Wisconsin Legislators Introduce Bill Targeting Transgender StudentsBy Adam Polaski • October 7, 2015 • 4:04 pm
Update: Wisconsin legislators will hold a hearing on this bill on Thursday, November 19, 2015.
This week legislators in Wisconsin introduced a bill to prohibit transgender students from using facilities that correspond with their gender identity while at school. The bill would force transgender students to use restrooms and changing rooms that are either gender-neutral or that correspond to the opposite gender and would reverse any school policies that have already enacted non-discrimination policies for transgender students in Wisconsin.
The bill is the latest in a series of bills and messages pushed out by opponents of non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals, with specific targeting of transgender people.
Matt McTighe, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, commented on the bill today:
This bill singles out transgender students by treating them differently every time they engage in something as simple as using the restroom or preparing for gym class. Transgender students in Wisconsin have already been using the facilities that correspond with their gender identity for years, with not a single reported instance of any disturbance to other students. This bill would exacerbate the already tremendous harassment that transgender children face in schools when they should be focused on their education.
Wisconsin lawmakers should not be pushing anti-LGBT bills, especially given the state’s history: In 1982, Wisconsin was a leader on ensuring that no citizen faced unfair discrimination. That year, the state legislature approved a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, and education. But since then, attempts to broaden those protections to include transgender people in Wisconsin have stalled.
The news of this week’s discriminatory bathroom bill underlines the need for the Wisconsin Legislature – and the United States Congress – to enact specific, explicit protections for LGBT individuals. When everyone is treated fairly and protected under the law, the entire nation thrives.