Alabama City Makes It Illegal for Transgender Persons to Access Restrooms Based on Gender Identity
The City of Oxford, Alabama is making headlines for the passage of a controversial ordinance. Oxford City Council voted today for an ordinance that will make it illegal for transgender persons to access public restrooms based on their gender identities. That means the gender of the bathroom you use in Oxford must be the same as the gender listed on your birth certificate; using the "wrong" restroom could result in a fine of $500 and up to six months in jail.
The ordinance also includes restrooms in private businesses, and violation of the ordinance is considered to be a crime.
Oxford is the first city in the nation to pass such an ordinance. North Carolina recently passed a law limiting bathroom access for transgendered persons; the state has seen boycotts from entertainers and businesses.
al.com reports that Oxford City Council President Steven Waits said the ordinance is a response to Target's recent policy change for the usage of its dressing rooms and bathrooms. There is one Target store located in Oxford.
The Alabama Chapter of the Human Rights Campaign condemned Oxford's ordinance in a recent press release and expressed concerns as to how the ordinance will be enforced:
This anti-transgender law is unprecedented in its establishment of criminal penalties for violations of the law, and raises a myriad of privacy and legal concerns, including questions about how the law will be enforced. There is no clarity on whether all people in Oxford will be expected to produce birth certificates when using public facilities or, if not, how law enforcement officials will obtain evidence.
“This ordinance is a shameful and vile attack on the rights and privacy of transgender people,” said HRC Alabama State Manager Eva Walton Kendrick. “Transgender people are our neighbors, our coworkers and our fellow churchgoers, and every Alabamian has the right to live their lives without fear of discrimination and prejudice. Throughout the country elected officials from both sides of the aisle, along with hundreds of business leaders and advocates throughout the country have resoundingly rejected these kinds of proposals, which only seek to demean and marginalize the transgender community.”