A bill introduced in Kentucky would keep transgender students from using restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity -- and allow students to sue if they encounter a trans student in such spaces.
Rep. David Hale, a Republican, prefiled the bill last week for consideration in the state's upcoming legislative session, which begins January 7, The Courier-Journal of Louisville reports. It claims that allowing trans students to use the sex-segregated spaces aligning with their gender identity creates "a significant potential for disruption of school activities and unsafe conditions" as well as "potential embarrassment, shame and psychological injury" for cisgender students. It dubs the situation an emergency.
Trans students who request accommodations with parental consent could be allowed use of a single-stall restroom, a unisex restroom, or faculty facilities, but not "student restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms designated for use by students of the opposite biological sex while students of the opposite biological sex are present or could be present," the legislation reads.
School officials would be responsible for enforcing the policy, and if any student encounters a trans student in one of the forbidden facilities, they could take legal action against their school district. "The offending school shall be civilly liable to a student who is aggrieved under this subsection and who prevails in a court of jurisdiction prescribed by paragraph (b) of this subsection. The student shall be entitled to recover from the offending school any costs, expenses, and fees, including attorney's fees, associated with the claim," the bill says.
The Courier-Journal could not reach Hale for comment, but it did speak to a representative of the Fairness Campaign, a statewide LGBTQ group, who blasted the bill for ostracizing and endangering transgender students.
"At the end of the day, what that says is 'You are so different that the only accommodation we are willing to make is to make you use a special restroom, a different restroom, which once more isolates the transgender youth and makes them additionally vulnerable targets," Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman said.
"So if I am the only trans kid in school and I can only use the single-stall locking bathroom on the third floor, everybody knows that that's where I'm gonna go to the restroom," he added. "And again, it's easy to target someone if that's what you're looking for."