Indiana Senate Bill 35 – Criminalizing transgender bathroom use

Authored by Sen. James Tomes, Indiana Senate Bill 35 will be introduced to the legislature on January 5, and will be read and sent to the Committee on Public Policy on that day. As currently written, the bill would criminalize the use of public restrooms by transgender people, which would be classified as a Class A Misdemeanor – punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $5,000 fines.

Download and read the current full text of the bill here from our site: SB0035.01.INTR.pdf or see the version on the state legislature’s website. The version on the state legislature website will be updated as the bill moves through the legislative process.

The bill has two parts, one dealing with transgender students in school settings, and the other for adults in public settings:

Single sex facilities. Provides that student facilities in school buildings must be designated for use by female students or male students, and may be used only by the students of the biological gender for which the facility is designated.

Makes it a Class A misdemeanor if: (1) a male knowingly or intentionally enters a single sex public facility that is designed to be used by females; or (2) a female knowingly or intentionally enters a single sex public facility that is designed to be used by males.

The first part of the bill would force transgender students to use the restrooms designated for the gender they were assigned at birth – so transgender students would be compelled to use the wrong restroom and locker rooms. Transgender girls would be in the boys restrooms and locker rooms, and transgender boys would be forced to shower and use the restrooms for girls.

The second part of the bill makes a criminal offense for transgender men and women to use the public restrooms for the gender they identify with. The bill tries to define people’s gender as:

Sec. 2. As used in this section, “female” means an individual
32 who:
33 (1) was born female at birth; or
34 (2) has at least one (1) X chromosome and no Y chromosome.
35 Sec. 3. As used in this section, “male” means an individual who:
36 (1) was born male at birth; or
37 (2) has at least one (1) X chromosome and at least one (1) Y
38 chromosome.

Our Analysis

We are preserving the original text of this bill on our website for the historical record, because whatever happens to the bill in the state legislature, this document needs to be a part of LGBT Indiana Historic Archives.

The phrases “born female at birth” and “born male at birth” don’t have any basis in legal definition – no one is born male or female; they are born babies and assigned a gender based on the arbitrary criteria of visible genitalia.

The distinction about X and y chromosomes are also basically nonsense – it does not account for several instances of intersex conditions, and while chromosomes are only one of the many identifiers that medical professionals use to identify sex, chromosomes have nothing to do with gender in a medical or legal sense.

As it is written, to comply with the law transgender women will be using men’s restroom and locker room facilities, and transgender men will be using women’s restroom and locker room facilities. This will undoubtedly be disconcerting not just to transgender people but also cis people when they encounter people who appear to be visibly male in women’s rooms or visibly female in men’s rooms.

This bill should never have been committed to paper, let alone entered the doors of the Indiana State Legislature. It’s a piece of misogynist, bigoted trash. 100 years from now, Senator Tomes children and grandchildren will be appalled that their family name is attached to this document in the same way that Hoosiers today find their great-grandfather’s KKK hood in the attic and are horrified that a family member was involved in something so terrible.

Folks familiar with the legislative process believe that SB35 won’t make it out of committee, and they don’t want to see the bill have public attention for fear that it will give the bill more power than it deserves. Several folks in political organizing have also expressed the opinion that the bill is intended to strike fear in the transgender community, and to distract attention from the horrible anti-transgender provisions of SB100.

That may be the case, but for the transgender Hoosier community, this is an insult that we don’t intent to ever forgive or forget.

Media Reaction to SB35 New Indiana Bill Could Make Trans And Gender Nonbinary People Criminals For Using The Bathroom

Seventeen Magazine: A New Bill in Indiana Would Punish Trans People for Using the Bathroom

The Advocate: Proposed Indiana Law Could Throw Trans People in Jail

TransGriot: Indiana GOP Senator Files Unjust Anti-Trans SB 35

Associated Press: Indiana bill targets transgender bathroom use
This article was picked up and run by: WISH-TV, Greenfield Daily Reporter, WSBT-TV, WLWT Cincinnati,, Journal and Courier, LGBTQ Nation, WSBT-TV, WLWT Cincinnati, Houston Chronicle, WKEF ABC 22, Fairfield Citizen, Albany Times Union, The Elkhart Truth, SFGate, Daily Journal and many others.

Chicago Tribune: Indiana bill targets bathroom use by transgender people

Think Progress: Indiana Lawmaker Introduces ‘Pay To Pee’ Bill For Transgender People

Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund: TLDEF Condemns Indiana Bill Targeting Transgender Youth and Adults

Indiana Business Journal: Indiana bill targets transgender bathroom use

The Republic: Local officials unsure on bill

Indianapolis Star: Bathroom politics amp up LGBT rights debate

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Transgenders’ bathroom use limited in bill

Fox 59 News: Indiana senator proposes bill to make it illegal to use restroom not of your “biological gender” LGBT community concerned after Indiana senator proposes bill to reinforce gender-specific restrooms
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 28, 2015)– An Indiana lawmaker says it should be a crime for people to use a public restroom that’s marked a gender different than…

WHAS Ind. ‘bathroom bill’ targets transgender people

Windy City Times: Anti-trans bill proposed in Indiana

WDRB: Indiana Senator wants people to use restroom that matches birth gender

TakePart: New Bill Could Send Trans People to Jail for Using the Bathroom

Metro Weekly: Indiana bill would criminalize transgender restroom use

Gay Star News: Indiana lawmaker introduces bill to criminalize transgender bathroom use

On Top Magazine: Indiana Republican To Transgender People: Use Restroom Associated With Birth Gender Or Go To Jail

Peacock Panache: Indiana GOP Targets Transgender Bathroom Use

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