Personal Privacy Protection Act threatens transgender privacy

Carin Huber, Opinion Editor

On April 17 Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office received a proposed initiative for California’s 2016 ballot designed to threaten and shame transgender people.

The Personal Privacy Protection Act would allow civil suits for a minimum of $4,000 against transgender people who use public restrooms for the gender they identify with in government buildings, including schools.

The proposed initiative defines biological sex as “the biological condition of being male or female as determined at or near the time of birth or through medical examination or as modified by Health & Safety Code § 103425.” This code states, “Whenever a person has undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition, the person may file a petition with the superior court in any county seeking a judgment recognizing the change of gender.”

This proposal is problematic because, while rare, there are people who are born with no clear gender. Intersex Society of North America estimates that 1 in 1,500 to 2,000 children are born with genitalia ambiguous enough to consult an expert, while others are less obviously divergent. Even chromosomal tests can be inconclusive.

More often than not, such children receive sex assignment surgery in infancy, with their parents or a suregeon choosing their gender, a choice which may prove incorrect later in the child’s life.

In 2013, LGBT news source Queerty reported parents of an adopted 8-year-old intersex boy filed a lawsuit against the South Carolina Department of Social Services, Greenville Hospital System and Medical University of South Carolina for medical malpractice.

The defendants surgically assigned the sex of female to the child at 18 months of age while he was in the foster system. Now old enough to understand the issue, the child stated that he is a boy, not a girl as the state of South Carolina decided.

The suit may come before a jury this November, according to The Post and Courier.

Aside from such intersex issues, the Personal Privacy Protection Act seeks to humiliate transgender people, forcing them into the same dangerous situation that it purports to protect against.

To use a public restroom intended for the gender one identifies with, a transgender person, or even just someone whose fashion sense tends toward androgyny, will have to prove their physical sex to escape potential lawsuits. If the transgender person happens to be pre-operative they will have to use the restroom opposite their identity, putting transgender women in danger of attack in men’s restrooms, and sending transgender men into women’s restrooms where they will be accused of the behavior proponents of this initiative claim to be averting. Far from protecting personal privacy, this proposal seeks to destroy the individual liberty of every transgender person.

For the full text of the Personal Privacy Protection Act, visit