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Alabama City May Repeal Harsh Anti-Trans Ordinance

Oxford City Council President Steven Waits

The Oxford, Ala., City Council is considering repealing a controversial ordinance it approved last week, imposing fines and jail terms on transgender people for using public restrooms that match their gender identity.

The council will hold a special meeting at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday “to discuss potentially recalling” the ordinance, reports AL.com, a website for several Alabama newspapers.

The ordinance calls for a $500 file and a jail term of up to six months for using a public restroom or locker room not designated for the gender on a person’s birth certificate. The council approved it unanimously in response to big-box retailer Target’s recent announcement that its customers and employees are free to use the facilities that comport with their gender identity. Target’s announcement, in turn, was a response to the anti-trans House Bill 2 passed in North Carolina in March, which among other things bars trans people from using facilities appropriate for their gender identity, if those are located in government buildings.

In passing the Oxford law, council members drew on the debunked claim that allowing trans people to use restrooms matching their gender identity somehow creates a danger. The council adopted the measure “not out of concerns for the 0.3 percent of the population who identify as transgender,”  but “to protect our women and children,” Steven Waits (pictured above), president of the body, said at the time.

In reality, though more than 200 localities have trans-inclusive nondiscrimination policies on the books, there has never been a single verified report of a transgender person assaulting a cisgender (nontrans) person in a restroom, nor has there ever been a confirmed report of someone “pretending” to be transgender to gain access to sex-segregated spaces with nefarious purposes.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Alabama affiliate is considering a legal challenge to the Oxford ordinance, and a rally to protest the law is scheduled for Saturday, AL.com reports.

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