Bathroom police: Religious group seeks to fine trans people $4,000 for using 'wrong' facility in California
Restroom (Shutterstock)

An initiative proposed by a religious conservative group Friday in California would ban transgender people from using single-sex facilities in government buildings that correspond with their gender identity, Buzzfeed News reports.


The proposed law requires people to use facilities such as restrooms, showers, dressing rooms, and locker rooms in all government buildings "in accordance with their biological sex," effectively banning transgender people to use these facilities that correspond to their gender. A "violation" could result in a penalty of at least $4,000.

Although the ban only applies to facilities in government buildings, including public schools and universities, the proposed law would protect private businesses from litigations if they enforce similar bans.

The initiative, titled "Personal Privacy Protection Act," claims that the ban is proposed to "preserve fundamental interests in privacy," and "maintain public safety." However, Buzzfeed's Dominic Holden calls it a "backlash against recent and significant gains by the LGBT-rights movement."

There has been pushback from LGBT rights advocates. ACLU's Kris Hayashi, the Executive Director at Transgender Law Center, calls it "bathroom police."

"Anyone who doesn’t meet stereotypes of what a woman looks like or what a man looks like – or really anyone a building manager or someone else with power wanted to harass – could be singled out to somehow 'prove' their gender before using the bathroom," Hayashi writes on the ACLU website, and rather than protecting privacy, it is "an attack" on it.

The proposed law would also conflict with the federal interpretation of Title IX, which bans gender discrimination.

The initiative is sponsored by Privacy For All, a campaign organized by religious conservatives, who failed to repeal a 2013 law that allowed students to use school facilities that reflected their gender.

For the new initiative to appear on the fall 2016 ballot, its proponents must gather 365,880 valid signatures from California voters.

California isn't the only state that has seen such an initiative. Similar bills have been proposed in Florida and Texas this year. Recently, the transgender issue has been used by anti-LGBTQ groups to repeal a gender nondiscrimination law in Missouri.