Indiana’s Anti-Transsexual Bill
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
Indiana is not in the avant garde of civil rights. Trust me on this: I have relatives there, visited the state many times and attended law school there. I know Indiana well enough to know the state is not in the forefront of any new-fangled idea like civil rights. An example of the “BOOOOO…THOSE SCARY TRANSSEXUALS ARE GONNA GET YOU” attitude displayed in Indiana is accessible on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd5HqGax6tA
The latest evidence is Indiana’s SB 35, a bill introduced to stop transsexuals from using public bathrooms, locker rooms and/or showers that don’t match their birth genders. The bill would basically force people to prove their chromosomes before using public sex-specific facilities.
SB 35 has 2 basic provisions. First, it prohibits schools from allowing transgender students to use sex-specific school facilities matching their current gender identities; rather, students would be forced to use sex-specific facilities matching the genders listed on their birth certificates.
That first prohibition runs directly contrary to Title IX. On the Federal level, U. S. Code Title 20 governs Education and includes Title IX of the Federal Education Amendments of 1972. While states adopt their own common laws and statutes, they must adhere to federal requirements, such as Title IX’s prohibition against discrimination based on gender. The Department of Education has already consistently found that schools cannot prohibit access to sex-specific facilities by transgender students on the basis of their gender identity.
SB 35’s 2nd basic provision targets transsexuals who are 18 or older and not public school students. According to the bill, a transsexual adult using sex-specific public bathrooms, locker rooms and/or showers that do not match his/her birth gender has committed “single sex public facility trespass,” a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
The 2nd provision logically seems doomed because of federal law and rulings dating back at least several years; Title VII and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rulings barring discrimination against transgender individuals both leap to mind, though there are others.
While Indiana’s SB 35 is comical, it is not uniquely discriminatory. In fact, Indiana’s bill mirrors bills introduced to state legislatures in Florida, Kentucky, Nevada and Texas. Despite the determination of anti-transsexual forces, the bills are hopeless, based on federal anti-discrimination laws and rulings.
By Kathy Catanzarite
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