Anti-Trans Bathroom Bills Have Nothing to Do With Privacy and Everything To Do With Fear and Hatred

This piece originally appeared at The Huffington Post
 
If social conservatives in Tennessee get their way, the state will soon become the second in the nation to use the coercive power of the government to force people into bathrooms that violate their very sense of self or risk punishment. Legislation targeting trans students pending in both houses in the state’s legislature would require public school and university students to use a bathroom or locker room that matches the sex recorded on their birth certificate. Limited-government it’s not.
 
Tennessee legislators, though, aren’t original in their bigotry. North Carolina controversially passed an even broader law in March, and at least 30 similar bills have been introduced in a total of 16 states this year alone. Proponents of these discriminatory anti-trans bathroom bills have advanced many arguments for why they are necessary. Most are absurd “urban legends.” Some argue these bills are necessary to stop predatory men from dressing up as women, entering the female restroom, and then attacking unsuspecting women. The more restrained say it will stop men from just trying to sneak a peek. Not surprisingly, these are solutions in search of a problem. There is neither evidence that anyone has used the fictional “transgender defense” for illegal conduct nor reports of any increase in public safety incidents in any of the hundreds of jurisdictions that have extended legal protections to transgender people.
 

But let’s get real, these bills aren’t motivated by privacy concerns — they’re motivated by ignorance, misinformation, and fear.

 
The argument getting the most traction, however, is the idea that compelling trans people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their assigned sex at birth protects the privacy of non-transgender boys and girls and men and women. “Letting boys into girls’ restrooms and changing areas, for example, is an invasion of privacy,” said Matt Sharp, a lawyer with the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, in defense of Tennessee’s bill. One of the stated purposes of Florida’s defeated bill last year was “to secure privacy … for all individuals using single-sex public facilities.” North Carolina legislators this year went so far as to name their anti-trans bathroom bill, the “Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act.”
 
As a threshold matter, no one is proposing letting boys into girls’ bathrooms. Preying on misinformation about transgender people and calling trans girls boys, advocates for these harmful measures decry the fictitious end of sex-segregated spaces altogether.
 
But even beyond the absurd distortions peddled in state legislatures across the country, these purported privacy justifications for unconstitutional government discrimination aren’t remotely persuasive. It does not infringe anyone else’s rights to share public space with those who are different. People just don’t get naked in the restroom, and we should all just keep our eyes to ourselves, anyway.  Like previous efforts to expel people of color, people with disabilities, and others from communal space, these arguments for privacy just mask a fear of difference. And as courts have repeatedly recognized, those who are uncomfortable with sharing such spaces can seek out private spaces for themselves rather than force transgender people to be forever stigmatized and isolated.
 
The privacy argument for these anti-trans bathroom bills falls completely apart when it comes to enforcement. Who exactly will have the authority to verify who is “male” or who is “female”? Will there be pee police? What will happen to androgynous men and women who don’t conform to the police officer or bureaucrat’s notion of what “real” maleness or femaleness is? For legislators trying to protect privacy, the unintended or ill-considered consequences of these bills seem to undermine their purpose.
 
But let’s get real, these bills aren’t motivated by privacy concerns — they’re motivated by ignorance, misinformation, and fear. Many people, particularly social conservatives, find transgender people, at best, curiosities, and, at worst, less than human, even if the more political hide their disgust with carefully crafted language. The bill’s sponsor in Tennessee, Republican Rep. Susan Lynn, called her measure “very friendly.” Trans students may mistake her kindness for cruelty because forcing transgender people to use the wrong restroom will have terrible consequences for their very real privacy interests as well as their safety.
 
Transgender people, whether people know it or not, are already using the bathrooms they have a right to, and doing so without incident. In fact, hundreds of localities and school districts across the country have created more welcoming environments for all, including transgender people, and mayors and law enforcement leaders and others have said nondiscrimination protections actually make their cities safer. Laws like North Carolina’s and bills like Tennessee’s, if enacted, mean transgender people will have to make the impossible decision of breaking the law or revealing their private medical information. Not to mention the obvious risk of harassment and violence that comes with forcing transgender women into men’s restrooms and transgender men into women’s restrooms.  The fear of violence is already a daily reality for transgender people, and bills like these could very well make it unsafe for trans people to go out in public if they become law.
 
Sometimes legislators have fantasized about committing such acts of violence. In 2012, Tennessee State Representative Richard Floyd, who introduced his very own anti-trans bathroom bill that year, described just what he’d do if he discovered a transgender woman in the same bathroom or dressing room as his wife or one of his daughters. “I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry,” he told The Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk.”
 
That state lawmakers feel so emboldened to threaten trans people with physical violence is a testament to the hostile and scary world in which trans people live. These proposed laws and the conversations about them contribute to the climate in which almost 50 percent of transgender people attempt suicide in their lives and transgender women of color are increasingly the target of deadly violence at the hands of partners and strangers.
 
It is quite clear whose privacy and very lives are really at risk if state legislatures continue to succumb to anti-trans fear and hatred and give it state sanction.

 

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Anonymous

I don’t know why people defend a useless dangerous conduct such as homosexual/lesbian conduct & I don’t know the apologism for transexuality which is surgically mutilating people with dangerous hormones to make them fake opposite sex members & they should make that illegal.

