How transgender bathroom legislation got to where it is now

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Just within this month, legislation in regards to transgender people using public restrooms has been eventful. On March 15, the Texas Senate passed SB6, a bill similar to North Carolina’s HB2, or “bathroom bill.”

On March 6, in Washington D.C., the Supreme Court sent the case, G.G. v. Gloucester, back to a lower court. The case concerns Gavin Grimm, a transgender high school student from Virginia seeking to use the bathrooms at his school that correlate with his male gender identity.

Incidents such as these have stirred controversy. Supporters of these legal actions cite that they protect the privacy of women and children.

“I will tell you as a woman, this is not a joke,” SB6 proponent Sen. Lois Kolkhorst said in a statement. “This is about dressing rooms, lockers, showers and restrooms. This is about privacy and protection for all people.”

Meanwhile those in protest cite that these legal actions discriminate against transgender people, and also create a sense of fear towards the group.

“[Bathroom bills treat] trans people as if they are a group of predators and perverts that are going to the bathroom to prey on young children,” senior Ian Mayes said. “In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Trans people aren’t the ones doing the attacking; They’re the ones being attacked.”

Issues regarding transgender bathroom use are not entirely new. Here is a timeline that gives context to these recent events.

  • Dec. 9, 2014– G.G. v. Gloucester: This is where Grimm’s case begins. The Gloucester County school board ruled that students must use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate. This was in response to Grimm using the boy’s bathroom as he started to transition in school. Though this went on for two months without incident, there was backlash from some Gloucester County parents.
  • March 23, 2016HB 2: Governor Pat McCrory passes HB 2 in response to a Charlotte anti-discrimination ordinance. The local ordinance provided protections for the LGBT community in housing, employment and schooling; one aspect of the bill was a ruling that transgender people have the right to use public facilities that align with their gender identity. By passing HB 2, Governor McCrory overruled this and other similar local ordinances.
  • April 8, 2016- HB2: Bruce Springsteen announced on his website that he is cancelling his Greensboro show in response to HB2. Other music artists began to cancel their North Carolina shows, and various companies relocated, costing the state financially. “[HB2] should’ve taken its hit early on, really after Springsteen pulled and started the ball rolling,” social studies teacher Phillip Coley said.
  • April 19, 2016- G.G. v. Gloucester: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Court rules that Title IX, the part of 1972’s Education Amendment that states that public schools cannot discriminate on the basis of sex, could be interpreted to also include protections for gender identity. This ruling allowed Grimm to use the boy’s bathroom at his school.
  • May 13, 2016- The Department of Education and the Department of Justice gave guidance to all public schools regarding Title IX’s obligations regarding transgender students in a “Dear Colleague” letter. One of the letter’s statements was that transgender students have the right to use the bathroom that correlates with their gender identity.
  • May 25, 2016- Texas: Texas files a lawsuit in response to the federal government enforcing the “Dear Colleague” interpretation.
  • June 7, 2016- G.G. v. Gloucester: Gloucester County schools asks the Supreme Court to hear Grimm’s case.
  • Feb. 22, 2017- The Trump administration withdrew guidelines from the “Dear Colleague” letter that allowed transgender students the right to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity. Proponents of this action are skeptical to if Title IX provides protections based on gender identity.
  • March 6, 2017- G.G. v. Gloucester: The Supreme Court moves Grimm’s case back down to the Fourth Circuit Court, causing a setback for the case.
  • March 15, 2017- Texas: The Texas Senate passes SB6, or “The Privacy Protection Act.”