North Carolina: You May Not Pee In Peace
Remember that mystical heightened urge of wanting to pee right through your pants as soon as you reach for the door knob of your house or right as you get to the public restrooms? Now, imagine if you are a transgender woman (born a male, now chosen to associate themselves as a female), and just as you see the angelic halo radiate from a public restroom just metres within your reach, with your bladder ready to explode at any second, you stop. Not because the urge has gone away, but because negative social stigma coupled with a legislation now dictates where you can and cannot pee. Go into the women’s bathroom and risk the abuse of being called a pervert and sexual perpetrator, or go into the men’s bathroom and risk being looked at with bewildered looks of judgement. I don’t know about you, but that’s a hell of a lot to think about when I’m busting to pee.
Going to the bathroom is a right, not a privilege.
North Carolina is the first American state to sign off the bathroom bill into a law. A law that states individuals have to use bathrooms in which coincide with the gender on their birth certificates; their biological gender. Pretty much a bathroom legislation to lawfully dictate where individuals can go do their private bathroom business. This has caused outrage within the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders Group who are attempting to reprimand it with a lawsuit, challenging its legality and civil rights’ violation. It is said that “at least two provisions of federal law ban discrimination on the basis of sex — Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which covers and employment, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.” It is within the group’s interest to argue the wording of ‘sex’ to cover all bases of gender, which in turn would make the newly introduced law against two long-standing civil rights’ laws. Completely overturning it in writing and shunning the supporters of the idea that transgender individuals are harmful minorities who possess any malicious intent when entering a public bathroom.
What baffles me about this law is the complete dictation over a normal bodily function such as going to the bathroom. America is a free country people say. Not when they can regulate which bathrooms their citizens can go into in, I say. They defend their law on the basis that it is to protect the citizens from sexual predators and abuse and assault cases, saying that transgender individuals would abuse their rights to go into whichever bathroom they associate with and inflict perverted acts on others (mainly women in question here). The forum called Debate.org posed the question “Should transgender individuals be forced to use a particular bathroom?” The 57% YES rate and the 43% NO rate was particularly discerning. Not to mention that the majority of sexual offenders are indeed HETEROSEXUAL INDIVIDUALS. How they came up with the link between transgender individuals and sexual offences is absolutely unfathomable.
This law adds aggravated discrimination to an already prejudiced group of society, causing deeper negative stigma in order to appeal to the conservatives of the nation. The negative stigma in which transgender individuals must face on a daily basis causes detrimental effects to their well-being and mental health, let alone having to be conscious of an unwarranted biological urge to go to the bathroom. In a study conducted in 2011, transgender students faced the most hostile situations and received more abuse than any other LGBT students. Feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression, and potential abuse from other students was a daily occurrence, with 80% admitting to feel so. Some schools see it as such an issue that some of their main facilities have been specifically renovated to include gender-neutral bathrooms. This advocates equality and sees transgender individuals as normal people whom have the right to public facilities and have the right to choose where they go about their private business as human beings. With educational institutions taking a positive step in gender equality — a place where the youth thrive to be adults of the future, how is this not translating to North Carolina? Even Obama is advocating for gender neutral bathrooms. See video below:
The legislation in itself is quite the laughing stock. With its many loopholes and discrepancies, it really does not let itself to be taken seriously. There are 3 main problems I see with this law.
1 — The wording of public bathrooms. PUBLIC BATHROOMS. In my understanding of those two words, I was under the impression the public meant everyone. Literally, everyone. Encompassing all spectrums of human beings, from the elderly to the newborns, from Asians to Middle Easterns, and certainly, from heterosexuals to transgenders. To impose bathroom laws is to discriminate against transgenders and identify them as an unequal minority who need bathroom regulations for the ‘good of mankind’.
2 — Making individuals use bathrooms in which associate with their birth gender in order to make women feel more comfortable. Have they ever thought about how uncomfortable it would be for someone who is transgender, who looks completely like a man due to either hormone treatments or simply natural ‘masculine’ features with ‘masculine’ clothes to nonchalantly walk into a women’s bathroom? Without physically pulling down their pants and seeing that they do indeed have a vagina or pull out their birth certificate, how do women even know? In a glance, that seems more of a perverted situation than a transgender woman walking into the women’s bathroom. Women who feel uncomfortable about transgender women walking into their private bathroom haven will more or less feel uncomfortable with a transgender man walking in as well. A law is not the solution.
3 — As touched on above, how in the world is it going to be regulated? With bathroom police? Mandatory birth certificate check or a pants down obligation? Articles and news headlines about abuse towards transgender individuals is quite common. News broke out about a security guard abusing a transgender woman and telling her to get out of the bathroom. If someone who is supposed to enforce the law uses violence against citizens themselves, then how is this law really supposed to be enforced with public acceptance?
Going to the bathroom should be a right, and not a privilege. Not a privilege for transgender individuals and certainly not for heterosexuals either. If even going to the bathroom is dictated in such an unfair manner with no real empirical evidence on how it solves a problem (arguably a problem that really shouldn’t be a problem), then why should it be in place? If the line for the female bathrooms is long, and I am busting to go, then I sure as hell will run to the men’s bathroom if no one was in there! And I also certainly expect the same right for transgenders too.
May we all pee in peace.
Originally published at The Isthmus.