On Tuesday, Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, a Republican from Glencoe, introduced a bill to ban transgender people from using the restroom at their place of employment as well in public places. HF2553 would also codify into law a male-female gender binary.

The bill updates the legal definition of “sex” to be “A person’s sex is either male or female as biologically defined.” The bill does not say what “biologically defined” is comprised of.

The bill also would impose a law on employers that would prohibit them from enacting gender inclusive workplaces and force them to label all multiple occupancy facilities as either male or female:

The provisions of section 363A.11 relating to sexual orientation as defined in section 363A.03, subdivision 44, shall not apply to the employment of any individual with regard to facilities such as restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, or other similar places. No claim of nontraditional identity or sexual orientation may override another person’s right of privacy based on biological sex in such facilities as restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and other similar places, which shall remain reserved for males or females as they are biologically defined.

The bill does the same for public restrooms and other facilities:

The provisions of section 363A.11 relating to sex, or sexual orientation as defined in section 363A.03, subdivision 44, shall not apply to such public facilities as restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and other similar places. No claim of nontraditional identity or sexual orientation may override another person’s right of privacy based on biological sex in public facilities such as restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and other similar places, which shall remain reserved for males or females as biologically defined.

Finally, the bill doubles down on the prohibition on employers adopting gender inclusive workplace:

“Other than single-occupancy facilities, no employer shall permit access to restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and other similar places on any basis other than biological sex.”

The bill is similar to one offered by Gruenhagen and 43 other Republicans in 2016. That bill did not advance in the GOP-controlled House. The current bill has been filed after the committee deadlines and faces an uphill battle despite a Christian conservative majority in the Minnesota House.

Rep. Gruenhagen has been one of the Minnesota Legislature’s most anti-LGBTQ members both politically and personally.

Gruehagen made the claim that homosexuality is an “unhealthy sexual addiction” in 2013. The Minnesota Legislature was poised to pass marriage equality and Gruenhagen organized a press conference with “former homosexuals” to prove that sexual orientation can be changed through prayer and counseling.

Gruenhagen has been an outspoken opponent of equity for LGBTQ Minnesotans. He recently authored a bill that would ban transgender employees from using the restroom that is appropriate for their gender. In 2011, he co-founded the Pro-Family Forum, formerly the Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum, along with “former homosexual” Kevin Peterson (In 2013, Gruenhagen announced his “former homosexual” friend on the floor of the Minnesota House as that body was taking up marriage equality).

The Pro-Family Forum held events around the state in support of a failed constitution amendment to ban marriage equality. The group also tried to block anti-bullying legislation with a bizarre video claiming that HIV is transmitted in sweat, and claimed credit for blocking a bill that would prohibit licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor.

Gruenhagen’s group placed an billboard near Elk River last year that urged gays and lesbians to seek out “conversion therapy.”

The Column is a community-supported non-profit news, arts, and media organization. We depend on community support to continue the work of solid LGBT-centric journalism. If you like this article, consider visiting Give MN to make a contribution today.
SHARE
Previous articleSpotlight on the Arts: Hieu Minh Nguyen
Next articleAnti-LGBTQ groups press Anoka-Hennepin schools to reject gender inclusion and trans equity
Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

7 COMMENTS

  1. That law is a waste of time. So tired of lawmakers worrying about who’s peeing next to them. They should wear a sign saying “I’m afraid of transgender people” so we know to stay away from those uneducated people.

  2. Wow it’s so sad that at this day and age. There are still people so blind. Karma will catch up with him. He will be aided by the very group of people he is so against. He may not admit it in public, because he’s to clouded. His conscience will make it very hard to live with the hate. Yes that’s what it is!!

  3. As someone who was born and raised in Glencoe and went to GSL high school, I am embarrassed by this proposal. Glencoe is a great town, but when representatives introduce bills like this it scares people away. People will not want to visit and I am afraid they will actively want to avoid Glencoe all together.

