom.”

Counsel Kellie Fiedorek said ADF’s intent is to “protect the privacy, safety and dignity of all citizens in restrooms and locker rooms.”

Her assertion about dignity is incorrect. These bills ignore the dignity of transgender ?individuals.

The Miami Republican who’s backing the Florida bill, Rep. Frank Artiles, R-118th District, told the Miami Herald, “A man such as myself can walk into the bathroom at LA Fitness while women are taking showers, changing, and simply walk in there ... If I feel like a woman that day, I can be allowed to be in that locker room.”

But these bills aren’t targeting someone who would do that. They’re targeting people who identify as transgender. Period. It’s blatant discrimination, and I’m sick of conservatives cloaking discriminatory policy in rhetoric like “religious freedom” and “public safety.” This isn’t freedom or safety for anyone.

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