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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘A lifestyle choice for some,’ ‘I am legally, lawfully female,’ ‘Absolutely beyond me’

Danielle Lundgren testifies to the House State Affairs Committe on Monday evening (Betsy Russell)
Danielle Lundgren testifies to the House State Affairs Committe on Monday evening (Betsy Russell)

More testimony at this evening’s hearing on the “Add the Words” bill:

Derek Cassel of Caldwell, who testified against HB 2, said, “I’ve been thinking a lot about rights recently. … No government and no majority can take away specific rights that we have. If this bill passes, that concept will be turned on its head. … The law will be used to force individuals to bow to the will of the majority. … A yes vote takes away the religious rights of all in favor of a lifestyle choice for some.”

Danielle Lundgren, a sheriff’s detective from Idaho Falls who specializes in crimes against children and domestic violence, told the committee, “I am a transgender woman. I transitioned on the job. And if you’re not familiar with what that entails and what that means and that process, I had to go through psychological, mental, physical, medical and legal changes to be able to change my gender.” She said, “It just so happens that I am the only out transgender cop in the state of Idaho. I know there are others like me, because they have reached out to me in private and in secret, many expressing fears, because they’ve seen the way that I have been treated just for being who I am. The fear of job loss. The fear of family. The fear of housing loss.” Lundgren said though every piece of identification she has, from her Social Security card to her sheriff’s office ID says she’s “legally, lawfully female,” she still is harassed over using public restrooms. “Where would you have me go to the bathroom?” she asked. “A closet where I’m out of sight and out of view from anyone else? Or just not at all, which physically isn’t possible?”

Walt Bayes told the committee, “When a person begins to look away from the way that God created man and woman, and begins to serve lust and that’s honestly all it is, I honestly can’t imagine how another man can be excited over another man’s figure. It’s absolutely beyond me. And it’s not like I’m short of sex. I have one wife. …  I have over 80 grandkids and great grandkids. So it’s not like I don’t understand something about sex.” Raising his voice, he shouted, “I don’t want some woman that thinks she’s a man in my bathroom!” Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, cautioned him, “Sir, you’re getting awfully close to the line here.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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