While some of Indiana’s most influential conservative groups are suing the state in hopes of overturning a fix-it patch forbidding discrimination against the LGBT community added onto the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) passed last spring, a new bill introduced by Sen. Jim Tomes (R) aims to criminalize transgender folks simply for using a public restroom.
What Tomes refers to as “a simple bill” would require students to use restrooms matching the biological designations on their birth certificates, and stipulates that any trans person who fails to follow the same rule and uses a restroom according to his or her gender identity will be charged criminally and face up to a year in jail and $5,000 in fines.
That’s SB 35 for you.
Of course, enforcing Tomes’ conservative bill would result in a Title IX violation via discrimination of transgender students based on their sex and gender identification. Furthermore, it’s been found time and again by the Department of Education that discrimination against transgender students regarding their gender identity is unacceptable.
As for transgender folks using public restrooms, SB 35 also stretches into locker rooms and shower rooms. Any transgender person caught in any of the above three corresponding to their gender identity, rather than biology as indicated on their birth certificate, will be charged with “single sex public facility trespass.” That charge registers as a Class A misdemeanor—the most severe non-felony-level charge one can get in the state of Indiana.
How’d you like pissing in the wrong bathroom on your permanent record, potentially standing in the way of employment?
Students, thankfully, would not receive such a charge, being under 18 years of age.
It’s also good to know that private facilities would still be able allow transgender people to choose the accommodations that best suit them in “the land of the free” under Tomes’ notorious bill.
Suddenly the party that seeks to shrink government down to the size it can “drown it in the bathtub” wants to legislate where people can take a piss and shower. It’s Politics 101, folks: actions versus words. What more do you need to see or hear to know which political party is for and against “big government”?
Of course, the question is not big or small government, but big or small government for who, when, and for what, right? But that’s another issue entirely.
Ironically, Tomes maintains that SB 35 does not discriminate against transgender citizens simply by ignoring their gender identity and using one’s chromosomes at birth as the sole determining factor for where one should be able to go wee-wee or change their clothes at the Y.
“Shouldn’t we also ask,” he pondered, “what about the other sector of society of people… who have all through the decades women been using women’s restrooms and men been using men’s restrooms and kind of like that and kind of expect that level of privacy?”
Far from being a brilliant orator, Tomes at least knows how to follow suit. SB 35 mimics bills that have been introduced in the über-progressive states of Florida, Kentucky, Nevada and Texas over the last year. So far, such a bill has failed to pass anywhere, but Indiana sure would like to be the first. Total hogwash that it is, every bill introduced around the country on the subject of transgender citizens and bathrooms has referred to the issue as a “public safety” hazard.
Indiana may have taken some heat for passing the RFRA last year, but the state is dribbling hard up the court to slam dunk its conservative bigotry down the throats of a hell of a lot of constituents, and it doesn’t mind if it has to commit a few fouls in order to do so.
Maybe it’s time for one Hoosier to take a time out.
Featured image via WikiMedia.