A New Fight in Arizona

Ever since I moved to the state of Arizona just over a year ago, the politics of my new home state have come to bother me more and more. I knew moving to a notorious red state would come with its difficulties for a diehard liberal like me, but lately the media seems to be reporting a plethora of reasons I either need to join a group that is tackling each of these issues head-on — or get the heck out of here.

The more recent issue that appeared in my News Feed today has to do with bathrooms — “Arizona bill would jail transgender people for using the ‘wrong’ bathroom” The Raw Story headline reads, filling me with the desire to slam my head agains the nearest wall.

Image courtesy of www.rawstory.com.

Image courtesy of http://www.rawstory.com.

According to the article, AZ Republican legislators (of course) “are attempting to pass legislation that forces transgender people to only use public restrooms, dressing rooms and showers associated with the gender listed on their birth certificate.” The bill would stipulate that anyone who went against this law would be committing a criminal offense — a class 1 misdemeanor to be exact, “punishable by fines as high as $4,000 and up to six months in prison.”

If this is the case, I would have been fined and potentially jailed for going into the “Men’s” room at a hotel several weeks ago due to the fact that the line for the “Women’s” room was ridiculously long and I had to pee. Regarless of the fact that I am a cisgender female, I find gender-specific bathrooms unnecessary and potentially discriminatory as well. Unless there is a unisex bathroom along with male- and female-only bathrooms (or dressing rooms, showers, etc.) at any given establishment, I become well-aware of the potential for someone who does not fit the so-called, antiquated “gender binary” to feel uncomfortable and discriminated against. It bothers me and I try to buck that outdated binary myself any chance I get.

As previously mentioned, this is just one more issue in a long line that have bothered me since becoming an Arizona resident.

Last year, I was absolutely appalled when lawmakers passed one abortion bill (among others) that stipulated that a woman can be considered pregnant two weeks prior to conception — essentially meaning that all women in the state of AZ may be pregnant at any given time, even if they are not sexually active.

Huh?

Since another bill dictates that abortions be prohibited after the 18th week of pregnancy, those extra two weeks become all the more significant.

One of the other abortion-related bills passed prohibits women or their families from suing doctors who withhold information about the health of a fetus if they think the mother might abort should she know such information. The fact that such withholding might impact the mother’s health and future seems not to be taken into consideration here — if it was, then AZ legislators deemed those factors unimportant.

Oh, Arizona, what is wrong with you?

Readers, what do you think of these issues plaguing this state? Do you live in a state with policies you disagree with? How do you deal with discrepancies between your personal beliefs and state law? Please share below.

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Filed under Abortion, Gender, LGBT, Politics, Social Justice

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