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

Tennessee lawmakers introduce "Police the Potty" bill

Gotta pee? I'll need to see some ID.
Senator Bo Watson and Rep. Richard Floyd of the Tennessee General Assembly want to know what's going on in the stall next to you in the bathroom. They filed a bill yesterday that seeks to police restrooms and dressing rooms in public buildings. The bill clearly targets transgender people born in the state of Tennessee.

The bill states "where a restroom or dressing room in a public building is designated for use by members of one particular sex, only members of that particular sex shall be permitted to use that restroom or dressing room."

SB2282/HB2279 defines sex as "the designation of an individual person as male or female as indicated on the individual’s birth certificate." Tennessee law already prohibits anyone born in the state from amending their gender on their birth certificate making this law one of the most vicious attack bills ever filed against transgender people in state government.

Violators of the proposed law would be considered guilty of a Class C misdemeanor and fined $50. 

As proposed, the "Police the Potty" bill will harm other Tennesseans too. While this bill clearly targets transgender people born in Tennessee, it could make criminals of parents accompanying their children into a restroom, custodial staff responsible for cleaning restrooms, attendants or family members assisting elderly or disabled people in the restroom. What will it cost the State of Tennessee to hire extra male or female custodial staff to clean public restrooms or security staff to check people's identification before entering a restroom?

With unemployment rates higher than the national average and poor educational outcomes in the State of Tennessee, it's alarming to see lawmakers champion legislation that will only bring unwanted embarrassment to our state. I suppose it's easier for some lawmakers to manufacture a problem, propose an invasive big government "solution", and target a small minority than to actually solve real problems in Tennessee.

- Jonathan Cole


Bianca said...

There are no words for how insane this is ... not only does this apply to transgender people, but I'm assuming I could also get in trouble for using the boy's room when the ladies' line is too long.

Melissa said...

One might also be fined for bringing their children of the opposite gender into the restroom. Asinine!