June is LGBT Pride Month and over the years, there have been many victories for the community, but one issue is still being discussed heavily: bathroom bills.
It’s a topic that heavily affects transgender rights. While each bill has different wording, they all deliver the same statement that says all people, including transgender men and women, must use public restrooms that correspond to their sex at birth.
The transgender community is fighting for the right to use a public restroom and for students to use school restrooms that define their gender identity, meaning what the person perceives their sex to be.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina remains the only state to pass legislation, “Restricting access to multi user restrooms, locker rooms and other sex-segregated facilities based on a definition of sex or gender consistent with sex assigned at birth.”
Due to the signing of the infamous bathroom bill, North Carolina has come under heavy scrutiny and has cost the state millions of dollars due to several boycotts. You might remember that last July, the NBA chose to withdraw their annual all-star game from Charlotte because of the controversy that surrounded the bathroom bill. There have also been several big names in entertainment such as Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Ringo Starr that have all canceled their shows in North Carolina due to the bathroom bill. Another big name in entertainment, Duran Duran, was also against the bathroom bill. Though after speaking with various LGBT advocate groups, Duran Duran decided to play their show and to speak about the topic on stage, distribute leaflets from anti bathroom bill organizations and also made tables available to sign petitions.
In some states, there are laws that explicitly address discrimination against transgender students in schools. Those states are California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, also including Washington D.C. While these laws do specifically address anti-discrimination, it does also include transgender students to use the bathroom that fits their gender identity. The state of Wisconsin also has anti-discrimination laws towards students, but only based on sexual orientation, which is people who are gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual or asexual.
Though as always the case with politics, laws are being made to fight for anti-discrimination or to have stricter access for transgender students. Currently, there are sixteen states, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
In some of these cases, some states are overlapping with their current laws. It’s because that in the state legislatures, changes are being made to make better access for transgender students or to make for more stricter access.
If you would like to learn more about the laws regarding transgender bathroom access in schools, you may visit this map that has more details.