A Chattanooga lawmaker says he makes no apologies for his bill that prohibits transgender people from using use public bathrooms and dressing rooms that don’t match the gender listed on their birth certificates, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, said today he introduced the bill after reading a news article about a Texas woman who said she was fired from Macy’s after blocking a male teen dressed as a woman from using a dressing room.
“It could happen here,” Floyd said. “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.”
Floyd’s bill, sponsored by Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, in the Senate, makes such acts a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a $50 fine.
The legislation is already triggering condemnation in the gay and liberal blogosphere.
Jonathan Cole of the Tennessee Equality Project, dubbed it the “Police the Potty” bill, noting state law already prohibits anyone born in the state from amending their gender of birth certificates.
Note: A news release on the matter from the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition is below.
News release from Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition:
The Second Session of the 107th Tennessee General Assembly convened on Tuesday, and it did not take long for the members to set the bar lower than ever before in introducing bad legislation.
Just a little over 48 hours ago, the Bathroom Harassment Act (SB 2282/HB 2279) was filed by two Hamilton County Republicans, Senator Bo Watson of Hixson and Representative Richard Floyd of Chattanooga.
The Bathroom Harassment Act restricts access to public restrooms and public dressing rooms designated by sex to members of that particular sex. Using the person’s birth certificate, a person would face a Class C Misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $50.
The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition feels that while this bill is a direct attack on the rights of Tennessee’s transgender community, transgender people would not be the only people harassed under this bill should it become law. It would affect lots of other gender variant and gender non conforming people who do not necessarily identify as trans. Furthermore, it would criminalize plumbers and cleaning personnel who operate in restrooms the opposite of their birth gender.
The bill would also affect families who take their children with them into restrooms in shopping malls, restaurants, theaters, and sporting events. Are we now going to arrest the parents, or children, or both, for violating this new law?
Tennessee also has many people who visit the state to enjoy our many tourist sites, from Dollywood to Graceland, as well as to transfer at Tennessee airports in Memphis and Nashville. If any of them wish to use a restroom while they are in the state and they do not have their birth certificates with them to prove identity, are we now going to arrest them?
We are also curious to see how Senator Watson and Representative Floyd intend to set up this new Bathroom Identification bureacracy. Who will be responsible for checking everyone’s birth certificates? If a person does not carry their birth certificate with them, will they be denied access to a facility? And how do they intend to pay for this new Big Government agency in the bathroom stalls? Do they propose raising taxes, or will they seek to cut the budgets of superflous agencies like Department of Education or Department of Health? Does this mean that doctors, nurses, and teachers are less important than Bathroom stall monitors?
There are also serious Constitutional questions surrounding this bill, since the Fourth Amendment protects persons “from unreasonable searches and seizures.”
While there have been many attempts to scare people about transgender people using bathrooms, including a well circulated video previously used in anti-transgender campaigns in Florida and Michigan, the only documented incidents all show the transgender person as the victims, not the perpatrators of the abuse. The April 2011 beating of Chrissy Lee Polis at a Baltimore McDonald’s led to charges of Hate Crimes in Maryland against the two women who beat Ms. Polis. In Tennessee, they would probably be hired as supervisors in the new Tennessee Bathroom Security Agency.
We feel this bill is the latest in a growing string of embarrassing bills in Tennessee.
The release concludes by urging readers to contact Watson and Floyd, providing their legislative office phone numbers, to oppose the bill.