Transgender Bathroom Bans: Two Sides of An Uncomfortable Situation

President Barack Obama has escalated the controversy, and culture clash, surrounding the North Carolina transgender bathroom law that requires people to use public restrooms based for their “gender at birth.” By issuing guidelines that require public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity, President Obama is responding to a law intended to bar transgendered individuals from using restrooms of the sex they associated with. In turn, North Carolina is responding to privacy concerns and ambiguity in the Law, which fails to address issues surrounding an increasingly assertive transgendered subculture.

For President Obama and other transgender advocates, transgender bathroom laws are an issue of civil rights and fairness. They see the actions of North Carolina as purely discriminator, because advocates frame all transgender legal and social issues in the same light as those faced by women and minorities. In other words, transgender advocates view their fight as a continuation of the Civil Rights movement. The Obama Administration’s threats to cut federal funding and financially overwhelm schools with lawsuits, unless they cater to transgender interests, is what has placed the White House in the middle of a culture clash.