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Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Personal Privacy Protection Act" Say What Now?

am writing you today regarding the introduction of the Personal Privacy Protection Act ballot initiative.  Earlier this month the  Pacific Justice Institute, filed paperwork for a statewide ballot initiative that would require Californians to "prove" their gender before using the restroom. 

This act would make it illegal for people to use gendered facilities in government buildings that are not consistent with their “biological sex”—including those in public schools and universities—and would allow people to file lawsuits against trans individuals who they “catch” using the wrong facility for at least $4,000 in damages.

Requiring individuals to prove their gender in order to use restrooms in government buildings is not only outrageous and offensive, but would seem to require restroom  inspectors to enforce it. Can you imagine restroom  inspectors evaluating you and your appearance before using the restroom? How else would one be able to catch people in the “wrong” restroom except by forcing them to show their government identification, their birth certificate, or their genitals before entering, or while they are already in, the restroom ? It should not have to be pointed out to you that such practices would be profoundly humiliating and legitimately dehumanizing.

It's clear that the proposed measure would require unlawful discrimination in violation of federal laws like Title VII and Title IX, and the constitutional guarantee of equal protection. California is relatively unique as a state because it already has progressive laws on the books ensuring transgender students’ rights to use all facilities and participate in all activities that are in accordance with their gender identity. Not everyone agrees with these protections, however I believe everyone should be treated equal under the law.

One of my favorite quotes by Bayard  Rustin is this: “When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.”