DENVER (CBS4) – There was a different battle over the sexes at the Capitol this session, and it involved access to locker rooms by individuals who are transgender.
At issue is a law passed in 2008 that says anyone who is transgendered in Colorado must be allowed to use the locker room of the sex they identify with. But some lawmakers say that law creates a cover for predators who simply want access to minors.
From a transgender man to the mother of a transgendered teenager, opponents of a bill that would allow businesses to prohibit people who are transgender from using locker rooms that don’t match their biological sex told lawmakers it was about discrimination.
“Locker rooms are vulnerable places,” said Rep. Kim Ransom,” R-Littleton.
Ransom says her bill is about protecting children from predators.
“If a group of high school boys wants to storm the girls locker room during shower time after gym class, there is nothing the principal can do to stop them if they say the right words,” she said.
“The football team all saying, ‘My gosh, we’re all (transgender), we want to go into the girls locker room,’ … this is my 14th year at high school level — that has never happened,” Fairview High School Principal Don Stensrud said.
Stensrud says there are already laws dealing with sexual predators in locker rooms.
Ransom said her bill wouldn’t require changes, it would be optional. Committee members were polarized.
“As a father of two daughters, I thank you for bringing this bill forward,” said Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock.
“I don’t mean any disrespect towards you, but I’m offended by this bill because this is rinse-and-repeat prejudice,” said Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton.
The bill failed, but it’s hardly the last heard about transgender rights this session. Democrats have a bill that would make it easier to change the sex on a birth certificate, and Republicans have a couple bills dealing with the right to refuse services based on free speech or religious grounds.