Bathroom Defenders

I’ve seen all kinds of nonsense in comment threads in some of the places I hang out. Folks somehow think that North Carolina’s recently passed HB 2 somehow requires that there be some kind of guards at restroom doors who will check either ID’s or undies. I don’t really think they believe this, but they do like to post rather silly images like this one:

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Let’s be serious, there are lots of things wrong with HB 2, but it’s not creating some kind of police state where public restrooms and locker rooms are concerned. In fact, I think the part of the law about public restrooms gets it just about right. I agree with HB 2 that multi person facilities should be divided by biological sex rather than gender identity. HB 2 also addresses concerns about the safety of transgender people. Any business or institution that wants to do so is free to create and maintain single use facilities for trans folks or for any other reason they might want to.

I’ll get to the bad parts of HB 2 in a bit, but first I want to make a point about laws that allow, on the basis of gender identity, access to spaces previously divided by biological sex. I don’t really have conversations about this subject with a lot of people. Most men I’ve talked to about gender identity and access to women’s only spaces have a conservative “protect our wimminfolk” attitude. While there are huge problems with the “our” in that statement, I think they also have some genuine concern for women’s safety. Most women I’ve talked to are highly skeptical of the idea that a male person’s internal feelings that he is really a woman are important whatsoever. I could summarize this as “He’s not one of us,” and I can’t disagree. Jenner isn’t one of them. These are all folks at least in their late thirties. Perhaps that’s why they don’t buy into the current idea that access to women’s spaces is the supreme civil rights struggle of our times. I don’t really talk to that many young people much, except for my students. I keep things professional, so we mostly just talk about inverted chords, left hand position, and pentatonic scales.

The only person around my age that I talk to about this with whom I disagree is my total libfem sister-in-law. She supports laws that allow male persons who identify as women to access women’s restrooms and changing rooms. Or at least she used to. I think I may be bringing her around. I said that if she were to notice a male-bodied trans person in the restroom, she could simply ignore the situation and be on her way. In other words, my SIL wants to regulate by law the behavior of other women, those not as “enlightened” as she is. Is she really saying that she doesn’t trust women? And what if she got bad vibes about someone in a restroom or locker room? What could she do? If gender identity is the legal standard, then she’s the “bad guy” for complaining, whereas if biological sex is the standard, ordinary women like her are able to act according to their discretion.  I trust the discernment of women. Shouldn’t she?

And that’s the whole point. Gender identity access laws are laws that regulate the actions of women. Maybe that’s why they are so popular.

But back to HB 2. While it gets the bathroom and locker room issue just about right, it also goes beyond this to discriminate against lesbians and gays. HB 2 overrides any local laws in North Carolina that specify that city contracts will be awarded only to businesses that have official policies not to discriminate against lesbians and gays. It also overrides any local laws allowing for discrimination suits on the basis of sexual orientation. Only protected classes under state law can be part of local law. And just on a lark, they also said a local government can’t pass a a regional minimum wage law.

HB 2 is likely not able to survive legal challenges in Federal Court. Romer v. Evans, when Colorado overrode local laws, is the obvious precedent. But is everyone riding this out and just waiting for the day when HB 2 is defeated and Charlotte can get its local laws back? No, somehow this is a huge crisis. Artists are canceling concerts. Boycotts are brewing. And almost none of this fuss is about the fact that lesbians and gays are being harmed (mildly, in most cases) by HB 2. It’s all about the gender identity provisions.

What about women? Y’all never did this for women. No one cancelled or boycotted Texas back when we passed a law that women have to get a transvaginal ultrasound and read a script of lies by a doctor before getting an abortion. Everyone loved Wendy Davis and the “people’s filibuster”, but no one called for a boycott of Texas when there was a special session that passed the laws Davis so bravely opposed. Women’s autonomy just doesn’t capture attention like male genderfeelz.

