"All people are not heterosexual. Heterosexuality is not superior and is not the norm by which all other sexual orientation and gender identities are measured." --Burnaby, B.C. Schools Draft Policy #5.45

Monday, April 25, 2011

Maine Bathroom Bill

A Huffington Post blog published comments of the father of transgender middle schooler to the Maine legislature regarding a proposed bathroom law that was intended to force transgender people to use the bathroom of their birth sex.  Impressive points: (1) his response to his child; (2) description of how she was a well-balanced and happy kid until she encountered discrimination; (3) the appropriateness of describing his own journey, as a way to help legislators understand, legislators who unlikely have any direct experience with transgender people.

The (poorly worded) bill:

"It is not unlawful public accommodations discrimination, in violation of [the Maine Human Rights Act], for a public or private entity to restrict rest room or shower facilities that are part of a public accommodation to the use of singlesex facilities to members of a biological sex regardless of sexual orientation. Unless otherwise indicated, a rest room or shower facility designated for one biological sex is presumed to be restricted to that biological sex."

My paraphrase: (1) Bathrooms are assumed to be only for members of biological sex. (2) Owners of bathrooms don't violate Maine Human Rights Act when they limit access to bathrooms based on  biological sex.

The author of bill was confused or wasn't aware of the distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity.

No action on bill yet.

Back story:

1. The Maine Human Rights Commission had ruled in 2009 that a Denny's restaurant had discriminated against a transgender employee by not letting her use the bathroom of her gender identity.  This was written about in a Bangor Daily News article.

2. The Maine Human Rights Commission had ruled in 2010 that Orono schools had discriminated against a transgender child by not letting her use the bathroom of her gender identity.  This was also written about in a Bangor Daily News article

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