The Human Rights Campaign has released a statement that condemns the new bathroom laws issued by Oxford City Council in Alabama that prevents transgender people from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity or face jail time.
The law passed by the city council in order to combat a stance of inclusion made by the retail chain Target, who stated that they would allow any member of staff or the public to use the bathrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity, rather than the one that matches their birth certificate.
The Human Rights Campaign released the following statement regarding this new law;
'Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Alabama condemned the passage of anti-transgender ordinance by the Oxford, Ala., City Council. Unanimously approved, the ordinance prevents transgender residents and visitors from using public restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity, and impose a $500 fine or six months in jail on violators. This anti-transgender law is unprecedented in its establishment of criminal penalties for violation of the law, and raises a myriad of privacy and legal concerns, including questions about how the law will be enforced. There is no clarity on whether all people in Oxford will be expected to produce birth certificates when using public facilities or, if not, how law enforcement officials will obtain evidence.
'This ordinance is a shameful and vile attack on the rights and privacy of transgender people. Transgender people are our neighbours, our coworkers and our fellow churchgoers, and every Alabamian has the right to live their lives without fear of discrimination and prejudice. Throughout the country elected officials from both sides of the aisle, along with hundreds of business leaders and advocated throughout the country have resoundingly rejected these kinds of proposals, which only seek to demean and marginalise the transgender community.'
Oxford officials have already admitted that the law was passed in order to counter the policy of a private company, yet claim that the law is not designed to be discriminatory in any way.
Oxford is the first city in the United States to enact a law such as this, specifically designed to target members of the transgender community. Similar proposals have been made across the US, but until now have been rejected.