Queer Voices

Proposed Bill Would Let Students Sue If They See Transgender Students In Certain Bathrooms


One Kentucky state senator wants to make sure that transgender students are only allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their biological sex.

Earlier this month, state Sen. C.B. Embry (R) filed a piece of legislation that would force schools to “provide separate, private areas designated for use by students based on their biological sex” in settings where students could be in a “state of undress.” Embry reportedly filed the legislation on behalf of the Family Foundation of Kentucky, a conservative organization that opposes issues like gay marriage. The foundation approached the politician about sponsoring the bill after a high school in the state approved a policy allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, reported local outlet WBKO-TV.

One part of the legislation would allow students to recover thousands of dollars if they encounter a transgender student in a bathroom that does not fit the student’s biological sex. The bill says that if a student sues over the issue, they could gain $2,500 from the school for every instance that “he or she encountered a person of the opposite sex while accessing a school restroom, locker room, or shower room designated for use by the biological sex of the aggrieved student.” The bill allows for these lawsuits if the school did not take steps to prevent transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice.

The bill is named the Kentucky Student Privacy Act. It says that “because situations currently exist in which the privacy rights of students are violated, an emergency is declared to exist.”

If passed, the bill would allow transgender students to use private bathrooms if their guardian provides written consent.

Embry told US News and World Report that he has received backlash over the bill, but he does not view it as offensive.

“They’re certainly welcome to live their lives as they choose, if they want to dress as the opposite sex and the school is OK with that, that’s fine,” he told the outlet.

He also said he does not think gay and lesbian students should be prevented from using the same locker rooms and restrooms as same-sex peers, but that steps should be taken to make sure transgender students do not make others uncomfortable.

“I have a friend, and we can all say these things, who is a homosexual and she agrees that she doesn’t want men in her bathroom,” he told the outlet.

Embry did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Huffington Post.

Thomas Aberli, principal of a Kentucky school that allows students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, told Kentucky outlet the Bowling Green Daily News that the school hasn’t had problems implementing the policy.

“It’s a non-issue in this school,” Aberli told the outlet.

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