Bathroom monitors

Chris Wallace calls the “bathroom bills” a “solution in search of a problem.”

restroomIn the United States, we’ve been reading about all sorts of laws passed by state legislatures, in North Carolina and Mississippi, and elsewhere that discriminate against LGBT citizens. Entertainers such as Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams have cancelled concerts there, which I find a good and proper thing to do, as Arthur can explain.

I’m against laws that discriminate, of course. But I believe an element of these bills is based on some callow, unsubstantiated fear of transgender people molesting others in bathrooms. Someone commented, cheekily, that more Republican politicians than trans people have been arrested for sex acts in bathrooms.

For me, I would like to suggest a much more prosaic reason to oppose theses particular ordinances: they cannot work.

The North Carolina governor has set up a hotline to report anyone not using the correct bathroom. And how is this supposed to work, exactly? Will they borrow some of those discredited TSA screening devices and hire bathroom monitors to check out who has what body parts?

Transgender people are already using the restrooms that correspond to their gender appearance and almost no one even knows the difference. The idea that, suddenly, one have to go by the gender on one’s birth certificate is impractical. Will we require that somebody check IDs before they go into the loo?

Some customers may boycott Target over its transgender-friendly bathroom policy. They have the right to do this, but I have to wonder how many of these people KNOW any transgender folks. Chris Wallace, Fox News host, calls the “bathroom bills” a “solution in search of a problem.”

One of the oddly transformative moments in my life was taking a charter bus from New Paltz, NY to Washington, DC to attend an antiwar rally c. 1972. At some stop very near our destination (Delaware?), we made a pit stop.

We had a finite amount of time, so, as the line to the women’s bathroom started to get long, several of the women started using the men’s room. This was an obviously logical thing to do.

Such simple logic should be brought to the current debate.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “Bathroom monitors”

  1. I also use a men’s bathroom when the line of the women ‘s bathrooms is too long. But the law about who is allowed to use what kind of bathroom he or she uses, is ridiculous. Do you need your passport to show who you are. and what gender?
    Is this Big Brother is Watching You?
    Wil, ABCWTeam

  2. It seems bizarre that lawmakers and spending so much time and effort on deciding who should use which bathroom. Has their been public clamour for such legislation, or is it something that the authorities have dreamed up themselves? And why the assumption that children are somehow at risk of sexual harm? Is there evidence to back this up?

    I love the McCrory quote: ‘If you see a woman, who doesn’t look like a woman, using the woman’s restroom, be vigilant, call the hotline, and report that individual.’ How on earth is that meant to work? I can see the state being sued after the first butch looking woman is arrested by a SWAT squad responding to a misreported inappropriate use of restroom call.

  3. Republican politicians’ intent is to make life difficult for LGBT people, in this case, by going after a group that has even fewer legal protections, trans people, and this is no surprise. All the Republican presidential candidates have pledged to overturn marriage equality (mostly by nominating Supreme Court justices who would do that), and Republicans at the state level have been particularly active in passing laws to legalise discrimination against LGBT people. These laws have often tried to make the discrimination sound acceptable (as with the non-existent threat of arms people using the toilet correct for them), and the do so by making discrimination against LGBT people legal as long as the person discriminating does so because of their supposedly “sincerely held religious beliefs”. In some places, though, Republican politicians don’t try to hide behind religion when legalising anti-LGBT discrimination, and they generally don;t even talk about religion when passing these “bathroom bills”.

    So, Republican state legislators passing bizarre and blatantly unconstitutional “bathroom bills”, has to be seen in the larger context of the Republican (and largely extremist Christian) jihad against LGBT people generally. Haters gotta hate, they say.

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