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Reality Check: Would A Bathroom Ban Really Protect Women, Children?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota supporters of a transgender bathroom ban are not likely to get a vote on the bill this year.

They're pushing the ban because they say it protects women and children from predators posing as transgender in bathrooms at schools and other public places.

"There's articles where sexual predators have used the gender-identity-based-on-feelings defense in going into women's bathrooms," said Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe).

State Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) agrees.

"Throw a little mascara on their face, and they can sit in a bathroom and wait for a victim," he said.

But there's no evidence of dangerous predators pretending to be transgender in American bathrooms, even though Minnesota supporters of a bathroom ban say it's true.

Fourteen states, including Minnesota, have introduced laws banning transgender people from using bathrooms that don't match their biological sex.

And parents expressed honest concerns about privacy and safety during a Minnesota House hearing.

"All children, including gender non-conforming children, are put in harm's way when bathrooms are mixed," said Emily Zinas, a St. Paul mother of five.

We checked.

We could not find a single recorded case anywhere in the United States of a predator posing as a transgender person committing a bathroom assault.

We did find a 2014 case in Canada.

A man there pretended to be transgender and assaulted two females at a women's shelter. He was later confined indefinitely to a security hospital as a dangerous sex offender and mentally ill.

On the flip side, there is lots of evidence documenting violence against transgender people, including murder.

The Human Rights Campaign reports 21 transgender murders in the United States in 2015.

That's more than 2014, and the highest number on record.

Even as Minnesota lawmakers push for a transgender bathroom ban, one of the state's largest private employers announced it is going in the opposite direction.

Target Corporation announced it welcomes its transgender team members and guests to use bathrooms of their choice.

Here's the official statement from Target:

"In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity."

Here Are Some Of The Sources We Used For This Reality Check:

Human Rights Campaign Report on Violence Against Transgender People 2015 Report: Current States Considering Bathroom Ban

Reasons for Gender Identity Bills

PolitiFact North Carolina: Public Safety Risk of Predators Posing As Transgender

Toronto Sun: Mentally Ill and Dangerous Sex Offender in Canada

Williams Institute Studies on Transgender Issues

Target Corporation Transgender Bathroom Policy

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