Bathrooms and Fear

Our cultural wedge issue of the moment is bathrooms, and which ones transgender people ought to use. North Carolina's recent law and spin-off corporate policies and boycotts thereof have kept this in the headlines.

My biases are fairly straightforward. I don't think there is any sudden surge of transgender people trying to use the bathroom they identify with. I'm skeptical of the notion that transgender people pose an elevated threat of sexual assault and haven't seen any evidence supporting it. I don't believe that transgender people have suddenly grown to a statistically significant percentage of the population. Rather, I believe that North Carolina's laws and those like it are electioneering and wedging: in an era where anti-gay strategies are increasingly unpopular, it's a pander to a remaining sore spot of a culturally conservative base.

However, I'm a little uncomfortable ridiculing the discomfort and fear expressed by advocates of birth-gender-only bathrooms.

I don't find transgender people scary, and I'm not concerned they are out to molest my kids. I do think there's a genuine risk that predators could use a choose-your-bathroom approach as a method of getting access to victims, but I'm not sure whether that makes sexual predators more dangerous than they already are (and both adults and children will remain at vastly higher risk from people they know and associate with voluntarily). But here's the thing: in viewing the situation that way, I'm fighting against what our culture is screaming at me to think.

Our kids are much safer than they've been in generations, but our culture relentlessly demands that we be terrified for their safety — specifically including their safety from "stranger danger." The very media outlets that will spend today suggesting that you're bigoted and ignorant if you worry about "a man in my daughter's bathroom" will tomorrow go back to making money by scaring the living shit out of you about how your daughter is in constant peril from kidnappers and rapists and child molesters and crime, crime, crime. The culture that tells you today that your fear is irrational will tomorrow return to telling you to embrace fear you can't rationalize. This message isn't all law-and-order, either. The leftward-leaning side of the culture telling you today that you're a bigot for fearing rape in a Target bathroom will return tomorrow to telling you you're living in a rape culture and that you ought to be accepting of the stories, insights, and fears of the people who face that culture. In short, having long refused to hold you accountable for your fears, and having stoked them and encouraged you to indulge them, the culture is now abruptly demanding that you justify them logically. That strikes me as unfair.

Uncritical fear is a habit of the mind. You can't cultivate it for generations then turn it off like a light switch. It has consequences. You might not like all of them. Sometimes the habit of uncritical fear is going to exacerbate prejudice and ignorance. Don't like it? Fight it on a global basis, not a case-by-case basis. Question fear.

The worst responses to this situation have demonstrated utter inhumanity and lack of compassion for transgender people. That's unforgivable. But in some cases, people are being denigrated for acting the way they're taught to act. I think we could find better ways to persuade them.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. David Lang says

    The threat people are afraid of isn't real TransGender people, it's that this is a loophole for predators to claim that they are TransGender to get into the 'wrong' bathroom.

  2. YoSup says

    I think it should be noted that the laws in question – forcing people to use the bathroom corresponding to their assigned gender – are more conducive to a choose-your-own-bathroom approach than the status quo, if we are to take them seriously.

    Google "Buck Angel" and ask yourself if people who look like that are more likely to make people comfortable in the men's or the women's restroom.

    It seems obvious to me that it's easier for a cisman to pretend to be a transman than a transwoman. The only response to this is to point out that a cisman claiming to be a transman is going to get hassled when they try to use the women's restroom, which only shows the disingenuousness of people who claim that this law doesn't effectively ban transpeople from going to the bathroom in public restrooms.

  3. That Anonymous Coward says

    This is yet another hot button issue meant to drum up support. There isn't an actual problem, but they need to invent one, inject themselves into it, and decry anyone who says differently. It helps fan the illusion that the 'family' is under attack by these deviants, who want to destroy them for their religious beliefs.

    We have enough problems in the world, why do some feel we need to invent more?

    We have a bunch of old men who need to keep the reigns of power, and think nothing of setting others up for misfortune as long as they keep power. Far to often we see them caught doing things they have decried and those incidents are always downplayed, and somehow people willingly accept the double standard.

    The politics of fear is a useful tool, both sides use it. Perhaps it is time for those who want to see things change stop using fear to dissent, and quietly state the truth (not some overwrought version of it) and stay the course. The old men won't live forever, and engaging in the same mud pit makes everyone dirty and make sure the next old men to grab the reigns will use the same time tested techniques. Rather than a screaming match that makes everyone dig their heels in that much more, showing them the truth and letting them see the truth is a much better play.

  4. says

    Some of the people behind this law do genuinely hate gay and transgender people. North Carolina's House Speaker, Tim Moore, was caricatured as this 25 years ago, when he was the meaningless speaker of the University of North Carolina student assembly: Speaker Tim Moore

    The only change in Tim Moore is that he's gotten older and fatter.

  5. Chuck says

    David Lang–

    Assuming that to be a real threat, the law is useless to do anything about it.

    We have a male pedophile attracted to young girls. We assume he will dress as a woman, lie about being a trans woman, and enter the women's restroom to prey on young girls.

    Okay. So we pass a law that says you have to use the restroom associated with your birth gender. This, the logic goes, will keep the man who lies about being transgender out of the women's restroom, so that he can't go in to prey on young girls.

    But if this man is willing to dress as a woman and lie about being a trans woman to gain entry to the women's restroom, why wouldn't he be perfectly willing to lie and say he was born a woman but was a trans man and enter the bathroom associated with his "birth gender"? Same lie about being trans, but without the trouble of getting dressed up. Saves him work.

  6. YoSup says

    Chuck –

    In fact, under the laws in question it's even easier for the molester to get into the women's restroom than you say. In addition to claiming to be a transman, they also have the option of dressing up as and pretending to be a ciswoman, which is basically the same amount of effort involved in dressing up as a transwoman.

    (Incidentally, why is it only the women's restroom these people are concerned about?)

  7. tim says

    The threat people are afraid of isn't real TransGender people, it's that this is a loophole for predators to claim that they are TransGender to get into the 'wrong' bathroom.

    And yet no one can point to a single case where anyone used this so called 'loophole' (which as far as I can tell doesn't exist) to use the 'wrong' bathroom.

  8. joshuaism says

    We should leave the trannies alone when they use the restroom just like we leave everyone else alone to do their business. I'm more afraid of pervy, self appointed gender enforcers peeking in the bathroom stalls than trannies doing so now that these laws are on the books. Predators have always been in our bathrooms. Nothing about these laws will keep the predators out nor criminalize any predatory acts that weren't already illegal. No one has ever avoided a lascivious acts or public nuisance charge by claiming they had a right to be present at the location of the crime.

  9. Anon says

    @joshuaism I'm sure you didn't mean any harm, but for future reference "trannies" is widely viewed as derogatory.

  10. Ratbag says

    @joshuaism Totally agree on all points. FYI, "Tranny" is looked as an offensive pejorative, thought you should know.

    {{hides under desk prepared to be yelled at by people defending right to call people whatever}}

  11. Ken Mitchell says

    YoSup says "(Incidentally, why is it only the women's restroom these people are concerned about?)"

    Because no man would notice a woman pretending to be a man, or a trans-man in the current vernacular. It wouldn't cause a scene. Men walk in, do their business, and leave. We – or at least "I" – don't hold long involved conversations in the restroom, and most men don't notice how other men are dressed. A biological female who self-identifies as male isn't going to walk up to the urinal; he'll use a stall. Once the stall door is closed, polite people don't look in.

    Further – why is it that the same people who demand that we who would prefer that biological males use the men's room should accept them as "women", cannot themselves accept that our children should have the right to walk to school or play in the playground without close supervision?

  12. Ken Mitchell says

    tim says: "And yet no one can point to a single case where anyone used this so called 'loophole' (which as far as I can tell doesn't exist) to use the 'wrong' bathroom."

    I'm not aware of any instances, but it's a fact that women are more vulnerable to sexual abuse than men are. That's why many businesses have cypherlocks on the women's restrooms while the men's rooms are unlocked.

  13. kueller says

    On the flipside, I've found a lot of the crowd that has (rightfully) decried the expanding outlook mentioned in the article that paints all men as rapists waiting to happen are now more than happy to use that same rhetoric to make everyone fear for their daughters. And never does issues of homosexuals come into question either. They're in the changing rooms too.

    There's also a factor that while there are only a few cases of actual harassers using trans as an excuse to perv, there are a lot of cases of trans people facing violence for being in the bathroom where they'd obviously stick out and be more of a target. I wonder if this would be as big of an issue if that wasn't the case and people weren't dicks for no reason.

    There's already been a case of a masculine woman getting mistaken for trans and escorted out. I'm worried about dangerous people too, but I don't think the fear justifies having to make everyone carry an ID when they have to go.

  14. Vince Clortho says

    Having trouble seeing how a male sexual predator is going to be very discouraged by a sign that says he can only go in the men's restroom.

    I mean, if there's one thing we know about rapists, it's that they always follow the rules.

  15. Simon says

    1. HB2 does not use "birth-gender" as a criteria for restroom use. They use the term "biological sex", which is defined as "[t]he physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person's birth certificate."

    Since the sex recorded for NC birth certificates can be updated following SRS, this is distinct from "birth-gender".

    2. The most far reaching provision of HB2 is part III, which prohibits municipalities from enacting public accommodation ordinances that cover any classes other than "race, religion, color, national origin, or biological sex".
    Notice that this list deliberately excludes sexual orientation.

    3. The trans- plaintiffs in the ACLU challenge to the law are all diagnosed with GD under DSM 5, and are being treated for this condition. Requiring such a diagnosis would have been a reasonable approach.

  16. says

    @Ken Mitchell:Hi. Cis female here.

    No woman of my acquaintance holds "long, involved conversations" with women we don't already know, when using public restrooms.

    And while it's true–if multiple studies can be trusted–that women and children are at higher risk from violence, sexual or otherwise, than men, interestingly, we are not at a higher risk than men while using public restrooms–a sexual predator will not be deterred by laws about public restrooms any more than they are by any other laws.

    The whole "men pretending to be women to enter public restrooms and attack them" fear mongering is at least four decades old–there were plenty of urban legends to that effect going around when I was a child. So yeah, irrational fear as political weapon, once again.

    @Simon, not all trans people undergo surgery, and they should not have to do that, and then get a paper saying they did it, in order to use the restroom at the grocery store.

  17. Greg says

    I think it's pretty obvious that most people who want to restrict restroom usage are genuinely fearful of dirty old men, not anyone who is authentically transgender and just wants to pee, following their daughters in the bathroom. That would raise a red flag if you saw it today almost anywhere. If gender identity is all it takes to get into whatever restroom you want, and it's upheld in court, there are no grounds for telling anyone they can't use whichever restroom they prefer. You can be Buck Angel (as another commenter referenced) and walk into a women's restroom. Buck Angel having a vagina isn't the point. The fact that social (and evolutionary) cues of masculine and feminine are to be completely disregarded, in an environment where your pants are down, your orifices are vulnerable and the stall door can be locked from the inside, is what worries folks like me who have no problem with trans people. We are not remotely bigoted. We see utterly predictable consequences of saying that gender cues don't matter. The likely result is that parents will seek out single-occupancy restrooms for their young daughters.

  18. Yet another anonymous schmuck says

    In my experience it is far more likely for women to choose to use the men's restroom to avoid the ever present lines at the women's room.

    I've even experienced being denied access to the men's room by a queue of women waiting to use it.

    I wonder how often that sort of thing occurs.

  19. SlimTim says

    North Carolina's law impacts bathrooms in two ways:
    1) Government-owned bathrooms (eg those in public schools) must require that individuals use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex.

    2) Local governments can't require privately-owned bathrooms (eg those in stores) to allow individuals to use a different bathroom than their biological sex. However, the bathroom owner is free to allow this if they wish.

    Can we at least agree that point 2 is fine?

  20. AH says

    Since this has been a topic lately I've been thinking about it more. I have a bad(?) habit of coming up with solutions that seem to solve the problems pointed to by both sides, but people tend to find… oversimplified.

    Let's be honest here, both sides have legitimate complaints. I can certainly see that someone who I cannot easily tell was born with male genitalia would be uncomfortable sharing a public bathroom with someone who identifies as male. By the same token I can understand the perspective of someone who is concerned about the opposite situation, and we haven't even touched on the uncomfortableness that sexual orientation brings into the mix. The problem is, gender identification and sexual orientation are not black and white. It turns out they are a messy business. There is no objective right and wrong here.

