A Kentucky politician wants to force trans students to use the restrooms that correspond with their sex assigned at birth — and he proposed compensating anyone who sees a trans student in the “wrong bathroom” with “monetary damages.”
Sen. C.B. Embry Jr.’s proposed bill would ban transgender students from using the bathrooms, locker rooms and shower rooms that match their gender identity. And any student who sees a trans student in the “wrong” bathroom — even, say, a trans student fully clothed and washing their hands — they could be entitled to legal action against the school and $2,500 or more “for all psychological, emotional, and physical harm suffered.”
Embry claims in the bill that allowing trans students to use the bathrooms they identify with “will create a significant potential for disruption of school activities and unsafe conditions” and “will create potential embarrassment, shame, and psychological injury to students.” He also identified the legislation as an “emergency” bill because “situations currently exist in which the privacy rights of students are violated.”
There is no evidence that respecting trans identities will create unsafe environments in schools. So far, California’s statewide law protecting trans students has generated no such problems. This is no surprise, as many of the state’s schools already had such protections in place for many years without incident. That hasn’t stopped conservatives from trying to place transphobic parents in the spotlight, who claim that their daughters are unsafe simply because they saw a trans student in the bathroom — fully clothed.
Allowing trans students to use the bathrooms that will keep them safe and comfortable isn’t “psychologically, emotionally or physically harmful” to anyone. Bills like this, however, can be all three.
Bills like this tell transgender students that they don’t deserve the same rights as everyone else. Bills like this teach cis students to despise, target and harass trans students for going about their lives. Bills like this essentially criminalize being trans, and incentivize the act of calling trans people out for being “wrong.”
Bills like this are incredibly dangerous and must be stopped.