Bathroom bills are back—broader and stricter—in several states

Bathroom bills are back—broader and stricter—in several states

Republican lawmakers in several states have resurrected and expanded the fight over whether transgender people may use bathrooms and other facilities that do not match their sex assigned at birth.

At least one bill goes so far as making it a crime for a transgender person to enter a facility that doesn’t match the sex listed on their birth certificate.

The debate has been popping up in statehouses across the nation in recent months, predominantly in conservative, rural states, including at a hearing of the Arizona Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee in February. Proponents of that state’s SB 1628, which defines “male,” “female,” and other terms through rigid definitions of biological sex, argued that women’s rights are at stake. Opponents disagreed and said the language would erase transgender people from state statute and remove legal protections.

The bill states that Arizona may provide “separate single-sex” environments for males and females, including within athletics, living facilities, locker rooms, bathrooms, domestic violence shelters, and sexual assault crisis centers, meaning that transgender women could be prohibited from entering such spaces meant for women. Researchers have found that transgender women experience assault at a rate nearly four times as high as cisgender women.

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