A transgender man on Thursday confronted a Virginia lawmaker who has introduced a bill that would prohibit people from entering “a restroom or other facility designed for use by members of the opposite sex.”
Theodore Kahn of Richmond, Va., asked state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) during a press conference on House Bill 1612, “where you would like me to go to the bathroom?”
“Not here,” Marshall told Kahn.
An audio recording of the press conference the Washington Blade obtained from GayRVA indicates Marshall asked Kahn, “Where do you go now?”
“In this scenario there ought to be a third choice,” said Travis Witt of the Virginia First Foundation in response to Kahn’s question. “There ought to be a place for individuals who choose not to use the bathroom of their biological birth. That would solve . . . a lot of things.”
Kahn uses male pronouns to describe himself. Witt referred to Kahn as “sir” when he tried to interrupt him.
House Bill 1612, which is also known as the Physical Privacy Act, would also require public school principals to notify a parent or guardian within 24 hours if their child “requests to be recognized or treated as the opposite sex, to use a name or pronoun inconsistent with the child’s sex, or to use a restroom or other facility designated for the opposite sex.”
Marshall told Kahn his bill would also allow for the creation of a “third choice” to which Witt referred.
HB 1612 does not contain such a provision.
“It’s not a joke at all,” Kahn told the Blade on Thursday during a telephone interview. “I know I’m not one of his constituents, but what he is proposing really affects me.”
Marshall: Privacy laws ‘do not harm the economy’
Critics have compared HB 1612 to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which banned trans people from using public restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity. The controversial law that then-North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed last year also prohibits local municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances and other measures, such as those that would increase the minimum wage higher than what the state officers.
Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish and others have noted North Carolina’s economy lost hundreds of millions of dollars after HB 2 became law. Marshall on Thursday noted an article that Forbes published in November said North Carolina is the second best state for business.
“Such personal privacy laws do not harm the economy,” he said during the press conference.
The NCAA’s 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships took place at Roanoke College in Salem, Va., last month as opposed to Greensboro, N.C., because of HB 2. Marshall on Thursday said he would “personally” write to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has yet to be confirmed, and urge him to use the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 against the NCAA if he sees “any statements . . . that they will boycott Virginia should House Bill 1612 become law.”
Marshall ‘not focusing’ on district’s priorities
Elizabeth Schultz, who is a member of the Fairfax County School Board, and Cynthia Dunbar, a member of the Republican National Committee from Virginia, were among those who spoke at the press conference. Parrish and Danica Roem, a trans journalist who is challenging Marshall, were also in attendance.
“This (bill) is ideologically consistent with Delegate Marshall’s misplaced priorities,” Roem told the Blade after the press conference. “He’s not focusing on the core priorities of the 13th District.”