New bill aims to make Virginia transgender students, citizens pay $50 if they use the “incorrect” bathroom
Virginia republicans have set their sites on transgender people around the state and a new bill aims to put transgender youth on the chopping block as well.
HB 663, Use of restroom facilities; penalty, aims to requires 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.
The bill gives some room to transgender people – upon request they could use “a single stall restroom or shower, a unisex bathroom, or controlled individual use of a restroom, locker room, or shower,” meaning a transgender person would have to ask to use the bathroom at the DMV, forcing them to out themselves. Similarly, a student would have to ask school officials for a separate but equal restroom.
“It is sad to see the number of bills introduced this session targeted at ensuring that schools and other governmental agencies can purposely discriminate against transgender adults and children in Virginia,” said Clair Gastañaga, Executive Director of the Virginia ACLU. ”At a time when we should be working to end discrimination against all LGBT Virginians, and in a state where the overwhelming majority of Virginians agree that such discrimination should end, these bills are nothing more than ineffective, mean-spirited efforts to deny LGBT people in Virginia their constitutional and human rights.”
Sponsored by Del. Mark Cole (R-88), HB 663 mirrors other bills around the country, nick named “pay to pee” laws, which criminalize bathroom use for people whose gender identity is different from the gender they’re born with and force them to pay a fee for using the restroom .
Meanwhile the state of Washington recently passed a law which specifically allows transgender people to use public and private restrooms aligned with their gender identity. Though it was a clarification on a 2006 law which banned discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identity.
Many of these bills targeting transgender students are believed to be linked to the current lawsuit Gloucester County is facing by transgender student Gavin Grimm. Gloucester became one of the first counties in the state to force students to use the restroom aligned with their birth gender, not their gender identity. Grimm’s suit is set to go before the Federal Court in Richmond at the end of this month.
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