Nashville, Tennessee – Under existing law in the state of Tennessee, a person may be found guilty of the criminal offense of indecent exposure if, while in a public place, he intentionally exposes his genitalia to others, or has a reasonable expectation that his bare genitalia will be seen and offend the viewer.
Now a Tennessee lawmaker is seeking to expand this protection to such facilities as locker rooms and changing rooms.
Under HB 1151, the existing indecent exposure law will expand to include “incidents occurring in a restroom, locker room, dressing room, or shower, designated for single-sex, multi-person use, if the offender is a member of the opposite sex than the sex designated for use.”
The amendment will “ensure that the definition of public space, as is already in law, is expanded,” State Rep. John Ragan, who proposed the bill, explained. It “simply adds clarity to the definitions and otherwise leaves current law on indecent exposure unchanged.”
The proposal initially included a clause stating that “gender dysphoria, gender confusion, or similar conditions” could not be used as a legal defense against a charge of indecent exposure. Rep. Ragan dropped this line from the proposal on Wednesday, March 13 when the House Criminal Justice subcommittee convened to debate the language of HB 1151.
The proposed amendment was met with outrage by the transgender community. Transgender activists claim that the indecent exposure bill would have the effect of criminalizing transgender individuals’ use of restroom, locker room, changing room and public shower facilities designated for the other sex.
While the subcommittee discussed the proposal, around a dozen transgender rights activists gathered outside of the General Assembly to protest.
The proposal comes at a time when there have been a number of incidents of men who identify as transgender women exposing their nudity in public facilities designated for women and girls.
In January, a group of teen girls from Palm Springs High School entered the women’s locker room at a city pool in California, and spotted a fully nude man taking a shower. When the coaches of the girls’ polo team confronted the man, he claimed to “identify as female.” The girls’ parents said the man left the pool area when they “tried to take his picture.”
“They were mortified, scared, and traumatized quite honestly. These girls don’t have experience with the male physique,” said Christine Foster, a mother of one of the teen polo players.
“Most of us are parents, and we’re fearful that our kids will come here and be exposed to something far earlier than what they expect to be exposed to,” parent Patrick Rawlings said.
In a more famous case from 2012, 45-year-old Florida college student Colleen Francis regularly walked around the women’s locker room at Evergreen State College fully nude, and sprawled naked in the sauna. Girls as young as six were present while Mr. Francis exposed his male genitals.
A female swim coach ordered the man to leave and called police, but she later apologized once Mr. Francis said he had been identifying as a woman for three years.
In both of these cases, as in other similar instances, police were unable to pursue charges against the naked men due to their claims to identify as part of the female sex.
The House Justice Committee approved Rep. Ragan’s indecent exposure bill and voted to pass it to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Nazi!” one of the angry transgender activists screamed at Rep. Ragan as he exited the Tennessee General Assembly by a private entrance.
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee lawmaker wants the state’s public indecency law to apply to bathrooms and changing rooms — a move that critics argue is designed to restrict the facilities that transgender people can use.
A bill that members of the LGBTQ community say was initially aimed at criminalizing the use of bathrooms for transgender people in Tennessee was quickly approved in a House committee on Wednesday.
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Parents and supporters of water polo players at Palm Springs High School gathered in front of the Palm Springs Swim Center, to express their concerns over three girls, seeing who they describe as a “naked man” showering in the women’s locker room.
A group of water polo players from Palm Springs High School have gone public after they say they recently encountered a “naked man” showering in the women’s locker room area leaving them “traumatized.”