Pat McCrory’s Actions Endanger Transgender People
Writing on Facebook and Twitter to justify adding his signature to deeply anti-LGBT legislature in North Carolina today, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory tried to stoke irrational fears about the prospect of transgender women using women’s bathrooms in Charlotte, NC.
In a post on Facebook, for example, he said,
Charlotte’s ordinance was not only overreaching, it defied common sense and basic norms, allowing a man to use a woman’s bathroom, shower and locker room, for instance.
No, Governor, the ordinance allowed transgender women to use women’s bathrooms. I’m sorry you don’t understand that.
In fact, I doubt the Governor can show one single case where allowing a transgender woman into a women’s bathroom has lead to any harm to another woman. Rather obviously (and sadly), there’s more likely to be harm directed at a transgender woman in our society by forcing her to use a men’s restroom. For example, one of the male commenters on McCrory’s Facebook page last night, ironically, said if a transgender woman came into the bathroom he was using he’d be waiting for her with a gun. That demonstrates exactly the dangers trans women face when they’re forced to use a men’s restroom.
I’d encourage Pat McCrory and those sympathetic to his decision to move beyond their poorly thought out default positions and properly research issues such as these, so they don’t actually do harm when formulating legislation.
Responses to McCrory’s social media posts were, of course, predictable. Individuals began positing worst-case scenarios of men following women into restrooms to assault them. Of people posing as transgender women in order to assault women, etc. Naturally, none of these posts offered empirical data or evidence to support these fears, of course, except to highlight two stories where men — not transgender women — assaulted women in a restroom and a women’s shelter in Toronto, Canada. In the latter case, the man apparently posed as a transgender woman to get into the shelter. Of course, these were both clear cases of assault and should be handled as such. In other words, there laws already exist to punish men who enter facilities intended for women to assault them. But these clearly weren’t crimes committed by transgender women in public restrooms. This clear difference seems to be lost on many of the people defending McCrory’s signature.
As a former resident of Charlotte, NC for six years, I’m saddened to see McCrory make such a poorly informed decision, which really serves only to further marginalize transgender people.
It should also be noted that the legislation McCrory signed today actually serves more broadly to void recently passed LGBT non-discrimination ordinances across the entire state, effectively demonizing LGBT people in North Carolina, not mention kicking the state back out of the 21 century.
Finally, considering the impact of such significant and broad-sweeping legislation upon the LGBT community, it’s worth considering the following questions: How many North Carolinians in LGBT leadership did McCrory meet with to discuss the implications of this legislature before signing it? How much feedback did the NC General Assembly seek from LGBT leaders before formulating this legislation? How many medical experts did the Assembly interview to discuss the science of gender identity and the biological causes of the transgender condition?
The answer to all three of those questions is, doubtless, zero.