Target: Steven Waits, Oxford City Council President
Goal: Repeal a transphobic and discriminatory ordinance that makes using a bathroom based on one’s gender identity a misdemeanor.
Trans people are prohibited from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity by an ordinance passed by the city of Oxford, Alabama, the Associated Press reports. According to Oxford City Council President Steven Waits, the ordinance was passed in response to Target’s pledge to allow its customers and employees to use the bathroom that best corresponds to their gender identity. The law makes using the “wrong” bathroom a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail or a $500 fine.
According to Police Chief Bill Partridge, an officer would have to be alerted to the “crime” by a citizen and then witness it in action to make an arrest, which raises the question–how effective will the ordinance be in stopping bathroom usage? It seems that its sole function will be to legitimize the harassment of trans men and women.
Human rights groups have also jumped to criticize the ordinance. Eva Walton Kendrick, the Alabama State Manager of the Human Rights Commission, calls the law “a shameful and vile attack on the rights and privacy of transgender people.”
Oxford’s city ordinance is blatantly hateful and discriminatory. Sign the petition and demand that it be overturned.
Dear Mr. Waits,
I am writing to express my deep disappointment in Oxford’s decision to make using a bathroom inconsistent with one’s birth gender a misdemeanor. This law is incredibly discriminatory, legitimizes the harassment of trans men and women, and will be difficult to enforce. I urge you to repeal it.
In addition to being transphobic, the law will be difficult to enforce and will needlessly divert police attention from other issues. According to Police Chief Bill Partridge, citizens with complaints about trans people using the “wrong” bathroom will have to call the police, and the police will have to witness the action actually taking place in order to do anything about it. Given that most people would be finished with the bathroom before the police could arrive at the scene, the law will simply result in police resources being wasted on a complaints that are already irrelevant.
I urge you to rethink the consequences of this law, which has been condemned by human rights advocates and many others. Please repeal the ordinance and make Oxford a more inclusive place.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: MALIZ ONG