What is the “Bathroom Bill?”

The official and misleading name of the Bathroom Bill is “An Act relative to gender identity and nondiscrimination” and has been designated HB4253.  This bill would add the vague category of “gender identity” to the state ban on discrimination in public accommodations.  However, “gender identity” is defined in Massachusetts law as “a gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.”

In other words, the bill relegates a person’s sex to their state-of-mind or a mental choice, instead of basing it in biological reality. Those advocating for this bill do not believe that men are necessarily men and women are necessarily women. Rather, they believe that biology is an inconvenient fact when it comes to matters of identifying one’s sex.

This bill would endanger the privacy and safety of women and children in public bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and other intimate places (such as common showers), opening them to whomever wants to be there at any given time, and also to sexual predators who claim “confusion” about their gender as a cover for their evil intentions.  Since the law doesn’t require a protected person to have a legitimate problem with gender confusion, there is no way to distinguish between those people that this bill is designed to help and those who will undoubtedly abuse its existence to fulfill any number of deviant desires.

No law should make whole segments of the population feel unsafe and exploit their privacy and security.

How would this bill affect bathrooms?

When the Transgender Rights Bill was passed in 2011, it specifically did not include bath rooms, transgender lawsuit boston-thumbnaillocker rooms and other “lawfully sex-segregated facilities.”  This bill would undue that common sense precaution and force all businesses and ‘public accommodations’ to allow men who ‘identify’ as women into the ladies’ room, and vice versa.  For example, A Boston man, who was arrested for refusing to leave the bathroom in a women’s shelter, was recently awarded $20,000 of taxpayer money after he sued the city under a local ordinance that made this bathroom policy the law in Boston. If HB4253 is passed, it would allow for incidents like this to spread throughout the entire Commonwealth!

What about my membership to a women-only fitness facility?

If this bill becomes law, all fitness clubs catering to only women would have to admit men who claim to feel like women. Their belief that they are female need not be legitimate, supported by a doctor, or even something for which they’ve had surgery or hormone treatments. All one would need to do to abuse this law is decide, in their own mind, that they are the opposite sex for an hour, day, year, or whatever amount of time they deem appropriate. One does not need to make a permanent choice and is free to move back and forth between being a woman or man as much or often as they like. Men would have access not only to the fitness equipment, but the locker rooms, showers, steam rooms, and other intimate areas as well. Comfort, safety, and security (both physical and emotional) would no longer be available to women who want to workout at a fitness club without men, nor to men or women who expect privacy in their locker room or shower room in any co-ed health club or recreational facility.

What would be the affect on public schools?


In 2013, Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester informed grade K-12 school principals that they must allow boys and girls of any age who self-identify as transgender to use the public school bathroom and locker room of their choosing—making it the first time in state history that boys would be allowed in girls bathrooms (and vice versa) at the student’s will.BESE-Chester-150x150

The guidance document in question is the Commissioner’s interpretation of the “Transgender Rights Law,” that went into effect in June of 2012.  It was dubbed the “Stealth Bathroom Bill,” even though opening public bathrooms to self-identified transgenders was specifically removed from the law out of legislators’ concern for the safety, privacy and modesty of all citizens.

The eleven page, single-spaced policy document, quietly implemented at the start of a three-day weekend and school vacation week, lays out a laundry list of far-reaching new rules related to ‘gender identity’ in public schools.  Boys who ‘identify’ themselves as girls can now use the girls’ “restroom, locker room, and changing facility,” and vice versa.  Principals are told to make it clear that students can use whatever restroom “corresponds to the student’s gender identity.”  According to the document, “discomfort [ of the rest of the student body or from parents ] is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.”

The new policy also impacts locker rooms and interscholastic athletics.  All school teams will now essentially become coed, as students can play on whichever team they feel matches their gender identity.  The policy even cites an example of a male student participating, as a girl, on an all-girls’ cheer-leading squad.

Fortunately, outraged parents confronted the Commissioner and he was forced to admit that his new policy was “not a mandate” and only his guidelines for public schools.  Local school committees still have the right to determine for themselves how to address concerns raised by students with gender identity issues.  If the Bathroom Bill (HB 4253) is passed, the Commissioner’s guidelines will be the law, and parents and teachers will be forced to open up even Kindergarten bathrooms to all gender identities.

Public schools would be forced to follow this law and allow boys and girls to enter opposite gender restrooms and locker rooms. School sports would also be adversely affected. Legal experts believe that the policy of having separate boy’s and girl’s sports teams will be challenged under this law. Furthermore, any male student could claim “gender identity” issues and join a team designated for the opposite sex, gaining a competitive edge and putting female shower safety and modesty in great peril. If one school chooses to start putting boys on its girl’s basketball team, will other schools be forced to accept this change and subject its girls to a dangerous on-court situation. Do you want boys blocking, picking, and rebounding on the court with your daughters?

Does my legislator support this bill?

Over 60 legislators have signed on to support this measure. Your state representative may be one of them. Advocates adopt extremely misleading language to gain support for their bill, so it is no surprise that some legislators may be unsure about the true affects of this bill, not to mention regular citizens. Click Here to see if your state representative and/or senator has signed on as a co-sponsor of HB4253. Remember, just because a legislator is not sponsoring the bill DOES NOT mean he or she is not planning to vote for the bill (if you don’t know who your legislator is, you can search here). All legislators need to be notified about how you feel about this bill and alerted to its dangerous affects.

Visit our Take Action page to send an email to your legislator.

Didn’t we already pass a Transgender Rights bill? 

On November 15, 2011, the second to last day of the 2011 legislative session, the House of Representatives approved a bill that granted special rights to transsexuals. (CLICK HERE for a roll call of how legislators voted.)  Fortunately, the “Bathroom Bill” aspects of the legislation were specifically removed.  However, the way that the altered bill was rammed through highlights an ongoing disregard by Beacon Hill leaders of both the legislative process and the voice of the people.

With time running out and a full schedule of bills to approve, House leaders used “an unusual maneuver…to limit debate on the bill to one hour,” reported the State House News Service. The vote to limit debate, as proposed by Rep. David Linsky, was 94-56. Forty minutes of that hour was taken up by two supporters of the bill, Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty and Rep. Carl Sciortino, leaving opponents little time to speak or move any of the more than 40 amendments filed to study various affects of the bill.

The House also voted 115-37 to bypass the Ways and Means Committee’s review of the bill, a critical step that would have had that committee analyze the legislation for any fiscal ramifications.

In the end, keeping the public accommodations language out of the 2011 bill was a victory for the safety, privacy and modesty of women and children who expect to be secure in public bathrooms. Now, as they promised to do four years ago, transgender activists are back, fighting specifically to get the law changed to include public accommodations, i.e. bathrooms, locker rooms, etc.

Why should I care if a man wants to call himself a woman or vice versa? That doesn’t really affect me, does it?

Yes, it does. Aside from the ability of individuals to abuse these laws and invade intimate public spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, etc., this law would create an enormous public health risk by enabling sexual predators. If men can enter women’s restrooms, what prevents a child predator from legally awaiting his prey in places where little girls or boys are most vulnerable? Those who support this legislation are not fully recognizing the ramifications of such poor public policy.

How does the Bathroom Bill work legally?

For explanation on how the bathroom bill works legally, see Massachusetts Family Institute’s legal memo.