New Anti-Transgender Law Is Nation’s Most Terrifying
Transgender people living in Oxford
Transgender people living in Oxford, Alabama now risk a $500 fine and up to six months in jail if they use a public bathroom that matches their gender identity.
Responding to Target’s recent announcement that patrons of the big box chain are free to use whatever bathroom best matches their gender identity, the Oxford City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that makes it a crime for transgender men to use the men’s room, and for trans women to use the ladies’ room. Under the new law, anyone caught using a restroom that does not match the gender listed on their birth certificate has committed a misdemeanor crime.
The ordinance, which takes effect immediately, also impacts public changing or locker rooms anywhere inside the city limits or police jurisdiction, reports AL.com, a website for several local newspapers. Councilmembers said they drafted the ordinance after hearing complaints from residents upset with Target’s policy and concerned about the store located in the Oxford Exchange shopping center.
After the unanimous vote Tuesday, City Council president Steven Waits read a prepared statement that justified the using the thoroughly debunked claim that forcing trans people to use bathrooms that match the gender listed on their birth certificate somehow protects women and children.
The city council passed the unprecedented policy “not out of concerns for the 0.3 percent of the population who identify as transgender,” said Waits, according to the Anniston Star, but “to protect our women and children.”
It also warns that “single sex public facilities are places of increased venerability [sic] and present the potential for crimes against individuals utilizing those facilities which may include, but not limited to, voyeurism, exhibitionism, molestation, and assault and battery.”
Those detailed allegations of criminal activity are more explicit than even North Carolina’s controversial anti-LGBT law known as House Bill 2, which bars trans people from using the restroom that matches their gender identity and repeals local nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people and veterans.
For the record, 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.
Whereas North Carolina’s law allows businesses to set their own restroom policies, the Oxford ordinance expressly requires “any business or location open for utilization by members of the general public” to presumably check every restroom user’s birth certificate before allowing them to relieve themselves. It does not include provisions detailing enforcement of the sweeping policy.
The ordinance does, however, carve out exceptions to the policy for an adult accompanying a child under the age of 12, for custodial, maintenance, or inspection purposes, “to render medical aid or assistance,” or for those assisting disabled individuals who require such assistance. It also allows for the use of a bathroom not matching one’s gender assigned at birth if the facility “has been temporarily designated for use by that person’s biological sex.”
Oxford is a 31-square-mile city that spans Calhoun and Talladega counties in northeastern Alabama, along Interstate 20 between Birmingham and Atlanta. The city had a population of more than 21,000 people in 2010, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.