By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com April 13 2013 7:00 AM ET
On the latest episode of his web series Gwissues, publicist Howard Bragman hosted an intense conversation between Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, Cristan Williams, director of the Transgender Foundation of America, and Arizona Rep. John Kavanagh, who introduced state legislation that would allow businesses to prohibit transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
Kavanagh said his bill came about in response to a Phoenix civil rights ordinance that "made it a criminal act for a business to discriminate against a transgendered person in" a locker room, shower, or bathroom.
Kavanagh admits that his initial response, which he says never proposed in the law, "was to create a counter-law which would have made it disorderly conduct for a member of one sex to intentionally enter those facilities of another, with certain exceptions for children." Kavanagh says he soon realized "that was overreach," and so he modified his bill.
Kavanagh's described the current legislation, Kavanagh's legislation, which passed a Republican-controlled Senate appropriations committee on a party-line vote on March 28, as a law that "simply prevents any locality from creating a crime for a business to designate these private-type facilities for male or female, and enforcing that."
Davis and Williams disagreed with that assessment, saying Kavanagh's bill doesn't recognize the reality of how many transgender Americans live.
"Many transgender people live very quiet lives," said Davis. "In just about every community in the United States. And [they] use restrooms and facilities without incident. This is really a solution without a problem."
Nevertheless, Kavanagh believes the chances of his bill passing are "excellent." "I think this bill represents the mores of our society," continued Kavanagh. "People just don't believe that this type of behavior is appropriate."
Watch the conversation below, which exposes how little Kavanagh actually knows about transgender people.