    One of the posters above asked why this discussion only revolves around women's restrooms. The reason is, men don't get upset when women use their bathrooms. I've seen this happen more then a few times in my life, normally there is a line in front of a woman's room, and no one's using the mens room. I've seen guys stand at the door to make sure no one else enters until she's done. The reverse situation is far more rare, the closest equivalent I've seen is small workplaces that have rooms assigned to each, but happens to not have any female employees there.

    This leads me to a singular conclusion for what can be done about it: abolish mulitple person bathrooms. Have a series of individual bathrooms that occupy the same space as the public one. This way the gender (or anything else about) the occupant doesn't matter, because no one else is in there.

  21. Steve Brecher says

    I can think of no good reason against unisex public toilets. (I dislike the euphemism "bathroom.") Add a few more stalls to a men's room, add partitions between the urinals, add whatever small facilities women generally are given (I'm ignorant) and the total cost should be less than for two rooms. The only time I've seen anyone's genitals in a public toilet is the occasional glimpse at a urinal with no partition between it and the adjacent one.

    Unisex public toilets are less rare in other parts of the world — including the "first world", e.g., Europe — than in the U.S.

  22. EAB says

    @Simon "Since the sex recorded for NC birth certificates can be updated following SRS, this is distinct from "birth-gender"."

    That's somewhat helpful if you happen to have a NC birth certificate. It's rather less so if you were born in a different state, like 40% of NC's population.

  23. Simon says

    @EAB i wasn't clear on that point. The law obviously varies by "state" (see, e.g. Lambda Legal's summary page.

    One thing worth noting is that almost all states allow updates following SRS, and some "states" such as DC and IA, allow changes to be made with treatments other than surgery.
    The latter makes HB2 even more absurd.

  24. Lokiwi says

    @YoSup
    I don't think it is targeted at stopping trans people from using all public restrooms. I think it is specifically targeted at stopping trans children from using the restroom at school. An adult can already use whichever restroom pretty freely, and will mostly be able to do so even with this law in place. Nobody is going to be checking your genitals at the door. But children under constant supervision in school? There will always be people around that know they are trans, and will know which bathroom they "should" be using. Those children are the only people this law could actually be enforced against.

  25. says

    And yet no one can point to a single case where anyone used this so called 'loophole' (which as far as I can tell doesn't exist) to use the 'wrong' bathroom.

    Here you go

  26. Aaron says

    @Steve Brecher
    It'd make sense, and actually possibly make better use of available facilities, since there's no segmentation. There's actually a bar near me that has an open sink/mirror area, and half a dozen or so stalls. Not flimsy stalls where you can see through the edges, fully vision blocking so you can't see in. Very efficient use of space.

  27. Andrew says

    What does "I don't believe that transgender people have suddenly grown to a statistically significant percentage of the population" mean?

    I suspect it may mean "I want to say that there aren't really all that many trans people, but I fear the backlash of a bunch of people complaining about 'cisnormativity' that I might occur if I did, so I'm going to use some magic words that seem to make a numerically objective statement instead" despite the fact that "a statistically significant percentage of the population" is mathematically illiterate nonsense in this context.

  28. CptO says

    @ unisex bathroom talk-

    A school district near me is building a new high school. This district is fairly well-to-do and has brought in design consultants for the auditoriums, lunchroom, classrooms, and specialty consultation for pretty much every inch of the building. That is except for bathrooms. A friend (who lives in that district) went to a school board meeting and suggested that given the political climate, why not get ahead of the game and take the entire area that would have been dedicated to gender-specific bathrooms and turn them into a large bank of unisex stalls; similar to but not as constrained as airplane restrooms. To both of our dismay (but not surprise) it was not well received. There was a lot of [unmerited] concern about what might happen if students had ready access to "unsupervised private stalls".

    If I were a high school student again, I think that would be amazing. As a guy, I would rather hold it in for 6 hours than use a stall in the men's room.

  29. shellster says

    I honestly don't understand this whole debate. What makes a bathroom likely to turn into a rape dungeon? Most public bathrooms have lots of people in and around them, thus you aren't likely to get raped there. If they are empty (except for you and a nearby rapist), a plastic sign on the door isn't going to stop anyone.

    I don't understand why a bathroom is the preferred raping ground. Is it because I have my pants down? I've spent a good portion of my life around women, and so far I've managed not to rape any of them.

  30. Marconi says

    Even

    "I do think there's a genuine risk that predators could use a choose-your-bathroom approach as a method of getting access to victims"

    cannot address the how any proposed or enacted law addresses implementation or help. Is there going to be a bathroom monitor? If so, then the danger from predators is far better mitigated than ever before, and a trans-only law is not required in the first place.

    How is one to implement a law if this person is seen in the ladies' bathroom?
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CeSJb5VWAAAP7Yt.jpg

  31. says

    The experts are being quoted on how the laws are unenforceable because police can't go examining genitals. In practice, this means anyone can use any bathroom they want for any reason they like, because (turnabout is fair play) how are the police supposed to examine mental states like the gender people identify with? Checking genitals is a piece of cake compared to that.
    And why is the onus on those trying to maintain the status quo of 6 months ago instead of on progressive city councils Virtue Signaling by passing stupid ordinances or Federal Undersecretaries saying Title IX requires that people be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with? Will the next step by a decree that Title IX requires 50 flavors of bathroom to correspond to the 50 or more gender identities people have purported to identify? If not, why not?
    The pushback is because it seems that there are bureaucrats and progressive politicians sitting around thinking "how can we stick it to traditionalists again?" It's a shame that intelligent people can't see who the aggressors are. Cet animal est tres mechant; quand on l'attaque, il se defend.

  32. says

    @Steve Brecher, for the record, "toilet" is itself a euphemism, in that one used to "make her toilette" (i.e. Put on makeup/wash face etc). The closest non-euphemisms you'll get are "stall", "urinal" and "commode".

    None of that changes your point, and I do hope future architecture goes the way you describe. That does leave a lot of existing buildings the way they are though…

  33. King Squirrel says

    I must use fear.
    Fear is the mindfiller.
    Fear is la petite mort,
    that brings total domination.
    I will share my fear.
    I will market it to unite us against all them.
    And when it has gone viral,
    I will close the inner eye to hide its path.
    Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing.
    Not even I will remain.

    The spite must flow.

  34. KCFLEMING says

    This, like gay marriage, is less about fear than humiliation.
    PC propaganda is done to dominate, to humiliate, to subjugate, to make you say the New New Thought aloud, so that not only will you say that a man is a woman, but you'll believe it.

    We have always been at war with Eastasia.

  35. Michael Gorback says

    I happen to be a good friend of Charlie Comero, a trans man who has been catapulted center stage in this travesty. Charlie looks and acts like a guy. I love hanging out with him. He crackles with energy and good humor. Charlie has come up with a brilliant response to the "NC Troglodyte Bill".

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/04/north-carolina-bathroom-law-transgender-man-tells-his-experience

    Let's walk through this. There's a guy thinking if he dresses up as a female he can go into the Ladies Room and do bad things. As he approaches the Ladies Room he suddenly balks: "Oh my gosh! It's illegal for me to enter this rest room!"

    If you're willing to sexually abuse women and children a law against using their restroom isn't going to stop anyone. How many times has this even happened?

    I am a dyed in the wool conservative (leaning more to the libertarian side). My first reaction to Caitlyn Jenner was "If I paint myself red and write Ferrari on my forehead does that make me a fast car?"

    However, people are complicated. We substitute words for reality and act as if they're the same. Sometimes true, sometimes not. You can call a Jew or a Black a subhuman animal without rights and some people will act accordingly. But you can also call a trans man a man, and a trans woman a woman and act accordingly. As Jefferson said about differences in religious beliefs, it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

    Times change, ideas mutate, we come to understand complicated processes better. An eclipse is no longer Mother Moon eating Father Sun. If Charlie says he's a man it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. I'm just glad for his company.

    Move with the times and focus on what's really important. I'm 63, cast my first vote for Nixon, and if I can see the man in Charlie Comero so can you.

  36. OrderoftheQuaff says

    For ages the bathroom convention provided that your daughter could go into the ladies' room to do her business without having to see a dong in there. Out of respect for this constituency, I believe the onus for changing the convention should be on the proponents of the change to justify it.

  37. Brian Z says

    In a parallel universe somewhere, there's a society that's just like ours, except they don't have gender segregated bathrooms. And no, not individual rooms, nor with more dividers, or separate completely crack-free stalls; it's just like a big men's room that everybody uses.

    Yes, in the same way that occasionally someone catches a flash of a nipple while a woman is breastfeeding in public, occasionally someone catches a glimpse of someone else's junk while peeing. Sometimes they even get slightly embarrassed. It happens, life goes on.

    And that society manages to function just fine.

  38. Sami says

    The thing is, as it stands, a predatory man could find it perfectly easy to claim to be a transgender man and go into the ladies' – it'll be easier, since a bunch of bearded, burly dudes are being legally required to go in there anyway.

    All of which is somewhat ignoring the part where FOR FUCK'S SAKE THERE ARE STALLS. Incidental perving is NOT A THING, and if a man is intending actual outright assault, I don't think this law is going to be the one that decides for him.

    This is why this doesn't make sense to me even in the climate of fear. A law like that will do EXACTLY NOTHING to protect children.

  39. says

    Ken,

    You're contrasting the left-wing outrage at laws like North Carolina's HB2 with their own campaign of rape culture awareness, putting these at odds with one another under the blanket concept of uncritical fear.

    The thing is, no one's telling anybody not to be afraid of what may happen in a bathroom, but singling out a group such as transgender individuals paints the entire sub-population as somehow more morally bankrupt and corruptible than their cis-gendered counterparts. You're equating targeted fear of a portion of the population, as defined by their gender identity, with fear of sexual assault on the whole.

    I'm not about to disagree with the idea that irrational fear is intrinsic, or that questioning it is a sometimes healthy practice. I think I agree with the broader thrust of your post.

    But I don't think you wielded the rhetorical mace of our current bathroom uproar in an accurate or adept manner, in this case.

  40. SpecialOlympian says

    I'm a violent sexual predator and I'll tell you this: even though I fantasize about violating your person in one of the most egregious and morally despicable ways possible, the one thing even I won't stoop to is entering a bathroom that I'm not supposed to be in.

    And right now I'm rubbing my hands and giggling menacingly. You fools are just making it too easy.

  41. Kiwanda says

    @aztexlady; "And while it's true–if multiple studies can be trusted–that women and children are at higher risk from violence, sexual or otherwise, than men"

    At least as regards violent crime in general and gender, BJS says otherwise: http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv14.pdf , Tables 5 and 9.

    The toilet configuration I liked best, seen in a San Francisco restaurant: a row of three or four separate completely private stalls (each accessible directly from public space), two public sinks. Nothing makes you wash your hands like walking out of the bathroom, possibly in view of other diners, with the sinks on the way back to your table.

  42. ElSuerte says

    I think it's really sad that mtf trans people still have to deal with "Schroedinger's Rapist" stigma post transition.

  43. Tom Scharf says

    A woman who dresses as a man must now use the women's bathroom, right?

    Does this not cause a problem? So a woman would see a strange "guy" in her bathroom, likely response = 9-1-1, send. Is the offending person then supposed to drop their drawers to show they are compliant?

    This pretty much forces trans people to either break the law or hold it in until they can find a more appropriate bathroom. I assume trans people have been using the bathroom they look like up until now?

    This one is a bit messy. Perhaps they can get a trans-bathroom pass that they wear around their neck after being suitably verified by a reputable government agency.

    This is probably not a good issue to go to the mat on for conservatives if you ask me.

  44. Angstela says

    I'm taking a few classes at a college here in Toronto, and I was mildly amused when I first saw a sign in the loo reading, "Safe access to bathrooms is not a luxury or a special right. I know who I am. Assume I belong." I sort of thought, "Hmm, is that really necessary?"

    I guess it might be.

  45. JDavis says

    Thank you for publishing something that I have been longing to read for the past few weeks. I live in the midwest, and I found no support of any transgendered individuals in my area… I know it comes with being part of the bible belt… but I sure start feeling frustrated with those who live in fear of everything, but can't open their perceptions slightly to get a larger picture.

