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From the April 5 edition of Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield:

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ASHLEIGH BANFIELD (HOST): Just moments ago, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a controversial bill that impacts the LGBT community there. It's the “religious freedom” bill, and it would seemingly make it easier to discriminate against gender and sexual minorities in that state. Meanwhile, pressure is growing in North Carolina to change a similar law that requires transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond to the sex that's listed on their birth certificate. I want to bring in Candis Cayne, she's a transgender woman, an actress, and an activist who is on the show I Am Cait, a reality series starring Caitlyn Jenner. Candis, thank you so much for being on the program. Just your reaction to this kind of legislation that so intimately involves your life. The kinds of things we never think of, just walking into the bathroom.

CANDIS CAYNE: Yeah, I mean, to me, it's really difficult. I know people get scared over this issue, you know? I really feel like it's a total invasion, first of all, of everyone's privacy, and it doesn't just affect trans people. It affects the whole community, and it affects everyone. I mean right now it's scary to think that your wife or your husband or your daughter or child could actually be checked every time they want to use a public restroom. It's a scary thought, you know?

BANFIELD: So, Candis, there's been some language that's been used among those who are critical of the freedoms that you're seeking and these protections you are seeking, and some of the language has been fairly vitriolic. But at the same time those who support this kind of legislation say the language doesn't apply, say, to the trans person. It would apply to, say, the person who exploits the law to do nefarious things, for instance, a man who simply wants to go into a locker room or bathroom of a woman to commit a crime. Can we understand at least that area of the reason for the legislation?

CAYNE: Well, you know, it's hard to understand, because it's just not true. There's been no cases of that being proven. What is true is that it makes it more dangerous to have this law because then you start checking people as they go into bathrooms. I mean, it's kind of, it's interesting because in 32 states there are no laws that protect the LGBT community. I can be at, you know, work and somebody can turn me in as being a trans person, and I can get fired just for that. These aren't laws to help us get special protection. It's just laws to make us equal in the eyes of the government, you know?

BANFIELD: So, can I ask you, if you were to travel to North Carolina -- and I don't know if you ever have reason to or if you spend any time there at all -- effectively this law would tell you that you have to use the men's bathroom. Can you just sort of walk me through what that feels like and what the reaction to you in there is from the men who are in there?

CAYNE: I don't know. I've never been into a men's room, not for at least 30 years. So, what I do know is that it will stop people from being comfortable in this society. It will stop people from wanting to leave their house, because going to the bathroom is such a natural function. You leave your house every day. You want to go shopping. You want to go to the post office, but if you have to go to the bathroom along the way, you're not allowed to. It's a bill that's really kind of making people in my community have to stay home, have to not be a part of our society.

BANFIELD: Well I appreciate you taking the time to sort of weigh in on this and give us a personal perspective. I think sometimes people forget there are faces behind the legislation, so I appreciate your time.


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