The Sun Journal editorial stating that a transgender woman should use the men’s restroom misrepresents gender identity and discrimination. 

The editorial inaccurately suggests that a person’s physiology can ultimately determine who that person is as a man or a woman. Gender identity is fundamental, and the argument that it can be reduced to genitalia reflects precisely the sort of reasoning that fuels the inaccurate stereotypes that our state anti-discrimination laws seek to reverse.

A transgender woman’s female identity is legitimate and legal.

Moreover, the suggestion that a transgender woman should not be using the women’s restroom because of privacy concerns is offensive. Nothing about a transgender woman using the women’s restroom alongside non-transgender women violates anyone’s privacy, nor does it create any safety risk.

Criminal laws exist that ensure anyone using a restroom for improper purposes is subject to criminal penalties. As long as a woman, transgender or not, is in the restroom for the proper purpose, she should be protected — including from another person’s bias and misunderstanding.

The Maine Human Rights Commission’s decision does not mean that all restrooms need to be unisex, or that all restaurants and other public accommodations will have to provide some third restroom option. Twelve other states, plus the District of Columbia, have the same law as Maine does and all have been able to enforce comparable laws without the slippery architectural slope to which the editorial points.

The commission got it right on this one.

Sarah Standiford, Hallowell
Maine Women’s Lobby

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