Don’t Criminalize Transgender People for Using ‘Wrong’ Bathroom

Target: Arizona state legislators

Goal: To stop the criminalization of transgender people’s use of public restrooms not designated by their birth gender.

Arizona lawmakers are attempting to pass a bill that would force transgender individuals to use public restrooms, showers, and dressing rooms that are designated with their birth gender. This bill backed by conservative legislators is a thinly veiled backlash against recently passed legislation in Phoenix that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations. Under the proposed law, violators could face a $4,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Besides the obvious questions of legitimacy and enforcement surrounding this so-called “bathroom bill,” it criminalizes a fact of life for transgender people. Transgender individuals in America are already forced to live in a society in which there are only two accepted genders. This fact alone causes numerous political, physical, and societal disadvantages, as well as psychological issues that come along with being excluded as a minority group. Attempting to control where a group is “allowed” to use public accommodations, particularly a necessity like a toilet, is not only ridiculous, but it relegates the group to a second-class status.

In addition to the discriminatory nature of this bill, it also completely ignores the fact that gender is a social construct. Gender identity is an individual’s knowledge of his or her gender, which may be different from the gender they were born with. Gender expression, on the other hand, is the presentation of gender, such as how a person talks, walks, or dresses. Because of the nebulous nature of human sexuality, it is nearly impossible to legislate on this type of issue. As Representative Tom Simplot puts it, “They’re creating a problem that doesn’t exist.” Sign the petition below to tell Arizona legislators that this illegitimate, unwarranted bill must be stopped.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Representative John Kavanagh and Arizona legislators,

The new bill that would force transgender individuals to use public restrooms, showers, and dressing rooms that are designated with their birth gender is, quite simply, ridiculous, invasive, and discriminatory. It attempts to control an aspect of human nature that is—and should be—private: using the restroom.

Besides the obvious questions of legitimacy and enforcement surrounding this so-called “bathroom bill,” it criminalizes a fact of life for transgender people. Transgender individuals in America are already forced to live in a society in which there are only two accepted genders. This fact alone causes numerous political, physical, and societal disadvantages, as well as psychological issues that come along with being excluded as a minority group. To extend discrimination into where an individual can or cannot use a basic public accommodation is not only unnecessary, but it intrudes on a part of life in which the government has absolutely no business.

In addition to the discriminatory nature of this bill, it also completely ignores the fact that gender is a social construct. Gender identity is an individual’s knowledge of his or her gender, which may be different from the gender they were born with. Gender expression, on the other hand, is the presentation of gender, such as how a person talks, walks, or dresses. Because of the nebulous nature of human sexuality, it is nearly impossible to legislate on this type of issue. In fact, there truly is no “issue” in this situation that warrants regulation. It is a waste of time and resources and impedes upon the rights of Americans. We demand that you do not pass this bill.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Nemo via Pixabay

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