He Sued, She Sued
He Sued, She Sued
Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,10 May 2016
It’s fitting that while I was researching viewpoints for this post that I really had to pee. Unlike transgender individuals in North Carolina, I didn’t have the extra pressure of deciding between violating state law or relieving myself in a facility where I felt uncomfortable and unsafe. But it made me think; something the majority of us don’t even think twice about—for which we don’t calculate time or worry into our daily routine—now serves to further isolate trans individuals in North Carolina and the other states and localities considering similar legislation.
I really did try to consider both sides of this issue. Of course my natural pinko liberal tendencies made me automatically empathetic to the plight of trans individuals who, even before the passage of HB2, were already misunderstood, marginalized and mocked. Now the North Carolina state law known as HB2 strips away any antidiscrimination protection that municipalities in the state sought for their LGBTQ residents and further calls out trans individuals for discrimination based on the unsubstantiated, paranoid fear that little girls will be attacked in bathrooms if women who were born male but identify as female are allowed to use the same bathroom as these fictional little girls.
The fear itself is not only irrational but blatantly bigoted. There is nothing to prove that trans individuals are any more or less likely than their non-trans counterparts to assault girls or women in bathrooms. The acts of assaulting people or sexually harassing others are still illegal. Civil rights activists aren’t trying to change that; they just want trans individuals to be able to use the restroom in peace.
In trying to see the other side’s point of view I imagined that I had a young daughter. Would I feel unsafe with her using the same bathroom as someone who had been born male but identified as a female? I’m an inherently anxious person so I think I would constantly be worried about anything happening to her but that worry wouldn’t increase just because a trans individual was allowed into the same bathroom. If she was really young, I wouldn’t let her go into public restrooms unaccompanied with or without legislation like HB2. Period. Because people that want to terrible things to others aren’t sitting around waiting for bathroom laws to be passed or overturned.
Sadly, I think there are more states and cities secretly rooting for North Carolina in this war of civil rights lawsuits with the federal government. But these states don’t have the same level of not-giving-a-fuck as North Carolina in terms of being unafraid to lose billions in federal funding and economic development from businesses that don’t want to be associated with state-sanctioned bigotry. Or maybe those other states just want to maintain their ability to look at themselves in the bathroom mirror without seeing that they stand on the wrong side of history — on the side of segregated bathrooms and water fountains, separate but unequal education, exclusion versus inclusion, and denial of the founding principle of this nation — that all men and women are created equal.