Maine rep. Kenneth Fredette has proposed a bill would "allow the operator of a restroom or shower facility to decide who can use which gender's restroom," basically to reduce legal protections for transgender people (although it does sound like a business owner could make anyone use whatever bathroom).
Fredette served on the Maine Human Rights Commission when a couple transgender rights cases came up, proving once again that putting people who don't believe in human rights in charge of human rights is like letting a fox guard a hen-house. When people come forward with legitimate complaints, here's what a Republican thinks:
"The concept here is there is not an absolute right for a transgender to go into the bathroom they identify with," Fredette said in front of the overflowing crowd Tuesday. "We have to draw lines in this society so we balance rights with the rights of everyone else."
For example, he said, "What situation do we put young children in when they go into a private place and then what they perceive to be the person of the opposite sex comes into that bathroom? That could be quite shocking."
Several (most?) of the elementary schools I worked in here in France didn't have separate gender bathrooms - there was a big one for the kids and a few small, private bathrooms for the grown-ups. Something tells me kids aren't the ones who care here.
Fortunately, Fredette didn't have to get his hands dirty at the hearing and a random "resident" came forward to say what he really meant:
As Sydney resident Tim Russell said, "[Current law] has created a legal access that predators can use in order to accost women and children in public restrooms."
"It is impossible for young children and women to safely determine whether or not the man -- dressed as a woman -- is a peeping tom, a rapist or a pedophile; and to continue to permit such a scenario to legally exist is unconscionable and inviting disaster," Russell said.
If these folks really cared about fighting rape, there are plenty of policies that they could support that would actually do something (testing backlogged rape kits, for example) instead of arguing against something that's never been shown to cause rape.
But that's a big if and that's not what they're after. At least the local paper quoted a speech on the other side to give some perspective:
Wayne Maines was one of the first to speak against the bill.
"Like many of you I doubted transgender children could exist," he said. "However I never doubted my love for my child."
Maines' 13-year-old daughter knew she was a girl at age 6, even though she'd been born a boy, he said. She was happy and her friends accepted her. But by fifth grade things got scary and the family had to "go into hiding" to protect the girl.
"'She came to me crying and asked, 'Daddy, what did I do wrong? Daddy, please fix this.' That's what dads do, we fix things. I had to break her heart and say, 'You have not done anything wrong sweetie, but Mommy and I do not know how to fix this,'" Maines said Tuesday, crying. "This bill places transgender children in a position of doom and hopelessness."
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Update: Kathy Padilla sends in this one:
A junior high track coach in Roy chased down a 46-year-old man police say entered a girls' locker room, disrobed and began touching himself Tuesday afternoon.
There were no students in the locker room at Sand Ridge Junior High School, 2075 W. 4600 South, when the man sneaked in around 3 p.m., said Sgt. Curtis Gibson, but one of the school's track coaches who was working in her office spotted the naked man and went to get help.
What? The little skirt stick figure didn't zap him before he could get into the girls locker room?