SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — A bill that would require public restrooms in Illinois to be available to both genders is coming under fire from a state senator who said he would be driven to violence if a man walked into the same bathroom as his 10-year-old daughter.
House Bill 1286 follows the Equitable Restrooms Act saying its purpose is “to promote the privacy, safety, and gender inclusivity of all Illinois residents and visitors.”
Sen. Neil Anderson (R) said the bill would inspire physical violence.
“I’m telling you right now, if a guy walks in there, I’m going to beat the living piss out of him,” Anderson said, according to The Washington Post. “So this is going to cause violence, and it’s going to cause violence from dads like me.”
AIDS Foundation Chicago, Equality Illinois, and Pride Action Tank issued a statement on Friday denouncing “violent language” at Thursday’s debate, but did not call out Anderson by name.
“The violent language like that used by the state senator gives license to transphobic actors to harm trans people. Enough is enough,” the statement said.
While the state currently allows single-occupancy restrooms for any gender, it would now allow businesses to create multi-occupancy gender-neutral restrooms.
The law would require any gender-neutral toilet stall to be separated by dividers, have a functioning lock on the door, add vending machines for menstruation supplies, and a small trash can in each stall.
The bill passed the Illinois House in March and moved to the Senate, where it was amended to require the stalls to be fully enclosed and the urinals to be removed.
According to The Center Square, Sen. Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) explained the reasoning, saying, “So we took into consideration the concerns of several members who voiced that concern in terms of again, people who walk into a restroom and might be offended by a urinal so what we are trying to do is to make sure that we are addressing those concerns.”
“This is woke,” said State Sen. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport), according to WFLD. “This is radical. This is out of touch with everybody in my district and your districts.”
Other Republican lawmakers agreed. Sen. Jil Tracey (R-Quincy), said “I don’t want to go into a restroom where there’s a man next to me, washing my hands.”
However, Villaneuva said the bill “makes it easier. Because it won’t be so awkward for you going to the lady’s room, or me going to the men’s room.”
“I have been asked about this legislation by hundreds of constituents who have written and who have called and asked that we support this legislation so that Illinois will step into the 21st century,” said State Sen. Mike Simmons (D-7th Dist), another supporter.
With its passage in the Illinois General Assembly, the law would go into effect immediately after being signed by Gov. JB Pritzker.