Indiana: Pay To Pee Bill Will Punish Transgender Students With Jail And Fines For Using Wrong Bathrooms, Senate Bill 35 Under Fire

Indiana Senate Bill 35 has gone viral over social media, earning the nickname the “pay to pee” bill. Senate Bill 35 was developed by Senator Jim Tomes, according to Indiana Talks, and is meant to protect students in school from having transgender people use restrooms that do not match their birth sex. In addition, transgender individuals in schools would be required to be identified by their gender, as determined by their chromosomal makeup.

In addition, any transgender individual who does not use the proper restroom, as designated by his or her birth sex, has the potential to be charged with a single sex public facility trespass, which is classified as a Class A Misdemeanor in Indiana. As a result, the transgender person may receive up to a $5,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Although the bill is aimed at protecting individuals who are not transgender, it discriminates against transgender students in schools and other transgender individuals who choose to use a restroom that matches his or her gender identity and visual appearance, raising the possibility that he or she may have to pay to pee, which is a hefty price to pay to empty his or her bladder.

The Indiana Transgender Network provided links to Senate Bill 35 and snippets of the bill for individuals to review. The “pay to pee” bill clearly states that it is a Class A misdemeanor for a male or female (birth sex) to enter the restroom of the opposite sex. You can review the entire bill here.

“Class A misdemeanor if: (1) a male knowingly or intentionally enters a single sex public facility that is designed to be used by females; or (2) a female knowingly or intentionally enters a single sex public facility that is designed to be used by males.”

Senate Bill 35 focuses on public schools and charter schools but leaves the doors open for individuals outside of the school environment to be subject to the rules in the future. Senate Bill 35 does not apply to individuals who are entering the restroom to administer medical assistance or to accompany a small child less than 8 years of age. The accompaniment is assumed to mean that a male under the age of eight can enter a female restroom, but the bill does not make that clear.

Transgender advocates are publicly upset about Senate Bill 35, resulting in the nickname “pay to pee,” claiming that it may present hostile situations for the transgender individuals while forced to use the facilities of individuals they view as the opposite sex. Forcing a transgender female to use a male restroom has the potential to open the door for bullying toward the individual in a secluded area where teachers and other school officials are not often present. In addition, gym locker rooms are in question due to the high probability of being a hostile environment.

“Transgender girls would be in the boys restrooms and locker rooms, and transgender boys would be forced to shower and use the restrooms for girls.”

Senate Bill 35 goes further by defining what a female is, so as to ensure there is not confusion for those that attempt to find a loophole in the Pay to Pee bill.

“Sec. 2. As used in this section, ‘female’ means an individual
32 who:
33 (1) was born female at birth; or
34 (2) has at least one (1) X chromosome and no Y chromosome.
35 Sec. 3. As used in this section, ‘male’ means an individual who:
36 (1) was born male at birth; or
37 (2) has at least one (1) X chromosome and at least one (1) Y
38 chromosome.”

Senate Bill 35 has was announced last year but is once again going viral on social media as the debate over transgender rights rages on. The Indiana Transgender Network has attempted to clarify that male and female are labels assigned at birth by the presence of genitalia.

“The phrases ‘born female at birth’ and ‘born male at birth’ don’t have any basis in legal definition – no one is born male or female; they are born babies and assigned a gender based on the arbitrary criteria of visible genitalia.”

What are your thoughts on the “pay to pee” bill, or Senate Bill 35? Is Indiana right in attempting to pass the bill, or should they be more open minded to the transgender community?

UPDATE:

Although the Senate Bill 35 has gone viral, further research has shown that the bill is now dead, as of February.

Despite the bill’s lack of further movement, how would you suggest preventing similar bills from making it to the table?

[Image via Karen Roach/Shutterstock]