Bill Blocking Transgender Students From Choosing Bathroom Fails in Kentucky Senate Committee

Feb 19, 2015

Credit Kentucky LRC

A Kentucky Senate bill that would require students to use bathrooms designated for their biological sexes failed to pass out of committee on Thursday. Transgender advocates oppose the bill because it would require students to either use the facilities of the sex they were born with, or use a single-person bathroom.

Henry Brousseau, a junior at Louisville Collegiate School, testified before the committee on Thursday. Brousseau, who is transgender, said problems arose with his use of a single-person bathroom.

“It didn’t go well because, for one, it was outing myself every time I had to walk in there because nobody else went in there,” Brousseau said. “People see that I’m not living like everybody else when I have to go to a separate restroom.”

Eventually, the private school allowed him to use the bathroom of his choice.

Jefferson County Public Schools allows schools to set their own restroom policies. Last year, the site-based decision making council at Louisville’s Atherton High School voted to allow students to use the bathrooms of the gender they identify with.

Sen. Danny Carroll, a Republican from Paducah, voted for the bill, saying that privacy rights of non-transgender students need to be protected.

“You know in my mind you do have to worry about the other students and what’s best for them and infringing on someone else’s right,” Carroll said. “It has to be a balance like everything else in life.”

An earlier version of the bill would have fined students $2,500 for using a bathroom of a different biological sex. That provision was taken out in the version that was voted on Thursday.

The bill garnered six votes in favor, but needed at least seven to pass out of committee. Two Republican senators were absent from the hearing.

The bill could be brought up again later in the session.