Protesters rally against 'bathroom bill' I-183 - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Protesters rally against 'bathroom bill' I-183

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BOZEMAN -

Dozens of protesters gathered in Bozeman Tuesday to speak out against a proposed bathroom bill.

Ballot initiative 1-83 would require all state and local entities, including schools and universities to designate bathrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms as ‘protected facilities.’

People would be required to use the facility that aligns with their biological sex at birth.

It would also enable people to demand identification of people using these facilities.

LGBTQ advocates and allies, who comprised all of the protesters today, say the bill discriminates against transgender and non-binary people and the ballot language could go beyond public spaces and would allow landlords and employers to possibly discriminate based on gender as well.

"As a trans Montanan here, I have a life, I rent an apartment here, I go to school and am trying to better my future and possibly pursue a career here in Montana,” said 19-year-old Bozeman resident Caiden Mershon.

“This bill being enacted would possibly end any sort of hopes I have to being able to continue living here," Mershon said.

Proponents of the bill, including the Montana Family Foundation say “high school girls should not change in front of high school boys” and that I-183 would protect privacy.

According to the bill shown on the Montana Secretary of State’s website, I-183 would cost Montanans about $600,000 in the first four years to update signage and facilities. Past the first four years, the bill admits the cost could be substantial.

If supporters gather enough signatures, Montanans would vote on I-183 in 2018.

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