There is a bill in the NC House (HB 562) intended to target transgender people. It doesn't say so on up front, but the bill increases the penalty for second-degree trespass from 20 days maximum to 120 days maximum if the offense occurs "in a multi-occupancy bathroom, shower or changing facility."
So is everyone safe now?
The reason this bill has arisen is that people have been asking the question, Can transgender people be arrested for using the ‘wrong’ bathroom?
Campbell University constitutional law specialist Greg Wallace says repeal of HB2 leaves in place several criminal laws that might be used to charge a transgender person using a restroom that doesn’t match the gender on his or her birth certificate.
There are arguments made for charges of trespass, breaking and entering, disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, and peeping, apparently.
HB 562's author, Rep. Chris Malone, says "it wasn't the intention" for the bill to target transgender NC residents.
Just a fortunate side benny, I guess
The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Brendan Jones, who pretty much puts the lie to Malone's "intention."
My bill will do two things. First, it will specifically state it is a second degree trespass for entering the restroom or changing room of the opposite sex; secondly, it would enhance the punishment from what is now, a class 3 misdemeanor punishable up to only 10 days, to a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable up to 120 days in jail.
Brian Clarke, an employment law specialist at Western Carolina University, said state law is no clearer about which restroom a transgender person should use than it was before HB2 was enacted early last year.
That leaves it possible – if unlikely – that transgender people could be charged with peeping or indecent exposure, he said.
Regardless, there is NO law on the books in North Carolina following the repeal of HB2 that dictates which restroom anyone must use. So I guess we are in a bit of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ situation when it comes to bathroom usage.
So, is the wimminz and girlzes safer? Of course not. Making transgender men use the women's facilities will allow any man to enter those facilities by simply claiming he was born a woman. Who's going to know the difference, right? And it certainly won't make transgender women safer to force them into a men's facilities.