Move over North Carolina and Mississippi--Oxford, Alabama, has just taken discrimination against transgender people to the next level.
The small town of about 21,000 people has a new ordinance on the books that criminalizes people who use a public restroom or changing room that does not match their biological sex. The city council passed ordinance by unanimous vote.
The ordinance imposes penalties of up to a $500 fine or six months in jail.
City Council Steven Waits spoke with local media during a news conference, claiming that the matter was "public safety" issue that businesses so "immersed in political correctness" were ignoring.
"This ordinance is not being put in place out of the 0.3 percent of the population that identifies themselves as transgender," Waits said. "In fact, it's being put in place to protect the women, children and families from voyeurs, exhibitionists, child molesters, sexual predators and others who would use these policies to their advantage."
In a call with Out.com, Oxford police captain L.G. Owens explained that, under the ordinance, a victom would have to file a formal complaint before police action was taken.
"We're going to enforce this like any other city ordinance, like criminal trespass or littering," Owens said. "The judge's options for fines or jail or both are broad."
While several states have passed or are considering restrictive measures against transgender people, the Oxford ordinance has so far been the first to impose criminal penalties. Even North Carolina law enforcement have struggled to interpret HB2, the notorious "bathroom bill" that has witnessed national and international protest from entertainers, businesses and foreign governments.
"People will not come to Oxford if they don't feel safe," Waits said.