CREDIT: Facebook/Vicki Dooling
Nevada is the latest state to introduce a bill that would limit how transgender students access bathrooms at school. AB 375, introduced by Assemblywoman Victoria Dooling (R), would require schools to limit restrooms and locker rooms on the basis of “biological sex,” as defined as the “biological condition of being male or female as determined at birth based on physical differences or, if necessary, at the chromosomal level.”
If a student “asserts at school a gender that is different than the pupil’s biological sex,” the bill calls for students to accommodate the student, but “such accommodation must not include access to a school restroom, locker room, or shower designated for use by persons whose biological sex is different from the pupil’s biological sex.” Instead, it suggests they must be limited to “a single-stall restroom, access to a unisex restroom, or controlled use of a faculty restroom, locker room, or shower.”
The bill also limits the state’s sex ed curriculum in three ways. First, instruction about AIDS and the human reproductive system could not be offered to students younger than grade 7, similar to the “Don’t Say Gay” provisions proposed in Tennessee in past years. Second, only a “permanent, full-time employee” can teach the course; “no other person or entity may assist in teaching the subjects of the course.” Lastly, the curriculum “may not contain explicit depictions of sexual activity.” In other words, students can not be shown how sex works in a class about how sex works.
The anti-transgender provisions mirror similar bills like the one that recently died in Kentucky and another still pending in Texas. Michael Silverman, Executive Director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, said the bill “is illegal and violates Title IX’s anti-discrimination provisions as interpreted by the United States Departments of Justice and Education,” referencing recent guidance the Departments issued. “Denying these students the ability to use a bathroom that matches who they are compromises their safety and jeopardizes their well-being in school.”
Dooling did not respond to a ThinkProgress request for comment, but her office did reveal that she worked directly with a “lobbyist” on the bill. That lobbyist was Karen England of the California-based Capitol Resource Institute. England also did not reply to a request for a comment, but her anti-LGBT reputation is well documented. She was one of the leading opponents of California’s law protecting transgender students from discrimination, co-chairing the coalition that attempted to repeal it — and failed. Not only has she dismissed the very reality of gender identity, but she has told parents to pull their kids from schools to prevent them from learning about LGBT people.
Having failed to prevent California’s schools from being LGBT-inclusive, England seems to have looked to the east and found an ally for her cause in Dooling. Dooling, who was elected to her first term this past November, is also co-sponsoring a AB 120, a bill to supposedly protect students’ religious expression in schools, which the ACLU calls “an unnecessary and unconstitutional attempt to subject students to prayer and proselytizing at school events.”