Imagine a transgender child who looks in the mirror and sees one thing physically, but knows the opposite is his or her true identity. Also imagine that this child is forbidden to enter a school bathroom that matches his or her gender identity because a cisgender student will sue.
Kentucky Republican State Senator C.B. Embry is issuing a bill that will authorize students who discover transgender peers in bathrooms designated for the opposite of their birth sex the opportunity to sue in state courts and receive $2,500 in damages from the school. According to U.S. News, not only does the bill target transgender students, but it also puts the arm on school employees and officials who allow transgender students to use locker rooms and bathrooms meant for the opposite biological sex.
Embry says the reason he is filing this legislation is on behalf of the Family Foundation in Kentucky regarding a local high school in Louisville that recently approved a policy allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender with which they identify. As reported by The Courier- Journal back in June, Atherton High School school-based decision voted 8-1 in favor of the policy. Embry said that many parents did not approve of this policy, and strongly feel that “the policy creates an uneasy and embarrassing situation for some students.”
Although Senator Embry may believe that his new bill is a solution to this dilemma, Chris Hartman, Director of the Kentucky Fairness Campaign, says that the bill Embry has filed is “a solution in search of a problem.” The General Assembly should be focusing on more pressing issues at hand. For example, the focus should be on protecting transgender students through an anti-bullying bill with an active suicide prevention element. Hartman says:
It’s sort of a fruitless effort to give him an opportunity to soapbox on something.
This bill that Senator Embry has proposed eliminates the discomfort for a non-transgender student when they enter a bathroom or locker room and see a transgender peer, but what it’s really doing is locking transgender students in a form of second class citizenship.
Nevertheless, Embry did receive a lot of hateful emails regarding this new bill, but he assures that he is not prejudiced per se, and believes that every student should be allowed to dress how they like:
“They’re certainly welcome to live their lives as they choose, if they want to dress as the opposite sex and the school is OK with that, that’s fine.”
Embry says that he supports anti-bullying rights that protect gender and sexual minorities. However, in 2012, he opposed a bill that initially was required to ban bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
H/T: Bowling Green Daily News | Featured image via C.B. Embry, Jr.Facebook Page