  46. KCFLEMING says

    Thucydides recognized this problem, and it doesn't end well.
    "In the course of the Peloponnesian War, key words lost their meaning, the conventions they sustained broke down, and the sense of community disappeared. This process led to even more destructive warfare and civil strife."

  47. Ashe says

    The argument made by the twits in favour of this law is that without it, evil people would flood the women's bathroom with the sole purpose of rape in mind.

    Because, of course, this has been such an epidemic to this point.

    And Ken, people deserve to be denigrated for promoting bigotry. That they were taught it is no excuse. Nor should religious intolerance be acceptable because someone's imaginary god said it was okay.

  48. Matthew Cline says

    For those whose objection about letting people into bathrooms based on gender identity rather than type of genitals, it seems to me that the objection could be phrased thusly:

    At least now if a perv wants to sneak into the women's bathroom, he has to dress up as a woman to do so. Some pervs wouldn't be willing to put in the effort, and even those who do have plan and schedule when they'd do it. But if it's done via gender identity, the pervs don't have to dress up because they can claim they identify as a woman, so now the pervs who weren't willing to put in any effort can do it, plus the ones who were willing to put in the effort can do it whenever the whim strikes, rather than having to limit themselves to when they have the time and means to switch into women's clothing.

    So, am I misrepresenting people on that side, or do I have it down right?

  49. Daniel Weber says

    Can we at least agree that point 2 is fine?

    No. It's the state deciding that Durham and Charlotte must have the same laws. This is federalism at the state level — let each city decide what laws work for it. It's much easier to deal with business in a specific city, or avoid businesses in a specific city, than it is to move about the state. Let the cities experiment and see what happens.

    On the general question, I keep coming back to "why do we have separate men's and women's rooms at all?" That's not rhetorical (although it could be: the solution is to just create banks of unisex or family bathrooms). Knowing what purpose the separation is or was for will let us figure out the best way to proceed.

  50. Angstela says

    @Daniel Weber: Some places have done that. Rather than having a "men's" and a "women's" they have signs on the door for "single occupancy", "stalls" and/or "urinals", and you just pick whatever suits you.

    It seems almost crazy in its simplicity. ;-)

  51. Becoming Andi says

    Several people have raised the issue of "burly trans-men" (a person assigned female at birth who has transitioned to male) being forced to use the women's. With all due respect, as I hear the rhetoric surrounding this issue it doesn't seem to me that the supporters of these bills think that these laws are about those people.

    They're about me.

    I am a transgender person. When presenting as female, I don't pass. If you saw me you would know, or at least suspect, that I am biologically male. I am the person you don't want your daughters, wives, and girlfriends to have to see in the bathroom.

    It seems very simple to me: either it is correct to tell your daughter that she should fear me or that she has a right to be protected from having to see me because of the facts in the prior paragraph or it isn't.

    For the record, I do my very best to avoid this situation. If I am out in a situation that isn't explicitly trans-friendly where the only bathrooms are communal I generally just try and hold it. I have no desire to make people uncomfortable. What I want most is not to be noticed.

    I appreciate Ken's take on this issue. It was thoughtful and thought-provoking and he is probably correct that the extreme rhetoric on both sides hardens views to the extremes. I've been a reader of the blog for a long while (I came for Charles Carreon vs. the Oatmeal and never left) and I've learned a lot while here.

  52. Savannagh Ryane says

    At Mary Kay functions, we always use the men's room, so we can pee, been doing it for decades, no one cares.

  53. says

    Andi,
    You're right, they aren't about "burly trans women." But you're wrong that they are about you. They are about exactly what we've always said. Creepers who will take advantage of the "Choose your own Adventure" method of bathroom and changing facility selection.

    Remember, HB2 includes locker rooms, because Charlotte's ordinance meant that the local YMCA would be breaking the law if they barred men from the women's locker room.

    The Left doesn't give a damn about you. You're just a convenient tool to abuse their enemies, conservatives. Last month it was women. Now any women who are concerned that they are at risk for creepers coming into their locker rooms are excoriated as "bigots" and "Transphobes." Next month the Left will be kissing up to the RadFems who hate you, and under the bus you'll go.

    One of my friends worked loss prevention at a major retailer for 10 years. Tossing creepers out of the ladies room was a common problem. What will they do when it's illegal to toss them out? More to the point, what will they do when women refuse to shop at places that refuse to protect their privacy?

  54. Bibliotheca Servare says

    "And yet no one can point to a single case…"
    Here ya go: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/sexual-predator-jailed-after-claiming-to-be-transgender-in-order-to-assault (and a rapist, to boot! I think that's close to "ignorance yahtzee" isn't it? Next time, try google, maybe?) Sorry if I sound overly…vehement, but it pisses me off when people dismiss a legitimate, real fear by saying "you're delusional!" even when there *isn't* evidence to the contrary. When there is? Well, I get reeeeal grumpy. No offense intended.

  55. Murder Hobo says

    @David Lang:

    The threat people are afraid of isn't real TransGender people, it's that this is a loophole for predators to claim that they are TransGender to get into the 'wrong' bathroom.

    While this is certainly true for some segment of the people, it is not the whole truth for the majority. Just look in some of the non-Popehat discussions on the topic and observe the number of:
    1) people throwing around slurs and language specifically denigrating actual trans people (when you talk about "not making laws requiring me to accept your deviant delusions about identity, whether or not they cause you to mutilate yourself," I'm pretty sure you're not just worried about a child rapist taking advantage of the law to get a little girl instead of a little boy) and
    2) people quickly transitioning into a rant about gay marriage or abortion or
    3) a rant about Obama inviting blacks and Muslims to the White House

    It seems clear that for many folks, it's really not just about those fake crossdressers taking advantage of laws meant to protect real crossdressers.

  56. Trent says

    No. It's the state deciding that Durham and Charlotte must have the same laws. This is federalism at the state level — let each city decide what laws work for it.

    It would be a serious mistake on your part to assume "conservative" equals a belief that laws are best administered at a local level. Both parties are willing to throw this to wind in a heartbeat for issues they "care" about.

    In this country we have pretty well defined gender roles. Maybe some day there won't be but I'm not hopeful on that regard. People should use the bathroom of the gender role they are fulfilling because otherwise they are out of place. If a person with male genitalia is dressing and acting like a woman they should be able to use a woman's restroom and same goes for a biological female that is dressing and acting male. Because such people would be immediately out of place if they used their biological bathroom.

    We should all be happy we don't have public restrooms like the greeks and romans used. I suggest you look at this image and consider that those toilets were unisex. http://beesondecorative.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ephesus8.jpg
    People literally sat with their thighs touching while using the toilet. And this was at a time when people wore robes and had to hike those robes up to defecate. So lets all be happy we have relatively private bathrooms. And the only reason those bathrooms aren't unisex is that people are unconformable defecating around the opposite sex, for a reason that if you consider it is rather stupid.

    It's stupid that this is an issue that's being politicized. It should be don't ask don't tell. As long as you fit in using the restroom it shouldn't be anyone's business. This attempt to legislate bathroom behavior is just a powder keg of issues. As all the transgender people posting on the internet have pointed out. You've now got biological women that look like men using the womens restroom. And that is more dangerous than letting them use the bathroom they identify with. If danger is what you worry about then this law makes things more dangerous not less precisely because it's now more difficult to identify people that don't belong there. We should just leave people alone.

  57. Murder Hobo says

    @KCFLEMMING

    This, like gay marriage, is less about fear than humiliation.

    If you feel humiliated that the country that once only recognized your religiously sanctioned union now also recognizes someone else's gay version of that union, I can respect that, but I do question the kind of person you are.

    Personally, I'm more humiliated that my country used biological warfare against the natives of the land they annexed, forced them to accept horribly degrading treaties that favored us substantially… and broke those treaties anyway.

    I'm humiliated that my country thought it was okay to own people for a few hundred years, and that those people were less than human for a few decades after that. (Though for you perhaps it was a bit longer than that?)

    I'm humiliated that my country, which broke away from Britain partly for religious liberty, that loves to look down on the oppressive theocracies and religious extremists of the world, never noticed the hypocrisy of its own anti-Semitism, anti-Catholic bigotry, or the way even now roughly half the country is fighting for the government to protect them from things that offend their religious principles.

    I'm humiliated that, despite the fact that the greatest existential threats to our existence in the last century were European–the USSR and Germany–somehow the only countries we used chemical or nuclear weapons against were the Asian ones. And while Japan was arguably as dangerous, or more so, than Germany, how about Vietnam?

    But yeah, the gay marriage thing. That's worse, right?

    PC propaganda is done to dominate, to humiliate, to subjugate, to make you say the New New Thought aloud, so that not only will you say that a man is a woman, but you'll believe it.

    Don't worry, "PC propaganda" will never have the power to humiliate you more than your own words.

  58. Lagaya1 says

    This is not about fear at all. It's to show "those people" who is still the boss; that we don't like them, and we have the power to hold them up to ridicule in the legislature if we want to . And we do want to. It's another Kim Davis act.

  59. Ron C says

    SIV, the link you provide points to LifeSiteNews, a Christian, anti-abortion "news" site. I'm not sure I'd believe anything it says.

  60. The Other JD says

    If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down. And if anybody tries to peek or feel, pound on their heads til they start to squeal.

    A wee bit of Frontier Justice directed at pervos would go a long way toward solving this issue.

  61. Mike says

    Proponents of HB2 would have you believe that allowing people to use the restroom aligned with their sense of self puts kids at risk of sexual assault. Undercutting that argument is the lack of meaningful evidence of bathroom mischief by transgendered persons, or by persons masquerading as transgendered, and the further sad reality that HB2's bathroom provisions would not give even incidental pause to an actual sexual predator.

  62. talktalk says

    Not to skip too far ahead in the unfolding story… but some of you should start adjusting your arguments against this law for when this skirmish ends and the war over locker rooms begins. If we don't need to worry about perving out in bathrooms because it's so inconvenient, picture how inconvenient it'll be to perv out in the women's locker room at the YMCA.

  63. Steve Brecher says

    @David, I think it's a stretch to say that "toilet" is currently a euphemism for the room(s) that are the topic. American Heritage 4th:
    "1. a. A fixture for defecation and urination …
    b. A room or booth containing such a fixture.
    2. The act or process of dressing or grooming oneself. …"

  64. Chris F says

    Matthew Cline
    ….
    So, am I misrepresenting people on that side, or do I have it down right?

    I can't speak for everyone but that basically sums up my thoughts. The goal is to prevent someone from using the bathroom of a gender they don't identify with while kids are changing, for example, while not having the criteria be so broad that bigots can't use it just because they're uncomfortable. I also don't want to see a situation where transgender people have to be worried about proving their gender because of the bathroom they choose to use because that isn't fair to them.

    Finding that balance between being able to do something if it's abused while not negating the reason for the laws to begin with is going to be tricky.

  65. Daniel Weber says

    It would be a serious mistake on your part to assume "conservative" equals a belief that laws are best administered at a local level. Both parties are willing to throw this to wind in a heartbeat for issues they "care" about.

    Oh, don't worry, I don't doubt that for an instant. Most principles are a mile-wide and an inch-deep.

    A few people have mentioned this in the thread, but I think most are unaware: the North Carolina legislature didn't just do this one day for no reason. They did it because Charlotte passed a law saying businesses couldn't regulate their bathrooms. Some people got freaked out and appealed to the state to, in their view, fix it. (For some extra irony, Charlotte's former mayor is now the governor of North Carolina who signed the state bill into law. That's separate from Charlotte's former mayor who is in a West Virginia jail for bribery, or Charlotte's former mayor who is Obama's Transportation Secretary.)

    Especially when issues are contentious is when you should let localities decide.

  66. Dictatortot says

    I suppose there's an argument for getting rid of sex-specific toilets altogether … but if you're going to bother having them, it seems only reasonable that one should be allowed to insist that the correct sexes use them. The very existence of men's/women's restrooms necessarily invokes a distinction between the two sorts of patron. And to the extent that any state law obliges a state to deal with men's vs. women's bathroom issues (which I don't necessarily know to be the case, in NC or elsewhere), it pays to be specific about who belongs in which, who doesn't, and why.

