Hose, Olsen offer different views on bathroom access

Should transgender bathroom access come to a vote, one 81st District state House candidate says he's sure of his opinion, while the other says he'd have some research to do.

Democrat Greg Hose, a 35-year-old Downers Grove attorney, said he would oppose a bill that would require transgender students to use a private bathroom or the bathroom that corresponds with their biological sex, not their gender identity.

Such a bill was introduced by Palatine Republican Rep. Tom Morrison, who described its aim in a Daily Herald guest column in April as allowing schools "the option of designating a private, single-occupancy facility for students who request a special accommodation, while also ensuring schools maintain exclusively single-sex facilities."

"There's more to do in terms of equality in terms of LGBT rights," Hose said, referring to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. "We are all equal. We need to continue striving toward that equality applying to everyone."

Republican David Olsen, who was appointed to the 81st District seat July 30 after the resignation of Republican Rep. Ron Sandack, said bathroom access is not a topic he's fully considered.

"The issue that I've been focused on," he said, "is keeping people in Illinois; because we need to solve our budget problems, we need to solve our financial problems so that we have a sustainable path."

While he said he doesn't have a firm stance on the issue, Olsen, 28, said he will approach it from a philosophy of protecting safety and security.

"We need to appropriately balance the need for individual liberty and the need for safety and security for all - and for society as a whole," Olsen said. "In broad principle as I approach this issue, I'm looking at where is that balance."

Hose said the balance should favor equal access based on gender identity, lest Illinois end up like North Carolina, which has lost the business of several major sports events because of its restroom use policy.

"I come down on the side of more equality rather than less," Hose said. "Security is always a concern, but I think we need to stay away from anything that could even insinuate toward the idea that somehow, because someone is transgendered, that they somehow present a risk."

Hose and Olsen both were elected to the Downers Grove Village Council in 2013. Olsen resigned his seat in August after being appointed to fill the 81st House vacancy. Olsen also was appointed in February to fill a vacancy on the College of DuPage board after the resignation of former Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton.

The 81st District Hose and Olsen are competing to represent in the Nov. 8 election includes all or parts of Downers Grove, Darien, Lisle, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Westmont and Woodridge.

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