ALABAMA: Small Town Of Oxford Rebukes Target, Criminalizes Restroom Use By Transgender Citizens

Yesterday the city council of Oxford, Alabama, population 21,000, voted unanimously to publicly rebuke Target and criminalize the use of public restrooms by transgender citizens. Violations of the new law can result in a $500 fine or six months in jail. From the Anniston Star:

After members approved the new city ordinance, Council President Steven Waits read from a prepared statement. Waits said he and the council sought the law “not out of concerns for the 0.3 percent of the population who identify as transgender,” but “to protect our women and children.”

He said the measure isn’t meant to be discriminatory, and comes in direct response to the bathroom and changing-room usage policy put forth by supermarket chain Target, which has a store at Oxford’s Exchange shopping center.

Waits said he’s received an “overwhelming” number of complaints from city residents regarding the company’s policy since it was announced. Under the new law, alleged violations must be reported by a witness or committed in front of a police officer to be prosecutable. Those found to have violated the law would be fined $500, or sentenced to six months in jail.

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The ordinance also affects changing rooms and applies within the city limits and its police jurisdiction. Police Chief Bill Partridge said the law, which makes the offense a misdemeanor, would be enforced like any other city ordinance, such as noise violations or public indecency.

“If somebody sees something that makes them uncomfortable, they would call the police,” he said. “If the person is still there when the officer arrives, the officer has to witness the crime. Then we take down the person’s information, and the person who reported it has to sign out a warrant.”

(Tipped by JMG reader Greg)