Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Police the Potty bill flushed?

Has the "Police the Potty" bill
been safely flushed?
In the span of one day, the "Police the Potty" bill (SB2282/HB2279) was filed by State Representative Richard Floyd (R-Chattanooga) and Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixson) and then withdrawn by the Senate sponsor. Earlier in the day, I described how the proposed bill would criminalize the use of restrooms by  transgender people, "parents accompanying their children into a restroom, custodial staff responsible for cleaning restrooms, [and] attendants or family members assisting elderly or disabled people in the restroom."

When asked to defend his House bill, Rep. Floyd stated that he would "stomp a mudhole" in any transgender woman who would trouble his wife or daughters:
I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry. . . . We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts. Now if somebody thinks he’s a woman and he’s a man and wants to try on women’s clothes, let them him take them into the men’s bathroom or dressing room. Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk. I’m just sick and tired the way this thing’s been going.
The Urban Dictionary defines "stomp a mudhole" as something so graphic and horrifying that I cannot bring myself to include it here, except by link. To read such violent intent voiced by a State Representative raises serious doubts about the fitness of Rep. Floyd to serve his district and the State of Tennessee.

Within hours of Rep. Floyd's statement, the Senate sponsor of the "Police the Potty" bill withdrew his version of the bill saying:
I understand Rep. Floyd’s passion about the issue, but we have more pressing issues before us that we need to focus our attention on and we don’t need to get sidetracked.
I hope that Senator Watson will take greater care in reviewing the legislation that he is asked to sponsor in the future.

Tennessee Equality Project and many others moved swiftly to attack the viciousness of this bill. While I am grateful for the support of local, state and national advocates who spoke against the Police the Potty bill, we are not yet out of the woods.

The filing deadline for new bills in this session of the legislature is January 26, 2012. There are 32 other senators who may agree to sponsor this bill in the State Senate. Tennessee Equality Project will not rest from its watch until that deadline has passed. In the meantime, be vigilant fellow Tennesseans. The "Police the Potty" bill remains a threat to civil liberties until we can be certain that no one steps forward to sponsor this bill in the Senate.

- Jonathan Cole 

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