Utah lawmakers have forwarded a new bill to Governor Spencer Cox requiring people in the state to utilize bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government buildings corresponding to their biological sex, rather than their gender identity. The bill, known as the ‘Sex-based Designations for Privacy, Anti-bullying and Women’s Opportunities’ or HB257, has witnessed several rounds of revision within both the House and the Senate before reaching its present form.
The existing version of the bill provides stipulations allowing trans individuals to use their preferred bathrooms in homeless and domestic violence shelters. However, it strictly prohibits trans individuals from using bathrooms or locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity unless they have officially updated their sex designation on their birth certificates post-gender reassignment surgery.
The bill also urges the construction of more unisex and single-occupancy bathrooms in state-funded facilities and mandates schools to create ‘privacy plans’ for trans students and others uncomfortable with group bathrooms. For instance, it suggests letting such students access faculty bathrooms.
The legislation surfaces in the backdrop of a national discussion on trans rights, with critics pointing towards incidents where self-identifying trans individuals have misused access to gender-specific spaces.