By Pat Kessler


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There was an emotional hearing at the State Capitol Tuesday on a bill to ban transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match their biological sex.

It is supported by parents who said they are worried about the safety of their children.

“Anyone can use any bathroom or locker room that they choose,” said Emily Zinos, a mother of five from St. Paul. “And that’s a situation ripe for abuse by those who have the intention of harming children.”

Dozens of people showed up wearing buttons that read, “No Boys In Girls Bathrooms,” or “No Hate In Our State.”

Transgender Minnesotans told their stories of daily discrimination.

“I’m a person just like every single one of you,” said Andrew Dodge, a high school student from Minneapolis. “And I want to live.”

Riah Roe, of Minneapolis, also defended her rights at the hearing.

“My kind of human does exist. I have the right to exist, to present as I wish, to be called what I like,” Roe said. “And I have the right to use the bathroom.”

Emotions spilled over when the sponsor of the bathroom bill described it as a way to protect children from predators, including rapists and child molesters who might disguise themselves as transgender to gain access to a bathroom.

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (credit: CBS)

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (credit: CBS)

“We’re not claiming all transgenders are this way,” said Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, of Glencoe. “But you give the green light when you put a standard out there of feelings for people who are sexual predators.”

The transgender bathroom bill will not pass this year; it is not even getting a vote. But Republicans held a hearing anyway, calling it an important conversation.

Democratic leaders say it reflects the Republican “extreme” agenda.

North Carolina recently enacted the controversial legislation, but the governor of South Dakota recently vetoed a similar measure.

A number of U.S. governors, including Minnesota’s Gov. Mark Dayton, have banned state travel to North Carolina after the transgender bathroom law took effect there.

Pat Kessler