ACLU of Mississippi issues statement on passing of HB 585

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The Mississippi House of Representatives passed HB 585, a bill that would enable individuals to sue state run correctional facilities, and state colleges and  universities if  they “encounter”  a transgender person in bathrooms, changing rooms, designated safe space or sleeping areas.  HB 585 violates federal regulations in the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and Title IX, both of which make it unconstitutional to discriminate against individuals on the basis of sex.

HB 585 is nothing more than an attempt to segregate and alienate transgender individuals from living life as they choose and prevent them from being acknowledged as citizens with rights. Discriminating against someone because they are transgender is prohibited sex discrimination under federal law.

HB 585 mandates discrimination against transgender people in public facilities, from college dorms to state prisons. Further, the bill would actually define transgender people out of existence.

Transgender women face higher rates of violence on college campuses and correctional facilities. Defining people by their reproductive capacity does not increase safety for anyone.

Under the bill, the State Legislature would open up our universities and prison system to countless lawsuits unless they strictly enforce the laws mandated discrimination against transgender people. It will require prisons to either place trans inmates in dire risk of serious harm by placing trans women in male facilities (and trans men in women’s facilities), or in involuntary segregation for their safety.

HB 585 is overtly transphobic, ignoring the rights, privacy, and safety of transgender individuals. This so-called Safer Act bill does nothing to ensure the safety of transgender individuals and makes prisons and educational facilities less safe for everyone.

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ACLU of Mississippi issues statement on passing of HB 585

By Jackson Advocate News Service
March 18, 2024