- 4:19 pm - Tue, Jun 18, 2013
- 170 notes
Arizona’s "Bathroom Bill"
Ever since I moved to Arizona a year and a half ago, the politics of my new home state have come to bother me more and more. I knew moving to a notorious red state would come with its difficulties for a diehard liberal like me, but lately the media seems to be reporting a plethora of reasons I either need to join a group that is tackling each of these issues head-on — or get the heck out of here.
The most recent has to do with bathrooms.
Back in March, my news feeds on all of my various social media sites started buzzing with the following headline: “Arizona bill would jail transgender people for using the ‘wrong’ bathroom”. The bill in question is SB1045, introduced by Representative John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills … Critics have also pointed out that the broad definition utilized in the bill’s language could make it possible to legally discriminate against a wide variety of people if passed: “An individual’s self-identification as male, female or something in between and includes an individual’s appearance, mannerisms or other characteristics only insofar as they relate to gender with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”
Thus, simply wearing non-feminine clothing with a short-cropped haircut could prevent me from using the women’s room at an Arizona eatery, for instance, regardless of my personal identity. A cisgender male with long hair might be seen as not masculine enough to use the men’s room as well.
If such definitions in this bill went through, I would have been fined and potentially jailed for going into the men’s room at a hotel several weeks ago due to the fact that the line for the women’s room was ridiculously long and I had to pee. Regardless of the fact that I am a cisgender female, I find gender-specific bathrooms unnecessary and potentially discriminatory. Unless there is a unisex bathroom along with male- and female-only bathrooms (or dressing rooms, showers, etc.) at any given establishment, I become well-aware of the potential for someone who does not fit the so-called, antiquated “gender binary” to feel uncomfortable and discriminated against. It bothers me and I try to buck that outdated binary myself any chance I get.
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A.J. Walkley is a bisexual activist and the author of “Queer Greer” and “Choice”. She is currently writing her third novel, “Vuto”, inspired by her experience as a US Peace Corps Health Volunteer in Malawi East Africa. Walkley currently resides in Arizona, USA