In current years, the United States of America has witnessed an upward surge in the number of transgender Americans. Such trajectory of transgender progress has however been met with a backlash from some American legislators and anti-transgender activists. To restrict the upward trajectory of transgender Americans, most legislators are considering legislating anti-transgender laws. An example of such legal guidelines is the Senate bill, no six popularly known as the bathroom bill in the nation of Texas which aimed at restricting transgender Americans from accessing gendered bathrooms and locker rooms. Therefore, the pass by anti-transgender legislators and activists to legislate laws that prevent transgender human beings from using bathrooms and locker rooms is aimed at denying them their right of access to the use of gendered public facilities.
The Texas bathroom bill that sought to determine and restrict the bathrooms and locker rooms that could be used by transgender persons in public buildings and schools died in the Texas legislature at the end of a special a legislative session. The failure of the bill, therefore, led to the worsening of ideological differences in the Republican Party since the law was sponsored by Governor Dan Patrick who is a lieutenant republican. The bill received stiff opposition from several groups such as pro-gay and transgender activists, religious groups, and both the Democratic and Republican Legislators who viewed the bill to be discriminatory (Fernandez, 1).
Anti-transgender activists and legislators proposed the bathroom bill in an attempt to regulate the usage of bathrooms to match with the gender that a person was born with instead of gender identity. The passage of the bathroom law could, therefore, restrict transgender persons accessing public bathrooms. The inability to have transgender to access public restrooms will force them into bathrooms that are not consistent with their gender which will risk their safety (Movement Advancement Project, 4). According to Movement Advancement Project, the bathroom bill could also lead to the stigmatization of LGBTs since they will be required to use segregated restrooms which are often unavailable forcing them to entirely avoid using public toilets which will cause them both physical and mental health problems.
By enacting the bathroom bill in Texas, it will require individuals using public restrooms to proof their sex. It will, therefore, be impossible to identify or recognize transgender persons just by looking at them. According to studies, there is an overdependence on certificates of birth for proof of one’s gender for most of bathroom bills (Movement Advancement Project, 9). Therefore, the passing of the bathroom bill in Texas will also require all people living in Texas always to carry their birth certificates and produce it whenever demanded. Such an attempt will be an impossible quest to the government, and it will be unconstitutional since it will constitute invading people’s privacy.
According to Movement Advancement Project, most bathroom bills are unclear on who is responsible for enforcement. The lack of clarity on who is tasked to enforce these laws exposes them to abuse by business people, law enforcers, and even members of the public. For instance, the state of North Carolina which has enacted the act, the law requires schools to restrict students from accessing washrooms and changing rooms that are inconsistent with the sex indicated on their birth certificates. However, it is not reported by law how the law will be enforced. Studies also show that Bathroom bills do not explain how compliance with the bathroom ban laws will be achieved. For instance, bathroom bills are not clear on the penalty that state agencies and schools will incur if they fail to check to ensure that students, employees, and visitors use bathrooms that are consistent with their biological gender (Movement Advancement Project, 10). It will, therefore, be difficult for Texas just like other states to enforce and ensure compliance with the bathroom bill.
Bathroom bills targeting transgender people also pose severe mental health problems to this group of people. The mental health problems that affect transgender persons can be attributed to discrimination in public accommodation based on their gender identity (Wang et al., 7). For instance, studies show that 68 percent of transgender people had negative emotional symptoms that include, feeling sad, upset or frustrated. In addition to health problems, discrimination in of transgender people at civic restrooms also has significant effects on their education, employment, and public participation. For instance, studies in states that have enacted bathroom bills such as Washington DC, 70% of transgender people report to have been assaulted, harassed, or restricted access to public restrooms. Such maltreatment according to studies had a negative impact on students since most of them dropped out of school or increased absenteeism. On the other hand, discrimination contributed to poor job performance, absenteeism and a lot of tardiness for the majority of employed transgender persons while most of the transgender people avoided public places due to discrimination (Wang et al., 7). It is therefore essential to give transgender people access to public restrooms since it is fundamental in giving them equal access to education, employment, and socializing opportunities.
Businesses prefer operating in states where there is an enabling legal environment to do business. Due to the vagueness of bathroom ban laws regarding enforcement and compliance, they, therefore, create unfavorable business stimuli because of the risk of lawsuits due to non-enforcement and respect of the bathroom bill (Movement Advancement Project, 18). Also, it should be noted that the unfavorable business environment as a result of the bathroom ban laws on transgender persons will prompt investors to move their business away from the state. Likewise, the enactment of the bathroom bill will also discourage external investors and visitors from investing and visiting the country which will harm the state’s economy. For instance, opponents of the bathroom bill are cautious that Texas economy might be hurt like that of North Carolina which had passed the same bill the previous year (Fernandez, 1).
The bathroom bill is discriminatory since it seeks to restrict transgender persons from accessing public restrooms which will lead to inequalities regarding access to education, equal employment opportunities and socialization of transgender people. It is also necessary to note that the bathroom bills are often not clear regarding enforcement and compliance which could lead to abuse of the laws by business people, law enforcers, and even the private citizens. It is also notable that passing the bathroom bill can negatively harm the state’s economy since investors will move their businesses out of the state and foreign investors will be discouraged from investing in the country due to the risk of lawsuits that will be associated with the non-enforcement and non-compliance of the bathroom bill.
Fernandez, Manny. “Texas Bathroom Bill Dies Again, Raising Republican Acrimony.” The New York Times, New York, 16 Aug. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/08/16/us/politics/texas-bathroom-bill-dies-again-raising-republican-acrimony.html. Accessed 7 Oct. 2017.
Movement Advancement Project. The Facts: Bathroom Safety, Nondiscrimination Laws, and Bathroom Ban Laws. Movement Advancement Project, 2016. www.lgbtmap.org/file/bathroom-ban-laws.pdf.
Wang, Timothy, et al. State Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bills Threaten Transgender People’s Health and Participation in Public Life. 2016. fenwayhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/COM-2485-Transgender-Bathroom-Bill-Brief_v8-pages.pdf.