Officials in Cleveland are considering a bill that would allow transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
The bill would ban businesses and government buildings from citing a person’s gender identity or expression as a reason for denying them access to “bathrooms, showers, locker rooms or dressing facilities.”
Debates have erupted across the country as local governments consider expanding antidiscrimination laws to include transgender people. Supporters argue that transgender people face discrimination and harassment in public restrooms, and, as such, this bill facilitates a civil right to access basic public accommodations. Yet the arguments on both sides illustrate a larger tussle to steer national trends.
“It is about shaping a culture for inclusion,” Zoe Lapin, who supported the bill, testified before the committee. “It is not just about restrooms.”
Some supporters see bills like these as a catalyst for promoting broader mainstream acceptance for all LGBT people and curbing anti-transgender sentiment. Four transgender women were killed in Ohio within the past 19 months, according to a report from the Human Rights Campaign.
As usual, don’t read the comments. There will always be pushback, and we’re still figuring out how to get this movement going in mainstream society. But no matter what anyone says, everybody deserves access to safe and affirming public accommodations. Full stop.