Michigan senator sponsors bill on bathroom use by transgender kids

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LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan senator has introduced legislation that could stop transgender students from using bathrooms that don't match their "biological sex."

Sen. Tom Casperson, a Republican, unveiled a bill Wednesday that would offer accommodations to transgender students with parental consent. But the accommodation can't include a bathroom, locker room or shower used by students "of the opposite biological sex."

The bill is causing outrage and fear in the LGBT community.

"We're writing laws for non-existent problems," said Ellie, a trans woman who is also a board member with Grand Rapids Pride.   "Where does it stop? I think that's what worries all of us."

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says the legislation is not a priority for the Senate. It's been assigned to a committee.

The bill comes after some Republican lawmakers were outraged by draft guidelines from the State Board of Education that included recommendations on how to address transgender K-12 students.

The proposed bill comes as 11 states are suing the Obama administration over a new directive about transgender students in public schools.

The lawsuit announced Wednesday includes Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia. The challenge follows a federal directive to U.S. schools this month to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

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26 comments

  • Kevin Rahe

    I agree that we don’t need laws regarding this issue, but it’s not those who take Senator Casperson’s position who first brought the government into the matter.

  • NO PC FOR ME

    We already had laws that kept men out of women restrooms. Then Obama struck.
    Now we need laws that keep men put pf women’s restrooms.

    • Leanna

      So you’re implying that transgender women are men? Wow, how disgusting. These women and men don’t wanna peep in on you while you’re pissing or taking a shit, they’re normal people who wanna just piss where they’re most comfortable. Chances are you most likely have shared a bathroom with a trans person before. Do you even know how hard dealing with gender dysphoria is? No, because you’re uneducated and so are many other people.

      • Kevin Rahe

        I don’t have a problem with accommodating someone who is uncomfortable using a restroom or locker room designated for people of their own sex, but please explain why offering them an alternative facility that affords them the same privacy they experience in their own home is inadequate. In fact, why should anyone participate in affirming the feelings of someone who finds their body to be a curse instead of a blessing even when it’s completely healthy and in excellent physical shape? It’s like agreeing with an anorexic woman who believes she’s fat when she’s actually just skin and bones. Do you know that after surgery transgender people have a suicide rate 20 times higher than those who do not suffer gender dysphoria? I’m all for helping these folks, but agreeing with their sentiments doesn’t do that. In fact, it does the opposite.

        • Ellie

          Keven, you need to fact check. The study you’re quoting about higher suicide rate post transition is wrong and outdated, it has been completely debunked by numerous other studies. The suicide rate for trans people is MUCH higher than for cis people pre transition, this is true and if you look at the world around you, anyone can see why. That rate falls to just above that of cis people post transition. Not affirming someones identity who is trans leads to higher rates of this as well, especially in families.

          The other point is, separate is never equal, and to “other” these kids will only cause more harm.

          • Kevin Rahe

            A major hospital that used to do gender change surgery had stopped doing them because of the study I cited. Have they started doing them again?

            And you haven’t addressed why offering someone a facility that gives them the same privacy they experience at home is not adequate. Why should we expect someone of the opposite sex to unwittingly and/or unwillingly provide what is essentially “therapy” to a “transgender” person who is at war with what is likely a healthy and normal body?

    • Ellie

      NO PC FOR ME, you are right, we do have federal laws protecting people from being assaulted in sex segregated spaces as a restroom. There are some things you are missing here.
      There are NO documented cases of actual trans people assaulting or harming anyone in a restroom. Its the trans people who must worry.
      Transwomen are women.
      Transmen are men.
      Nobody is talking about someone of the opposite sex going into a restroom.

      • Kevin Rahe

        If you essentially say that no one can be legally kept out of any restroom they want to use, it is not people with gender dysphoria that anyone has to worry about. You say that, “Nobody is talking about someone of the opposite sex going into a restroom,” and you’re right. But that is exactly what you want to permit to happen, which is why we SHOULD be talking about it.

      • Kevin Rahe

        The other thing folks like you completely fail to address is the fact that your initiatives, which practically serve to eliminate the difference between men and women, undermine the very desires of those you’re trying to “help,” who want to feel more like the opposite sex. In other words, your ultimate objective of making men and women the same render meaningless any feelings someone of one sex has of being the other. They cannot have their cake, and eat it, too.

          • Kevin Rahe

            If the concept is beyond the understanding of common people, how can you expect society to make major concessions in how it conducts itself? If you can’t explain it such that we can understand it, then it’s best kept in the lab or the psychiatrist’s office.

