WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The transgender bathroom issue came up at Wichita’s City Hall on Tuesday.
Thomas Vitkus wants the Wichita City Council to change the city’s public restroom ordinance to account for gender.
“All we want to do is use the bathroom,” said Vitkus.
It’s something so simple, but choosing which restroom to enter is a battle Vitkus, 20, faces every day.
“I actually spent an entire year trying to be feminine. I joined Girl Scouts. I joined another girls group that made you get in dresses and all of that. I wore makeup from my sisters and I hated every minute of it,” he said.
Vitkus was born a female. He started his transition to becoming a male about 1.5-years-ago.
“I started dressing in more masculine clothes,” he said.
He also started using the men’s restroom, until recently, when he looked up the city’s public restroom ordinance.
He says the way Wichita’s law currently stands, he has to use women’s restroom because his birth certificate says he’s female.
“I realized I have been breaking the law this whole time and that didn’t strike me right,” Vitkus said.
On Tuesday, the college student addressed the Wichita City Council about the ordinance.
“What I’m asking is that the Wichita Ordinance 570 be changed that every instance with the word sex is replaced with gender,” he told the council.
The city council thanked him for his comments, but they did not take action on his request.
“That was a very bold move,” said Wichita Vice Mayor Lavonta Williams.
Williams noted that bathroom laws are a hot topic right now nationally and state-wide, but she said Tuesday’s comments by Vitkus was the first time the issue had come up in front of the council.
“I think that we have waited and now this young person has come forward and so now we need to say something about it,” Williams said.
Vitkus hopes his message sparked a conversation that will lead to action.
“We are against the grain, but that doesn’t make us monsters, that doesn’t make us perverts, it just makes us people like everybody else and in this case I just want to use that room right there,” Vitkus said.
The city said it will discuss the restroom ordinance, however, it is too early to say if there will be any changes.
WICHITA BATHROOM ORDINANCE
Sec. 5.70.010. – Public restrooms—Unlawful conduct—Penalty.
Whenever a public restroom is clearly identified as being for the use of one sex only and is in a building or facility open to the public, it is unlawful for any person of the opposite sex who is above the age of ten years to enter or remain within such restroom. Anyone violating this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.