  67. AH says

    @CptO: It seems to me someone should be raising the question of what kind of kiddy-fiddleing perv staff at that school thinks it's at all appropriate to be watching students going to the bathroom. Seriously, that argument alone would make me extremely uncomfortable to send my child to that school. I can't imagine it would continue to be seriously brought up for much longer. To be honest, in today's post-Hastert world, I'm surprised no one said anything.

    That said, it's probably easier to start encouraging unisex bathrooms in courthouses, government offices, and the private sector before moving to schools. Schools are the one place where people seem to be the most conservative (meaning resistant to change, not the bizarre modern political definition of conservative.).

    @Becoming Andi: Thank you for your perspective. If more people had your understanding, rather then vilifying the other side, we could stop yelling at each other and come up with solutions the vast majority of both sides can be comfortable with.

    @Those saying it's about degrading trans-persons: Pretending that everyone who has a perspective different from your own is trying only to denigrate others makes you the problem. Taking that type of inflammatory position only drives people who see both sides from wanting to have a real discussion, and the reality is your purist position is a minority one. Your hard-line attitude may very well prevent movement toward a real solution that both sides can be comfortable with.

    1 out of every 6 women in the US have been the victim of attempted or completed rape, 1/4 of whom by people they did not know. That is not an insignificant number. This fact may seem tangential to what we are talking about, but when you are claiming that everyone who has a fear of those with male genitalia in public restrooms designated for women are solely driven by a desire to denigrate others it's worth noting that a significant portion of the population have an actual experience which causes their fear. Statistically the fear in this case may be unjustified, but for a significant percentage of the population it's hard to accept that it's not genuine.

  68. Jim Dominic says

    The NC law used this issue as a smokescreen for the other portions of the law which restrict local rule regarding labor issues including but not limited to raising the minimum wage. There are news stories about this but they are not as prominent as the transgender discussions.

  69. delurking says

    Many people in this discussion seem to avoid a major part of the issue, that simply cannot be avoided because we live in a representative democracy where people get to vote in secret.

    Most human beings really don't like the idea of a stranger seeing them and being sexually titillated. At the end of the day, the discussions about rape and sexual assault mostly miss the point. People don't vote for these laws (or the politicians who will vote for these laws) because they are honestly afraid of children being raped in bathrooms. People vote for these laws because they fear that someone will take advantage of the law to sneak a peek at their or their children's private parts, and that disgusts them. That is enough to drive support for the law.

    Furthermore, it is very difficult to argue against this stance. There is a gigantic amount of cultural and legal history supporting this feeling of disgust. Do we not repeat, over and over, that victims of child pornography are re-victimized every time the photos are viewed? Do we not have multiple court precedents, all the way up to the Supreme Court, confirming that people have a strong right to privacy of their partially-clothed bodies? The people who support these laws believe that they and their children are victims of a crime when (even if unbeknownst to them) somebody looks at their private parts and gets even the tiniest bit of sexual titillation. They know that no prosecutor can prove "that person snuck a peak at my private parts" in court, so they support laws to keep those who they fear might do so out of the bathrooms and locker rooms.

  70. Cecil says

    How come they left out handicapped/disabled/insert term here? Why can't cities require handicapped accessibility any more in NC? Just wondering…

  71. John Thacker says

    I doubt that the approaches of "but there are laws against sexual assault" will work any more than replying to transgender people worried about physical assault and bullying that "but there are laws against bullying!" It's quite hard to convince people that their concerns are rare enough that not every action needs to be taken to minimize them.

    Some places have done that. Rather than having a "men's" and a "women's" they have signs on the door for "single occupancy", "stalls" and/or "urinals", and you just pick whatever suits you.

    In quite a few states and locales, long-standing local building codes and ordinances (many roughly 100 years old, when building codes and zoning in this country really started to spread) actually forbid such a thing. In others, like DC, it is now mandated that single occupancy stalls must be labeled as use for all (which seems like no problem whatsoever.)

    There was also a recent case where a student and parents sued because they felt that the single occupancy stall offered to the transgender teen was not sufficient, wanting instead to use the other room.

    The pair of single occupancy stalls works for small enough locales where they have that minimum building code required level of bathroom facilities. For larger buildings, shared bathrooms do tend to be quite a bit cheaper and more efficient, so going to all single occupancy would be quite an expensive mandate, and still leave open the question of grandfathering existing buildings.

    No. It's the state deciding that Durham and Charlotte must have the same laws. This is federalism at the state level — let each city decide what laws work for it.

    Of course there's the even lower level of federalism of letting each business decide what bathroom approach works for them. But the sense of compromise has definitely been thrown out the window, including by the "progressive" approach toward those who might wish to avoid catering religious ceremonies.

  72. Paul Baxter says

    There are two things which have primarily bothered me about the various comments I've seen about this topic (generally from my liberal friends).

    One is the implied syllogism:
    Republicans have pushed through a law.
    Republicans hate gays/minorities/the environment/all that is good and holy/etc.
    Therefore, the law in question is evil and must be opposed.

    Leaving aside the obvious question about the second premise, I think the thing to keep in mind is that the motivation of legislators has virtually nothing to do with whether a particular law is good or not. Someone might vote for a law for any number of bad reasons, but that by itself doesn't make the law in question good or bad.

    The second point is about how exactly we SHOULD be thinking about laws (existing or possible). A criminal law should seek to reduce. deter, and punish some activity that a society wishes to not tolerate, or at least see less of. It isn't especially valuable to say, "well, if I was a criminal, I would just ignore that law, so that law would be useless." The better way to think about it, is to ask, in the minimal case, whether the law would likely lead to ANY reduction in the activity under discussion.

    In the case of the Charlotte law, the situation is flipped, since the law was allowing something previously not allowed. So the question becomes, do we think that such a law is at all likely to cause ANY increase in behavior we don't want. At least for me, it's quite easy to imagine an increase in antisocial behavior in this case.

    To spell that out a bit more clearly, I think we all are aware that there HAVE been cases of sexual assault in bathrooms in the past. But focusing, say, specifically on rape and assault obscures a variety of other possible things such as voyeurism, exhibitionism, and simple harassment, any of which might be likely to increase were it legal for anyone to use whatever bathroom they choose. I could totally imagine one or more men camping out in a women's restroom just in order to make a point.

  73. SlimTim says

    @Daniel Weber, @Trent
    If a business owns a restroom they should be able to determine who can use it. For example, currently Target allows people to use the restroom that matches their gender identity even if it doesn't match their biological sex. This allowed by the North Carolina law but not required.

  74. Tim says

    There should be only one unified bathroom and in this one unified bathroom, there will be only one law, thou shall not speak or make direct eye contact with anyone else.

    Might be a 1st Amendment issue with my plan, but I'll wait to see if anyone objects.

  75. Careless says

    Do you guys really not see how comical it is to suggest that a student at UW-Superior is ESL? It's a school with mostly… not so intelligent students in an incredibly white part of the country that has no draw for foreigners. Yes, it's theoretically possible, but incredibly unlikely.

    edit: I mean, I'd give 20:1 odds that Doe is a native English speaker, and feel like there was very little risk

  76. Careless says

    I just don't think people here understand how bad the writing abilities of 100 IQ people are.

  77. Careless says

    Converting ACT to SAT scores, I outscored the 75th percentile student at UW-S as an 11 year old who didn't know what algebra was, and I'm not that smart. They're simply not a group that you'd expect would have good writing ability.

  78. Careless says

    Yeah, those 100 IQ people who post on the wrong thread. Buncha dummies.

    lol that will teach me to not keep two Popehat tabs open

  79. Dragoness Eclectic says

    I can tell that everyone who keeps crying "But what about the poor wimmen's being perved on in the women's bathroom" has never been in a women's bathroom. Our bathrooms have these things called 'stalls', and you're not looking at undressed women unless you're peering under the door or hanging from the ceiling. If you're doing that, it's pretty obvious and you should be arrested for perving.

    1 out of every 6 women in the US have been the victim of attempted or completed rape, 1/4 of whom by people they did not know.

    [Citation Needed]

  80. says

    @azteclady

    Since you obviously have no clue what I'm talking about, I'll explain. These are the RadFems I'm talking about. They are radical feminists who believe things like "Anyone born a man retains male privilege in society; even if he chooses to live as a woman—and accept a correspondingly subordinate social position—the fact that he has a choice means that he can never understand what being a woman is really like."

    And you "want everyone to have the same rights,"? Does that mean you believe that everyone has the same right to use the women's locker room at the YMCA, the women's toilet at the Church's Fried Chicken, and the facilities at the local Women's Shelter no matter what the YMCA, the owner of the Church's, and the operator of the Women's shelter think? Because that's insane. I don't have any right to use those facilities, and you can't possibly articulate a logical distinction between me and my friend the trans person and the creepy guys my other friend has tossed out of the ladies room in the major retail store he's worked security for. Because there is no logical distinction that will hold up in court, the retailer will either have to let all of us in or none of us in. That's basically their choices.

    And before you ask, no, I don't want women in my toilet or locker room either. With the foolishness around rape charges in this country, I'm not going to put myself in a position to be charged with sexual assault where there are guaranteed not to be any cameras to refute her charges.

  81. princessartemis says

    Is it culturally insensitive and transphobic and whatever to just say, I don't happen to want people with penises taking a leak in my restroom? It's messy and I don't like sitting on the results.

  82. Jim Lyon says

    Uncritical fear is a habit of the mind. … Don't like it? Fight it on a global basis, not a case-by-case basis. Question fear.

    I think the above was the main point of this article; all of this discussion about transpeople and restrooms is merely sideshow.

    I completely agree that we are training people to be unreasonably afraid of everything, and we need to push back. But I don't know how to do so globally. Every conversation that starts "Don't be afraid" yields a rejoinder of "But this is really scary!". So I think that the best you can do is point out fear that is irrational whenever you encounter it. The bit about bathrooms is merely today's low-hanging fruit.

  83. Nathan M. Easton says

    Men intending to commit sexual assault don't need trans-friendly bathroom laws to do so. In fact, those laws are only helpful to them if they're already in contact with a site owner or other authority figure. All they have to do is get any job or position whatsoever where they're alone with women, or are around women who are intoxicated, or have a position of authority over women, or go to conventions where things are relatively anonymous, or…

    In short, I don't think that being friendly to transgender people helps sexual predators in any meaningful way, whereas being hostile to them will absolutely increase the rate of assaults against transwomen and probably create a lot of inconvenience for ciswomen who look even slightly masculine, and any transmen who deign to follow the law and use the women's restroom.

  84. Trent says

    @Daniel Weber, @Trent
    If a business owns a restroom they should be able to determine who can use it. For example, currently Target allows people to use the restroom that matches their gender identity even if it doesn't match their biological sex. This allowed by the North Carolina law but not required.

    This law does nothing of the sort. The north carolina local ordinance just said people can use whatever restroom they identify with. Which is rather silly because frankly that's the status quo. What the NC state law does is mandate that people with SRS use a bathroom of their opposite gender. It requires people transitioning to another gender to use the bathroom they no longer fit in with. That means men who are biological women that have beards and dress, sound and act like men are now forced to use the womans restroom.

    I'll say it again, the status quo was don't ask don't tell. If you fit in with the restroom gender you are using no one is going to ask to see your genitals and everyone can be blissfully ignorant.

    Is it culturally insensitive and transphobic and whatever to just say, I don't happen to want people with penises taking a leak in my restroom? It's messy and I don't like sitting on the results.

    So you'd prefer that the bearded men who happen to be biologically female to use your restroom. This isn't a black and white issue and you display total ignorance of gender identity issues by insinuating that a woman transitioning from male would stand up to pee and would pee all over the seat. Here's something to think about, people with gender identity issues don't want to stand out. You may have already used the restroom with one and were none the wiser. Maybe it would be better if you stop worrying about what other people have in their pants and mind your own business.

    BTW, From every janitor I've ever spoken too women's restrooms are far filthier and nastier than men's.

  85. Mare says

    Why, as a society, do we act as though People with mental illness are acting normally? Get some help to figure out why you want to be the opposite sex. You are a sick person.

  86. SlimTim says

    @Trent
    The last sentence of my previous comment could have been worded better. What I meant was that the NC law does not ban privately owned businesses from allowing people to use the restroom that matches their gender identity. It just prevents local governments from mandating it.

