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Anti-transgender bill could set a precedent

Transgendered residents of Missouri may be interested to know that an Arizona bill would prevent transgendered people from using the public restrooms that matched their new sexes and that the bill met with resistance as dissenters showed up to challenge it on March 20. The bill would make people who use public bathrooms in the state use the facility that matches the sexes listed on their birth certificates or be subject to six months in jail. Transgender supporters, including men in dresses and women in suits and ties, came to show their disapproval of the legislation and what some people say are the country's strictest anti-transgender laws. The representative announced delaying the debate on the legislation because of paperwork glitches.

The public reaction against the possible passing of the legislation shows a national growing concern with the rights of transgendered people. Laws against the workplace discrimination of transgendered people vary from state to state and from city to city.

As more people identify themselves as transgender, the government is taking a stand against gender-identity discrimination laws. However, businesses do not specifically need to provide equal access to transgendered people, so there is ongoing confusion over what compliance looks like, especially when it comes to the use of public facilities.

One transgendered opponent who was born a man fears that she could be arrested or face threats from men in public facilities if the Arizona law passes. Transgendered refers to people who do not align their sex with the sex given at birth, even those who don't opt to use hormones or undergo surgery. The issues associated with transgendered rights are changing. Attorneys who focus on employment law may be able to help transgendered people in Missouri fight against limited access.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Arizona bill ties restroom use to birth gender," Cristina Silva, March 21, 2013

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