Conversation continues into controversial Virginia bathroom bill - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Conversation continues into controversial Virginia bathroom bill

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A controversial bathroom bill continues to be pushed by a Virginia lawmaker.

Delegate Bob Marshall defended his bill Thursday, which he calls the Physical Privacy Act.

"This legislation, if passed, will ensure that the privacy of minors is protected and will ensure that no child is unwillingly or unknowingly violated in any way while utilizing public school locker rooms and restrooms. Students wishing to seek private accommodations may still do so, for whatever reason, as long as they do not violate the rights of privacy for other students," stated the Virginia First Foundation.

Transgender individuals voiced their concerns over the bill, believing it will cause discrimination.

Theodore Kahn, a transgender male, stood up and asked Delegate Marshall where the delegate would like for Kahn to use the bathroom. The delegate’s response was, "not here."

It’s a polarizing conversation, with supporters claiming that keeping people out of bathrooms designated for the opposite sex is a matter of safety.

"How could a woman distinguish between a transgender who means no harm and a male who does intend harm?" questioned Delegate Marshall.

"As a woman, I’m concerned when I go in to the YMCA and I’m having to undress in front of a man who just happens to feel like a man that day, and now he has the Virginia law behind him. It is not right, it is not fair," expressed Terry Beatley, a supporter of the bill and the President of the Hosea Initiative.

When pressed on the number of sexual assaults occurring in bathrooms under the current law, the panel was unable to provide numbers.

"All this does is stigmatize people who are already vulnerable, and that’s not okay," expressed Danica Roem, who is a transgender woman and is running against Marshall for the 13th District seat.

"I don’t think it’s fair for someone to tell me where to go to the bathroom, I obviously can’t go into a woman’s bathroom," added Kahn, saying a family restroom is not the answer for him. "I am perfectly capable of going to the bathroom by myself, in the men’s room. Where I have no problem going to the bathroom, in a stall, where my privacy is protected."

Some supporters of the bill even questioned the concept of becoming transgender.

"Under federal law, one can no more change one’s biological sex than one can change their biological race. Feeling black, does not make a person black," stated Dr. Judith Reisman, a bill supporter and historian of sexology.

Critics claimed if the bill passes, it could jeopardize business in Virginia.

"We saw this bill in North Carolina, businesses left because it gave the message that North Carolina isn’t welcoming to individuals who are different," said Delegate Charniele Herring. "It is 2017 and we’re talking about discriminating against a group of individuals. It is totally wrong and not right for Virginia."

When questioned about recent reports showing North Carolina has lost business revenue following its controversial bathroom bill, Delegate Marshall dismissed the claim.

"That is a back of the napkin, fake news for consumption of, excuse me, people like you," he said.

Governor McAuliffe is already claiming he will veto the bathroom bill if it gets to that level.

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