A couple of years ago at a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender event I covered, I noticed when I went to use the restroom that the normally segregated facilities for women and men had been eliminated.
It was a little off-putting at first. I immediately exited to check to determine whether I had mindlessly gone into the wrong facility. Nope. It wasn’t my mistake.
People of both genders were using the restrooms, going to different stalls but washing their hands in the same rows of sinks. After some mental adjustment and because of a pressing need, I got over the initial shock and did what I had to do and exited.
It made sense to bring down the gender walls and desegregate because often there are rarely enough stalls in the women’s room to accommodate the need.
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So it makes no sense that lawmakers in the Kansas and Missouri statehouses are pushing anti-LGBT legislation.
In Kansas, bills have been introduced in the House and Senate that would require transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender at birth. The Student Physical Privacy Act legislation would direct public schools and universities to designate multiperson restrooms, locker rooms and shower rooms for one gender only.
Keep in mind that airports and some other public places have nonsegregated bathroom facilities that can be used by either gender. Often they are labeled for families. Some post signs saying “unisex” bathroom.
If Kansas pushes through the legislation, chances are it won’t survive a court fight. Times have changed.
In Missouri the unnecessary anti-LGBT legislation is over a proposed constitutional amendment that the General Assembly wants to put before voters. The so-called “religious freedom” bill approved by the Senate would let certain businesses and organizations refuse to provide service to same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.
The proposed amendment would prohibit the government from punishing businesses or individuals that don’t provide goods or services for marriage ceremonies or special events for same-sex couples. The measure would legalize the right for people to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the U.S. Constitution grants same-sex couples the right to get married just like anyone else. Legislation has been proposed in several states — some backing off of it — to give companies and individuals the right to refuse service to LGBT couples.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, chambers in Kansas City and St. Louis, MasterCard Inc. and Monsanto Co. have voiced opposition to the proposed anti-LGBT measure. Good for them. Others need to help talk sense into members of the legislature.
The country should be preventing discrimination against people in the LGBT community, not making life more difficult for them.