KANSAS CITY -- A new bill introduced in both the Kansas House and Senate this week is causing a stir in the transgender community. The bill would force trans students in public schools to use bathrooms according to their sex at birth. A similar bill has also been proposed in Missouri.
"There's the girls, there's the boys, then there's Landon."
For years, Landon Patterson wouldn't use a public bathroom at all, fearing harassment. She's spent most of her years at Oak Park high school transitioning to female going eight hours a day without using the restroom.
"I'm sitting in class and I'm like I need to go to the bathroom and I couldn't. I was scared, I didn't want to go into the boy's restroom," Patterson said.
Originally Landon was told she had to use the male restroom but she worked with faculty and became the first trans student to use the female bathroom, a moment she said made her feel something she hadn't in years: normal.
"Getting to go in there was awesome," Patterson said.
But now lawmakers in both Kansas and Missouri are pushing for a bill that would make that impossible for teens like Landon. The bill would require trans students to use restrooms and locker rooms of their sex at birth. The bill defines gender as being determined by a person's chromosomes identified at birth.
"I'm not supposed to be in that bathroom I'm not supposed to be in there," Patterson said.
Supporters say the restrictions are needed and genders of the opposite sex in the restroom makes some uncomfortable. Landon fears this will out many trans students and cause separation.
"It's almost like you're treating someone like they're not human, like they don't deserve the same thing as you."
Supporters say this bill is strictly about privacy and is a black and white issue, while people in the community say it's much deeper.
"We are human, we are just like you. We just want to use the restroom," Patterson said.
Under the bill, trans students may request alternative facilities like single stall bathrooms.