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Bathroom Defenders

  1. We should make men’s bathrooms open to all sexes, install tampon machines and changing tables and signs that read, “If you see someone who appears to be female, leave them alone” and make women’s bathrooms open to only females and male transgender people who under medical care for transition or something.
    Bathrooms are really the least of it, HUD issued an order that men who identify as women must be taken on their say so and admitted into women’s homeless shelters, no questions asked. Brazil, Canada and Californiain the US are putting men who ID as women in with women prisoners. In the UK a man who was convicted of murder and attempted rape was put in a women’s prison so he could have two years of “living as a woman” (whatever that means) before he was elible for getting his gender recognition certificate. I don’t know, I figure I can carry mace and a box knife into a public bathroom, can’t do that in homeless shelters or jail, can’t leave in that situation. These conservatives who are so concerned about protecting teh wimmins, sure don’t care about women in jail or in homeless shelters. What a stupid culture war, gay and lesbian rights are now tied up with men’s right to demand access to women’s bathrooms and locker rooms if they say so. It’s not defensible and iisjust going to turn the public against gays and lesbians, it’s fucking gold for the religious right.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I totally agree. BTW, there usually are changing tables in men’s restrooms in stores and other places men are likely to take their children.

      I know I did not mention F2T’s in my post. I think they would be safe in most male public restrooms. We have a major culture of ignoring each other. We know how potentially dangerous we are and have strict norms for avoiding conflict. F2T’s will mostly be OK. One place they would NOT be safe is in high school, and especially middle school restrooms. Middle school boys are the vilest little fuckers ever. I used to be one, so I know.

      I totally get your point about about conservative men. They care only about a small core of “good” women and the rest can get what’s coming to them.

      And yes, embracing trans issues is a major strategic blunder for lesbians and gays. Folks cool with gays and lesbians often don’t buy into gender identity.

      Trans leadership is actively opposed to such a thing as lesbians even existing. Lesbians gotta love them some ladywang or else they are morally defective transphobes.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I don’t know about ftms being so safe in men’s bathrooms, after some idiot told me that women rape men too, I put up a google alert for “man raped”. Didn’t find a bunch of reports of roving bands of lady rapists, lots of reports of men being raped by other men and a few reports of trans men being raped by men. Trans men were usually attacked after their attacker discovered they were female. Personally, id rather be a dude in a dress in men’s bathroom than a 5’5″ man with a vagina in a men’s bathroom.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. F2Ts most often use the stalls, even though they could use STP devices at the urinals, which tells me they don’t really feel safe in men’s restrooms but they can’t see clear to using women’s either since they pass much better than M2Ts do. Interestingly, the trans bathroom warriors never seem to mention that.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I sympathize with transwomen who don’t feel safe in men’s bathrooms and changerooms but the only solution that ensures their safety AND the safety of females is to provide them with separate unisex/neutral facilities. Here’s why: male transgenders are still male and as such demonstrate the same level of criminality including violent crime as other males: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885. I don’t say this because I think trans people are inherently violent or because I think males are inherently violent. Males who have sex dysphoria or claim to be female according to gender identity receive male socialization just like all other males, even if they transition in their teens. Male socialization does two things, basically: it inculcates males with a belief in the inferiority of females; and it instills in them a sense of male entitlement to the bodies and energy of females and a general attitude that they’re born leaders fit to dominate. Although transwomen who’ve undergone sex reassignment surgery no longer have a penis with which to rape and some transwomen say that estrogen helps them feel calmer, this does not undo this socialization and males on average are still stronger and therefore able to overpower females and do a lot of damage if they attack them. A case in point is a 6′ 3″, 280 lb transwoman formerly known as Patrick Hagan, a martial arts expert, who punched a woman who questioned his presence in the women’s bathroom and lost five of her teetch as a result: http://www.sptimes.com/News/92599/Pasco/Cross_dressing_man_se.shtml. Sex segregated facilities exist for a reason. Compromise them and you’re compromising the safety of women and girls.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. One last comment here. I think it’s pretty clear that F2T’s are much more at risk from fellow members of the trans community than they are by random dudes in public restrooms. 4th Wave Now’s recent post shows that M2T’s are a pretty high rape risk to F2T’s

    I agree that F2T’s are at some risk in high traffic locations, get a lot of men together in a restroom who don’t know each other and we have some extreme “no homo” conflict avoidance going on. Some dudes have bashful bladder and can’t piss in a urinal even if there are full dividers. The rare dude sits to piss on a toilet. Maybe he thought he had to take a shit and was mistaken? We really don’t care.

    Moderately passing F2T’s are at little risk in high traffic areas.

    Liked by 1 person

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