As the gay marriage debate broils, I’ve been hearing about transgender rights a bit lately. As someone who hasn’t sat down and read a newspaper lately, I was a bit out of the loop. I’d seen it mentioned in passing in a few times, and then one morning there was nothing good on FM radio on my drive into work, so I switched over to AM.
It turns out, by the way, that the AM band is the (almost) exclusive province of conservative talk radio. So I found one radio station that talked about the absurdity of the transgender rights bill, known by some in New Hampshire as the “bathroom bill.” It seems that the bill is to allow transgendered people to use whatever bathroom they like, regardless of whether it’s labeled as Male or Female. That seemed like a pretty ridiculous law to me. The talk radio hosts went on to describe a situation in which your young daughter would be in a public restroom, and then a giant gay man/pedophile would go in after her and you’d be powerless to object, since he’d claim he was transgendered.
But it turns out that you shouldn’t get your news from random far-right talk radio shows on AM radio. I saw another reference to “The Bathroom Bill” in New Hampshire, so I actually looked into it.
First of all, here’s the Transgender Wikipedia page. I think many people (including myself) thought it referred to people who had operations to change their gender. In actuality, it refers to people who were born one gender but but are mentally a different gender, or those “whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female roles, but combines or moves between these.”
More significantly, “The Bathroom Bill” is a giant misnomer. The law does little more than plunk “transgendered person” into the middle of the equal rights bill. It makes no mention of bathrooms at all.
But in viewing a discussion of other things right now, someone pointed out a few good points:
- No one seems to be able to find any law governing bathroom usage now. I don’t believe it’s illegal for a male to go into the lady’s room, or vice versa. Sure, in most cases it wouldn’t go over well, but now imagine a mother going to check on her young son in the men’s room. It’s already legal.
- You don’t have to prove your gender to use a bathroom or locker room.
- With status quo (the law not proscribing which bathroom should be used), no one seems to be aware of a single case of a transgendered person causing problems by using the “wrong” bathroom. More directly, no one seems to be aware of a transgendered person ever using the “wrong” bathroom, because it’s a total non-issue.
- Transgendered people aren’t looking for bathroom equality. The bill has nothing to do with that. They’re looking for protection against people who fire them or otherwise egregiously discriminate against them.
So I didn’t care before. But now I do. Even though I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone transgendered, I’m supporting transgendered rights. I thank the uberconservative talk radio show I happened across for distorting the issues enough to get me interested in the issue.