Utah receives 4,000 ‘bogus’ complaints about new restrictive transgender bathroom law: report


Utah officials say they have been inundated with more than 4,000 bogus complaints of transgender people using public bathrooms just 72 days after the state launched a program to report such instances.

“We didn’t see anything that looks credible,” Utah Auditor John Dougall told The Salt Lake City Tribune.

The auditor’s office created an online complaint form in order to comply with the state’s controversial “Sex-based Designations for Privacy, Anti-bullying and Women’s Opportunities” bill, which was signed into law in January and mandates Utahns only use the bathroom matching their reproductive organs.

Utah will become the latest state to implement a transgender ban for school bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government-owned buildings when the law passed by the Republican controlled Legislature takes effect.
Utah became the latest state to implement a transgender ban for school bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government-owned buildings. AP

Under the law, which went into effect May 1, the state auditor’s office was ordered to  “establish a process to receive and investigate alleged violations of this chapter” by the government.

If the violation goes unresolved, the auditor must refer the issue to the Utah attorney general’s office who can impose fines up to $10,000 “per violation per day” on the government entity found at fault.

“I would assume the Legislature probably didn’t think through what kind of public backlash might happen,” Dougall told The Tribune.

He said the phony claims have been “pretty easy” to identify: “For example, if they have my name as a complainant, you know, I’m not complaining.”

“The alleged violation must have occurred at a publicly owned or controlled facility, program, or event,” the online tool tells those wishing to make a complaint. “When possible, citizens should make a good faith effort to address and resolve concerns with the government entity before submitting a complaint to the State Auditor.”

girl waving lgbtq flag
The Utah auditor’s office received more than 4,000 phone complaints in the last three days. AP

While it’s not illegal to send false reports to the auditor’s office, repeatedly falsely reporting crime to emergency officials can result in a misdemeanor charge.

The law impacts Utah’s transgender community, which accounts for less than 1% of the state’s population, according to The Tribune.

In addition to being restricted to restrooms only for their biological gender, they are also barred from using locker rooms and showers at public facilities that don’t align with their biological gender.

Those who’ve undergone costly gender reassignment surgery and have had their gender changed on their birth certificates are exempt.

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