"Bathroom bill" supporters, opponents explain stance on transgender issues

1 year 11 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, March 08 2017 Mar 8, 2017 Wednesday, March 08, 2017 11:50:00 AM CST March 08, 2017 in News
By: Madeline Odle, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Nineteen-year-old Toddy Jenkins, a transgender male, may have been new to the world he had just become a part of, but was not unfamiliar with feeling unfamiliar. 

“I always had this feeling for the longest time that I didn’t fit like this, and I always thought that if I ignored it long enough it would go away," Jenkins said. "It wasn’t until recently I decided it was maybe better to confront these feelings instead of ignoring them.”

Just last year, Jenkins joined the ranks of others who identify with a sex different than that printed on their birth certificate. A group the world has really only started to understand in recent years.

“We know way more than we used to about how people identify because we started asking," Susan Pereira, a local physician, said. "And started making it hopefully okay for people to be out.”

But understanding did not reach everybody. 

Gender accessibility has become a controversial topic nationwide, highlighted by several so-called "bathroom bills" that aim to institute policies requiring students to use restrooms and locker rooms according to their biological sex. 

Senator Ed Emery, R-Lamar, sponsored Senate Bill 98, Missouri's version of the legislation. The bill applies to public schools, kindergarten through grade 12, and higher education. 

"Senate Bill 98 is kind of the result of some of the things that have been going on at the federal level, which have changed somewhat with the new administration in terms of issuing new mandates for schools and how they deal with certain unusual and uncommon behaviors," he said.

Emery said he felt the legislature needed to do "something that accommodated the safety of every student, and the privacy of every student."

Opponents of the bill say it's unnecessary and hurtful.

"These laws are discriminatory, and they're unfair," said psychologist Dr. David Tager, who specializes in LGBTQ issues. "Do we want to have people being checked at bathrooms for birth certificates? Is that what we want? Do you want to be checked to needs a birth certificate to show? We shouldn't be doing that.This is just another way of discriminating."

KOMU 8 News asked viewers what they thought of the legislation, and found that fear was at the center of the issue on both sides. (See survey results.)

“It’s just that we are opening a door by letting them do that, opening a door to make it easier for the people who do have bad things in mind," one supporter, Donna Morris, said. 

“I'm afraid that I might face some of the hate and bigotry I’ve seen. You see these stories in the news of transgender people being murdered simply for existing, and I don’t understand that," Jenkins said. 

Kevin Carnahan, a professor of philosophy and religion, said understanding where that fear comes from is key. 

“Okay, because we look at something as normal, does that mean it’s the only way to do things, does that mean it’s the good way to be?" Carnahan said. "How much do we need to recognize the rights of people who are not like us, or the rights of people who don’t line up in exactly the way we’re used to?”

Supporters of the bill say their fear stems from safety concerns for themselves and their children. 

Donna Morris, from Camden, said she supports the rights of transgender individuals, but said she has rights, too. 

“We don’t really know what their motives may be, we can’t tell, there’s just no way to tell," Morris said. "That’s why we lock our doors. We don’t suspect everyone in our neighborhoods going to walk in but we don’t know.”

Opponents of the bill say also say their fear stems from safety concerns. 

The Missouri bill would require transgender people to either use the bathroom of the sex on their birth certificate, or use a separate bathroom designated for transgender individuals.

Carnahan said 75 percent of transgender adults report that when they were in school they were harassed, and a large number of them were assaulted for their gender identity. For this reason, he said, many of them stay hidden. 

"This basically means they are required to out themselves to everyone in their community as transgender, which opens themselves up to abuse," Carnahan said. “What’s at stake isn’t just whether people feel comfortable. What’s at stake is some really serious things about whether individuals are safe, whether they’re getting bullied, whether they’re getting harassed.”

To see the full interviews with Emery and Tager, click on the thumbnails above.

 

 

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
RIMINI, Mont. (AP) — Every day many millions of gallons of water loaded with arsenic, lead and other toxic metals... More >>
13 minutes ago Thursday, February 21 2019 Feb 21, 2019 Thursday, February 21, 2019 4:21:50 AM CST February 21, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - ABC Chinese Cuisine reopened Wednesday following an investigation and clean-up after a person was found dead inside of... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 7:31:00 PM CST February 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Four days after a fatal car crash, police have made no arrests. The incident involved two crashes... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 5:48:00 PM CST February 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - At least 1 million children were impacted by identity theft in the past year. A 2018 study... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 5:30:00 PM CST February 20, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - University of Missouri System leaders and representatives from each of its four campuses will lobby at the state... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 4:25:00 PM CST February 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Even though people are dying from fentanyl overdoses in Missouri, there is no law that prosecutes someone who... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 4:06:00 PM CST February 20, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is launching his own investigation of a St. Louis day care... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 2:38:00 PM CST February 20, 2019 in News
ST.LOUIS - Men transform into kings and represent their university and ancestors in an annual competition. Harris Stowe State... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 2:35:00 PM CST February 20, 2019 in News
HARRISBURG - An energy company is hoping to bring a wind farm to Boone County and wants to get to... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 2:33:00 PM CST February 20, 2019 in News
STURGEON –The city of Sturgeon put its police chief on unpaid administrative leave Tuesday, after firing and reinstating him. The... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 2:12:00 PM CST February 20, 2019 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - The state fire marshal is investigating multiple potential cases of arson after officials found bales of hay... More >>
16 hours ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 11:40:00 AM CST February 20, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Mothers advocating for gun control rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday. The Missouri Chapter of Moms... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 11:04:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri legislative committee is looking into a calculation error that could impact some people's taxes and... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 11:00:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department confirmed a death investigation near the 2500 block at Quail Drive. Sgt. Harlan... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 10:11:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - This season's winter weather has caused cancellations, potential revenue loss and headaches for high school athletic departments. ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 6:55:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – Dayan Reynolds said he didn’t know his dad had a mission to convince people they aren't gay, until... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 6:26:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - An official with Boone County Public Health and Human Services said it is still early in the investigation... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 5:16:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in News
FINAL UPDATE: Snow, sleet, freezing rain will continue overnight and exit between 6-9am on Wednesday morning. Freezing drizzle is also... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 19 2019 Feb 19, 2019 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 4:30:00 PM CST February 19, 2019 in Weather
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 31°
5am 26°
6am 26°
7am 27°
8am 28°