AZ Bill SB1045 Would Permit Businesses to Discriminate Against Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People

SAN FRANCISCO – Transgender Law Center is gravely concerned that a pro-discrimination bill introduced by Arizona Representative John Kavanagh would have devastating consequences for transgender people and their families.

Arizona Senate Bill 1045, dubbed “no loo for you” by local residents, would permit business owners to restrict access to gender-specific facilities based on a person’s gender identity or gender expression. Designed to eviscerate recent LGBT protections passed by the Phoenix City Council, the proposed state bill would prohibit local governments from creating or enforcing nondiscrimination laws meant to protect transgender people from discrimination.

Originally, Rep. Kavanagh introduced a bill that would have required people suspected of being transgender to show a birth certificate that matched the gender of the restroom or facility being used or face arrest. The bill was withdrawn due to community outcry, as some began calling it another “papers, please” bill that unfairly criminalized people who do not fit narrow gender stereotypes.

Kavanagh’s newest plan to enshrine discrimination into Arizona law through SB1045 is already striking fear among transgender people in the state. “This bill sends a message to the public that it’s okay to exclude and harass transgender and gender-nonconforming people like me, and it has increased my level of fear that I myself will be targeted somehow,” said Abby Jensen, a transgender attorney and activist in Tucson, Arizona. “Already, I’ve heard reports of increased bullying and harassment against LGBT youth here in Tucson.”

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 53 percent of transgender people report experiencing discrimination or violence in public accommodation settings like stores, hotels, airports, and restaurants.

“Transgender Arizonians already face shocking rates of discrimination and violence. Now, that harassment and discrimination could be state-sanctioned. The impact of this would be horrific,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director, who recently spoke about the bill on MSNBC. “This bill is unfair, unnecessary, and based on unfounded stereotypes about transgender people who simply want to be treated with the same fairness and dignity as everyone else.”

Ilona Turner, Legal Director said, “This bill encourages discrimination and harassment by singling out transgender people to deny them legal protections against discrimination. This effort is bigoted, harmful, and unnecessary. The last thing Arizona needs right now is another embarrassing and costly lawsuit. We urge Arizona’s legislators to halt the progress of this destructive bill.”

SB1045 passed the House Appropriations Committee on March 28th, and will now go through the Rules Committee before being heard on the House Floor. Transgender Law Center urges lawmakers to stop the bill from progressing any further to prevent violence, burdensome enforcement issues, and potential lawsuits.

For more information visit transgenderlawcenter.org/arizona or contact Mark Snyder, Communications Manager at mark@transgenderlawcenter.org or 415.865.0176 x310.

Transgender Law Center works to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.

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Transgender Law Center (TLC) is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.

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