Advocates: "Bathroom bill" could cause problems

Posted at 9:52 PM, Jan 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-16 23:16:45-05

A proposal in the state legislature would make it illegal to use a bathroom of any gender other than the one listed on a person's birth certificate.

State senator Joseph Silk authored the measure. It's only a couple paragraphs and leaves many questions. It leaves it up to the State Board of Health to work out regulations and details. 2 Works for You tried several times to reach Silk at both his Oklahoma City office and his phone numbers in Broken Bow, but calls weren't returned.

"I can't say that I'm surprised; there were similar bills proposed nationwide in other states last year," said Alyssa Bryant, a Tulsa attorney and transgender woman.

Bryant said she doubts the bill will be enforceable in a realistic way, and if it does pass she fears it could have the potential to cause harm to transgender people.

Some places like Chimera Cafe in downtown Tulsa come up with their own solutions such as gender neutral bathrooms.
"People come out and they're confused. Sometimes they get it and they have a laugh. Sometimes they are real shy about looking in or knocking," said Jack Wood, co-owner.

The issue is stirring strong reactions on both sides. Late last year in Missouri, parents and students at Hillsboro High School protested when a transgender girl fought to use the women's restroom.

One thing both sides seem to agree on,  this situation is far from being resolved.

"I believe there is growth and change, but I think it's going to [have to] go along the path of actually knowing us," Bryant said.

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