    What the NC state law does is mandate that people with SRS use a bathroom of their opposite gender. It requires people transitioning to another gender to use the bathroom they no longer fit in with. That means men who are biological women that have beards and dress, sound and act like men are now forced to use the womans restroom.

    The law only did that for government-owned bathrooms. The owners of privately-owned bathrooms (eg those in stores) can set their own policies.

  87. bw1 says

    Could the law be in reaction to this?

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-transgender-student-federal-ruling-met-20151102-story.html

    Here parents of teenage girls have the Federal Department of Education ordering their school to allow a fully functional biological male to shower with their daughters. That seems problematic – most parents probably don't want the school putting their daughters naked in a room with a free swinging penis.

    As another commenter pointed out, the NC law refers to biological gender noted on birth certificates, which can be edited upon surgical alteration. That seems like a reasonable criteria for restroom assignment – use the room equipped for your apparatus. Nobody gets to see something they don't have themselves, nobody has to share a restroom with anyone who's equipped to molest them.

    An unintended consequence of sexual preference/gender identity antidiscrimination laws is that we are creating a protected class in which anyone can claim or renounce membership at any time. There's no way to refute it, because, by definition, membership is about how one feels.

  88. Mark says

    Because of legal liability issue, we have closed the restrooms. Go pee somewhere else.

    That's what I was thinking as well.

  89. princessartemis says

    @Trent, I knew I could count on someone to read a novel into the two rather flip sentences I posted. I was even thinking, "I bet someone's going to snap about how transwomen pee," and lo and behold…

  90. Czernobog says

    @Sean Sorrentino:

    Do you have a way to tell the difference, inside the locker room, between Andi and a "creeper"? If so, laws against the creeper behavior that marks them would go further towards protecting women's privacy.

    If not, then what is a creeper anyway? How do you know none of the women in the same locker room isn't a creeper?

    I genuinely don't understand what it is you're so scared of that isn't already covered by existing laws.

  91. David Schwartz says

    @bw1 That seems like an awfully silly position. Everyone is equipped to molest everyone else. The idea that one can only be molested by someone who has different equipment is simply false.

  92. arity says

    You could always do as I do and transcend fear by coming to the conclusion that suffering is the inevitable consequence of existence. If you believe that whether you're a man, woman, or child you'll be raped or murdered sooner or later regardless of who has what rights then you no longer see a point in limiting the rights of others as a viable means of mitigating what, in reality, simply can't be mitigated. If someone's going to burst down the bathroom door and assault you then a law that stops people who just want to use the bathroom for its intended purpose isn't going to stop the person already intent on committing a crime. You're just grateful for every day that it hasn't happened yet. Embrace the void. It may sound bleak but it's actually quite liberating.

  93. Red says

    The two sides are talking past each other here. One side is talking about standard bathrooms with only toilets and sinks. The other is talking about locker rooms where people change and shower.

  94. Samwise says

    I have been concerned of late that many of my facebook acquaintances seem to genuinely believe that anyone who supports the NC law in any way is a bigot who hates transgender people. Whatever we may think of the law, I think we can agree that that attitude is ignorant and unhelpful. More to Ken's original point, I know for a fact that at least a few of these people actively worry about mass shootings at their schools. How many of them will some day check their children's Halloween candy before allowing them to eat it? Irrational fear is not a political issue. We all have it.

  95. Czernobog says

    @Red

    That's true, but even if we suppose nudity is necessarily part of the equation:

    If the problem is that people who find the occupants of a given locker room sexually attractive might be able to legally share it with them – that is already the case.

    If the problem is that someone the occupants of said locker room might have to share with someone they themselves find unattractive – that is already the case.

    If the problem is that they might have to share a locker room with someone they find attractive – that is already the case for many people, and no real harm has come of it. Not on it's own.

    If the problem is that might be exposed to a different type of plumbing than what they have on them – well, what exactly is wrong with that?

  96. Daniel Weber says

    Have we passed the point of needing separate locker rooms for each gender? Would just one locker room be okay?

    This is why I always ask what the point is of having them in the first place. Without an answer to the creation of the policy, we can't really move forward on how to handle exceptions to the policy or getting rid of the policy.

  97. The Wanderer says

    @Czernobog:

    As far as I can tell, the alleged problem appears to be that "someone with different plumbing might see mine", or as it's more commonly argued, "someone with different plumbing from my children might see my children's".

    The fact of being seen by someone with different plumbing (outside of an intimate environment with permission granted), itself, is what is seen as being a wrong to be prevented. Not any consequence which might arise as a result of having been so seen, or of having such a person in a position to so see, but the very event of being so seen itself.

  98. Murder Hobo says

    I hate people who stereotype people based on simple left vs. right assumptions, so I won't make any.

    That said, I am very curious how people's position on this issue compares with their position on gun control. One specific argument in favor of the trannyban ("Letting anyone in the bathroom won't cause harm in itself other than making a few people uncomfortable, but it will make it slightly easier for bad people to do a harmful thing that's illegal anyway") is eerily similar to one specific argument in favor of gun control ("I have no problem with law-abiding citizens owning guns, but without this proposed law it makes it marginally easier for criminals to get a gun and do something harmful that's illegal anyway.")

    The counterargument is pretty much the same in both cases. Do individual, unchecked transfers make it slightly easier for a gun to eventually get to a bad guy who wouldn't be able to buy a gun directly from an FFL? Probably. But considering that a someone who by definition isn't afraid to break a few laws could probably get a gun anyway, and whatever harmful thing he hopes to do with the gun is probably against the law anyway, you really have to ask yourself whether whatever marginal gain you might achieve can justify restricting the rights of numerous law-abiding citizens.

  99. says

    Sorry, no. I have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I don't have a Constitutional right to leer at the ladies in the YMCA locker room. Until you can give me a simple, easy to enforce method of excluding the creepers while allowing the favored minority class, then we should stick with the rules as they were.

    We had a perfectly workable system. Trans people who passed well enough got away with something that was technically trespass. But since no one complained, it wasn't considered a crime. Charlotte decided to make an issue of it by making it a crime to trespass anyone at all out of the bathroom or changing facilities, meaning that basically, until you committed a serious crime, no one could even call the cops on you. Guess what? They probably won't even commit a serious crime. They'll just sit there and get their jollies making women uncomfortable. And no one will be able to do a thing about it.

    Now we're supposed to sit back and accept the completely stupid argument that we should ignore the large gap between perfectly acceptable behavior and behavior bad enough to get you hauled away in a squad car. We're supposed to say, "yeah, that's totally creepy, socially unacceptable behavior, but since he is technically not committing a violent crime, we just have to tolerate it." Hell no. That's not how the world works.

    We have thousands of years of sex segregation in toilets and changing/bathing facilities. The Romans had different days for different sexes in their bathhouses. This isn't some recent innovation dreamed up by Bible banging rubes in flyover country. This is basic human nature. You don't get to waltz into a city council meeting and demand that thousands of years of human custom be overturned on a party line vote. Had Charlotte kept quiet, we could have bumped along just fine, with the vast majority of us looking the other way when someone didn't quite pass in the bathroom. But they didn't.

    It won't "make it slightly easier for bad people to do harmful things." It will make it impossible for women to complain to the authorities that there is a creepy guy hanging out in their locker room. Because Charlotte made it illegal to toss the creeper out. We've told you and told you and told you this. Why won't you listen? Is it because you prefer to argue against a different argument? Is your own pretend argument easier to refute?

    If this persists, we will have the creepers in the ladies rooms and the locker rooms. They will bother the women and the women will stop using the ladies rooms and locker rooms. They will simply stay home. Is that your hope? To keep the women at home?

    The funniest thing about this whole thing is if 5 weeks ago we had gotten Milo Yiannopoulos or Roosh V to start campaigning for "Unisex Bathrooms" the same jackasses who are right now mocking the rest of us would be marching in the streets, screaming for their heads for "invading women's safe spaces!"

  100. Poteen says

    When did America get so petty and decadent that bathroom usage needs to be codified by government?
    My 9 year old granddaughter uses the 'ladies room' by herself. She's a big girl. Grandpa waits outside
    If someone else goes in after she does that makes me uncomfortable, I'm going in too. Doesn't matter whether anyone else is comfortable with that or not.
    Statutes, identities, fears, dangling parts and participles be damned.

  101. Murder Hobo says

    @Sean

    Sorry, no. I have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

    and your point is? My argument was regarding the fact that the harm (assaults) certain people want to prevent is already illegal. Many supporters of the law claim they're all about protecting women and children from assault, and I am addressing them. You've made it abundantly clear that you're one of the "I think trans people are icky, and there should be a law crowd." I respect your honesty about that. But it also means that my argument really isn't relevant to you.

    Charlotte decided to make an issue of it by making it a crime to trespass anyone at all out of the bathroom or changing facilities, meaning that basically, until you committed a serious crime, no one could even call the cops on you.

    That is entirely untrue. Do you have much experience with law enforcement? First, no law stops people from calling the police, ever. Unless I've seriously misread this law, Charlotte's law doesn't either. Second, people can, and do, call the police long before a serious crime is committed. People are encouraged to call about any suspicious activities, or if they feel threatened. The police I worked with had a policy of trying their best to send someone in to deal with these most complaints. Even if the call seems purely motivated by bigotry (scary black man hanging out in my nice neighborhood type calls), they'd answer because it's always possible the scary black man really is casing the place, and even if he's completely innocent, he's hanging out somewhere where at least one person has enough of a problem with him to call 911–a potentially volatile situation.

    Guess what? They probably won't even commit a serious crime.

    When "they probably won't even commit a serious crime" is your best argument for barring a group of people from public facilities, it really says something about the strength of your position.

    They'll just sit there and get their jollies making women uncomfortable. And no one will be able to do a thing about it.

    Gosh, if only there were gender-neutral harassment or loitering laws that could be used to charge someone who does stuff like this.

    Now we're supposed to sit back and accept the completely stupid argument that we should ignore the large gap between perfectly acceptable behavior and behavior bad enough to get you hauled away in a squad car.

    Strawman argument. Nice. Even ignoring the fact that–despite your assertion–there actually are relevant laws for behaviors far less serious than full on sexual assault, having a law making preventing people from being expelled solely due to their gender doesn't mean we don't still have the full gamut of tools to discourage socially unacceptable, but illegal behavior.

    Let's take the trans issue out of it for a moment. There are probably more gays than trans people in the world, and so it seems likely that there are a substantial number of gay perverts who would, as you say, find a way to get their jollies hanging out in the men's bathroom or showers, doing something perfectly legal, but that makes everyone else in there completely uncomfortable. We have zero legal basis to expel them from the men's room for being creepy and/or gay. And yet we don't really have a huge problem with that thanks to a combination of social pressure and–I can't stress this point enough–those various laws for more minor offenses you don't seem to realize exist.

    We're supposed to say, "yeah, that's totally creepy, socially unacceptable behavior, but since he is technically not committing a violent crime, we just have to tolerate it."

    Do you buy your straw from CostCo? Once again, I repeat: THERE ARE LAWS ON THE BOOKS ALREADY THAT CRIMINALIZE BEHAVIOR THAT FALLS FAR SHORT OF "VIOLENT CRIME"

    You don't get to waltz into a city council meeting and demand that thousands of years of human custom be overturned on a party line vote.

    Actually, you do. Well, it wasn't a city council, necessarily, but that's pretty much how slavery was abolished in most parts of the world. Either that, or the colonial power that conquered your country had a royal edict or a parliamentary vote of some sort that declared thousands of years of human nature and tradition was suddenly unacceptable. Hell, the purpose of even the most minimalist libertarian government is to restrict human nature–humans were killing other humans and taking their crap and raping their women for much longer than we'd been getting together to form groups that gave us enough stability to take turns sleeping without worrying about the rape and murder thing.

    Do you have a problem with the particular aspect of human nature they're trying to legislate against? Then get the votes.

    They will simply stay home. Is that your hope? To keep the women at home?

    You've made so many disingenuous strawman arguments that I don't even known why I'm showing you the courtesy of a serious answer. But the answer is no. I don't want to keep women at home. It does make me wonder about your motivation though: After all, you're not just trying to keep the status quo, whatever it was. You're trying to change the law so that what little freedom transexuals who could "pass" had would be 100%, tossed in the squad car illegal, regardless of how the private business owner, or the people of the city hundreds of miles from yours, want to do thing. Is that your hope? To marginalize anyone who doesn't fit your personal vision of how "right" people should be?

