What the Transgender Law Really Means
At this point most people have heard of the so-called “bathroom bill” passed in North Carolina. This is a law decreeing all people must use restrooms in accordance to the gender they were born into.
What the public doesn’t seem to realize is that the North Carolina General Assembly spent $42,000 to hold an emergency, closed meeting to rush through this bill that not only rules that trans people have to use the restroom assigned to their original anatomy, it also prohibited any laws passed that would illegalize discrimination of any sort against transgender people.
This is an example of a small faction of the government acting without the majority of the population’s consent. Now, the media has done the groundwork: one bill and the public is suddenly concerned about where trans people pee.
There’s a trick lawmakers use when passing these types of things in which they claim it is for the safety of “women.” On CNN’s “Opposing Views,” Peter Sprigg from the Family Research Council, is given a soapbox to declare this is an issue of women’s safety and girls’ safety, as well as their privacy. Without going into the reasons CNN thought it necessary to grant this man airtime to discuss womens' safety and trans issues, as if he has any authority on the matter. The question: Whose safety is really on the line, here?
First, let’s discuss what it means to be transgender. First of all, no one is “pretending,” as Sprigg claimed in his interview with CNN. We now know that gender and sexuality are on a spectrum. The male/female way of thought is [no] longer the only way of looking at humans. This philosophy is generally accepted by many scientists and psychologists. The proof is in the thousands of people who live transgender lives.
There’s a lot of confusion about this from people who have never had to question their gender identities. I’ve heard people say, “Your gender does not rely on what your brain says, but by your genitalia.”
Minds and bodies mess up all the time. We know that intersexuality exists, which is when someone is born with both male and female genitalia. Why, then, is it so far out of our realm of thought that someone may have been born with a female brain and not female anatomy?
Most, but not all, trans people know that they are in the wrong body from childhood. Some choose to never physically transition from their original gender to their true gender. More and more parents are accepting their trans children and allowing for hormone treatments and surgeries from an early age. Many more people, however, go through their transition later, as adults. This can be a slow, painful process, and often is confusing for the people around them.
Because America has historically seen gender and sexuality as black and white, man or woman, it can be very difficult to process how to use pronouns when talking about a person whose gender identity confuses us. While this confusion is understandable, it isn’t something to be passing laws over.
Sometimes you can tell that a person is trans, and you might not be able to know exactly what bathroom they would feel the most comfortable in. A lot of other trans people, however, have fully transitioned and you would never know that they were born into a different gender than the one you think.
Now, when it comes down to the bathroom bill and which one they should use, think about Laverne Cox, the transgender actress from the TV series Orange is the New Black. Google her if you need to, you’ll see that Laverne is a beautiful woman. She was born into a man’s body and has made the full transition to female.
Imagine she is forced, by law, to use the men’s restroom. She’s in a bar at 1:30 in the morning and she’s in the men’s restroom when three drunk men come in.
Who’s in danger?
Laverne Cox looks like she can handle herself in a fight, but should the government really ask her to do so? And she’s an exception: I personally know many trans people who are small, unintimidating people.
Just the fact that I find myself talking about whether or not specific trans people could defend themselves in a bathroom brawl is ridiculous. How can anyone suggest the law has the power to make these men and women use the wrong bathroom, putting them in so much danger?
Trans men, as well, come in all shapes and sizes. With a law like this, you might see a big, burly fellow enter a women’s bathroom by law. Yes, it might be hard to believe, but trans men can be just as big, strong and hairy as anyone else. Or, they can be tall, thin businessmen. Or they can be short and round with a goatee. Who benefits from these men using the women’s bathroom?
There is absolutely no evidence that any transgender person has ever physically attacked anyone in a restroom. People claim that without these laws, a guy could wear a dress into a women’s bathroom and rape her. This is illogical. It’s illegal to rape people, it’s illegal [to] assault someone, if someone is so transfixed on getting into a women’s bathroom to attack someone, he or she will do it whether or not the law says he can’t.
How do we possibly sort out who belongs in which bathroom? People who aren’t trans can be androgynous. Are we going to resort to strip-searches? Staring at people’s chests and crotches, trying to discern on which side of the line they fall? At what point do we infringe on the safety of the people we’re trying to protect? Who, exactly, are we protecting anyway?