2017-Vermont: House Introduces
a gender-neutral washroom bill.
California parents sue private school.
The Great Seal of Vermont
House Bill 333 is introduced to cover single-stall washrooms:
On 2017-FEB-21, some Vermont legislators introduced a bill in the Vermont House to cover single-stall washrooms. The bill would require such facilities to be open for use by either males or females if the building in which it is located is open to the public.
The bill has two main sponsors: Rep. Selene Colburn of the progressive party, and Rep. William J. Lippert, a Democrat. It has 35 additional sponsors in the House, all Democrats! The House currently has 83 Democrats, 53 Republicans, 7 Progressives, and 7 Independents, so the bill has a good chance to be passed eventually .
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs. 1
The bill's text says:
"This bill proposes to require that any single-user toilet in any public building or place of public accommodation be identified as gender-free."
California passed a similar law during 2016.
If HB 333 becomes law, it would ban all types of gender-specific, single occupancy public washrooms in Vermont's schools, retail outlets, and municipal, county or state government buildings. Facilities designed to be used my multiple people are not affected by this bill and would remain gender-specific.
The essence of a single-user/single stall washroom facility is that it is normally used by one one person at a time, unless it is voluntarily used, perhaps by a male-female couple, or a parent with a child of the opposite gender. They are essentially identical to a bathroom in a house or apartment.
One wonders who would care if the previous user were male or female? They are typically long-gone from the facility. Yet the appearance of the words "gender" and "washroom" in the text of the bill has apparently scared off all Republican representatives from co-sponsoring the bill.
2017-APR-11: HB 333 received a committee hearing:
During the hearing:
Brenda Churchill, who identifies as transgender, said:
"Currently, when I am in need of a restroom, I often have single-use bathrooms already mapped out so that I don’t even have to worry about where to stop."
Jessica Kell of Burlington, VT has a transgender child aged 13. She testified:
"If we go out for the day, generally our child will not use the bathroom if there's not a gender-neutral option. So if we leave the house for eight hours, our child will not drink, and they won't use the bathroom until we get home."
Andrea Sambrook of Hinesburg VT, also has a transgender child. She said that neutral bathroom signs are deeply meaningful [to all transgender individuals], especially to children and youth. She said that the signs':
"... installation silently broadcasts the message, 'I see you, you exist, and you matter'."
Julio Thompson, director of the civil rights unit at the Attorney General's Office, said:
"It's something that I think benefits everyone when you think about it, because everyone gets twice the chance of finding a vacant bathroom if it's just labeled 'bathroom'."
Rep. Selene Colburn, one of the bill's sponsors, said that she she had once worked on this issue on the campus at the University of Vermont. She found that the easiest method to allow universal access is to simply label a private bathroom without any reference to gender.
Josie Leavitt, interim executive director of the Pride Center of Vermont -- a pro-LGBT, pro-equality group -- said:
"While ideally all bathrooms should be gender-neutral, this bill is an excellent first step." 2
Nobody tesified against the bill at the hearing.
Jay Diaz of the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said:
"This legislation represents Vermont at its best, being a welcoming place, seeking greater equality and pushing back against the terrifying national trend that we’re seeing against trans people."
As shown above on the state's Great Seal, the state motto is "Freedom & Unity."
Justin Haskins, wrote about Bill 333 for the conservative news outlet The Blaze. His article was given a curious title:
"Vermont Dems pushing for extreme gender-neutral bathroom bill." 3
"Supporters of the bill say transforming gender-specific single-stall bathrooms into gender-neutral facilities would cost very little money and provide all of Vermont’s citizens and visitors with access to safe bathrooms." 3
NBC news covered the hearing:
California parents sue with transgender child sue private school:
Priya Shah and Jaspret Brar are raising a child Nikki, who is biologically male but identifies as a female. Nikki is enrolled in the Heritage Oak Private Education school in Yorba Linda, CA. The parents are suing the school, claiming that the latter:
"... unlawfully discriminated against Nikki ... [and] repudiated Nikki's core identity. ... It refused to use the name, pronoun, and gender corresponding to Nikki’s gender identity, required Nikki to wear the boy’s uniform and use the boy’s restroom, and failed to address the bullying that Nikki was subjected to because of her gender identity and gender expression."
They also claim that Nikki was depressed and had considered harming herself.
"It is a scientific truth that, for certain children, their inner sense of themselves -- their gender identity -- does not correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth."
The school has stated that they earlier had accomodated an older transgender student but that Nikki's parents rebuffed their attempts to accommodate her. 6
The title of the article in The Blaze was unusual because it identified Nikki as female in spite of her biological sex being male. Most conservative news sources identify transgender individuals by their biological/birth-identified gender.
Naram-Sin posted a comment to the article:
"Okay, Blaze, if Nikki is 'biologically male' he’s a 'boy.' That means 'he' is 'their son' not 'their daughter.' 'He' is not a 'her' because 'he' is 'biologically male.' Are all the Blaze writers idiots who slept through high school biology?" 6
We will carefully monitor this and future reports on The Blaze website to see if this article's title is changed in the future, and if future articles identify transgender persons by their currently-identified gender rather than their birth-identified gender. I suspect that the title was written in error and that The Blaze will not routinely identify male to female transgender persons as female until sometime in the 2020's.
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