You Have to Pee? Show Us Your Birth Certificate.

Via Amy Champ
on Mar 22, 2013
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Members of the Arizona legislature are at it again.

Instead of spending their time working on the difficult economic issues facing their constituents, they have chosen to create legislation aimed at alienating citizens rather than supporting them.

Rep. John Kavanagh put forth a proposal earlier this week that would require people to use the restroom of the gender designated on their birth certificates or face six months in jail. It is a measure clearly targeted toward transgender individuals.

The proposal is in response to a recently passed City of Phoenix ordinance that expanded the city’s anti-discrimation laws for city contracts, public accommodations and housing to include gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said of the change, “updating our ordinance is the right thing to do. It’s long past due.”

Instead of praising the forward-thinking ideas of the Mayor and Phoenix City Council, social conservatives immediately went to work attempting to undermine the progress.

This isn’t the first time Arizona lawmakers have put forth controversial legislation:

S.B. 1070 – An anti-immigration law proposed in 2010 that allows law enforcement to question a person’s citizenship status during any routine stop, detention or arrest.

H.B. 2625 – A 2012 bill that would no longer require insurers to cover women’s contraception unless it was prescribed for a medical condition.

H.B. 2480 – A birther amendment proposed in 2012 that would require presidential candidates to prove their U. S. citizenship in order to have their name on the Arizona ballot (even though there is a federal law requiring the same).

I’m a native of Arizona. I love my state. Most of my family and friends are reside here and I have cherished memories of growing up in this beautiful desert. It used to be a place that had a sense of freedom and some balance politically. We’re not perfect, and we’ve certainly had our fair share of dreadful politicians—former governors Evan Mecham and Fife Symington come to mind—but for the most part, our political landscape was fairly temperate—until recently.

In the last decade our political climate has become more divisive. Instead of finding ways to have our community progress to a better future, both morally and economically, the state is now littered with politicians set to hinder what is positive and necessary for our society to thrive.

What’s more troubling are the serious issues that are being neglected in pursuit of unnecessary political agendas:

—A recent survey by the EPE Research Center ranks Arizona 43rd in education quality.

—Arizona’s Child Protective Services remains an agency in crisis with a record number of children in foster care and huge backlog of cases, while their budget continues to have a shortfall.

—Arizona is still struggling to recover from the recent real estate collapse and has been in an uphill battle to redefine itself economically since the housing industry took a major tumble. The state needs to make itself attractive to new businesses, and that includes showing a propensity for diversity and working on positive immigration reform. In order to be successful, we need to create unity, not discord.

Political posturing, like the one exhibited by Rep. Kavanagh, only serves to keep us on a negative course while solutions to real problems take a back seat. Until genuine discussions about the condition of our economy and community issues take a turn for the positive, Arizona citizens, particularly children, will continue to suffer.

Clearly, many in Arizona’s state senate expect people to pull it and haul it themselves—unless you actually live your life, then they want to have every say on how you do so.



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Ed: Brianna Bemel


About Amy Champ

Amy Champ is currently finishing her PhD program in Performance Studies, with a designated emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research at University of California, Davis. She is writing her dissertation about women and yoga in America. She has been a teaching assistant in the Religious Studies department at UCD for three years. She has a MA in Government, and a BA in Anthropology and Literary Studies.


6 Responses to “You Have to Pee? Show Us Your Birth Certificate.”

  1. DeDe says:

    We need to think of the further ramifications about this legislature. I too agree that it is a waste of time and a great way to divert the populaces attention to something frivolous rather than on the pressing issues.

    But I will say in regards to this waste of time and energy legislature, as a mother of a special needs child this is a very scary bit of legislature. So, when I (mother) have to take my son to a women's restroom to assist with a transfer, I could possibly have him go to jail since he is not of the correct gender. However, if I go into the men's restroom, then I could possibly go to jail. REALLY. This is just said. Furthermore, who has the right to ask such personal questions. I guess Hipa and Ferpa really have no place.

    This is just my two cents worth. Such a shame that we have to even consider some of the diversions rather than deal with the pressing issues.

  2. Amy Cushing says:

    Thanks for sharing this DeDe! I couldn't agree more. It's a ridiculous piece of legislation that solves nothing. Love to you and your son!

  3. Megazilla says:

    I grew up there as well, Amy. I also had the pleasure of interning with the ACLU-AZ at age 19. My family still lives there and I have so many fond memories of growing up as a desert child. I love in Los Angeles now and I am always shocked and disappointed to see the condition my home state is in. The hate and intolerance that is flooding the political scene has been around since I was in high school, which is what led me to study political science in college.

    Arizona politics have been going backwards for years now, but Arizona has so many open-minded people that are countering this destruction of progress. At least there are people like you that are still there fighting!

  4. Amy says:

    Thanks so much for comments! It's great to hear I'm not alone in my sentiments. Arizona is a great state, but it's sad to see the intolerance that has taken over the community. Fortunately, more and more moderate politicians are making their way into the state senate. Like you said, there's hope these open-minded representatives can help repair the damage. Thanks again for your support. It's always great to hear from a fellow Arizonan!

  5. @Suzy_Cherry says:

    You are most definitely not alone, Amy. I'm in Arizona as well, and am incensed that this bill has gotten as far as it has. Who is going to enforce this – and how? DeDe's point is well taken, too!

  6. Amy says:

    I agree Suzy! What…are they going to have bathroom cops checking ID's? It makes no sense at all. A few days ago, it was reported that Kavanagh scrapped his original bill and presented a "softened" version that protects businesses from lawsuits because of "naked men in women's locker rooms."…. Ooookay. Because that's a serious problem, you know. And what is DeDe to do in her instance? It doesn't make any sense and is a complete waste of legislative time to present such a ridiculous bill. It's good to know I have neighbors like you who are also frustrated with this nonsense. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!