Transgender activists and progressive groups say they are 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 passed Friday out of 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.
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, Dooling said.
“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.
The bill passed out of committee on Friday on a party-line vote, with Democrats opposing.
Opponents on the committee said the bill could open the door to lawsuits and 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.
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.
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 bill now moves to the Assembly floor.