A new ballot initiative in California could make using a public restroom awkward for most and very expensive for many. This trans-phobic initiative would force transgender people to choose a restroom in all public buildings, including public schools, colleges, and universities, based on their biological sex. If the transgender person uses a public restroom based on their gender identity, they could be fined a minimum of $4,000 by every individual who felt their privacy was violated by the transgender person using that restroom and by any person who refused to use the restroom because a transgender person was inside.
The initiative, titled the Personal Privacy Protection Act, was submitted by a group called Privacy For All. It was deemed “unconstitutional and unenforceable” by the executive director of the Transgender Law Center, who said that the proposed law “would dangerously single out Californians” and promote a “greater risk of harassment” as well as open “the state up to costly lawsuits,” the LA Times reports.1
Does the Law Have a Chance to Pass?
While the initiative is certainly unconstitutional, it is also extremely shortsighted. The group that submitted the initiative has evidently not considered how men will feel sharing a urinal with an extremely feminine trans-male, or how comfortable women may be sharing a restroom with a beefed up, extremely male trans-female.
The ballot proposal would need over 360,000 signatures before it could be included on the November 2016 ballot and voted on by Californians. Fortunately, some in the transgender community are showing the public how ridiculous these types of laws are.2
Well-known trans male Buck Angel has called for gender-neutral bathrooms rather than forcing trans males to use women’s bathrooms and trans females to use men’s bathrooms. Still, many U.S. states are trying to restrict the rights of transgender people to use restrooms in facilities that match their gender identity and presentation.
Transphobic legislation isn’t just a problem in California; Florida and Minnesota also have laws pending that would require transgender people to use public restrooms based on their birth gender, causing some to take to social media to show how hypocritical these types of laws are. According to The Montreal Gazette, one man posted photos of himself standing beside a female in a women’s restroom, with a caption stating that Florida and Minnesota would have transgender men like him sharing bathroom facilities with women. A transgender female also posted pictures of her standing in front of urinals in a men’s room, with a poster saying “PLETT Put Me Here,” referring to the Canadian transgender bill that would also have transgender people using restrooms based on their birth gender.
Share Your Feedback with Us
We at Wallin & Klarich would like to hear from you about the initiative proposed by Privacy for All. Do you agree with forcing transgender people to use a public restroom based on their birth gender? What are some of the reasons that would make these types of laws a good or bad idea? Should transgender people face fines for using public restrooms? Please, feel free to leave your comments below.