  4. You are wrong cody, common sense over rules all the immorality here. Common sense and morals tell me and others that women should not have to be in the same bathroom as a man. Hellllllooooooooooo that is asking for trouble. I live near glencoe also. I know Glenn personally. He is a fine moral man and I am VERY proud of him and what he is fighting for. I also graduated from GSL. Thank you GLENN!!!! You also lose my respect when you don’t respect me and my wishes miss Allison M

  5. The saddest thing about this bill and others like it is that they are an attempt by a particular religious group to co-opt the law into a means to impose their religious beliefs upon all persons. It does not make any difference if some gay or trans people seek to be “cured” by some set of religious rituals because not all gay and trans people want to be “cured”, nor do they all believe in that religion. This does not change even if 99% of the population happens to agree with that religion. Excluding the fact that it was basically stolen from its original owners, this nation was settled in part by people who sought to flee government imposed religious practises, to be free to follow their own beliefs and consciences. This principle is part of the warp and woof of this nation. Nothing could be more un-American than to enact laws to impose the religious beliefs of one group upon all peoples.
    Further, the First Amendment prohibits the government from imposing any religious beliefs upon the people. And Article VI of the Constitution prohibits any religious test as a condition for holding federal office. It is a dangerous myth that America was founded as a Christian nation. Consider also the Treaty of Tripoli which states, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”. The treaty was UNANIMOUSLY ratified by the Senate on 7 June 1797, and signed by President John Adams, one of the Founders, on 10 June 1797 a mere 21 years after the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson in his “Notes on Virginia” wrote, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” It does no harm to Christians for LGBTQ people to be able to freely express themselves nor expect the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Granting marriage equality, the right to work, raise children, own homes and businesses, express their gender, use bathrooms, to be able to purchase goods and services available in the public marketplace, etc., does not compel those who believe LGBTQ people are sinners to change their beliefs, nor does it forbid them from preaching their doctrines, require them to perform gay marriages or even admit such people as members of their religious assemblies, they still retain all those rights and privileges. But this is not enough for them. What they seek is to use political power and the law to empower them to oppress, persecute, and deny the Constitutional rights granted to all peoples. Jesus himself flatly rejected political power, e.g., John 6.15. Nor did he call for his followers to persecute or retaliate even against those who opposed them instead commanding them “love your enemies”, see Matthew 5.43-44, and “bless those who curse you” – Luke 6.28. Even Paul, who is no stranger to polemical writing, placed limits on Christians judging others, see 1 Corinthians 5.9-13, which reads in part “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” Many LGBTQ people express antipathy towards some Christians not because of their personal religious beliefs, but because you use those beliefs as the foundation to attack us and try to impose their beliefs on us, e.g., this bill introduced by Rep. Gruenhagen.
    Finally, let us not have any nonsense that these bills are about protecting women from male predators. Trans women have been able to legally use their appropriate bathrooms in this state since 1993 and there has been no rash of sexual assaults by trans women on ciswomen (so far as I know there are none in Minnesota). Trans women are not sexual predators. Even if a few cases were found, we do not restrict the rights of all members of a group based on the actions of a few. Consider that a Bureau of Justice Statistics report on rape and sexual assault of college age females reveals that 63% of rapes were done by white males, should we pass a law prohibiting that group from attending college or being on college campuses? (Source https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsavcaf9513.pdf) Additionally, statistics show that with regard to juvenile victims of sexual assault, 93% knew their attacker (Source https://www.rainn.org/statistics/perpetrators-sexual-violence) which demonstrates that trans women are not using bathrooms in order to sexually assault children.
    These bills and others like them are nothing but an attempt to codify discrimination against and persecution of members of the LGBTQ community and in so doing give that discrimination and persecution some air of legitimacy. In that respect they bear strong resemblance to the Nuremberg Laws passed by Nazi Germany.

  6. I also know Glenn personally. I’ve always know him to go off on political rants about everything from education to economics to homosexuality, which he somehow considers to be the ultimate sin, even though such a huge chunk of the Bible points to pride as being the big one. But I digress. I really doubt that Glenn even knows a gay person or would even allow himself to become friends with one, and if he did I can’t imagine he’d be able to see them as anything more than a “conversion project.”

    Peg, your comment leads me to guess that you probably don’t actually have any friends in the LGBT community either. You probably don’t know any transgender people, because your comment shows a clear lack of understanding of what being transgendered is even about. Your fear about “men in the ladies room” is nothing more than unfounded paranoia. I have lived not far from Glencoe/NYA, and I know that it’s not the most diverse part of the state, so I suppose I’m not totally surprised. I suggest you make the effort to educate yourself on what the issues ACTUALLY are with transgendered people and bathrooms. Maybe your comfortable with your opinions where they are and you don’t WANT to know what people on the other side of the issue feel, but that’s on you, then. You’re choosing to remain ignorant. So it’s up to you. But I can tell you this bill that Glenn is proposing is totally wrong.

LEAVE A REPLY