Helena Montana adds “Colleen Francis” clause to Non-Discrimination Statute
December 5, 2012
Helena Montana city commissioners voted 3-2 yesterday to add a public nudity exemption to the city LGBT non-discrimination ordinance which passed the first phase of the approval process.
A PDF version of the proposed ordinance -prior to the addition of the public nudity amendment- can be viewed here: http://www.kxlh.com/files/draftord.pdf
The proposed non-discrimination statute defines “Gender Identity or Expression” as :
“A gender-related identity expression, or behavior, regardless of the individual’s sex at birth.”
It will provide legal protection to LGBT city residents in all areas of employment, housing, and public accommodation. The public nudity exemption states:
“However in any place of public accommodation where users ordinarily appear in the nude, users may be required to use the facilities designated for their anatomical sex regardless of their gender identity. Such requirements shall not constitute discrimination for purposes of this section 1-8-4”
From the Helena Independent Record, City Commissioner Thweatt explained the amendment “…would allow the owner of a business to remove a person who, for example, was born male but is now a transgender person who had exposed genitalia in a sauna. The explanation was in reference to reports of this happening at Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Wash.”
In that case, a man named Colleen Francis was inadvertently given the legal right to expose his male genitals to high school girls in the female locker room, due to an overly broad Washington State public accommodation statute. You can read about that case here: http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/olympia-wa-school-officials-state-gender-identity-provision-overrides-title-ix-equality-for-girls-swim-teams/
Montana hunter and attorney Roberta “Bobbi” Zenker, who after fifty years of life as a heterosexual married man and father of two decided in 2007 to become transgendered, testified before the committee that he believes men like himself who wish they were female should have the right to expose their penis to females in places of sex-segregated public nudity- and they should exercise discretion as they see fit. “The fact is that I am pretty modest and my experience with trans people is that they are pretty modest too.” Zenker stated.
Good for Helena Montana for passing discrimination protections for LGBT people which also take into account the rights of women and girls to not be subjected to men’s penises in women’s locker rooms and saunas. All males have a right to use facilities based on anatomical sex. What they wear, or how they think of themselves should have no bearing on this. And women and girls have the right to privacy in sex-segregated areas of public nudity, and the right to be protected from male indecent exposure, regardless of what personal beliefs the male subscribes to. Kudos!
The anti-discrimination ordinance passed 5-0 and the final vote will be held on December 17.