Apr 18, 2024 - News

Utah schools begin anti-trans bathroom training for children

A presentation slide reads "Take care of yourself. It is not good for your body if you try to hold it and do not go to the bathroom when you need to." An image shows silhouetted people, as seen on bathroom signs, holding their crotches.

A slide shows restroom-sign silhouettes holding their crotches next to a warning that children should use the bathroom if they need to. Image via Salt Lake City School District

Schools in Salt Lake City are rolling out presentations instructing students to use the bathroom dedicated to their assigned gender at birth.

Why it matters: The trainings are required under the state's new anti-transgender bathroom ban, which takes effect May 1.

What's inside: "The new legislation says we need to tell everyone that if you were assigned a girl at birth, you need to use the girl's bathroom at school. … If you were assigned a boy at birth, you need to use the boy's bathroom," reads a slideshow scheduled for broadcast Friday in Salt Lake City's Emerson Elementary.

  • It instructs students to talk to a parent or school employee if they aren't sure which bathroom to use, and to tell the principal if they are bullied.
  • "If you do not feel comfortable in the bathroom you are directed to use, let us help you make a plan," it continues.

Zoom in: The presentation concludes with a quote from superintendent Elizabeth Grant, promising that "no matter what legislation is enacted, our schools and district facilities will remain safe and welcoming places for all students and staff and their families."

The other side: Since North Carolina became the first state in the nation to ban transgender people from using public restrooms that match their gender identity, critics have said such laws effectively prevent trans people from accessing public places.

What they're saying: "We still hold the position that transgender Americans have the freedom and liberty to access facilities within public spaces," the LGBTQ+ civil rights group Equality Utah wrote when the legislature passed the measure in January.

  • "We are sorry for the fear and distress that many within the community are experiencing as they read these bills."

Between the lines: Schools are creating their own presentations for students, so the content may vary by district and age group.

  • Other schools have released preliminary plans to "inform" students on the changes.

Catch up quick: The ban applies to bathrooms and locker rooms in publicly-funded facilities like schools, community centers and prisons.

  • It's a misdemeanor for a person to enter a sex-segregated, private space that doesn't match the sex on their birth certificate if they do something that would "likely cause affront or alarm."

Editor's note: Erin Alberty has a child who attends a Salt Lake City elementary school.

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