Utah joins 10 other states in regulating bathroom access for transgender people


Utah has become the latest state to regulate bathroom access for transgender people after Republican Governor Spencer Cox signed a law Tuesday that allows people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government-owned buildings. Those who match their sex assigned at the time of birth.

Under the law, transgender people can defend themselves against complaints by proving that they have undergone gender-affirmation surgery and changed the sex on their birth certificate. Opponents said that not all states allow people to change their birth certificates and that many trans people do not want to have surgery.

The law also requires schools to create "privacy plans" for trans students and others who may not be comfortable using group bathrooms, for example allowing them to use faculty bathrooms — opponents say. That transgender children may be "outed" by this.

"We want public facilities that are safe and welcoming for everyone, and this bill expands privacy protections for everyone," Cox said in a statement Tuesday night.

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utah The bill requires any new government buildings to include single-occupant bathrooms and for the state to consider adding more bathrooms to increase privacy protections in existing government buildings. It did not provide any funding for such upgrades.

The sponsor, Republican Representative Kira Birkeland, said she was trying to make it illegal for a naked man to be in a bathroom with an 8-year-old girl. She said the situation happened at a public facility in Salt Lake County and officers said they couldn't do anything about it because the man said he was trans.

Opponents argued that the law should target the behavior and not transgender residents and visitors.

"This bill perpetuates discrimination, unnecessarily hinders the everyday needs of people in Utah, and is harmful against transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people," the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah said Tuesday. And risks discriminatory enforcement.” A letter urging the governor to veto the law.

"This merely invites scrutiny of people who are transgender or are considered transgender when they are legally going about their lives," the letter said.

Anyone who uses a changing room or locker room that does not match their sex assigned at birth may be charged with trespassing if "the person enters or remains in the changing room under such circumstances, Which a reasonable person might expect to cause offense or alarm, under the law, upon or in the presence of another person.

Those who violate the law may also be charged with loitering, obscenity or voyeurism depending on their behavior.

Opponents said the law would still legally require a trans man who is taking testosterone and has grown facial hair to use women's bathrooms and locker rooms.

"I know that no one cares that a transgender woman comes into their bathroom, uses it for its intended purpose and walks out," Birkeland said. "That's not what this bill is about."

The bill easily passed the Republican-controlled House and Senate on January 26, when a conference committee amended it to clarify that public school students could not face criminal charges for using the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Can be applied. Equality Utah, a nonprofit organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, advocated for the amendment but still opposed the bill.

No lawmakers or members of the public spoke against the part of the bill that allows states to enforce certain federal Title IX provisions, including equal opportunities for male and female athletes in schools, as well as equal Equal access to facilities and favorite sports and practice times is required. ,

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