Proposed Arizona Law Problematic for People with Disabilities

The debate rages on in Arizona, over whether a person who identifies with a specific gender should be able to use the restroom of that gender. In fact, if Republicans have their way, transgender people will have to use the restroom of the gender stated on their birth certificate, or else face jail time.

Not exactly a disability issue, you say? Well, think again.

Although there are exemptions in the proposed bill for attendants of the opposite sex assisting disabled people in public restrooms, that’s always been a problematic issue for people. And if this bill actually makes it past committee, and is signed into law, it won’t make things any easier. After all, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) already protects attendants of the opposite sex, and allows them into restrooms to assist disabled people, yet they still encounter problems when they do this.

Let’s talk about the law a bit.

The ADA requires public entities to reasonably modify their rules, policies and procedures to avoid discrimination against people with disabilities. And permitting a personal attendant to help a person with a disability use a public restroom designated for the opposite gender, is consider a reasonable modification.

Yet I still get complaints from travelers who have had restaurant managers refuse to let them use the restroom with their attendant of the opposite sex , because other patrons complained. Yep, even though we have regulations prohibiting this, it still happens. So can you imagine how things will heat up if this new law goes into effect? I guarantee you, it won’t be pretty. And people with attendants of the opposite sex will get hassled even more.

That’s why family restrooms are such a welcome sight for anyone who has an attendant of the opposite sex. They just make things so much easier.

In any case, hopefully the folks in Arizona will come to their senses and throw out this silly piece of legislation before it goes any further. I just can’t imagine telling someone to “hold it” while traveling through Arizona — after all it’s a pretty big state!