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Fighting For Our Rights: Bathroom Battles, Anti-Discrimination and the NHS

It has been an interesting week in the fight for transgender rights. Here are your latest updates.

Indiana – The Battle rages on in Indiana as Governor Mike Pence came out on the side of religious liberty in his state address on Tuesday. In his address he was quoted, “But, I am aware there is at least one more issue getting attention: whether to extend full civil rights protections to Hoosiers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Over the past few months, I have studied this issue carefully, and listened respectfully to people across this state. I have met with Hoosiers on every side of this debate, from pastors to LGBT activists to college presidents to business leaders.” He went on to state, “I will not support any bill that diminishes the religious freedom of Hoosiers or that interferes with the Constitutional rights of our citizens to live out their beliefs in worship, service or work.”

In other Indiana news there has been no consensus yet reported in the state legislature regarding three proposed discrimination laws.

Virginia – Virginia House of Representatives Delegate Mark Cole proposed House Bill 663.The bill would define “anatomical sex” as meaning the physical condition of being male or female determined by a person’s anatomy. It states “Local school boards shall develop and implement policies that require every school restroom, locker room, or shower room that is designated for use by a specific gender to solely be used by individuals whose anatomical sex matches such gender designation.” Coles proposed bill would levy a fine up to $50.00 to anyone who violates the law.

Washington – The state of Washington we have two republican lawmakers that look to undo or modify a state Human Rights Commission rule. The current rule states that a transgender person has access to a bathroom or locker room of his or her chosen gender identity. Rep. Graham Hunt looks to create legislation that would let businesses limit bathroom access to gender as indicated by a person’s genitalia. Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale supports repealing the rule, too. In a report by the Olympian there is no indication regarding how these politicians plan to enforce such discriminatory rules. “To me, this is a lot about fear-mongering,” said state Rep. Laurie Jinkins

London — In international news, Mashable discusses a landmark report published Thursday by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee. The report makes over 30 recommendations to ensure full equality for transgender and non-binary people. The NHS also requires significant reform, according to the report, which says it’s “failing in its legal duty under the Equality Act” in its treatment of transgender patients.

There has been a rash of debate and legislation regarding transgender rights as we begin the January state and local legislative sessions. There are currently ongoing debates affecting schools and local municipalities. We will do our best to keep you updated regarding the progress of these measures across the globe.

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