Main ideas of science and math are always the same (such as freezing temperature is 32 Degrees Fahrenheit & lower, 2+2=4) and with main ideas of science, unless new information is found which changes prior conclusion (such as in 1950s when they found a whale is a mammal not a fish as scientists first thought), the main ideas of science stay the same. I do not believe mainstream science/psychology in the 1960s to early 70s discovered anything new to change long held conclusions on homosexuality when they removed homosexuality from DSM in 1973. They have as said since 1973 become ideological on gay/lesbian topic. I don’t deny possibility homosexuality could be genetic or inborn for some but that is unproven. Even if it’s true that homosexuality is inborn for some people, homosexual/lesbian conduct would still be bad for health.

Homofobia is telling truths, theories and speculations which offend homosexual groups. While they have not conclusively proven homosexuality/lesbianism is inborn genes, homosexual groups often use this theory as definite by saying how they are born this way-which possibly can be the case for some but more studies are needed. But when facts are raised about the link between childhood sex abuse and a kid doing homosexual and lesbian activities in adutlhood, homosexual groups often get offended, condemn it as homofobia.

With homosexuality being found among animals, cannibalism, stealing, etc. are also found among them, so it’s a bad idea to say that because animals do something people do. It’s best for gays/lesbians to be celibate until cure is found for this. No gays, don’t choose orientation, but they choose their sexual behavior.

Any facts which show homosexuality/lesbianism to be bad and put negative views on this is condemned. Homosexual/lesbian conduct is bad for health as smoking is and needs to be marginalized like smoking is. People who engage in homosexual/lesbian conduct have more medical problems caused by homosexual/lesbian conduct. I believe the negative views of homosexual/lesbian conduct is the right view because there is something wrong with homosexual/lesbian conduct and they must make it a crime to do sex changes. I know my view offends homosexuals, but most smokers do not get offended by negative views of tobacco use. So homosexuals/lesbians have to hear others give negative views of their sex lives, because there is something wrong with this just as there’s something wrong with smoking.

Yes, it’s a proven fact that childhood sex abuse is a major cause of homosexual/lesbian conduct in adulthood. Anybody who denies the link is dishonest, delusional or both. Never have I heard straights blame childhood sex abuse for reasons a man has sex with a woman and fathers children with her. Yet sometimes have heard gays and lesbians say childhood sex abuse is reason they do same sex behaviors.Any conduct can be learned and this includes sexual conduct. There are homosexuals and lesbians who say that childhood sex abuse (especially those who are victims of a gay priest) are reasons why they think they do same sex behaviors in adulthood. Had they not been repeatedly molested, would they have turned out straight instead of gay or lesbian? It doesn’t take an expert to know that sex abuse in youth can mess up the mind and cause people to behave in ways they normally wouldn’t. Of course, not all who are sexually abused in youth become gay in adulthood-but the risk is higher.

A kid can become a mugger by living in high crime neighborhood, seeing muggings in childhood and learning this conduct. Yes, there are muggers who were not raised in high crime neighborhoods but still became muggers, but that does not rule out other causes. Many emphysema victims did not smoke and were not exposed to 2nd hand smoke and got emphysema due to bad genes but it would be dishonest to deny truth that if a person smokes, he or she is more likely to get emphysema. Since homosexuals and lesbians (transexuals) often suffered childhood sex abuse, it’s no surprise that homosexuals and lesbians think childhood sexual abuse is OK when it’s homosexual activities.

Anonymous

Wow. Like, wow. Your comment was a waste, they have rights (like they should.) You have the right to post this, but I have the right to laugh.

Paul

2 + 2 = 11 in base three. Rules can change, standards can change. Scientific understand can even change; after all, we no longer think the sun rotates around the Earth, as scientists once did.

Stop using science and mathematics as an excuse for your personal bigotry.

Anonymous

You are the most moronic, laughable, and lowest type of Neanderthal. I hope you and everyone who thinks like you dies.

Anthony D.

Funny that you remained anonymous wheb spewing such hate filled nonsense.

Anonymous, too!

If there is anything redeeming about your post, it is the way you've matched your underdeveloped opinions with your third grade command of written English. I enjoyed this the way I enjoy reading forwarded emails from a racist relative. Nice job!

Anonymous

You speak of science heavily in your post. Please provide some links to peer reviewed studies validating your claims because they are some very outlandish claims. Surely someone who is of rational mind would rely on empirical evidence and not anecdotal accounts to some to such a conclusion.

Anonymous

I love it when illiterate people like you get up the gumption to take a stand! I'll remember to look you up next time I'm in hillbillysville!

Anonymous

Wow dude. You are truely fucked in the head. I won't bother wasting my time reading anymore of your incredibly scary thoughts. You need a real awakening. Someday, you pass into the after life and realize how VERY WRONG YOU ARE. My advice is to get some therapy immediately...but you won't, because you think you're right. Wow. VERY scary beliefs....

Nemo

Since when did they allow six year olds to get on the internet?

I mean you can't even spell "homophobia", do you really think you're smart enough to participate in nationwide politics?

Because you're not. You're wrong in every conceivable way, according to science and common sense.

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