Transgender rights are a hot-button issue.
What bathroom and locker room someone should use is hotly debated among Republicans and Democrats.
Illinois is taking the fight to a new level.
A lawmaker threatened violence over the issue.
(NewsReady.com) – The debate over which bathroom a transgender person should use is nothing new. In 2016, North Carolina ignited a firestorm when it passed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act (HB 2). The legislation became known as the “Bathroom Bill” because it was passed in response to Charlotte passing an ordinance that allowed members of the transgender community to use the bathroom corresponding with their identity. After much backlash and billions in lost revenue, the state repealed the law.
Seven years later, Illinois is taking a different approach to the issue. One state senator was so angry that he threatened violence.
Illinois lawmakers recently passed House Bill 1286. The legislation allows businesses to create all-gender, multiple-occupancy restrooms that anyone can use. In other words, a co-ed bathroom. The restrooms must have floor-to-ceiling stall dividers that provide people privacy while inside.
The bill’s original version allowed the restrooms to include urinals divided by partitions, meaning women and girls who walked into a restroom would have been able to see the men and boys urinating. However, the Senate added the floor-to-ceiling divider amendment. Each stall must have workable locks, and urinals will not be allowed.
State senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) said lawmakers added the amendment because several others expressed concerns about people walking into restrooms with urinals, and they wanted to address the issue.
When the Senate debated the legislation, a Republican lawmaker passionately spoke out against the bill. State Senator Neil Anderson told his colleagues that if a man walked into a restroom where his 10-year-old daughter was, he was “going to beat the living piss out of him.” The lawmaker said it was “going to cause violence from dads like” him.
Anderson’s colleague, Senator Mike Simmons (D), called for the Republican’s comments to be stricken from the record, saying that he didn’t want anyone in the state thinking that a lawmaker was going to attack them for doing something “so mundane” as using the restroom.
The legislation passed despite Anderson’s threat of violence. The good news is all restrooms are required to have signage that will allow parents and others to see if the bathroom they want to use is for all genders or not.
The bill is now waiting for the governor’s signature.
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