Enough With Bathroom Policy-Making

Enough With Bathroom Policy-Making
Nick BrothersThe Free Weekly Managing Editor

Nick Brothers
The Free Weekly Managing Editor

All this insane talk about bathrooms is getting out of hand.

I’m coming in hot on this issue. I kinda hate contributing to the cacophony of burnt-end opinions being tossed around, but I just wanted to say this: can we move on?

In no way do I mean to imply the trans community doesn’t matter, I mean quite the opposite. I mean to say let’s take a moment to realize that we’re in the midst of a national debate about where certain people are allowed to pee.

Naturally, my column is inspired by the firestorm that was generated after North Carolina passed House Bill 2, a law that bans people from using bathrooms that don’t match the sex indicated on their birth certificate.

Our own governor, Asa Hutchinson, recently criticized President Obama for the administration’s recent guidance for public school bathrooms for protecting transgender students. The guidelines required schools to allow trans students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

Here’s what A-Hutch had to say about that:

“The recent letter from the federal government providing guidance to Arkansas schools on gender identification is offensive, intrusive and totally lacking in common sense. There is no recognizable problem in Arkansas on this issue. The federal government is stirring the pot and meddling in the local control and administration of our schools.”

Maybe we don’t have a “recognizable” amount of harassment in public schools, but looking out for vulnerable people, children especially, is “offensive”?

Hutchinson’s viewpoint shouldn’t come as a surprise. In the past, he’s signed legislation preserving legal discrimination against gay people in housing, employment and public services. He didn’t oppose Senate Bill 202 prohibiting local anti-discrimination laws. He also took the bait on a Planned Parenthood attack video’s proven dishonest and unsupported allegations and blocked the healthcare provider’s state funding.

As much as our conservative brothers and sisters want to believe transgender people didn’t exist until like 10 years ago (Thanks, Obama!), contrary to that notion, they’ve always been here. They’ve always been contributing members of our society. Chances are we’ve all shared a bathroom with someone who’s transgender at one point and nothing happened. It’s just that now, in our progressive time we live in they feel safe enough to be public about who they are.

What I hate most about the anti-LGBT movement is the idea being purported that “those gays and trans are shoving their lifestyle and beliefs down our throats!”

I’m pretty sure passing a law that specifically targets a group of people and tells them what they can or can’t do is the very definition of something being forced down someone’s throat. I can’t speak for an entire group of people, but it’s my guess from my experience that all transgender people really want is to just be treated equally as anyone else and left alone. All this “special rights” rhetoric meant to enrage people is bullshit.

All throughout the U.S. these types of laws are being proposed and voted on. It’s wrong what organizations like the American Family Association (kinda unfair for them to say they represent allfamilies, wouldn’t you say?) put the LGBT community through publicly just for the sake of their own comfort. About a million people have signed the organization’s campaign to boycott Target and their pro-trans stance.

I understand that people want to protect women and children with these laws. That, at its core, is a good and noble cause. Except everything surrounding that core is shrouded in ignorance and bigotry.

It’s horrible there are people in this world that would prey on children in a bathroom, but the truth is, most of these laws aren’t clearly enforceable and won’t do anything about that but discriminate against the transgender community.

What about the places that have passed nondiscrimination laws? There’s been no reported rise in sexual violence or other public safety issues due to nondiscrimination laws, according to the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, a coalition of over 200 national, state and local organizations across the U.S. that work with sexual assault and domestic violence survivors.

Regardless, transgender people are 3.7 times more likely to experience police violence compared to cisgender survivors and victims, and 50 percent of transgender people have experienced sexual violence, according to a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. So if the goal here is to protect the vulnerable, maybe lawmakers should reconsider.

Deep in the recesses of my mind, there’s an idea about the whole morality police thing in policy making that nags at me. It does a great job at getting people fired up. So much so, that this heated distraction could very well be the plan all along to distract us from important issues; employment, the environment, healthcare, foreign policy, or our own political system’s issues.

Thanks for reading.

Categories: Commentary