On March 23, 2016, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, the so-called “Bathroom Bill.” The bill describes itself thusly:
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR SINGLE-SEX MULTIPLE OCCUPANCY BATHROOM AND CHANGING FACILITIES IN SCHOOLS AND PUBLIC AGENCIES AND TO CREATE STATEWIDE CONSISTENCY IN REGULATION OF EMPLOYMENT AND PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS.
Click on Link to read the bill.
The meat of the bill is in the second section:
(1) Biological sex. – The physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate.
It then goes on to say:
(b) Single-Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities. Public agencies shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or facility to be for and only used by persons based on their biological sex.
The point being that a transgender individual can’t use a bathroom based on his or her current sex but only based on what gender is on his or her birth certificate.
Similar bills were introduced in Arizona, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin but failed to pass. In short, the purpose of the bill is to require that people use only that bathroom consistent with the sex indicated on their birth certificate.
In May the Christian Science Monitor discussed why such bills are important in certain circles:
Concern that allowing transgender women to use women’s restrooms will make it easier for male sexual predators to commit crimes in bathrooms and locker rooms has been frequently raised. At this time, it appears to be mostly hypothetical, at least in the United States.
The Charlotte Observer, among others, launched an investigation into such claims. It didn’t find a single confirmed case in the US:
We haven’t found any instances of criminals convicted of using transgender protections as cover in the United States. Neither have any left-wing groups or right-wing groups. There was one incident in Canada, involving a rapist. In the US, there have been a few yet-unproven allegations.
The New York Times put out an article this spring explaining the real reason behind the bills:
The Republicans are having a grand old time carrying on about Democrats (and now Donald Trump) who are bent — as Ted Cruz so cleverly framed it — on “putting little girls alone in a bathroom with adult men.” Mr. Cruz is now running a particularly creepy ad harping on this idea.
There is nothing in any anti-discrimination bill that would encourage the hordes of heterosexual perverts that so concern Mr. Beck and Mr. Cruz to storm women’s restrooms and assault innocent people. And there is nothing in the recent spate of “bathroom bills” that is going to prevent that from happening.
But that’s not really what the bills’ supporters want. Their real goal is to scare people, to divide Americans, and to make us believe that some of us are better and more righteous than others.
These statements from the New York Times are far more accurate than anything that is said by the right wing but it doesn’t go quite far enough. The reason the right wing is always harping on issues like this, issues like gay right and abortion and… on and on… is that it is through these issues that they are able to generate hate. Hate is really the only thing that the Republican leadership has to offer their base.
On May 9th, Marketplace.org, a leading radio business news program from NPR, quoted Aaron Nelson, president and CEO of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce:
“It’s at hundreds of jobs,” he said, speaking of jobs lost due to the law, “and its economic impact in terms of millions of dollars in lost conference revenue, and we are nearing the hundreds of millions of dollars of lost community investment impact, and that’s just what we know.”
Marketplace also pointed out what the federal government is planning:
“The federal government is also threatening to pull funds from several sectors like education, transportation and housing. A recent report from UCLA’s Williams Institute estimated such cuts could cost the state more than $4.5 billion.”
This huge amount of lost revenue is just the first step in understanding the stupidity of the so-called bathroom bill. It will have a huge negative impact on the people of North Carolina but it is offset by the increase in hatred and bigotry of the right wing base.
Clearly, a central component of the bill is the concept of forcing women (albeit transgender women) to use the men’s bathroom. The idea is that it will be totally humiliating and embarrassing which, in the minds of the right wing, is exactly what they deserve. God made them men and that’s what they should be. If transgender women were, in fact, to start using men’s bathrooms, it would, indeed, be humiliating. It is unlikely that they will do so.
There’s another group of people, however, that gets very little attention but is just as impacted by the law: transgender men. They are required to use the women’s restroom because these men have an “F” on their birth certificate. These are people that look like men, act like men, and think like men. To see what some of them look like, click on the link: Transgender men. Forcing these men to use the women’s restroom is an entirely different kettle of fish. Men like looking at women in all their various states of undress and activities. In fact, voyeurism is very common among men. Here’s a statement from Wikipedia:
Voyeurism has high prevalence rates in most studied populations. Voyeurism was initially believed to only be present in a small portion of the population. This perception changed when Alfred Kinsey discovered that 30% of men prefer coitus with the lights on. This behavior is not considered voyeurism by today’s diagnostic standards, but there was little differentiation between normal and pathological behavior at the time. Subsequent research showed that 65% of men had engaged in peeping, which suggests that this behavior is widely spread throughout the population.
Voyeurism is much less prevalent among women. Here’s what Psychology Today had to say about it:
It’s no surprise that men are more voyeuristic than women. Voyeurs are called peeping Toms, not peeping Teresas. The audience for pornography is clearly men, and according to porn industry estimates, 80 percent of pornography is viewed by men solo. In the study, the single best predictor of voyeurism was frequent use of porn.
In short, transgender women are far less likely to go into a women’s bathroom for the purpose of “peeping” at the women inside than are men. Consequently, the law should have exactly the opposite effect than the stated intention. This point is rarely discussed.
One person who did raise this issue was US District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder. He is the judge who will be ruling on the so-called bathroom bill. BuzzFeed discusses his response:
US District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder also seemed flummoxed at one point by how the law could function in practical terms — it requires people to use single-sex restrooms associated with the sex on their birth certificate, thereby making transgender people enter facilities that conflict with their identity and appearance.
“We would have people dressed like males, who consider themselves male, walking into the ladies room,” he told a lawyer representing Gov. Pat McCrory.
“How on earth is that supposed to work?” he asked.
Now, let’s look at the numbers. An article in the New York Times discussed a number of attempts to estimate the total numbers of such people in the country:
Another paper, published in 2011 by the Williams Institute, used survey data to attempt to count the transgender population. It estimated that 0.3 percent of the population, or 700,000 adults, identified that way.
If the percentage is correct, the number of transgender in North Carolina would be total population (about 10 million) times 0.3% or 30,000. That would mean there are about 15,000 transgender men who are, under the bathroom bill, required to use the women’s bathrooms. I believe that this gives us a wedge to drive between the Republican politicians in North Carolina and the voters. These politicians are doing nothing for the people of North Carolina except feeding them a constant stream of hatred. While there is virtually no evidence that transgenders- of either sex- are following the dictates of the “Bathroom Bill,” perhaps we can give it a nudge. Let’s hang a poster outside of women’s bathrooms all over North Carolina. Make no mistake, the purpose of this notice isn’t to encourage men to use the women’s bathrooms. The purpose is to let women know what this horrible bill is all about in the most graphic way possible. Maybe this will help voters of North Carolina see the bigger picture and vote the Republicans out of office in November. Here it is:
Women:Under “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act”, transgender men are required to use the women’s restroom. These people look, act and talk like men but they have an “F” on their birth certificate under “gender.” So, if you see someone in the bathroom that you think is a man, don’t scream or call the police. They are required under the law to be there.
Men: Many of you have wanted to enter a woman’s restroom and watch the women in there going about their business. This is your opportunity. Go ahead. They are not going to check your birth certificate. The law may be shortly overturned so take advantage of your opportunity while it lasts.
Voters: Besides being an enormous embarrassment, the Bathroom Bill is going to cost the people of North Carolina billions of dollars. In addition, this bill is going to result in men in women’s bathrooms all over the state. Vote the Republican politicians out of office in November.
(For more information, go to Brianebaxter.com)