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Minnesota Lawmaker Says 'Crude' Transgender Reaction Strengthening Resolve on Bathroom Bill

Minnesota Sen. Scott Newman (R) contends Minnesota’s transgender community is not being bullied by his legislation that would regulate bathroom use by sex. Rather, Newman argued transgendered people and their supporters are the bullies, and he is the one being bullied because of his legislative proposal.

Newman has unleashed a vitriolic debate in Minnesota with his proposal, Senate File 3002, the Individual’s Right to Privacy and Safety in Public Accommodations Act. It would require people use restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and showers that match the biological gender on their birth certificates, not the gender they choose or surgery makes possible.

“I will tell you that I would estimate on about 10 to 1 the emails and phone calls coming out of the transgender community are coarse, they are threatening, they’re crude,” Newman said during a press conference. “And I will tell you that all that does for me is to strengthen my resolve that I’m going to protect my constituents.”

Monica Meyer, the executive director of the LGBT-rights group OutFront Minnesota, believes the Individual's Right to Privacy and Safety Act would lead to the bullying of transgendered people, and worse.

"This legislation is about fear-mongering and it creates a hostile climate for transgender people, and it's wrong. It's just plain wrong," Meyer said. "This bill is really about discrimination, plain, and simple discrimination.”

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R) is sponsoring House File 3396, companion legislation to Newman’s proposal.

Gruenhagen said in an email to KARE-TV his motive is not discrimination. He said, as the name of the bill should suggest, he just wants to protect the privacy and public safety of all Minnesotans.

The lawmaker told reporters he decided to propose HF 3396 after a woman said that a man, who claimed he was now a woman, was being allowed to use the women’s restroom where she worked.

Gruenhagen said that is causing “great anxiety, fear, and discomfort” for the woman who told him the story, as well as other women who worked in that office. They are all afraid to complain. Rather than risk losing their jobs, they are using a women’s restroom in another building.

“There is a great deal of confusion among school administrators, business owners and public officials regarding the laws on the issue of transgenders using opposite sex public facilities such as showers, dressing rooms and restrooms, both in schools and society,” Gruenhagen wrote. “My bill will bring clarity to this issue.”

Gruenhagen also believes gay, lesbian and transgendered people are mentally ill and need professional help.