Transgender Bathroom Bill Killed in Va. House Panel

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On Tuesday, a Virginia House of Delegates panel killed a bill that would have required people to use public restrooms for their biological gender.The bill came about in response to legal questions about transgender Virginians.

Dozens showed up in the General Assembly building Tuesday against the bill. During the hearing, the bill sponsor said this legislation was about protecting privacy.  Opponents said it stigmatizes transgender people.

88th District Delegate Mark Cole (R) said he came forward with this bill because some schools leaders in Stafford were seeking clarity of state law.  He says school administrators were unsure how to handle transgender children who want to use the bathrooms and locker rooms when they transition to another gender.

"This is not about discrimination. This is about privacy. Whenever a woman or girl goes into a facility that is designated for women, she has a reasonable expectation of privacy," said Cole.

"This bill would also affect me and other people like me if I were to go to my public library, I'd have to use the woman's library facilities," said Andrew Wilson, a transgender high school student.

Ultimately, the bill did not make it out of the House General Laws Committee.

One question brought forward by Republicans was how the law would be enforced. Cole says it would be through complaints which could then trigger a maximum $50 civil fine.

Aside from the communities who say this bill would have been demeaning to transgender children and adults, some legal experts said it's too early to pass a bill like this. That's because federal judges are currently dealing with this issue. If the law was changed, it could go against higher-level court rulings.