Nevada is the latest state to jump on the transphobic bandwagon, introducing legislation that seeks to restrict transgender students' access to the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender.
Republican Assembleywoman Vicki Dooling proposed Assembly Bill 375 earlier this month, targeting transgender students in public schools using the restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, reports Zack Ford at ThinkProgress.
The Nevada bill follows on the heels of similar laws targeting trans students proposed in Texas, Minnesota, and Kentucky (the latter of which recently failed), as well as laws proposed in Florida, Texas, and Missouri that would bar trans citizens from using bathrooms that accord with their gender identities in public spaces.
In addition to its facilities provisions, ThinkProgress notes that AB 375 proposes limits to Nevada's sex education, restricting students' ages, who can teach the curriculum, and forbidding "explicit depictions of sexual activity."
Like the other so-called bathroom bills, AB 375 attempts to define sex simply as a physical characteristic: "the biological condition of being male or female as determined at birth based on physical differences or, if necessary, at the chromosomal level."
Should a trans student express the need to use the bathroom, AB 375 suggests that the student be provided a unisex bathroom or separate stall.
Responding to similar legislation introduced around the country this year, trans advocates nationwide have pointed out that separate facilities stigmatize trans youth, while defining a bathroom user's gender solely on anatomy — including the impractical approach of checking chromosomes — fails to achieve the bills' commonly stated purpose of protecting student safety and privacy. In such scenarios, trans students could easily find their own privacy violated, while research has shown that it is trans people who are far more likely to face physical or verbal violence in a restroom, as compared to their cisgender (nontrans) peers.
"Transgender students already face significant challenges just trying to life their lives authentically, often encountering a hostile school environment simply because of who they are," explained Transgender Legal and Defense Education Fund's executive director Michael Silverman in a statement. "Denying these students the ability to use a bathroom that matches who they are compromises their safety and jeopardizes their well-being in school."
Activists in Canada and the U.S. are currently working to steer such conversations away from fear-mongering images of trans people as predators, and back to the reasons why trans people use restrooms and locker rooms: for the same reasons as everyone else. Many have begun taking selfie pictures in public bathrooms that do not match their gender identity — the facilities they would be required to use if these bills became law — using the viral hashtag #WeJustNeedToPee to illustrate the absurdity of the proposals.
Currently, Florida's transphobic legislation has passed two votes in the House, while Kentucky's bill died after a last-ditch effort to tack it onto unrelated legislation. While the fates of the other proposed laws remains to be seen, TLDEF has stated that the bills "should fail," pointing out that they are a violation of Title IX's antidiscrimination provisions, which the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education recently clarified extend to gender identity.