BREAKING: House sub-committee passes bill criminalizing transgender bathroom use
UPDATE: HB781 was killed in committee today. Read more here
A proposed bill in the General Assembly that stigmatizes transgender youth and adults and forces them to use incorrect restrooms in schools and government buildings was passed in a subcommittee Thursday afternoon.
The House voted to report Del. Mark Cole (R., Fredericksburg)’s HB 781 which aims to require the Director of the Department of General Services and all state school boards to implement policies for every “public building on property that is owned, leased, or controlled by the Commonwealth and every public school restroom, locker room, and shower room that is designated for use by a specific gender” to be used solely by those whose “anatomical sex matches such gender designation.”
If anyone, including students, violates this policy, they will be charged a $50 civil penalty. That money will go toward the state’s literary fund. Tickets will be issued by police officers.
Many opponents and advocates of the bill came to speak before the subcommittee including The Family Foundation, the ACLU, and transgender students from Appomattox Regional Governors School.
Cole said the issue was brought to him by a group of parents in Stafford County who had a “situation at an elementary school” along with the Stafford School Board.
“It’s designed to protect the privacy of people,” Cole (pictured below) said.
“All of us have great compassion for people who are struggling with their gender identity and self hated issues,” she said. “We dont think this is the way to do it by exposing other children.”
Roxanne Edwards (pictured below), a local transgender architect, spoke out against the bill.
“I think the ignorance that is fostered in a lot of these discussions is the fact that you do not really know transgender people,” Edwards said. “They don’t really understand whats happening to children. I would call on you to either table this or do something different until we find out some more information.”
Appomattox Regional Governors School Senior Andrew Wilson (top image, right) drove up from Petersburg to voice his concerns for the bill.
“House bill 781 and House Bill 663 would penalize me and fine me f0r using the correct bathroom, ” Wilson, who identifies as transgender, said. “These bills would also separate me from the rest of my teammates which is downright humiliating. It’s discriminatory and I wish you would see the negative impactions this has on transgender people like myself and others across the Commonwealth.”
Cole had two similar bills, 781 and 663, however 663 was removed leaving 781. The big difference is 781 removes the option for students to use a single stall restroom.
781 passed the subcommittee, We’ll update the vote numbers when we can. It’s next stop will be a full hearing at the House General Laws Committee in the coming week.
In a fight for three transgender students’ rights to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity, national legal organization Lambda Legal took their battle against Pine-Richland School District to the Pennsylvania District Court Thursday. In October, Lambda Legal, who works to fight for the rights of LGBTQ individuals and those with HIV, filed a [...]December 2, 2016
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