Bathroom Bills

March 14, 2017

     Laws about who can use which bathrooms should be recycled into toilet paper. They’re just in place to make a statement— most notably in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and now Texas, at state and local levels. I’m not an expert on the transgendered, but oh, my, the nuts have fallen from the sky, out of the jars, and off the trees.

     There’s a huge flap over the issue of allowing the transgendered to use the public bathroom that fits their sexual identification. North Carolina recently passed a law prescribing that people use public bathrooms assigned to their literal biological sex, not their sexual identification. This was a response to a Charlotte law promoted by the transgendered community stating that restrooms must not be restricted on the basis of biological sex. That law was useless, too, because there’s already protection in federal anti-discrimination law. And there’s a looming boycott against Target stores because they’ve declared their company policy of not discriminating against the transgendered, a policy that complies with existing federal law. An advertising campaign gone south?      

     The premise for the biological assignment of bathrooms, which is the more ridiculous stance, is that if a transgendered biological male dressed as a woman goes into a women’s bathroom, the ladies and girls will feel awful—threatened—by the presence of a person with male genitals (that they can’t see) invading their potty stop spot. She might be a rapist in disguise! Straight men in drag will begin to enter public restrooms with rape, voyeurism, and molestation on their minds! Since disguised men can ALREADY enter women’s restrooms, what’s the point? There are already laws against sexually predatory behavior.

     How will they enforce these bathroom laws? Station a lady cop—after her genitals are verified—in the women’s restrooms? What about equal protection for men? Will pretty men and men dressed as women be stopped in the men’s RR and asked to show their privates or be ejected from the privy? Will women dressed as men be thrown out of the men’s room? Or do men care? Some men are threatened by a man dressed as a woman. That makes men uncomfortable and could actually put the truly transgendered person in danger of assault. In some cases, a female with male dress and haircut could be at risk. They’ve been targeted at times. However, most guys wouldn’t give a flip, as long as they’re not bothered at the urinal. Men want to get ‘er done and get out of the toilet. On the other hand, women who stick around the ladies’ RR fixing hair and make-up, though, they might be in danger from a man dressed as a woman! Nuts!

     Bathroom bills endanger transgendered people by promoting fear, prejudice, and discrimination all rolled into a perfect burrito of hate. Transgendered people are often the targets of assault, so the bathroom bills hurt the transgendered more than they help anyone else. What is truly behind these laws is that lawmakers and their constituents don’t want to see those signs. It’s the signs that are disturbing. I have to admit, I laughed the first time I saw the sign with the international symbols for men, women, and half-a-skirt. Maybe the sign should be  a picture of a toilet and sink.

     There’s an old myth—the myth of two sexes. I think that people—especially the ones who call themselves Christian—need to examine the old ideas and, for God’s sake (I mean it), evolve. The myth of two sexes is the mistaken belief that there exist only two distinct sexes and that sexual assignment is set in stone at birth, based on the genitals of the newborn. The myth says that people who don’t accept the genitals and thereby the gender role assigned to them at birth, presumably by God, are rebellious, attention-seeking, confused, psychotic, criminal, and intransigent. Those holding to the myth of two sexes want life to be simple—men are men and “goils are goils” to quote Archie and Edith Bunker’s signature song.

     But biologists have discovered amazing things about how sexuality is determined in the womb, about other species’ gender adaptability, and about the human race. In our free society, those not fitting a strait-jacket prescription for gendered behavior don’t have to worry about being stoned, arrested, or driven out of the community—in most places. Still, many fall prey to the hatred of those who are different. That's why we have hate crime legislation. Scientific progress, our free society, and laws to protect the vulnerable are some of the assets leading toward enlightenment.

      Bathroom bills promote the myth of two sexes and the prejudice that goes with it. The reality is that there are maybe eight, if you work the various combinations of sexual preference, biological gender, and gender identity. Sexual preference is who an individual is attracted to; biological gender is determined by what kind of genitals one has (assuming that is clear-cut, which isn’t always the case); and gender identity is one’s innermost identify as male or female (and this isn’t an either/or proposition).

     So all these bills being championed throughout the land are another assault on the reality that things are not as simple as some folks want them to be. Well, too bad. The simple answer is love and acceptance for others, and compassion for people who are discriminated against because of an arbitrary old myth.

     I’m a West Texan, a social liberal, and a fiscal conservative. I’m not a fan of the nanny state and don’t want cops in the RR unless they’re chasing a shooter or a bona fide rapist. What if I and others like me were required to be ALL conservative, or ALL liberal? What if I weren’t allowed to have a mix of beliefs and were required to stick to the stereotype of my origins, which some people think would dictate that I’m a Bible-pounding red-neck’s woman?

     It’s the same with sexual orientation, expecting female homogeneity and male homogeneity. Oh, and I know lots of red-necks and like most of them very much. No discriminating here. Allowing people to be who they are and love who they love is not a prescription that will turn us all into pillars of salt (that’s an allusion to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah for you “heatherns” out there). Allowing people to be who they are and love who they love does not open the door for depravity. There’s plenty of that already, and always has been. Allowing people to be who they are and love who they love sounds to me like a cause Jesus would champion if He were here today. So enough with the bathroom flap!

 

 

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