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Michigan Legislature has its Own Version of Transgender “Bathroom Bill”

North Carolina made national headlines recently for requiring by law that transgender men and women use restrooms that correlate with their sex by birth, rather than their gender identity. The so-called “bathroom law” was sold to the public as a preventative measure to keep children safe from predators.

Since its passage there have been numerous boycotts of activities in the state — including Bruce Springsteen cancelling a tour date — and the University of North Carolina says it doesn’t know how to enforce the law.

But these issues aren’t reserved for southern states. At the state Capitol in Michigan there is a proposal that would essentially do the same thing — specify which bathrooms a transgender person could use — at schools in the state. The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba). Casperson turned down a request to join the program due to a scheduling conflict. 

Two LGBT advocates with the ACLU of Michigan spoke with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson about North Carolina’s law and the proposal in Michigan.

How do enforce a law like this? Are you going to require people to show birth certificates?” asked Jay Kaplan, ACLU of Michigan LGBT Project staff attorney.

Kaplan and the ACLU’s Transgender Advocacy Program Coordinator Amy Hunter spoke about how the debate ties in to efforts to adopt laws extending civil rights laws to the LGBT community.

Transgender issues are the flashpoint around anti-discrimination laws at the state and local level,” said Hunter, who hopes the debate can be civil and productive. “This is a tremendous opportunity to do some great education work… and make people familiar with transgender people.”

To hear more from Kaplan and Hunter’s discussion on Detroit Today, click on the audio link above.

Image credit: Intel Free Press, flickr

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