    It won't "make it slightly easier for bad people to do harmful things." It will make it impossible for women to complain to the authorities that there is a creepy guy hanging out in their locker room. Because Charlotte made it illegal to toss the creeper out.

    As I've explained, because it's not true. Charlotte's law doesn't make it illegal to throw out a transexual who has broken another law, or otherwise done something that could get him removed. We've had laws banning racially segregated bathrooms for decades. Pretty sure it's still possible to have a black man kicked out of the men's room if he's just hanging out there, hitting on little boys.

    We've told you and told you and told you this. Why won't you listen?

    Because you have no credibility. You've repeatedly made the assertion that under Charlotte's law, it would be impossible to kick a transexual out of the ladies room unless he committed a violent crime. Even the most cursory examination of the law shows numerous non-violent crimes that criminalize stuff "in the wide range between what is socially unacceptable" and what's a violent crime. Yet you remain willfully ignorant of those laws. QED, you have zero credibility.

  102. Murder Hobo says

    Is it because you prefer to argue against a different argument? Is your own pretend argument easier to refute?

    There's this fallacy, I'm not sure what it's officially called, I just think of it as "Behold, your allies." Usually it takes the form of "You're a libtard, he's a libtard, therefore you must believe the exact same thing as him and are thus discredited by association."

    Somehow, you've managed the unprecedented act of applying the fallacy of composition to your own position, assuming that every person who agrees with you on how an issue should be decided also agree with you on why it should be that way. But this is not necessarily true.

    I'll explain. Let me know if you get confused:

    1) A lot of people support your general position on whether the law is a good thing.
    2) Not all of them support it for the same reason as you..
    3) Some of them have articulated their reasons (much better than you have, for that matter.)
    4) Other people might want to argue with them about their reasons.

    Perhaps wherever you hang out, your arguments are the dominant arguments. What I've seen more often, however, are people who take pains to deny they have any problem with transexuals themselves, but in fact focus on their sincere belief that the Charlotte law can be exploited by those trying to cause harm. The fact that you think their position is a "made up argument" says less about me, and more about you and the company you keep.

    There are numerous reasons why I addressed their arguments, and not yours. First, I found them more compelling, both in the sense that they raise interesting logical points I think would be fun to debate, but also in the sense that their arguments, more than anyone else's, have caused me to reconsider my own position on the issue. Second, I've read comments from people that generally articulate their reasonable far more coherently than you communicate yours. Third–and this is key–I didn't see your arguments before you responded to me. If you've made a prior post, I didn't notice it. And honestly, if your prior post were anything like your response to me, I probably wouldn't have found it worth responding to. You raise a few interesting points, but for the most part it was rhetorical fallacies and vitriol, and overall I wouldn't have seen the point of engaging with you on everything. The only reason I did was because you addressed me directly.

  103. says

    "You've made it abundantly clear that you're one of the 'I think trans people are icky, and there should be a law crowd.'"

    Which goes to show you that you've zero idea who I actually am. A quick Google search of me, plus a some basic research of the people on my podcast would reveal something that might challenge that laughable assertion.

    "Charlotte's law doesn't make it illegal to throw out a transexual who has broken another law,"

    There you go again (as Ronald Reagan liked to say). You're so invested in the "IT'S ALL HATE! THEY HATE LGBTQ PEOPLE!!!" that you just don't bother to read what I write. It's OK. I know. You don't want to have to admit that I might not be an evil Hatey Hate Haterson. So since you're basically incapable of making those fine distinctions, let me break it down for you Barney style.

    1. Charlotte writes a city code change.
    A. The code change is a removal of an exception to the code.
    B. The code says "You can't discriminate against people in public accommodations because of their sex.
    C. The removed exception says, "Restrooms, shower rooms, bathhouses and similar facilities which are in their nature distinctly private."
    D. By removing that exception, it means that it would have been unlawful to deny a person, because of sex, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.
    2. The net effect of this is to make it a crime under the prohibited sex discrimination laws of the City of Charlotte to prevent me, not a trans person, from using restrooms, shower rooms, bathhouses and similar facilities marked for the use of women.
    3. At no time did I say that trans people were some sort of special threat to women. You are once again attempting to Straw Man the argument. "You're a BIGOT! You are calling trans people rapists and molesters!!" Get your head out of your backside.
    4. Only a total moron would think "Oh, if someone who isn't breaking the law comes into the restrooms, shower rooms, bathhouses and similar facilities which are in their nature distinctly private, and makes the women very uncomfortable, they should call the cops!" They won't. They might tell the owner of the location. That owner will tell them, "My hands are tied. If I run the guy out, we'll get sued for discrimination."
    5. The total net effect of this is that women will be driven from public restrooms, shower rooms, bathhouses and similar facilities which are in their nature distinctly private. They will not be able to have any reasonable expectation of privacy. No one will support their desire for that privacy. They probably won't use force or violence to establish reasonable behavior norms as would happen in the men's spaces. So they will leave.
    6. So, as a way of solving a small problem, you're advocating making a huge problem. Nice job. Is it because you think women are icky?

  104. Abe says

    Gist of the above: please be nicer to Southern bigots, stop hurting the feelings of my idiot friends in North Crackerlina, and preserve the status quo. Answer: No.

  105. says

    @Abe: Which once more goes to show that none of you have any idea who the hell you're talking to when you make up stupid crap like this. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I moved to NC permanently to live permanently 6 years ago, though I lived here back in the 90's for four years during my time as a paratrooper. Between those times I lived in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. Do not pretend that you can pigeonhole me as some angry, bigoted redneck who hates them thar gheys.

    North Carolina is the 9th largest state by population. It's not some backwoods ass hick state like you've let Hollyweird convince you. Your provincial attitude towards your fellow Americans will win you no favors, and will likely cost you a large number of votes.

    Perhaps this article from your friends at The Atlantic will be instructive.

    Does the Left Have a Smug Problem?

    Lovely paragraph here that is exactly on point, though it refers to the Houston trans bathroom law that went down in flames…

    This isn’t to say that there weren’t hateful reasons for fighting the bill, as I’m sure there were, but every concern of any kind related to HERO was dismissed as hatred and ignorance by the act’s proponents. The narrative was quintessential smugness: Our side is 100% right, and your side is 100% hateful bigots whose opinions don’t matter.

    This is exactly true. Why is that, do you think? Is it because if you acknowledged that our concerns are valid and need addressing, that maybe you might have to come to some sort of accommodation with your hated enemies?

    Or is it that you really don't give a damn about trans people, and this is all just a smokescreen. You're just creating a disaster in order to attack Republicans as bigots so that you can drive voters to vote for Hillary in November? Because I think you've just mounted trans people on sticks and turned them into mascots and figureheads so you can pretend to care about them while really just using them to further your political agenda. And I, for one, am damned tired of you screwing over decent people because you're trying to drag Monica's ex-boyfriend's wife across the finish line.

    Face it. If you really gave a damn about the trans community, you'd be doing something to win "hearts and minds," not being an absolute dickhead to everyone involved, including the trans community. This is not about them. This is about your ego. Your smug. And your political candidates trying to harness that ego and smug to get votes.

    Good job, jackass.

  106. TM says

    @ Murder Hobo

    Pretty sure it's still possible to have a black man kicked out of the men's room if he's just hanging out there, hitting on little boys.

    Possibly, if he's actually hitting on the kids. But I think most people who have been to a YMCA (at least most of the ones I've known) can relate to an experience of the creepy old dude who insists on just walking around the locker room naked, getting uncomfortably close an inserting themselves in any conversation. Those sorts of people are not so easy to get rid of, because they aren't doing anything particularly untoward, just making people uncomfortable.

    It's obvious that some (possibly even most) supporters of this bill are wanting to discriminate against trans people, but there are legitimate concerns that have nothing to do with trans people directly and this conversation needs to be had at some point. We have sex segregated facilities for a reason, for reasons that predate and transcend christianity. Possibly for reasons long since forgotten, but reasons none the less. What those reasons are need to be weighed against the harm and benefits of this law (and equally of Charlotte's law).

    The statistic is 1 in 5 women experience unwanted sexual contact. When the same sorts of people who would stand on a street corner and cat call women can get into their locker rooms and bathrooms on a simple verbal assertion, do we suppose that statistic will go up or down? Is the harm caused by that less or more than the harm caused by disallowing trans people access to the bathroom of their choice when they can't pass? I don't know. But no one seems to want to have that cnversation because were all too busy accusing each other of being bigots and queers.

  107. Brian Z says

    Our society consists of about half male, half female, and a very small percentage of people who don't fit into either category (trans, genderqueer, intersex, etc).

    In the spirit of enlightened egalitarianism, I'd support measures that would ensure full equality for all. Dividing bathrooms based on male/female lines seemed reasonable for a while, but it's actually incredibly unfair to the trans/etc crowd. As a possible solution, in this forum we seem to be trending: maybe unisex? Then everyone is equal, right? Probably.

    But I'm a dude. Sure it's a big change for me, but there's not much of a cost to me. I wouldn't feel more vulnerable if there were suddenly a bunch of women sharing my locker room. My dynamic doesn't change very much. But for women, I think unisex bath/locker rooms change their dynamic a great deal.

    So on the surface, fighting to ensure equality for all makes me feel super warm and fuzzy. Then I realize that without any sacrifice on my part I may only be trading the comfort of 50% (women) for the comfort of 1% (trans/etc), and I feel less morally righteous and much more ambivalent.

    It's probably still the right thing to do. Maybe.

    (And if you really think that there can be a lasting distinction between bathroom access and locker room access, I think the onus is on you to figure out how that's going to work–otherwise the latter quickly evolves from the former.)

  108. Murder Hobo says

    @Sean,

    If you were not once again engaging in a strawman argument, and you sincerely thought I was calling you a bigot, I apologize for hurting your feelings. I can see now why my words could be interpreted as impugning your character. All I meant to do was distinguish your position (that certain trans behavior is inherently bad) from the position of people you assert don't exist (that trans behavior isn't unacceptable in itself, but normalizing it creates harmful side-effects.)

    Since we're talking past each other, let me ask you to articulate what you mean more clearly. By your own admission, you're not one of the guys who made the argument I was addressing (that there is nothing wrong with trans people per se, but rather they are worried about actual assaults or harassment becoming easier.) Is this fair to say?

    Also, from my reading of your first response, you feel that certain trans behavior (for example, a man dressing as a woman and doing a piss poor job "passing") is inherently undesirable. At one time a combination of social pressure and the presumed illegality of ANY trans people in the wrong bathroom made it easy to police: If a trans person "passed," you either didn't notice them or you let it slide. If a trans person didn't pass, you made a big fuss and called the cops. This way, there was a powerful law that could be selectively enforced based on social convention. Is this a fair assessment of your views?

    If in fact that prior articulation substantially coincides with your position (if it doesn't, you may wish to rethink how you are articulating your position), then would it be fair to say that you feel that for certain trans people, the mere act of being present in the ladies' room–no leering, no comments or catcalls, no blatantly loitering there doing absolutely nothing that you need to be in the bathroom for–falls under the category of behavior you consider inherently bad? Because that is the distinction I was trying to make.

    The guys whose arguments I care about are the ones who have stated that having Ru Paul or some other blatant man in drag in the women's room would be creepy, but should not be criminalized for its own sake. Instead, they focus on the exploitabililty of the rule and the potential harm. Would it be accurate to say that their position is distinct from yours?

    4. Only a total moron would think "Oh, if someone who isn't breaking the law comes into the restrooms, shower rooms, bathhouses and similar facilities which are in their nature distinctly private, and makes the women very uncomfortable, they should call the cops!" They won't. They might tell the owner of the location. That owner will tell them, "My hands are tied. If I run the guy out, we'll get sued for discrimination."

    In that case I, the law enforcement agency I once worked with as a prosecutor, and many of the citizens where we worked, are morons. I will tell you this explicitly: Officers have answered calls where it was blatantly clear that the main reason the caller was scared was due to racial stereotyping. Despite the fact that this was long after racial discrimination was banned under federal law and largely socially unacceptable even where I worked, people were willing to make the call, and they didn't feel afraid to be second-guessed as bigots or sued under federal civil rights legislation.

