( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
I will be at the statehouse today waiting my turn to testify, again, in opposition to the Bathroom Bill. I am not confident I will get a turn because, as usual, multiple bills will be discussed today and the Judiciary Committee does not want a lot of noise made over this bill. So I am going to share my proposed testimony here in the hopes it might inspire a few of you to write out your own opinions of the legislation and email it off to the Committee, most especially if one of the members represents you!
In the summer of 2009, I testified in opposition to AN ACT RELATIVE TO TRANSGENDER EQUAL RIGHTS, also known as the Bathroom Bill. I spent 10 hours in a Judiciary Committee hearing while waiting to voice my opinion on what I believed to be an example of good intentions run amok. What I witnessed and heard that day only strengthened my opposition. While it was heartbreaking to listen to the stories of discrimination and abuse suffered by people struggling with myriad personal issues, I could not help but question the legislation’s unintended consequences. This bill tramples on our freedom, threatens our safety, offends our modesty and exponentially increases the likelihood of discrimination towards and abuse of unsuspecting citizens.
It is now 2011 and the Bathroom Bill (House Bill 502 http://www.malegislature.gov/B… is still hanging on despite losing more than half its sponsors. I am flabbergasted to think this is still a burning issue considering the state of the state’s economy and the ongoing scandals plaguing state government but the Commonwealth’s one party system has never been known to be practical. It is time to do away with the Bathroom Bill once and for all.
The primary problem with the bill is the lack of a clear and concise definition of “transgender”. It may be obvious to a transgendered person what that definition is but to the remainder of the 99.75 percent of the population, it is perplexing. This legislation grants protections and hate crime provisions based on “gender identity or gender expression”.
Below is the definition, as written in the legislation:
“The term “gender identity or expression” shall mean a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.”
You can see how there might be some confusion. It gets worse. The phrase “people of diverse gender identities or expressions” is repeatedly used to create a new class of person protected by hate crime laws. This would be comical if it wasn’t so dangerous.
The proponents of this legislation claim to want to protect transgender people from discrimination and abuse yet they see no problem with allowing the rest of the population to be exposed to the threat of accusations, litigation, and criminal charges as the result of a simple misunderstanding or mere confusion. If you walk into a restroom and find a person of the opposite sex standing there, will you or will you not question their presence? If you go to the locker room at your gym and encounter a person of the opposite sex in your sex’s assigned locker room, are you not concerned? Do you want your children accessing public facilities – including those in their public schools? Have the creators and sponsors of this legislation considered the business owners and employers affected by this legislation? How do they protect their employees, customers and themselves?
Where do the rights of one person end and the rights of another begin? Common sense cannot be legislated and neither can common decency. This bill pits citizen against citizen. It is unnecessary and, quite possibly, unconstitutional. The Bathroom Bill creates far more problems than it solves. And it creates these problems for decent, law abiding, respectful citizens with no regard for their modesty or safety.
My opposition to the Bathroom Bill has not changed. It has, however, expanded. As a Tea Party activist, I am greatly offended by the loss of liberty we face with the passage of such ridiculous legislation. None of us are mind readers yet we are expected to be able to divine the thoughts of others or face criminal charges? The safety concerns and the untenable risk of litigation aside, this “thought crime” bill is an egregious abuse of power by overzealous legislators pandering to special interests and should not be tolerated. I am no fan of hate crime legislation but basing hate crime definitions on visible characteristics is at least understandable by the general public. This legislation affords no such luxury. This bill takes what is already a distressing and questionable circumstance and creates more opportunity for victimization of our citizens.
While I commend the compassion and the desire to protect that is the spirit behind this bill, I highly recommend that the honorable legislators reject House Bill 502 in its entirety.
Christen M. Varley
Find contact info for Judiciary Committee members here –