Transgender advocates furious over Nevada proposed ‘bathroom bill’

Nevada state capitol in Carson City

Nevada state capitol in Carson City

Nevada state capitol in Carson City

Nevada state capitol in Carson City

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Transgender activists and progressive groups say they’re appalled with a proposed Nevada law forcing students to use bathrooms corresponding to their biological sex.

Republican Assemblywoman Vicki Dooling is sponsoring AB375, which was discussed Friday in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

The bill would require students in public schools to use locker rooms and restrooms based on their sex at birth. Dooling said schools would need to provide separate facilities for transgender students and the bill would extend student privacy protections.

Dooling said the bill was intended to secure student privacy and respect the wishes of parents who take issue with school district policy on transgender students using bathrooms.

“It’s protecting the need for parents who have to worry over their children’s privacy,” she said. “They need to go to the bathrooms of their biological birth.”

Nevada is one of three states, including Minnesota and Kentucky, that have recently introduced so-called “bathroom bills” requiring students to use restrooms and showers that correspond to their biological sex.

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Democrats on the committee took issue with the bill and said it could open the door to potential lawsuits and the potential for discrimination. Democratic Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, who works as an elementary school teacher in Las Vegas, said she was uncomfortable with the thought of enforcing the rule.

“I don’t think it’s my place to be policing bathrooms,” she said.

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Transgender Allies Group president Brock Maylath said that statistically, transgender students are faced with more bullying and commit suicide at higher rates than any other student group. He said the bill would effectively legalize discrimination.

“A vote in favor of this bill will lead to institutionalized marginalization,” he said. “The blood of innocent children affected by this act will be on the hands of anyone who votes for this bill.”

American Civil Liberties Union lobbyist Vanessa Spinazola said the group would likely sue if the law was passed.

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Lisa Mayo-DeRiso, a Las Vegas-based political consultant, testified in favor of the bill and said it wasn’t fair that parents didn’t get a chance to weigh in school district policy.

“It’s important that parents have the right to make decisions and be involved in these decisions that impact our children,” she said.

The committee took no immediate action on the measure, but committee chairman Ira Hansen said the bill would receive a vote sometime on Friday evening. The bill needs to pass a committee vote on Friday to survive.

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