Legislative Republicans have introduced bills that would restrict the right of transgender people to use the restroom, locker room or changing room that is appropriate. While introduced under the guise of public safety, the truth is that public safety is not endangered when transgender people are allowed to simply use a restroom appropriate to their gender identity. While not solving any problem, these bills actually create hazards for transgender people — especially transgender students, who are already very likely to be bullied, and who would be further ostracized if these bills are signed into law.
Senate Bill 993, sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson, would require a transgender student to get parental permission before being allowed to use the appropriate restroom at school. This bill claims to protect parental rights while giving transgender students an avenue to use the appropriate restroom or locker room at school. However, it offers no protection to students whose parents won’t accept them as transgender. Furthermore, by setting aside separate bathrooms or locker rooms for transgender students, as the bill suggests, transgender students will be ostracized and set up for further bullying and abuse.
House Bill 5717, sponsored by Rep. Jim Runestad, goes even further. It is an outright ban on transgender people using the appropriate restroom or locker room in any government-owned building, including schools and public universities. It would also void township and municipal ordinances that extend protections to transgender individuals. Currently, 33 local governments in Michigan extend some sort of civil rights protections to transgender individuals.
Be assured that the we will fight both of these proposals. We are also fighting for an expansion to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act that will guarantee civil rights for all members of the LGBT community.