Kennewick City Council Ponders Transgender Bathroom Restrictions
The City of Kennewick Tuesday night discussed a proposed state law that if passed would override a new law that requires all public toilets to be open to transgender people. The proposed bill would oppose allowing transgender people to use whichever locker rooms they identify with.
Councilman John Trumbo Tuesday night said the council should support the proposed bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Larry Haler and Rep. Brad Klippert (both Republicans) of Richland and Kennewick plus 37 others. Their bill would over ride the new state law.
Trumbo supports the proposed law, saying it's about protecting and defending individual freedom. Only a handful of people spoke in favor of such facilities, some of them saying there's never been any problem before, as transgender people have been using their restroom of choice before any efforts were made to differentiate 'special' bathrooms. One person said if there were ever any issues surrounding public bathrooms, it's been handled by police.
However, a couple of other citizens said the issue is a waste of time, and questioned why public officials, state government and others are wasting resources on an issue that doesn't really matter. Other critics say setting aside special, public restrooms and locker rooms as transgender actually discriminates against those who are not comfortable having a person who may be the opposite sex in their facility - even if said person identifies with that gender.
Some said if transgender people have been using their restroom of choice without issues, then why make a big deal out of it by creating transgender bathrooms?
Another person who spoke said he feared people with bad intentions would use such transgender laws as an excuse to access bathrooms of the opposite sex.
The topic was not part of the official agenda of the City Council meeting, but was brought up by Trumbo. Supporters of the transgender movement offered to meet with city officials to explain further the idea and to assure them the fears and ideas associated with such facilities are unfounded.
The city has no official say in the matter, and Trumbo's idea for supporting the proposed law against transgender facilities would only be a 'show of support.' Klippert and Haler's proposed bill would also offer 'retroactive' protection for businesses who refuse to offer service to people for religious reasons, such as Arlene's Flowers.