4:54 PMBathroom Hypotheticals
I don't generally like to comment on politics, but this is more a social issue than a political one, so I consider it fair game. Anyone who's only here for the translations might still want to skip this one, though.
"I don't have anything against the transgenders, it's about the perverts and predators who could abuse this," or so I often hear. If that's true, it seems odd that all these proposed "bathroom bills" go by biological sex or birth certificates or male and female deoxyribonucleic acid, and don't so much as bring up predatory behavior. Similarly, the policies many of these people are objecting to apply specifically to transgender people and not to anyone else, much less to people trying to commit crimes. But all right, let's look at a few hypothetical scenarios that focus on the perverts and the predators. As of this writing, North Carolina specifically bans people from using public facilities that do not correspond to the sex listed on a their birth certificates, while Target stores have a policy expressly allowing people to use facilities that match their gender identity, so I'll be using the North Carolina capitol building and a Target store as the settings for these scenarios.
- Scenario 1: A predatory cisgender heterosexual man puts on a dress and walks into a women's restroom in a Target store pretending to be a transgender woman.
There's no evidence that either of these specific scenarios have happened. Several incidents similar to scenario 2 have occurred in places other than the North Carolina capitol, but even these are quite rare, with fewer than a dozen verifiable cases in the entire US in the past decade and a half. And for the sake of completeness, I also ought to mention the two verifiable cases similar to scenario 1.
Regardless, what meaningful difference is there between the two scenarios above? If someone really wants in that bathroom, does either case really pose any more of an obstacle than the other does? Don't forget, too, that there are cisgender women who are tall or muscular or hairy, or have low voices or short hairstyles or masculine builds, or prefer to dress in a more masculine style. Is it fair to give them extra grief because of a might-happen? While there's nothing wrong with watching your back and staying alert for suspicious behavior from anyone, it never has been and never will be as simple as "let's harass everyone who doesn't seem normal enough!"
Speaking of which, what if...
- Scenario 3: A cisgender heterosexual man doesn't put on a dress and walks into a women's restroom in the North Carolina capitol pretending to be a transgender man.
Again, there's no credible evidence that this or anything like it has happened so far. However, North Carolina's law requires transgender men to use female facilities unless they've managed to get their birth certificates changed. Here, therefore, we have here a way for someone to abuse trans-exclusive policy that's even more simple and straightforward than the hypothetical way to abuse trans-inclusive policy. If the perverts and predators can abuse the rules either way, how does it make any sense to claim the rules are about the perverts and predators? North Carolina's law, as I see it, actually makes it easier for them than Target's policy, since it involves a Must rather than a May, and because it gives predators trying to abuse it less reason to even attempt to blend in.
And what about an equally plausible and even more basic scenario?
- Scenario 4: A predatory cisgender heterosexual man simply opens the door and walks into a women's restroom, not bothering with any subterfuge.
After all, what's stopping him? Whether he's in the North Carolina capitol, a Target store, or somewhere else entirely, nothing much. There have been a handful of documented cases demonstrating this, including one in the news not too long ago in which a man choked a girl in the bathroom of a Chicago deli. He never claimed to be transgender, pretended anything, or even made any attempt to blend in, just walked right in and waited for his victim. Even cases like this, however, are exceedingly rare. Bathrooms just aren't where people looking for victims typically go.
Let's also look at several other relevant cases.
- Scenario 5: A cisgender heterosexual man walks into a women's restroom, enters and locks a stall, pees in the toilet, then gets up, washes his hands, and leaves.
I feel like these are getting closer to the heart of the issue, especially since all of them have happened and continue to happen. Scenarios 5 and 6 aren't particularly unusual and don't harm anyone in any way that I can imagine, yet North Carolina has gone out of its way to make these actions illegal. Scenarios 7 through 9 clearly harm people, yet North Carolina's law that's supposed to protect people from perverts and predators not only does nothing to address scenario 7 or 8, if anything it encourages scenario 9, putting people in more danger. Conversely, Target's policy has little if any bearing on scenarios 5 through 8, but does at least help do something to counteract scenario 9.
Meanwhile, North Carolina has missed out on a number of investments and jobs and events and more, specifically because of objection to their law. That harms the entire state, not just whoever this law supposedly or actually targets. Without even getting into the question of how anyone is meant to enforce it, that's a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. And the governor who willingly signed the bill, apparently without a second thought, and continues to defend it, has the nerve to call the whole thing a conspiracy to hurt his re-election bid. And this sort of nonsense is a large part of why I try to avoid politics.
Some of the fears may well involve the perverts and the predators, but they simply aren't relevant to the question of who should be allowed to use which toilets.
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