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'I'm going to have to use the girls bathroom': Transgender dads concerned about implications of 'bathroom bill'

Kris Maul and Tyler Kirkman are both fathers and transgender men. Under SF 482, they would be required to use the women's restroom in their children's schools.

DES MOINES, Iowa — On Thursday, Iowa lawmakers approved SF 482. The measure, commonly referred to as a "bathroom bill" would prohibit someone from "entering a single or multiple occupancy restroom, changing area, or other facilities in elementary and secondary schools that do not correspond with the person's biological sex."

Kris Maul is a transgender man, who says he's frequently in schools supporting his student at their various events or other family members. 

"I go to school functions, like I go see my nieces play volleyball at their middle school, I go watch my other niece run track," Maul said. 

He wonders what will happen if Gov. Kim Reynolds signs SF 482.

"If I'm following the law, I'm going to have to use the girls bathroom," Maul said. "That's going to be totally uncomfortable for me, and definitely more uncomfortable for the women and girls that are in those bathrooms at the time."

Tyler Kirkman, also a transgender man and father, also feels uncomfortable by the prospect. 

"This bill forces me to now use the women's bathroom [in schools]," said Kirkman. "With the little girls and the moms. I don't think they're going to want me in there."

Maul and Kirkman say they each brought this concern up to lawmakers and received similar responses. 

"I actually had one lawmaker said to me, 'Well, you know, you just don't tell anybody and you go in the men's room,'" Maul said. "I'm like, 'Are you kidding me? You're saying I should just knowingly break this law.'"

"I had the same conversation with legislators," Kirkman said. "And they're basically, 'Well, nobody would know.' And I'm like, 'so you're telling me to break the law? I'm a law abiding citizen, I don't want to break the law.'"

During debate of this measure in the House, lawmakers in support of the measure stressed it prioritizes the safety and privacy of all children and schools will make accommodations when possible. 

"We must also empathize with the child that may not feel comfortable using the bathroom of their biological sex," said Rep. Steve Holt (R-Denison). "And that is why we stipulate in this bill that the schools will make efforts at accommodation."

But Maul and Kirkman are worried what will happen if those accommodations aren't available. 

"I'm anticipating someone's gonna call the police on me," Maul said. "Okay, I have to prove what's on my birth certificate, just so that I can use the bathroom quickly."

"The kids are gonna run out to their parents and the parents are gonna come in and come at me and I'm gonna have to explain why I'm in a bathroom," Kirkman said. "That's going to be a safety issue for me."

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