  • Ellie

    Kevin,
    I, nor anyone else that I know is looking for “therapy” from you. I personally, and what I assume most people are looking for are basic human rights, respect, and decency. Othering people goes against this, as well as implying that we are somehow broken or mentally ill with your therapy comment.
    Also, I don’t feel like the opposite sex. In that statement you imply that as a transwoman I am really just a man. I am sorry but that is false. Gender is so much deeper than private parts or chromosomes. It was once fact that the world was flat, just as it was once fact that men were XY and women were XX. Science evolves our understanding of our world and everything in it. If your uncomfortable with us, then that is something you will have to deal with yourself. But that is no reason to attack us.
    The fact is, there have been no cases in over 11 years in 200 cities nationwide who have protections for trans people of any trans person hurting or assaulting anyone. I cannot say the same for the trans people who have been assaulted, raped, or killed just for trying to use the restroom. There are already federal laws that protect people from assault in bathrooms and locker rooms. There is no need for this nonsense, which only further harms and already stigmatized minority group.

    • Kevin Rahe

      >I, nor anyone else that I know is looking for “therapy” from you.

      If a woman who identifies as a man is not satisfied with using a private, single-user restroom in a public place instead of the one I use, then she is getting something out of using the same facility that I and other men use. In other words, she’s using us, often without our consent, regardless of whether she wants to see it that way. You can call it what you want. I call it providing therapy.

      Men are still XY and women are still XX and will be for the conceivable future unless evolution takes some radical departure. And you completely ignore the real problem with eliminating separate men’s and women’s restrooms and locker rooms. Until you’re ready to deal with that it’s hard to take anything you say seriously.

    • Kevin Rahe

      And by the way I am not attacking you. In fact, I would be the first one to defend you should I see someone physically harming you, or even refusing to serve you a meal in a restaurant due to your personal attributes. What I am doing is parrying your attacks on what is decent, normal and safe for the majority of us, and therefore justifiable to all of us.

      • Ryan Avery

        Congratulations, you’re against transpeople being murdered in the streets! Unfortunately, taking a conciliatory tone on that issue doesn’t make you any less of a misinformed bigot and an asshole.

      • Ellie

        Keven, what does someone using the bathroom have to do with using you? What? Your validation? I don’t need it or want it. I just don’t want to be othered. Seems pretty basic to me. Separate is NOT equal. Also, look into it, Chromosomes do not define sex. What about XXY, XYY, XXYY, intersex, CAIS and so much more? Have you had yours tested? Its bigger then that.

        • Kevin Rahe

          There are certain conditions that result in some men or women having some characteristics that resemble the opposite sex. I don’t deny that and I think we can deal with those folks as a society without turning anything upside down. But they’re not what this is about. Or at least, they’re a very small part of what this is about.

          If you don’t need or want anyone else’s validation, and just don’t want to feel unsafe or uncomfortable by using the restroom designated for your biological sex, then you’ll be satisfied using single-user restrooms designated for either or no particular sex, which doesn’t identify you as an “other,” since practically everyone uses them at one time or another.

  • Katherine Harris

    Transgender people have been using restrooms for which we identify for decades. This was never an issue until a couple years ago when Republican lawmakers made it so. Every anti-transgender bill introduced is authored by a Republican and once again we see yet another one and again by a Republican. Until the GOP made it an issue, nobody cared and most people never realized it, excepting in those cases where transgender women were victims of assault.

    • Kevin Rahe

      You’re right that it wasn’t an issue until recent years, but you’ve misidentified the catalyst that made it so. Unless you can show otherwise, I believe it was municipalities and public businesses explicitly establishing policies that eliminate any objective or concrete meaning of “Men” and “Women” signs on restrooms and locker rooms that made it an issue, which “Republicans” only then felt a need to respond to.

  • Katherine Harris

    Kevin Rahe, you are quoting from information that has been debunked for a few years. That information was taken out of context and the study was proven to be flawed. The Dr. who worked at Johns Hopkins has also been proven wrong. I suggest you do due diligence and research this rather than rely on that single report. Go to the National Institute of Health website or PubMed and search transgender. You can also do the same at WebMD if the NIH and PubMed medical reports are too complicated for you.
    In regards to Johns Hopkins University, you will find that they in fact acknowledge transgender people (http://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/lgbtq/trans-resources/intro-trans/ )
    Also, see this article in regards to Dr. McHugh, which provides supporting links to additional information.
    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/06/10/3668041/paul-mchugh-transgender/

  • Sierra Davis

    If anyone actually READ the Dear Colleagues letter, then they would know that it is required for transgender students’ parents to call the school, informing them of their child’s gender identity in order for them to use the restrooms matching their gender identity. Also, this applies ONLY to students. A visitor or a teacher would only be able to use the restroom listed on their State ID/Driver’s License.
    Tell me, what parent would help their child rape another student?

    • Kevin Rahe

      This isn’t only about schools. That’s where things are focused right now because that’s the only place Obama and the Michigan Department of Education/Civil Rights have the power to make sweeping changes. If they get their way in schools, they’ll use that to put pressure on legislators and/or judges to expand the chaos to the rest of society.

      As for parents of “transgender” children, the fact is that the vast majority of children who express transgender feelings end up accepting their body after naturally going through puberty. So a parent of a school age child who asks others to treat their child as the opposite sex has a much greater chance than not of reinforcing a view that is contrary to what the child will ultimately find acceptable. The only really fair and loving thing a parent in that situation can do is encourage their son or daughter to accept the body God or nature has given them.

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