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Extremist Legislation'? Transgender Bathroom Proposal in Ariz. Sparks Controversy

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PHOENIX (TheBlaze/AP) -- There's an epic battle brewing over transgender rights and whether or not these individuals should be allowed to use bathrooms that correspond with genders other than those they were born with.

While some lawmakers across the country have long argued that such allowances make members of the public uncomfortable, human rights activists have posited that transgendered Americans should have this right.

In Arizona, the debate is heating up, with some lawmakers pushing to prohibit anyone not associated with their birth gender from using public restrooms, showers and dressing rooms in the nation's latest tussle over equal rights for transgender people.

The proposal comes less than a month after the city of Phoenix passed a human rights ordinance prohibiting gender identity discrimination in public accommodations.

That measure and the proposed Arizona law represent opposite sides of a growing national debate over equal access to public restrooms for transgender people.

In Arizona, Republican Rep. John Kavanagh wants to make it a misdemeanor for a person to use a public facility associated with a gender other than what's on his or her birth certificate. The Bill, SB 1432, would constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor, costing offenders up to $2,500 in fines and up to six months in jail.

Photo Credit: ShutterStock.com

AZCentral.com has more:

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, wants to create Arizona’s first law governing restroom privileges. Under Senate Bill 1432, someone would be guilty of disorderly conduct if he or she uses a bathroom, locker room or dressing room that’s not designated for the sex listed on his or her birth certificate. [...]

Councilman Tom Simplot, who is openly gay and pushed the reforms, said if SB 1432 becomes law, it would criminalize the “very nature” of being transgender, a term used to describe people who identify as a sex different than that they were born as.

“They’re creating a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” Simplot said of the proposal. “This kind of extremist legislation is exactly what brings criticism to Arizona and compromises our work to make Phoenix an accepting and competitive city.”

National transgender advocates say Arizona's proposed law would be the toughest standard in the nation if it passes.

What do you think? Should transgendered people be able to use public facilities associated with their preferred gender?

Photo Credit: ShutterStock.com


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