Who is going to check the “biological sex” of students using bathrooms?
By Rob Howard
Back in January, a Virginia General Assembly representative stirred a national uproar by proposing that people only use the restrooms designated for their “anatomical sex” in any public building in the state. Critics immediately pounced on the idea. Activist Tim Peacock was quoted by Huffington Post as saying, “Adults would be required to inspect children’s genitals before they use the bathroom.”
The bill (HB 663) did not of course require that, although notably absent was any suggestion about how the law would be enforced. It required that, “The Director of the Department shall develop and implement policies that require every restroom designated for public use in any public building on property that is owned, leased, or controlled by the Commonwealth as defined in § 2.2-1147 and that is designated for use by a specific gender to solely be used by individuals whose anatomical sex matches such gender designation.”
The bill was tabled in the General Law committee, and was not heard of again.
That didn’t stop legislatures in Georgia, South Dakota, North Carolina, Mississippi and elsewhere from trying to require transgender students and citizens to use bathrooms designated for their gender on their birth certificate.
In Georgia and South Dakota, the governor vetoed the bills. In North Carolina and Mississippi, the bills were signed into law by their governors, leading to a firestorm of public protest. North Carolina is probably the place with the most controversy, mainly because it has a booming economy, and business leverage is considered effective.
In that state, the NBA has threatened to move its 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte, hundreds of businesses have signed on to petitions to the governor and legislature to repeal the bill (HB2). The latest reports, in the Associated Press, had more than 150 mental health professional signing a letter seeking repeal.
The AP noted that, “The letter says that research shows that LGBT students who experience harassment, bullying or discrimination have lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression. Transgender people also have higher rates of attempting suicide than the general population.”
HRC, in its daily email update, noted that national Republicans are distancing themselves from the laws limiting trans use of bathrooms that conform to their gender identity. HRC’s report said, “The list of Republicans speaking out against HB 2 has continued to grow. Former Presidential candidate NJ Governor Chris Christie said Friday: ‘It strikes me as not something I'd sign here in New Jersey. But I don't know all the specifics of it. So I don't want to assail another piece of legislation I haven't even read. But the sense of what I've read from what you all have written about it is that it's not something I would support here.’ Last week frontrunner Donald Trump echoed that sentiment, as has SC Gov. Nikki Haley, candidate John Kasich and many others.”
HRC noted that Sen. Ted Cruz has “doubled down” on his assault on the trans community.
But two questions remain. First, Why aren't more opponents making an issue of the fact that these laws invalidate trans people, and the particularly vulnerable trans youth in school. Statistics show that when a young trans person’s identity is invalidate, their risk of suicide goes up.
We should be making the case that these laws amount to child abuse of the worse kind, and threaten the lives of children.
And second, just as the issue was raised when the Virginia law was proposed, How the heck are the supporters of these ridiculous laws going to enforce them? Will everyone have to carry a copy of their birth certificate to prove their gender before using the restroom?
Will students’ genitals be examined to determine which bathroom they use? Are these supporters advocating for child sexual abuse, or what?
There are other questions that could also be asked, but these two seem to be the most pressing ones.
The Gayly – April 25, 2016 @ 11:40 a.m.