A Kentucky state representative legislator has revived a bill that would ensure restrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms in the state’s public schools would be designated for either males or females, thus preventing members of the opposite biological sex from sharing the facilities. The bill would also permit students to sue if school personnel gave a transgender student access to share those facilities with the opposite biological sex.
The bill, titled the Kentucky Student Privacy Act, or Bill Request 1020, was revived by state Rep. David Hale, and states, “Allowing students to use restrooms, locker rooms, or showers that are reserved for students of a different biological sex: (a) Will create a significant potential for disruption of school activities and unsafe conditions; and (b) Will create potential embarrassment, shame, and psychological injury to students.”
The bill adds, “Parents have a reasonable expectation that schools will not allow minor children to be viewed in various states of undress by members of the opposite biological sex, nor allow minor children to view members of the opposite sex in various states of undress; and schools have a duty to respect and protect the privacy rights of students, including the right not to be compelled to undress or be unclothed in the presence of members of the opposite biological sex.”
The bill would require school personnel to provide separate, private areas designated for use by students based on their biological sex in any situation requiring the students to be undressed. It makes allowances for transgender students by offering the “best available accommodation,” as long as it was not “designated for use by students of the opposite biological sex while students of the opposite biological sex are present or could be present.”
The bill permits a student “a private cause of action against the school if school personnel: Gave the person encountered permission to use facilities of the opposite biological sex; or failed to take reasonable steps to prohibit the person encountered from using facilities designated for use by the opposite biological sex.”
Chris Harman, the director of the Fairness Campaign, complained to the Courier-Journal that the bill was “political pandering” to “an ultra-conservative minority,” adding, “It’s gross, it’s disgusting, it’s dangerous and it’s deadly … I wish legislators would mind their own business in the bathroom.” He continued, “At the end of the day, what that says is that ‘You are so different that the only accommodation we are willing to make is to make you use a special restroom, a different restroom,’ which once more isolates the transgender youth and makes them additionally vulnerable targets. So if I am the only trans kid in school and I can only use the single stall locking bathroom on the third floor, everybody knows that that’s where I’m gonna go to go to the restroom. And, again, it’s easy to target someone if that’s what you’re looking for.”
Harman told NBC News, “It’s an election year, so this bill has Hale pandering to the lowest of his base. This bill should in no way be a priority for the Kentucky Legislature … the Kentucky Student Privacy Act paints a target on trans kids’ back and sends all the wrong messages.”
The Kentucky legislature is slated to return on January 7.