    People trust their guts when they feel threatened or uncomfortable. On the abstract, sitting on your couch, you probably imagine that if you see a poorly dressed black men at a nice department store, you'll just ignore the guy casing the place because you're too worried about being sued or being called a bigot. I'm a free market libertarian. I believe strongly in the power of incentives, and I agree with that reasoning completely.

    Yet I know from experience that real life somehow doesn't work that way. Are there people who, if the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Accommodations law were never passed, would have reported a black criminal, but instead were too afraid to? Probably. But I've seen too many calls where it was obvious that no crime was committed yet, where a large part of the suspicious behavior in question was that the guy was in the wrong place for his particular skin tone and apparent income bracket.

    And this bears repeating once again:

    We're supposed to say, "yeah, that's totally creepy, socially unacceptable behavior, but since he is technically not committing a violent crime, we just have to tolerate it."

    There are numerous gender-neutral laws on the books for offenses far less serious than an actual violent assault. Nothing in Charlotte's law, and nothing you have said, has presented credible evidence for your implied assertion that Charlotte's law would carve out special immunity from these laws for trans people.

    Is it possible that Charlotte's law–and the social pressure it implies from the community–might cause people to overcompensate, to be so afraid to call the cops when a trans person is acting suspiciously, or actually breaking one of these lesser laws? Sure, anything is possible. Does it tie people's hands in the absolute, insurmountable manner you assert? No.

    Am I concerned about the net effect of Charlotte's law being that, as you assert, all women will start staying home because they have no place to pee? Honestly, not really. In a place where such a law would get enough popular support to pass, presumably a substantial portion of the population is comfortable enough with trans people that they're okay with someone not doing anything more creepy than being a blatant transexual in the ladies' room. In a place with different social norms–presumably, where you live–where most ladies would feel threatened and uncomfortable if they see someone in the bathroom with a bit of a mustache, chances are a law like Charlotte's wouldn't pass. In fact, a law similar to Raleigh's probably would. The key difference: It would affect only the locality, where there are comparatively few moderators between the will of the people and the laws getting passed.

    Personally, I'm against ANY government law that dictates how private enterprise decides who they want to do business with and where they get to pee. Social pressure and the free market are the best ways to get the desired outcome, or even to decide what that desired outcome is. But if government intervention of some sort is necessary, I would rather it come from the local level, where it at least has a chance of reflecting the community's values.

    And that's where I have a problem with your arguments. Everything you assert about people being so afraid to be sued that they'll let blatant harassment pass, people being afraid of calling cops for the same reason, there being no way to use loitering or harassment laws to stop non-violent creepy trans behavior, women all staying home because they're afraid they may run into a drag queen in the bathrooms… none of this is true where I lived (and I've spent a good part of my life in the South.) It might be true in your community, in which case maybe the trans ban is the right thing, for your community.

    Where you go astray is assuming that your experience is universal. You presume that your assertions are true not only for you, but for the entire state, and the entire country, and that based on your experience, you know the right answer for everyone.

    In your first response, you brought up the Constitution, as if that automatically settles any dispute. Assuming arguendo this is true, then it's relevant to look at all the parts of the Constitution guaranteeing a woman's right to be comfortable in public, or to have public accommodations exclusive to her gender:
    Good. Now let's look at the parts of the Constitution guaranteeing similar rights for trans people:
    That was fast.

    When there is no Constitutional right implicated, when there is no unifying government interest (such as national defense), when the application of a law may have radically different effects on different communities, that is precisely when every community should be given the chance to decide for itself.

  109. SlimTim says

    @Murder Hobo
    The libertarian ideal is to let people make their own decisions as individuals.

    The fact that there is so much heated debate on this issue is exactly why the aspect of the North Carolina law that prohibits local governments from mandating bathroom/locker room policies in privately-owned businesses was a good change.

    Some businesses (like Target) allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, others restrict it to their biological sex. If you do not agree with the policies of a business you have the right to stay off their property (or just not use their bathroom/locker room).

  110. Lagaya1 says

    I would totally get the vapors if I didn't have a big strong man like Sean around to protect us womenfolk. I'd probably have to stay home all the time!

  111. says

    @Murder Hobo
    Dude, you clearly wrote:

    You've made it abundantly clear that you're one of the "I think trans people are icky, and there should be a law crowd." I respect your honesty about that. But it also means that my argument really isn't relevant to you.

    How am I supposed to take that any way other than "You're a BIGOT! HATE IS ALL YOU CARE ABOUT!" ? One of the contributors to my podcast, who is also my backup co-host and my personal friend, is trans. I'm just as angry about how poorly she's being treated by your side as I am about the automatic assumption of hate and bigotry your side has of mine. She's not your mascot. No matter how much you think you're "helping" her, you're not. You stirred up a hornet's nest and now she's catching hell for crap she never wanted. She just wants to live her life. She just wants to pee for god's sake!

    Now we've got a-holes on my side calling her a crazy nutcase because she's trans, we've got a-holes on your side throwing gasoline on the fire as a method of virtue signalling, and no one is any closer to getting along. Certainly not her. I'm tired of this. But I'm not going to pretend that the very real problems aren't very real problems because there are people who can't behave online.

    RuPaul doesn't pass? I didn't know. RuPaul always looked pretty much like a woman to me.

    Being trans and using the toilets designated for the other sex is not necessarily bad. But it is something that is *permitted* or *allowed* not something that is *a civil right.* But that goes for everyone, really. Act like a tool in a toilet and you get tossed, I don't care who you are or what your plumbing is. That's where the Left seems to miss how society actually works. You don't have a right to someone else's property. You don't have a right to be a jerk to other people. But if you act decently to everyone else, pretty much everyone else will let you slide. Where the idiot grievance mongers came from that insisted that Charlotte pass a law banning "discrimination" in toilets, showers, changing facilities, etc, I have no idea. Assaulting people is a crime. Deal with the crime. Don't write stupid laws that force this sort of conflict. That is, unless you want this sort of conflict.

    The "powerful law that could be enforced based on social convention" is called "the property owner is in charge of his property." Nothing has changed on that score, not even here in North Carolina. See also: Target.

    for certain trans people, the mere act of being present in the ladies' room–no leering, no comments or catcalls, no blatantly loitering there doing absolutely nothing that you need to be in the bathroom for–falls under the category of behavior you consider inherently bad?

    There are certain social conventions that it would not be good to break in that specific circumstance. It would be hard to give a complete list, but there are quite a few. They are not necessarily "inherently bad," as that implies some sort of physical harm, rather than just annoying the crap out of people, but they do violate Wheaton's Law.

    Nothing in Charlotte's law, and nothing you have said, has presented credible evidence for your implied assertion that Charlotte's law would carve out special immunity from these laws for trans people.

    Since I wasn't referring to trans people, that's good, right? I was referring to the creeps who will use the fact that Charlotte's law banned all sex "discrimination" in toilets and changing facilities to wander into the YMCA ladies locker room. Which would not be a crime. Which the 911 operator would be required to tell the caller, "It's not a crime in Charlotte for a male person to be in a women's locker room."

    Personally, I'm against ANY government law that dictates how private enterprise decides who they want to do business with and where they get to pee.

    Well then we agree. Charlotte law bad, North Carolina HB2, good. Charlotte's law required all facilities inside the city limits, public or private, to comply while HB2 applies only to publicly owned facilities and only to multiple occupancy facilities specifically designated for single sex. It leaves "Family" and single occupancy facilities as well as private property strictly alone. It was very narrowly tailored. Turns out that it doesn't even have to be expensive for City owned properties to be inclusive while complying with the law right here in Raleigh. Good job, guys!

    It was also completely lacking in any enforcement mechanism. Did you notice that? Read the bill. Note that there is not "Or Else!" statement. Typically criminal laws have a "is guilty of a Class [n][Misdemeanor][Felony]" In this case there isn't one. Do you think they left it out by accident? So the grand total punishment you can get for going to the "wrong" toilet in NC is you can get trespassed out. At worst, it's a Class 3 Misdemeanor, the lowest class of crime in the state short of a traffic ticket.

    Since we're talking past each other, let me ask you to articulate what you mean more clearly. By your own admission, you're not one of the guys who made the argument I was addressing (that there is nothing wrong with trans people per se, but rather they are worried about actual assaults or harassment becoming easier.) Is this fair to say?

    I don't know what you're saying here. My argument is, and always has been, trans people are not the problem. At least not as a group. Individual trans people can be good or bad just like anyone else. The problem is that when you make it illegal to bar biological males from the ladies room, as Charlotte did, then the problems you cause outweigh any benefits you've created. The problems are obvious to anyone who cares to pay attention. Skeezy men will walk into female only spaces and they cannot be legally removed. Up until a month ago, trans women were allowed in the ladies rooms as a courtesy if they were noticed at all. On the basis that they weren't causing a problem, they were allowed in, if they caused a problem, they got the boot. This is perfectly acceptable to me. And most likely at least grudgingly acceptable to almost every woman out there. There might have been a few who objected, but it was the way the game was played socially, so that was how everyone dealt with the situation. Then Charlotte City Council, against the advice of their own legal counsel, decided to make it illegal to toss me, totally not a trans person, out of the ladies locker room. Charlotte started this mess. Point the finger at them.

    If you can't be fussed to tell them not to start crap like this, then point the finger at the Attorney General for failing to rein them in when they very clearly exceeded their authority. But he refused to seek a restraining order against them. Why? I've said before. I think that this is a silly distraction and an effort to drag Hillary's terrible carcass across the electoral finish line in November. This is too well coordinated a political and media (but I repeat myself) effort to be spontaneous. The AG wants to be Governor and Hillary wants to be President. They both think that this will get them votes in NC. We'll see. They forget that women may be quiet online. They might even publicly agree with the "popular" view. But voting happens in a secret ballot.

  112. PeterK says

    this law was passed because the Charlotte passed an "equal rights" ordinance that was opposed by the general populace. this ordinance was similar to the one that the lesbian mayor of Houston rammed through the city council while the majority of the city opposed it. The population fought back via petition. the mayor didn't like that the citizens especially black citizens were opposed to the ordinance. long story short an election was held last year and 61% of the population voted to overturn the ordinance.
    North Carolina passed the law so that there wouldn't be a patchwork quilt series of "bathroom laws" across. the state

    the LGBTs and their allies are spreading misinformation about the law and its purpose. the cowardly corporations are doing the dirty work for the LGBT crowd

    https://www.texastribune.org/2015/11/03/houston-anti-discrimination-ordinance-early-voting/
    http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/04/houston-voters-reject-law-allowing-cross-dressing-men-to-use-womens-bathrooms/

    the general population don't want these laws and they aren't needed

  113. Abe says

    @seansorrentino

    your bigotted law has already cost North Crackerlina $100 million in revenues plus at least 1700 jobs, and we're just getting started. Keep digging hunty, never stop. Just like with segregation, you bigots will lose and pay for your loss to boot.

  114. says

    In this post, Ken admonishes his audience against ridiculing people who seek to deny others' rights, because that's how they've been taught to think.

    In the previous two posts, Ken ridicules people who seek to deny others' rights, because that's how they've been taught to think.

    And the next post.

    And most of the posts on this site.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting you stop making fun of censorious clowns — I mean, I'm a reader of this site; that's the exact thing I come here for. But I don't see how "trans women are child molesters" is an idea any less deserving of disdain and derision than, say, "Your speech infringes on mine," or "It's not satire if it doesn't have a disclaimer at the beginning," or any of the other foolish and dangerous ideas you routinely mock.

  115. CL says

    There are already cases of a high school boy insisting he is a girl (no surgery) and the court agreed he must be allowed to shower with the girls (else "discrimination") and a man who insisted on showering with the ladies at the Y. It need not be about rape, but rather that under the new wonderful laws no one can tell them no or make them leave. The current system works pretty well–if a man comes into the ladies room he is told to leave and if that doesn't work the ladies scream or call the management or police. Under the new law since there will be no way to prove (nor can you ask for proof) of trans status, peepers can simply walk in and even expose themselves. It need not be often to be a problem, just that no one can stop it. The fact that trans people are sometimes abused is a problem but is not prevented by allowing anyone to use any restroom. Insisting that women not be bothered by men in their showers is to insist on an unreasonable thing.

