New legislation in Kansas would pay students a $2500 bounty for reporting on transgender classmates using the “wrong” bathroom.
In Kansas, the “Student Physical Privacy Act” effectively places a bounty on the state’s transgender student population. Senate Bill 513 and House Bill 2737 together known as the “Student Physical Privacy Act” mandates that any student who witnesses a transgender schoolmate heading into a bathroom that doesn’t match the gender they were assigned at birth can sue their school for $2,500.
The proposed legislation would apply not only to public schools, but all public universities in the state as well, guaranteeing that anyone who saw someone transgender in the bathroom could sue their school for $2,500 for every time that it happened.
The legislation declares in no uncertain terms that transgender students are going to harm other students just by using the same facility alongside them:
Allowing students to use restrooms, locker rooms and showers that are reserved for students of a different sex will create potential embarrassment, shame, and psychological injury to students.
However, in reality, the only students currently in danger of “potential embarrassment, shame, and psychological injury” in Kansas public schools and universities are transgender students; and legislation like the “Student Physical Privacy Act” would only increase that danger exponentially.
Republican sponsors argue that the legislation is designed to protect Kansas students:
Young adults have a reasonable expectation that postsecondary educational institutions in this state will not allow their students to be viewed in various states of undress by members of the opposite sex while using student restrooms, locker rooms and showers.
Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, disagrees, and explains that far from protecting students, this legislation would have the exact opposite effect:
This is isolating kids, and it’s not going to end well. It’s putting a target on their backs.
Women’s Studies Assistant Professor Dr. Harlan Weaver goes even further, noting that the bill would endanger transgender students:
They become more vulnerable to harassment, bullying, and violence because they have to go to different restrooms and have to constantly out themselves.
Bills like this don’t protect people, they kill people.
Bottom line: The “Student Physical Privacy Act” protects nobody, and places transgender students in real danger.