Utah fields nearly 4,000 “bogus" reports in first week of trans bathroom ban

A form for violations of a trans bathroom ban in state-owned buildings got nearly 4,000 fake reports in three days

Published May 4, 2024 11:46AM (EDT)

Gender neutral people desperate for the toilet, illustrated on door sign (Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)
Gender neutral people desperate for the toilet, illustrated on door sign (Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

A form to report violations of Utah’s transgender bathroom ban has received almost 4,000 entries, none of which were deemed legitimate.

The form, launched on Wednesday by the state auditor’s office, allows anyone to file a report on a violation of the "Sex-Based Designations for Privacy, Anti-Bullying, and Women’s Opportunities" act with near-total anonymity.

The Utah law, passed in January, sets the definition of “female” and “male” to the sex assigned at birth or on their “unamended birth certificate,” restricting transgender individuals from accessing preferred bathrooms and locker rooms in government-owned buildings like public schools.

“We didn’t see anything that looks credible,” Utah Auditor John Dougall told the Salt Lake Tribune, adding that reports were “pretty easy” to screen. “For example, if they have my name as a complainant, you know, I’m not complaining.”

The form is still accepting responses, and is mandated by the act. The Utah State Auditor was specifically tasked with “establish[ing] a process to receive and investigate alleged violations” and referring violations to the state’s Attorney General, who could fine government violators up to $10,000 per violation per day.

The bill took full effect on Wednesday, months after it passed nearly along party lines, despite backlash from the ACLU of Utah and LGBTQ+ watchdog groups.

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

Per 404 Media, the form also initially dumped submissions into an unprotected and easily accessible database before being password-protected.

Missouri decommissioned a similar form in 2023, which sought tips on gender affirming care in the state before being flooded with fake stories and bot-scripted spam.

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