On HB2 (The "Bathroom Bill")
You know, I’ve really done my best to keep cool on these subjects, even though they often make my blood boil. Donald Trump gives me hives. I think it’s imperative that you have your kids vaccinated. I’ve spent innumerable hours explaining why saying “All Lives Matter” is dismissive to the very real plight of black Americans. I steadfastly support the rights of same sex couples to marry. I’ve taken a vocal stand against police brutality and bias—especially in communities of color. In nearly all of those cases, I’ve patiently taken the time to try to explain my point of view to friends and strangers alike. Almost without fail, I’ve maintained my civility and tried to respect those with differing opinions. And in a handful of exceptionally rewarding cases, I’ve changed minds and made countless new friends along the way.
Now it’s probably time to lose some.
Just yesterday, I booted someone from my friend list that I’ve known for thirty years because of his stance on this legislation. And while that’s incredibly disappointing, there are simply some values (or lack thereof) that I cannot and will not abide under any circumstances. Supporting discrimination is one of them. So if, after reading this blog post, you still maintain an honest belief that we should require transgender people to use the restroom that matches their biological gender, then I’m afraid there is really no hope for our continued friendship. Sad perhaps, but true.
With that said, please allow me a little more of your time to completely annihilate the rationale behind this bill and prove why it’s not just ridiculous, but utterly unnecessary...
“We must protect ourselves and our kids against sexual predators.” I agree. So to that end, we should probably keep heterosexual white dudes out of public restrooms, since statistically: “in the vast majority of sexual assaults (including child molestation), offenders are heterosexual men.” (Anti-Violence Project, male sexual assault statistics, 1992—good luck finding more recent statistics. I tried.) And yes, white males account for 73.9% of all convicted perpetrators of sexual assault and 52% of convicted rapists.
Are you suggesting transgender people are likely to be sexual predators? No? Then please explain the point of this legislation? Yes? Okay. Do me a favor and do a Google search for restroom assaults and harassment. Tell me how many you find where the offender was legitimately transgender versus how many you find where they were not. Let’s compare notes and then revisit this question.
You’ve already almost certainly shared a restroom with a transgender person. Estimates are that at least .3% of the population identify as transgender (though experts believe that it could be as high as 3%). So if, in your lifetime, you have crossed paths with three hundred people in restrooms, odds are that at least one of them was transgender. And guess what? You survived. You didn’t even know the person in the stall next to you had plumbing different from yours.
Cross-dressing is not the same thing as transgender. It’s not. Look it up. Wearing clothes typically designed for people of the opposite sex does not make someone transgender. Transgender people actually identify as the opposite of their biological sex. This bill discriminates against a group of people who (quite literally) have nothing to do with the concerns that this bill is trying to preemptively address.
What’s keeping a perv from putting on a wig and some mascara and walking into a women’s room RIGHT NOW? Today. Pre-legislation. What was that again? Nothing? Really? So, just to be sure I’ve got this straight: you want to enact legislation that would prevent nothing more than might already occur without the legislation? How superfluous of you.
Or even without the wig and mascara for that matter? Who’s to say that your young son or daughter is any safer sharing a bathroom with someone who has the same genitalia as they do? (Remember the Catholic Church, by chance?) Anyone can be a sexual predator. And as we explored briefly above, your kid is statistically in more danger from the people legally allowed to enter said bathroom than anyone you hope to keep out of it.
This is a matter of privacy! For whom exactly? You? Your wife? Your kid? How about the transgender person in this equation? Do they not also have a right to privacy? Last time I checked there are already stalls in bathrooms. And (generally) dividers between urinals, right? A transgender male (born female) would—get this—almost certainly have to use a stall to pee in the men’s room! In an enclosed space. They can’t see you, and you can’t see them. And a transgender female (born male) using a women’s restroom? Take a guess. They’d have to use an enclosed stall to pee too! Because that’s the only option in the women’s room. So (and correct me if I’m wrong) there is already a reasonable expectation of privacy in a restroom, barring someone going out of their way to circumvent it. And as we’ve already established it is entirely unheard of for a legitimately transgender person to do so.
How exactly are you planning to enforce this? Transgender people very often appear to be the gender that they identify with. Conversion therapies with testosterone often leave “women” with facial hair and “men” with breasts. So by law, you want to require an at-birth female with a full beard identifying as a male to use the WOMEN'S restroom? You’d rather an at-birth male with breasts use the MEN’S room? Are you INSANE? How is this not going to cause problems? So your wife goes into the women’s room, and while you’re waiting for her, someone who for all the world looks like a man goes in after her. What do you do? Rush in and beat the shit out of the transgender male? Demand to see his vagina? You don’t think that forcing a transgender female with breasts to use the men’s room in a bar full of drunk assholes isn’t asking for a bad outcome? You gonna make her whip her dick out, perhaps, so she can piss in peace? Or are we going to make transgender folks carry their birth certificate with them everywhere so they can prove their biological gender to your satisfaction? Or maybe we can hire some TSA-trained bathroom attendants to give us all a good grope before we’re granted access to a stall. How fucking ludicrous.
The obligatory analogy. This would be rather like enacting legislation that prohibits atheists from stealing bibles. First of all, is this really a problem? Is there a scourge of secretive non-believers holding bible burning parties that the public at large isn’t aware of? Secondly, how do you plan to prove that the thieves are, in fact, atheists? Are you going to invade their privacy and dig into all of their intimate details to find out? Thirdly, it’s already against the law to steal. Creating a new and separate law specifically to deter those atheist scoundrels is discriminating against them for no real purpose whatsoever and with zero evidence that they are causing a problem in the first place. You’re merely creating an issue where one does not exist to reiterate a law that already exists for a group of people who are actually the least of your worries. That is asinine on a scale that I can’t even comprehend.
Let’s be honest, here. This is really about your discomfort with the very concept of transgender. It's nothing more than a misguided attempt to use legislation to strip trans people of their rights and to discourage them from being who they are. It has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone’s actual safety, because enacting such a law will undoubtedly create more violent situations (and probably sexual assaults) than doing absolutely nothing at all.
Perhaps what we need to do is to pass some laws that protect everyone against voyeurism, exposure, molestation, and sexual assault in bathrooms regardless of gender identification. You know—by punishing the people who commit crimes and not those who just need to pee?
Oh wait, you mean we already do?
Hmm. Imagine that.