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Idaho Gov. Signs Anti-Trans 'Bathroom Bill,' Other Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation

Idaho Gov. Signs Anti-Trans 'Bathroom Bill,' Other Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation

Idaho Gov. Brad Little

His action comes shortly after the signing of "bathroom bills" in Arkansas and Iowa.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed an anti-transgender “bathroom bill” into law, along with a bill that could force school personnel to out LGBTQ+ students to parents.

Senate Bill 100, which the Republican governor signed Thursday, bars trans students in public schools from using multi-occupancy restrooms, changing rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity. Every such facility is to be designated for “male persons only or female persons only.”

Anyone who encounters a person of what the bill calls the “opposite sex” in one of these facilities can sue the school district and, if successful, receive $5,000 for each instance.

The Idaho Family Policy Center, a Christian right group, drafted the bill, TV station KTVB reports. The group’s website says that one of its priorities is promoting legislation that “recognizes biblical truths in sexuality and gender.”

The bill states that sharing restrooms and other facilities with “members of the opposite biological sex generates potential embarrassment, shame, and psychological injury … as well as increasing the likelihood of sexual assault, molestation, rape, voyeurism, and exhibitionism.” This plays into the myth that trans people are predators or that people will pretend to be trans to gain access to restrooms and other single-sex spaces.

Those who don’t wish to use the facility designated for their birth sex can receive what the bill calls “reasonable accommodations” if they make a request in writing. Those accommodations don’t include multi-user spaces.

The bill passed along party lines, Republicans for, Democrats against. Democratic Sen. Rick Just told CNN he voted against it largely because of the lawsuit provision. “I don’t believe it’s helpful to encourage citizens to seek damages whenever they feel aggrieved in the slightest way,” he said.

Little also signed House Bill 163, a “parents’ rights” measure that requires public schools to notify parents or guardians of any changes in students’ mental health. It could lead to outing of LGBTQ+ students, the Human Rights Campaign notes.

He is expected to soon sign Senate Bill 1016, which “expressly allows public works contractors to refuse to provide transgender people access to bathrooms consistent with their gender identity,” according to an HRC press release.

HRC condemned the spate of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. “LGBTQ+ people in Idaho deserve the opportunity to live their lives with dignity and respect,” State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley said in the release. “Unfortunately, the bills that Gov. Little is signing into law will make life harder on LGBTQ+ folks across the state. These bills will not accomplish anything other than to further alienate and stigmatize those already on the margins of life in this state.”

Bills restricting trans people’s restroom access in schools were recently signed into law in Arkansas and Iowa as well. More than 420 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in state legislatures across the country this year, including more “bathroom bills” than in any previous year, according to HRC.

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