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Transgender activists flood Utah tip line with hoax reports to block bathroom law enforcement



Salt Lake City, Utah – To protect trans people and their friends from any actual complaints that could lead to an investigation, transgender activists have inundated a Utah tip line set up to notify state officials about potential infractions of a new restroom law with thousands of fake reports.

Due to the onslaught, Utah Auditor John Dougall, the state official assigned by law to oversee the tip line, has come under fire for implementing legislation he did not contribute to passing and for being stuck with the laborious work of sorting through fictitious complaints.

“No auditor goes into auditing so they can be the bathroom monitors,” Dougall said Tuesday. “I think there were much better ways for the Legislature to go about addressing their concerns, rather than this ham-handed approach.”

Over 10,000 contributions have been made to the online tip line in only one week since its introduction, he added, and none of them appear to be genuine. The form requests that users report public school personnel who willfully permit someone to utilize a space intended for the other sex.

It is legally obligatory for both residents and guests of Utah to use the restrooms and changing rooms in government-owned buildings that correspond to the sex of their birth. Schools and organizations found to be in breach of the new regulations as of last Wednesday face fines of up to $10,000 per day.

The community has been successful in interfering with the frequently poorly thought out enforcement measures linked to legislation restricting transgender rights, despite the fact that their lobbying efforts were unable to prevent Republican lawmakers in numerous states from implementing such limitations.

The Utah tip line was rapidly disseminated on social media by trans activists and community members from around the United States in the hours following its establishment on Wednesday night. Numerous people disseminated the spam they had sent in and urged others to do the same.
Their actions represent the most recent attempt by activists to close down or make inoperable a government hotline that they claim encourages rumors and divisiveness by enticing locals to spy on one another. Hoax claims have flooded similar portals in at least five other states, forcing state officials to take some of them offline.

Actors flocked tip lines set up to receive complaints against educators, school administrators, and librarians who might have talked to pupils about racism, LGBTQ+ identities, or other subjects lawmakers claimed were unsuitable for young audiences in Virginia, Indiana, Arizona, and Louisiana. Both the Virginia tip line and the Missouri tip line for reporting gender affirming medical clinics were removed in less than a year.
Prominent trans activist and legislative researcher Erin Reed stated that the trans community as a whole understands that filing these fictitious reports is a good strategy to challenge the laws and defend other trans persons who may be victimized.

“There will be people who are trans that go into bathrooms that are potentially reported by these sorts of forms, and so the community is taking on a protective role,” Reed said. “If there are 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 form responses that are entered in, it’s going to be much harder for the auditor’s office to sift through every one of them and find the one legitimate trans person who was caught using a bathroom.”

The auditor’s office has received several reports that Dougall referred to as “total nonsense,” as well as others that, in his opinion, seem believable at first but take a lot longer to come to light. For the past week, his team has been sifting through thousands of carefully constructed complaints that contain fictitious names or addresses.

The bill’s sponsors, Rep. Kera Birkeland and Sen. Dan McCay, stated they are still confident in the tip line and the auditor’s capacity to weed out phony complaints, despite attempts to jam the enforcement mechanism they had detailed in the legislation.

“It’s not surprising that activists are taking the time to send false reports,” Birkeland said. “But that isn’t a distraction from the importance of the legislation and the protection it provides women across Utah.”

Without presenting any proof of transgender people’s threats or attacks against women and girls, the Morgan Republican had positioned the ban as a safety precaution to preserve their privacy.
McCay claimed he was unaware that activists were to blame for the tip line being overloaded. The Republican from Riverton stated that he has no intention of altering the way the law is applied.

LGBTQ+ rights activists have cautioned that the law and its accompanying hotline permit anybody to inquire about someone’s gender in public settings, which they claim may have an impact on non-transgender individuals as well.

Their cautions were reinforced earlier in the year when a school board member in Utah faced criticism and ultimately lost her attempt for reelection after openly raising doubts about the gender of a high school basketball player she mistakenly believed to be transgender.

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