Another year, another misguided bill introduced to keep trans folks from accessing bathrooms. What is it with these people?
I just sent an email inviting lawmaker Rep. John Kavanagh to take the AB Bathroom Challenge! I’m not expecting a response, but if I receive one I’ll definitely post it.
A nice touch here is that Kavanagh is suggesting that the documents in question should be not state-issued IDs but birth certificates. Now, of course requiring any form of ID for restroom access is offensive, disgusting, and just plain WRONG, full stop. But in most states, it’s much easier to change the sex listed on your driver’s license than on a birth certificate. For example, in Ohio, where I was born, there is no way I can change the sex listed on my birth certificate, and most other US states require genital surgery before they will make that change.
So it turns out that, in many cases, the only people who can have their birth certificate changed or amended will be those who want genital surgery of a specific type in the first place and are either extremely financially privileged or good at fund-raising. Look! Here we are, back again at the idea that the only proper trans people are the ones who have done EVERYTHING in their power to bring themselves in line with cissexist standards of what proper bodies look like. What a surprise.
“The city of Phoenix has crafted a bill that allows people to define their sex by what they think in their head. If you’re a male, you don’t go into a female shower or locker room, or vice versa. It also raises the specter of people who want to go into those opposite sex facilities not because they’re transgender, but because they’re weird.”
“[The bill is] designed to protect young children from being exposed to the other gender in their fullness in inappropriate situations. I’m just restoring sanity, because the Phoenix bill turned gender upside down.”
(I know that “defin[ing] sex by what they think in their head” and “turn[ing] gender upside down” are meant to be scary here, but my reaction is “oh hey, rock on!”)
A few minutes of research this morning turned up a few instances of women being assaulted by men in restrooms, but you’d think if any of those men were “men in dresses,” that detail would be included in HUGE BOLD PRINT in the story. So far I’ve heard of exactly one case of someone doing this (anecdotally from a friend), and even if there are a few more that have happened, I would guess the numbers are statistically insignificant in comparison with cis men just dressed as men assaulting people in bathrooms. And, unsurprisingly, such assaults are already against the law. It isn’t like there’s a huge loophole here that perpetrators can saunter through.
Also, I know I addressed this in the original Bathroom Challenge post, but… in what universe does anyone in a public restroom wander around with their genitals exposed? Women’s restrooms don’t generally have urinals or open stalls, and ANY woman exposing herself outside of a stall would raise eyebrows. Where does he think this exposure to trans folks’ “fullness” is going to happen?
Yes, locker rooms are a different story in that it’s more likely for people to be partially- to entirely-nude in them, but I really doubt that trans people (and let’s face it, this is again something that’s targeted primarily at trans women) in locker rooms are in a rush to be naked in a way that might make them feel unsafe. In all honesty, I figure the people who worry about Bathroom Attacks probably also subscribe to the idea that Deviant Homosexuals are everywhere, lying in wait to attack innocent children, and would object to the idea of naked men being around little boys in locker rooms as well. So where’s the outrage over that? (Maybe there are indeed people out there campaigning for nudity-free locker rooms, who knows.)
Of course, this attitude isn’t limited to the US: discussion over a recent trans rights bill that passed in Canada’s House of Commons contains the same tired pedophiles-lurking-in-bathrooms argument.
It’s a horrible fact, but worth saying: anyone who is a sexual predator isn’t going to care about the law. If they want to go in a bathroom to attack someone, they’ll do it. An attempt to keep trans people out of bathrooms is just going to mean more urinary tract infections.