  116. CL says

    There are many commenters here who think it is no big deal to have men in the ladies room or showering with them–but it is not up to them. It is the ladies and girls who feel uncomfortable around naked men who also have rights to privacy. If we are going to make it ok legally for a man to go in the shower room with the ladies/girls, then why is public nudity illegal?

  117. Brian Z says

    @CL

    If we are going to make it ok legally for a man to poop in the same bathroom as ladies/girls, then why is pooping on the street illegal?

  118. @dhf says

    @CL

    My daughter grew up a boy. At 15 she told us she was trans.

    We've spent 3 years with counselors and doctors.

    The state now recognizes her legally as female. The federal government now recognizes her as female. Her birth certificate, drivers license, and passport say she is female.

    She's genetically male, but has known she was female since puberty (and had a feeling from before puberty).

    She is a woman now. Not a man. She'll live the next 60 years as a woman. She's not a "man being allowed to use the ladies room," she's a woman using the ladies room.

    But she doesn't much, because she's afraid someone will attack her. In fact, she doesn't spend much time out and about at all.

    This is why this is important to work through and understand.

    She's not a man using the ladies room. She's a woman using the ladies room.

  119. EH says

    In other future news:

    Studies show a surge in 18 year old boys who have recently realized that they may be both gay and trans: they are eligible to enter the girl's locker room, and expected to enjoy the sights. Many of them have been brave enough to test the waters.

    Seriously, though, on the matter of choice, I ask the guys here to remember their stupid and horny days of yore. Who here would have been willing to claim they "thought they might be trans" (for a day, though they have since changed their mind) if it meant they could walk into the girl's shower while their favorite girls team was showering?

    Heh.

    Even more seriously: given that people in other countries routinely see each other nekkid all the time without being compelled to rape each other, perhaps the solution is to stop being a bunch of damn prudes.

  120. Ken Mitchell says

    Why aren't we experiencing gaggles of young women who suddenly decide that they'd rather be men, and swarm the men's rooms and locker rooms?

    Of course, most men wouldn't notice a woman who's dressed as a man if she came into the men's room, so perhaps it's happening and just haven't noticed….

  121. Becoming Andi says

    There aren't really good statistics for this, but in Europe and the US I have seen estimates that there are about 3 times as many trans-women (born male, identify female) as trans-men (the opposite), so it makes sense that there would be more young men than young women going through this. Also, I think there's a lot of social pressure to protect young women from any sort of perceived harm so more of the stories in the news and in these political discussions center around "men" invading women's spaces, rather than the other way around.

  122. @dhf says

    @ Ken Mitchell:
    No way to be sure but I wouldn't be surprised that in the future we find that there are environmental causes for this.

    Check out Xenoestrogen on wikipedia.

  123. ertdfg says

    My take on this… the entire "transgender" portion of the argument is almost completely irrelevant.
    If you've had significant effort, work, surgery, etc. to change your gender; I'm fine with calling it changed. And the actual number of said people is vanishingly small, even if they deliberate wanted to, they'd have minimal impact.

    But the rather new concept of "anyone who claims to be a man/woman IS a man/woman" combined with "anyone claiming to be a woman can enter the women's restroom/shower/etc" is problematic.
    The scope of the number of people being "anyone who for any reason wants to claim this" seems to be potentially everyone.

    The core problem is this.
    There are a large number of men who would be interested in being in the women's showers.
    ** For those unaware, I saw a documentary on this psychological behavior in the early 80's.
    I believe it was titled "Porkys". I found it gave quite an informative take on the subject matter.

    Given this is an interest of a significant number of men, and something I believe we should work to reduce. I see benefit is raising the bar of required effort to achieve this goal to beyond "I decided something, so I should get to do what I want".

  124. Trent says

    @Sean Sorrentino

    Before you get all excited about the lack of economic effect consider that the economy is like a supertanker, it takes a long time to turn but once it does it takes a long time to turn back. Your attitude is much like the people that claimed victory after the gay marriage incident with Chik-fil-a when the monthly revenues went up 10% but then failed to watch the long term trajectory where overall revenue was down 10% permanently.

    The damage the governor and legislature has done to the North Carolina economy will take years to be fully realized. Time will tell how damaging it ends up being but I wouldn't be betting on it being positive, the best bet would be on how damaging it will end up being in the long run. Personally I have no doubt in my mind this is a voting year stunt and that the law will be repealed in December within 2 months of the election. But I would also place money that those 7 months of law will turn NC GDP growth negative because the longer the law sustains the more damage it will do.

    @EH
    No teenage boy is going to pretend to be transsexual, not one. The social ramifications would be deadly as even in today's more tolerant youth society being gay is still socially unacceptable and will automatically exclude certain friendships. Begin trans is even less acceptable. Why do you think suicide is so high among trans kids?

  125. TM says

    @ Trent

    with Chik-fil-a when the monthly revenues went up 10% but then failed to watch the long term trajectory where overall revenue was down 10% permanently.

    When having discussions, we should make sure we're all on the same page as to facts. Chick-Fil-A revenue grew from 2006-2011 by roughly $0.5 billion a year, with $4.05 billion in sales in 2011. According to Google, they had $5.1 billion in sales in 2013, and according to their own site over $6 billion in 2015. That doesn't look like a permanent 10% drop in revenue. A permanent 10% drop in revenues should have them making less than 6 billion a year at this point.

    Whether all of this harms NC or not, chick-fil-a is not an example to use in advancing your point.

    No teenage boy is going to pretend to be transsexual, not one. The social ramifications would be deadly as even in today's more tolerant youth society being gay is still socially unacceptable and will automatically exclude certain friendships.

    While I would agree with you in regards to a long term con, a short term one probably has good payoffs. And the problem here is exactly one of how long one must keep up the con to get the payoff. Let's assume for the moment that school officials would be reasonable people (not a given, but for the sake of argument let us assume), and not reasonably believe that Johnny McFootball is truly trans-sexual simply because he walked into the door today and expressed that fact and is now looking to walk into the girls locker room. How long then should a truly trans-sexual individual have to act (and in what ways must they act) before they will be allowed to be accommodated?

    The problem is the law charlotte passed doesn't give this sort of direction, and frankly, wouldn't it be completely insulting (and discriminatory) to make a trans-sexual person jump through hoops to "prove" their trans-sexuality anyway? I'm not sure what the best answer is to be honest, but I do know the political grand standing (on both sides, the NC legislature have been rather petulant children past few years) is not the right one. While the "do you visually pass for the restroom you're in" approach would work generally best for public accommodations (like a store), it has obvious problems for more "intimate" settings like locker rooms (and say school rest rooms where the individual is known from before their visual transition). OTOH, simply being able to just declare without any evidence also has problems as already pointed out. But I also can't think of any "test" that seems fair or reasonable to ask any person to demonstrate their truthfulness (especially when being accused of lying when you're not is quite hurtful). Ultimately, I tend to come down on the "unisex alternate accommodation" approach, but the charlotte law doesn't allow for that, and it has the potential to be extremely expensive to implement (not to mention, in some cases, it has been claimed to not be sufficient).

  126. David C says

    In the end, it boils down to "I only want people of my gender in the bathroom I use".

    But if this is such a terrible discriminatory thing to think… then trans people shouldn't think it either. Does it, or does it not, matter if people are uncomfortable with the gender of the other people in the restroom? If it doesn't matter, then why argue anything? If it does matter, then why should 1% of people be able to make the rest feel uncomfortable?

  127. lagaya1 says

    Judging from people's usernames, it seems like very few women are concerned about trans men in their restroom. It DOES seem like a lot of men are worried about trans men in women's restrooms. Why is that?

  128. TM says

    Judging from people's usernames, it seems like very few women are concerned about trans men in their restroom. It DOES seem like a lot of men are worried about trans men in women's restrooms. Why is that?

    Judging from the things people wrote, it seems there are very very few people concerned about trans-men in women's restrooms. There do however seem to be quite a few people concerned about non-trans-men who might take advantage of the necessary ambiguities in the law to gain access to places they shouldn't have access to.

  129. Mike says

    Why are we letting government at any level make these laws?

    The government sucks at everything it does, why would it be any different in this case?

  130. Mike says

    TM, i don't think it's the restroom part, mostly the shower part.

    I was in a dorm 40 years ago at a liberal arts college.

    4 bathrooms on the floor, the two on the end were unisex, those in the middle single sex. This is entirely anecdotal, but my women friends across tha hall did not hesitate to pee or poo in the unisex bathroom. They tended to shower in the single sex, though some did shower in the uni sex facility. If a lady friend of mine was showering in the unisex bathroom I walked back to my room and waited til they were out of the shower. If either sex was brushing their teeth or grooming, the women had no problem taking a shower, they were not afraid a guy would jump in the shower with them.

    Dropping a smelly dump might dissuade a guy or gal from doing it there, but I saw no evidence of that.We all survived and I don't think anyone was triggered and most went on to successful lives.

    Reasonable people can figure this shit out (though I know SJWs and socons tend to be unreasonable).

    It's fucking annoying to me, we need economic growth to create more wealth for everyone, government tends to act to stifle wealth creation (both parties) and we are arguing about bathrooms. It's unbelievable.

    If this crap keeps up, we don't have a future.

  131. lagaya1 says

    I vaguely remember something similar when I was a girl. Perhaps it was when states were trying to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. There was talk that with equal rights guaranteed by the constitution, women would be invading men's restrooms and vice versa. I don't think many believed it then, either.

  132. Mike123 says

    I opened this ready to be angry: creating a loophole to let men into women's bathrooms is beyond idiotic. Sadly your points were rational. I don't think many people care if someone that looks like a woman uses a female restroom. Personally I deeply care if someone that is male, and looks male, follows my daughters into a restroom. I will do something about it if I see it. I have asked my wife not to shop at Target anymore.

    The point the left misses is that all the social fights that needed to be fought have been won. I used to be a stereotype "fiscal conservative, social liberal". With the new pushes I have nothing in common with liberals. I am conservative. Period.

  133. Picador says

    Spot-on analysis, Ken. I just wanted to leave these two remarks:

    1. I can provide one data point for an actual instance of a biological man, dressed as a woman, entering a woman's bathroom with the intent of sexual misconduct. He punched out a disposal bin shared between two bathroom stalls and used the hole to spy on the occupants of the adjacent stall. He was discovered by a good friend of mine, who proceeded to barricade him into the bathroom and call the cops, yelling through the door that she was making a "citizen's arrest", because she is a wonderful dork.

    2. Neither the anecdote above nor the other hypothetical threats posited by these lawmakers supports the actual content of this law, for the reasons that have been amply articulated by many others, both here and elsewhere. The "problem" is largely non-existent, and to the extent it exists it surely calls for case-by-case adjudication. But as you say, it's a bit odd that we're being asked by the same cultural segment (i.e. identity-politics leftists) to simultaneously subscribe to the beliefs that

    a) women are in constant peril of sexual aggression from men and need "safe spaces" away from such aggression, and

    b) only a bigot would question the propriety of someone who appeared to be male entering a women's bathroom.

  134. says

    A previous commentor stated that there were no known cases of evil rotten bastards "loopholing" themselves via an ill-fitting dress and lopsided wig into a women's room to commit vile deeds against women and children. Yes, in fact, there are:

    http://www.dailywire.com/news/5190/5-times-transgender-men-abused-women-and-children-amanda-prestigiacomo

    Truly transgendered people have been using the restroom of psyche affiliation forever, and for the vast majority, no one has known the difference. I say we patrol for those who obviously should never wear women's clothes and hair accessories. At worst, the "Fashion Police" will finally be literally realized. Imagine that police academy's rest and locker rooms.

  135. Dan says

    Mother Nature, who is not very much fun, drearily observes that the number of people who have ever changed genders is still zero.

  136. RNLD2 says

    Thank you Sean Sorrentino, Brian Z and others who contributed thoughtful comments that considered the feelings and the needs of women and girls.

    I notice here and in other comment sections, so many comments from men (and yes, a few women) who are totally okay with unisex locker rooms and restrooms. Have you asked your mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, daughters if they are okay with them? If not, please ask them if going to the Y for a swim and having to change and shower in a unisex locker room would be comfortable for them.

  137. Tim! says

    @David Lang: predators don't need a loophole to get into the 'wrong' bathroom. They'll just go in. They're already breaking the law. Adding another layer of law won't deter them from breaking either one.

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