The Arizona state legislator who received national attention for promoting a harsh anti-transgender bill aimed at prosecuting transgender people for using a public restroom if their gender appearance didn’t match the gender on their identification said yesterday that his effort is indeed “targeting” transgender people, but “only with respect to public accommodations where there is an expectation of privacy” and is about “a balancing of rights.” (Listen to the full interview below)
After an uproar over what one TV news station dubbed the “Show Me Your Papers Before You Go Potty” bill, Rep. John Kavanagh softened the bill somewhat. It now seeks to protect businesses from civil or criminal liability if they ban transgender people from restrooms if their identification doesn’t match their gender appearance. But Kavanagh admitted in an interview on my SiriusXM OutQ radio program that the new version of the bill, which passed a Arizona House committee last week, still partly rescinds the newly enacted ordinance by the city of Phoenix banning discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. He also admitted that transgender people will still be subject to possible arrest.
“What the business could do is, they could have sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms and public — and showers and if it’s specific to one gender they could restrict somebody from going in there,” Kavanagh said. “And if the person refused, I guess [the business] could always call the police. But if they wanted to allow transgender people in they could just to do that.”
Kavanagh said his concern is less about public rest rooms and more about locker rooms and gyms with shower facilities.
“First of all, the bathroom wasn’t the major issue,” he explained. “The real purpose of my bill was for showers. What Phoenix did was allow someone who is biologically male who thinks they’re female to go into a gym or a swimming pool shower or a locker room where people undress completely and this could be a woman or a girl or a young girl. I’ve had a number of parents say that they would be outraged if a man, a person who is biologically male, is in the locker room.”