Arizona’s Other Papers Please Law

A new bill in Arizona would make it a class 1 misdemeanor to intentionally use a public bathroom or locker-room assigned to a gender other than what was listed on a person’s birth certificate.  The penalties associated with the violation of the law would be a $2,500 fine or up to six months in prison.

The law has built in exceptions for individuals entering a bathroom to help someone or for children who require assistance.  However, under the law a transgender or an individual who identified by a different gender than the one on their birth certificate would be in violation of the law.

The law has encountered considerable conflict with the potential discrimination implications.  The primary problem is that absent a birth certificate, the main way someone can ascertain someone’s gender would be by observation.

This observation standard gives way to potential misguided assumptions.  A security guard or police officer would initiate an investigation based upon the perception of an individual’s gender.   To put it lightly, anyone doing so would find themselves as a defendant to a discrimination lawsuit.

But absent the gender discrimination implications, the next time you’re at a busy bar or club and you find yourself waiting in a long line, and you notice that the other line is nonexistent, hesitate before you bring put yourself in a position where you might face prison time or a substantial fine.