In the wake of the fallout from HB2, some Republicans appear to be backing away from anti-transgender legislation as they have rejected discriminatory bills in two states.
In the Virginia house, Del. Robert G. Marshall’s Physical Privacy Act, a proposed bill closely resembling North Carolina’s HB2, was rejected by his fellow Republicans on Thursday. Marshall blasted his peers, calling them “disgusting” cowards for not supporting the measure. The bill would have forced transgender citizens in Virginia to use facilities according to what was on their original birth certificate, and would have applied to public restrooms, school locker rooms, rest stop facilities and government buildings.
As the measure appeared before the House General Laws subcommittee, Marshall tried to soften the impact of the bill by removing the term ‘original” from the proposed legislation. This would have allowed those who had gender confirmation surgery to use the facilities that matched their true gender. “If someone goes through the process of changing their sex — I don’t think it’s very smart because such people have very high rates of self-harm. That’s documented, not from me,” he said. “But if they go through that, fine. Let them use that bathroom.” Marshall did not elaborate on where his “documented” information came from.
Despite his attempt to soften the bill, it could not get through a seven-member subcommittee comprised of five Republicans and two Democrats. Marshall accused the Republican members of breaking their campaign promises. Even if the bill had passed the house, it had no chance of making it past the desk of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), as he already vowed to veto it.
Just last week, Republican Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer, chair of the House Public Health Committee, rejected a similar bill in Indiana. House Bill 1361 would have prevented a person from being able to change the gender on their birth certificate without chromosomal evidence. Republican Representative Bruce Borders, who is also an Elvis impersonator, introduced the bill. According, to Kirchhofer, she would not give the bill a hearing because she wanted to instead focus on addressing the state’s opioid and heroin epidemic.
Last year, Borders opposed a bill that would have expanded civil rights protections to include gender identity and sexual orientation. He felt that it would have infringed upon people’s religious beliefs while also calling the language regarding gender identity “problematic.” He also expressed concerns about laws that allowed people to be “fluid” with their gender.