INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 28, 2015)– An Indiana lawmaker says it should be a crime for people to use a public restroom that’s marked a gender different than the gender they were born.
The transgender community says this is a scare tactic, while the lawmaker says his bill is keeping up with a changing society.
“It’s a simple bill,” said Sen. Jim Tomes (R-District 49) “It’s just men use men’s restrooms and dressing rooms and women use the women’s restrooms and dressing rooms.”
The language of the bill goes a bit deeper than that. The law would make it a crime to intentionally use a public restroom or locker room opposite of your “biological gender.”
The transgender community is concerned about the bill and would like to talk to Sen. Tomes personally.
“He needs to sit down with transgender people and their families and learn what being transgender is really about,” said Annette Gross, a LGBT parent supporter. “Understand the terminology, the biology and everything that goes along with it.”
Violators would face up to a year in jail along with a fine as much as $5,000 if they were convicted of entering a bathroom that does not match up with their birth gender.
“It’s full of misinformation and misunderstanding and I think it’s a direct attack on the transgender community,” said Gross.
Sen. Tomes says the bill doesn’t target transgender people, but it does represent people who have concerns about a changing world that could impact their next trip to the bathroom.
“Shouldn’t we also ask about…what about the other sector of society of people that who have all through the decades women been using women’s restrooms and men been using men’s restrooms and kind of like that and kind of expect that level of privacy?”
All eyes will be on the Statehouse this year. Fallout from 2015’s RFRA fight will continue into 2016, with a new push to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s civil rights code.