Bill Would Punish Transgender People with Jail Time for Using Bathroom
Posted by Melanie Nathan, Dec 28, 2015.
New York, NY – The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) denounces an Indiana bill singling out transgender students and adults for discrimination. Introduced by Republican state Sen. Jim Tomes, Senate Bill 35 would prohibit transgender students in public schools from using bathrooms and locker rooms that match who they are as boys and girls. It would also criminalize transgender adults’ use of bathrooms by making it a Class A misdemeanor to use a prohibited restroom, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Here is the statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman:
“We are outraged to see this harmful legislation introduced in Indiana, which continues to target the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for harsh treatment. This bill constitutes an intolerable assault on the basic rights of transgender people. It criminalizes the simple act of using a bathroom and is meant to be an end run around non-discrimination ordinances in local areas like South Bend, Indianapolis and Terre Haute that protect transgender people from discrimination.
“This bill threatens basic freedoms and creates unsafe conditions for transgender people by targeting them for discrimination, harassment and criminal prosecution. It adds another burden to transgender students, who already face immense challenges in school, including high rates of bullying and harassment. This is an attack on the health and well-being of vulnerable transgender young people and adults, who just want the same chance to be safe and to access public facilities as everyone else.
“Targeting people this way is discriminatory, wrong, and cannot be tolerated. We hope a majority of fair-minded Indiana legislators will recognize the harm that this bill will cause and soundly defeat it.”
Note from Melanie Nathan: TLDEF’s work this past year has been profound and robust – the past year of their work on behalf of the Transgender Community can be seen HERE.