Gay Issues

Utah Bill Defines School Bathroom Use By Gender, Not Gender Identity

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Utah bill filed Wednesday prevents students from using school bathrooms that aren’t consistent with the gender defined on their birth certificate.

Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, told the Daily Herald that he introduced the legislation in response to a law passed in California that allows transgender students to choose which bathroom they feel is gender-appropriate and which sports teams they want to play on.

He says the bill defines gender under state code and doesn’t take into account “an individual's own opinion on their gender.”

The student’s gender is either designated on their birth certificate or they will have to provide a signed document specifying their gender from a physician who performed a “physical examination of the individual’s genitalia.”

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The student will then be allowed to use only that gender-segregated bathroom at school.  

"We are just trying to make sure people are comfortable," said Kennedy, a medical doctor by profession.

Transgender students may choose to use non-gender segregated, single bathrooms at school, but the executive director of Equality Utah, Brandie Balken, says that kind of exclusion can be emotionally damaging.

“We know this, from being kids ourselves. We all want to be included,” Balken told ThinkProgress.

Balken says transgender people “are average human beings who simply want to go to school or work, do their work, and go home. They simply want reasonable accommodations.”

Balken says the measure seeks “to set us apart — to put us on the outside of the regular every day lives.”

Sources: ThinkProgress, Daily Herald