Kentucky Bill Would Let Students Sue Schools With Trans-Inclusive Bathroom Policies

The state has tried and failed to pass anti-trans "bathroom bills" in the past.

A Kentucky Republican is trying yet again to get a bathroom bill passed in the state that would limit transgender student restroom and locker room access.

Rep. David Hale prefiled the Kentucky Student Privacy Act on December 5. If passed, it would require schools to prohibit transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity.

“A student who asserts to school officials that his or her gender is different from his or her biological sex and whose parent or legal guardian provides written consent to school officials shall be provided with the best available accommodation,” the bill reads. It adds that “acceptable accommodations may include but not be limited to access to single-stall restrooms, access to unisex bathrooms, or controlled use of faculty bathrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms.”

Further, any student who “[encounters] a person of the opposite biological sex” in a bathroom or locker room “shall have a private cause of action against the school” if it has been deemed to not have adequately prevented that situation.

The bill declares there exists “an emergency” situation in which the “privacy rights of students are violated.”

A study published in May in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatricians, noted transgender and gender nonbinary youth are at higher risks for sexual assault and warned “restrictive school restroom and locker room policies may be associated with risk.” Meanwhile, a study published in 2018, from The Williams Institute at UCLA, showed no link between trans-inclusive bathroom policies and safety concerns in bathrooms.

Chris Hartman, the director of the Fairness Campaign, told The Courier-Journal the bill was “dangerous,” adding it was “political pandering” to “an ultra-conservative minority.” He argued that it would make trans youth feel isolated and make them “additionally vulnerable targets.”

Hale sponsored a similar bill last year with 25 Republican cosponsors that failed to get past the House Education Committee, according to WDRB. The state also tried to pass a bathroom bill in 2017.

“I wish legislators would mind their own business in the bathroom,” said Hartman.

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