Despite the widespread backlash to North Carolina’s anti-trans bathroom law and the resulting political chaos there, politicians in other states are gearing up for what could be similar battles in 2017.
Most states tackling the issue wouldn’t exactly replicate North Carolina’s law — some are getting creative with their proposed mechanisms for determining bathroom access based on gender.
Lawmakers in Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, and Washington have filed their own so-called bathroom bills for the next legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And Texas’ lieutenant governor has said passing similar legislation will be one of his top priorities, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Bathroom bills failed in 13 states this year, including Missouri, South Carolina, and Washington. Legislation wasn’t resolved in four other states. South Dakota lawmakers passed anti-trans legislation that the governor vetoed.
Alabama’s bill would require buildings with multiple-occupancy bathrooms to either have facilities designed to be used by people of the same gender or to have an attendant stationed at the door to monitor the appropriate use of the facility.
Missouri legislation would require restrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms in public schools to be segregated by “biological sex,” which it says is determined by chromosomes and “is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy and indicated on their birth certificate.” That bill would let schools provide alternatives for transgender students, including single-stall restrooms and “controlled use” of faculty facilities.
A second bill would require all public multiple-occupancy bathrooms to be divided by gender.
South Carolina’s bill would let local governments designate bathroom use by “biological sex.” It would also block local governments from enacting trans protections, like in North Carolina.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, has said a Texas proposal that’s still in the works would allow businesses to choose their own bathroom policies, according to the Journal. Patrick applauded North Carolina’s bill Thursday as a way to make sure men don’t go into women’s restrooms: “Legislation like this is essential to protect the safety and privacy of women and girls, and is simple common sense and common decency.”
Washington’s bill would let public and private entities block access to bathrooms based on a person’s genitals — that is “if the person is preoperative, nonoperative, or otherwise has genitalia of a different gender from that for which the facility is segregated.” The bill doesn’t specify how that would be confirmed.
Jay Wu, a spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said LGBT rights activists hope North Carolina’s struggle over HB2 will deter states that might consider similar legislation.
“I think people are finally realizing this is not just about bathrooms,” Wu said. “Bathrooms are sort of the issue that extremists get everyone to focus on while they’re generally discriminating against trans people.”
Allison McCann contributed reporting.