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Twitter gaffes from Utah lawmakers stoke criticism of transphobia

Monday, February 3, 2014
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SALT LAKE CITY — The leader of the Utah Senate and another state lawmaker are apologizing Monday after tweets sent from their accounts earlier in the day were criticized as transphobic and insensitive.

Jake Anderegg

Jake Anderegg

Rep. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, posted on Twitter that the private House men’s restroom was occupied, and he was “strongly considering a gender identifying change to use the open women’s.”

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser says an intern whose job includes tweeting on the senator’s behalf used the platform to direct jibes at Anderegg.

The tweet referred to another lawmaker’s proposal that would bar transgender students from using the bathroom they prefer but would require schools to make another restroom available should the student’s family request it.

Both lawmakers apologized Monday after criticism from LGBT rights advocates and others.

In a later tweet, Anderegg called his prior comments “totally inappropriate.”

Brandie Balken, executive director of Equality Utah, said the tweets demonstrated an ignorance of the “lived experiences” of transgender people.

Niederhauser said he invited Equality Utah to the Capitol on Monday evening to discuss the sensitivity of LGBT issues.

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