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Arizona could make it a misdemeanor to use the wrong bathroom

March 20, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Transgender issues continue to make the news. The latest story on the wire is that Arizona's state legislature is considering a bill that would make it a criminal offense for transgender people to use a bathroom for a gender other than the one listed on their birth certificates. The bill would make using the wrong bathroom a misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to six months in jail.

I don't know how such a bill would be enforced or who will be keeping track of which person uses which bathroom. People who are personally uncomfortable with sharing the facilities with a transgender co-worker or fellow student can probably arrange to quietly leave and wait outside the bathroom until the transgender person has exited. Still, advocacy groups are predictably outraged.

If it passes, this is another law that is probably headed for the Supreme Court. The question is probably whether it violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution to refuse transgendered people the right to use a public bathroom for the gender they identify as. Some states, like Minnesota and Massachusetts, seem to be saying yes; others, like Arizona, are saying no.

The issue is one that affects schools, colleges and employers as well as businesses and public access facilities. As far as I know, there's still a lawsuit in progress by the Colorado family against the school that refused to let their 6-year-old (born a boy, living as a girl) use the girl's bathroom. The school let the child dress as a girl, referred to the child using a feminine pronoun and have offered to let the child use a staff bathroom or the bathroom in the nurse's office instead. The parents have said their kid is not sick, not an adult and not a boy and should be allowed to use the girl's bathroom. The school administration has refused, apparently out of concern for what might happen when the kids are older and a child with male genitalia is using the girl's bathroom or locker room.

Some school districts are also being put on notice that they will have to let transgender kids have equal access to athletic teams, as well as to bathrooms and locker rooms for the gender they identify as. I could see that being problematic in some sports, where an adolescent who is biologically male could have greater strength or speed than the girls on the team. That doesn't sound fair to the other kids.

It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court rules.


Article Comments



Apr-30-13 2:32 PM



Apr-30-13 2:29 PM

The problem with allowing "transgendered" to use bathrooms that are not intended for them, is that anyone can claim to be "transgendered" and in fact be lying. This opens gender specific restrooms for all the lying perverts that want to peek in on them. There comes a point where one needs to draw the line and cease bowing before all the is PC and this is definitely one of those points.


Mar-23-13 6:08 PM

I suppose fathers feel safer bringing their little girls into the bathroom with them than leaving them outside, but I can see your point. Today I saw a little girl of about 5 or 6 sitting on a bench outside the men's bathroom in the movie theater, probably waiting for her dad or a big brother. I suppose a dad might feel uncomfortable doing that in some places because of safety reasons.


Mar-23-13 1:04 PM

As long as we're on the subject, I'm wondering if anybody has had this same experience. I've found it somewhat awkward when I'm standing at the urinal in a public restroom, and I see out of the corner of my eye that some guy has just brought his five-year old daughter in with him. My first instinct is to try to reel in, but that is all but an impossibility midstream. I know that women have done this with their sons for years, but then there are enclosures. Am I wrong to feel a little weird-ed out in this situation. I can tell you it's happened more than once. I've practically abandoned the urinal for the coveted stalls, which can be in short supply in the men's bathroom.


Mar-23-13 12:49 PM

Worldview, and in the US, drunk women frequent men's bathrooms at large venues because they don't want to wait in line. Nobody seems to care. So what's your point? Oh, it must be that people in Europe are much more enlightened than we. Did you read that in a blog somewhere? I have a hunch you've never been outside the US. Unisex, also sometimes called family bathrooms are pretty common in the US these days. Maybe we should relabel them "confused" to make the transgenders more comfortable.


Mar-23-13 8:26 AM

Thats right worldview there are all ready unisex restrooms so there never was a problem... shoot we were howling at the moon for naught.


Mar-23-13 12:57 AM

In the big European airports most always there are ladies cleaning in the mens bathroom all the time, even while you are at the stall they are working in other areas cleaning etc. Millions of travelers go through this and do not even care. On the ladies side you are in your own stall and unless someone tries to get in your stall who cares. Oh, and what about Unisex bathrooms which are not uncommon in the USA. Maybe transgenders should be the only ones allowed in the Unisex bathrooms.

Crazies in legistlatures who spend time on extreme issues like this need to be removed, but alas they are what people get when they do not pay attention to the real problems in our society and personal lives and instead vote anti Democrat or anti Republican party-lines like robots. sad


Mar-22-13 12:39 PM

I need to clarify the ones I know who take medication for that condition are helped by the medication and do live a normal life. Those who decide to live the double life will always have mixed feelings and extra problems sprouting from those feelings.


Mar-22-13 12:34 PM

I know some people who were born with their chromosomes a little mixed up and they take medicine to help live a "normal" life. If those people are "normal" what are we? Believe me I do not despise any one for what they are or believe they are.


Mar-22-13 12:16 PM

It depends on how you define. These are people who may have a birth defect that makes them women in male bodies or men in female bodies. Some states have added gender identity to the list of people it is illegal to discriminate against. Massachusetts and New York, among other states, interpret that as giving these people access to the bathroom used by the gender they identify as. it will probably be up to the Supreme Court to deliver a final interpretation.


Mar-22-13 11:40 AM

The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that "no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause applies only to state governments, but the requirement of equal protection has been read to apply to the federal government as a component of Fifth Amendment due process.

It does say "equal protection of the laws", where does that say we can have individual laws for each person?


Mar-22-13 10:43 AM

The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does.


Mar-22-13 7:49 AM

I feel sorry for people who are so beat down they are afraid to say what they think even if it isn't PC. Andrea, you may be correct and these people may have always been around but who says we have to condone their actions and help preserve their unusual ways.


Mar-22-13 6:49 AM

Those whose brain is not working normally. Oh you mean people who don't prescribe to your belief system or are different from you. I feel sorry for close minded bigots.


Mar-21-13 11:19 AM

These people have always been around. It's just more acceptable to talk about their problems openly in 2013 than it used to be.


Mar-21-13 7:11 AM

It's all most Biblical with all the tormented people these days. I feel sorry for those whose brain is not working normally, I hope they get real help.


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