A (Genuinely) Modest Proposal on North Carolina’s Bathroom Law

 

shutterstock_409315246As a North Carolinian and sometime professional person, I have had the chance to see both sides of the now globally notorious Bathroom Debate of 2016. At a gender studies conference I attended, the host urged audience members to go into “whatever bathroom you like.” But at local church and school events, I’ve personally heard great praise for “the bravery of our state legislature.”

If you get past the polemics and invective, you can hear the basic arguments on either side. The backers of the law are worried about creeps going into girls’ bathrooms with impunity. Having a daughter, I sympathize with that view. The opponents feel that transgender people don’t deserve to be stigmatized when they need to go to the bathroom like everyone else. I used to have a boss who read that the real business of America was conducted in the men’s room and — considering himself a real businessman — would try to discuss quarterly targets at the urinal, so I understand how the trans-folks feel on some level too.

I hate to say it, but Governor Pat McCrory and legislature brought this on themselves with sloppy legislating. First, the bill included an unrelated provision (that McCrory has now said should be repealed) that eliminates the right for anyone to bring a discrimination action in state court. One could still bring an action in federal court. All good conservatives are also good federalists so, as a good conservative, I would rather these cases tried by a North Carolina judge than a federal one. That’s better for the plaintiff, the defense, and for justice.

The bathroom provision has an odd, relevant aspect to it. It says you must go to the bathroom listed on your birth certificate. We all know that nobody carries their birth certificate around with them, so this seems a little odd at first and, of course, transgender people feel that their birth gender was in error. As it happens, an actual (post-operation) transsexual would not have a problem, because there was already a clause in state law that said that a person who had a sex change operation could petition a court to have their gender changed on their birth certificate (see § 130A-118). I am guessing — and just guessing — that the legislators knew that and mirrored the bathroom statute to tie to the birth certificate standard in the existing transsexual law.

So, here is my modest proposal: Allow transgender people to make the same petition to our good old North Carolina courts to change their birth certificates as transsexual people (i.e., give a judge discretion over the matter even if the applicant hasn’t had sex-reassignment surgery). This would allow a judge to make a reasonable judgment about the seriousness of the person’s desire to identify as a different gender and permit them to change their birth certificate. I might also change the documentation requirement to drivers license or state ID, for the commonsense reason that the drivers license is what everyone carries around with them. The motor vehicle department already uses the birth certificate as a proof of identity for getting a drivers license, so anybody who gets their birth certificate changed could also get their drivers license changed.

This compromise keeps the creeps out of the girls bathrooms and maintains the probity of the separate sex bathrooms that the vast majority of people find appropriate for good cultural, religious, and practical reasons. It also gives sincere transgender people the right to identify as they choose and the respect of society for their choice, if they are serious enough to go before a judge to make it official.

As a conservative, I am not against change. But I do expect change to be rational and narrowly tailored to the problem at hand. In theory, my compromise solves the problem, addresses the concerns of both sides, and would save my tax dollars for real services instead of a protracted court fight between the federal and state governments.

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  1. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Kate Braestrup:

    Steve C.:Not an original thought but another clue pointing at “you will be made to care” .

    Yes, but that isn’t what the OP says. The OP puts the onus on the transgendered person—they have to do all the work and make it official. It’s not just a matter of “feelings” but of schlepping to the courthouse. The same could apply to dorms, locker rooms, whatever.

    It’s a money-where-your-mouth-is proposal that I think would be really healthy for everyone involved.

    That is why I suggested a penis in a jar, that is a little more real than putting your money where your mouth is. It definitely rules out the queens for a day. Sorry if you don’t like the grumpy  depiction but I don’t like the idea of my wife, daughter or granddaughter sharing the facilities with a “transgender .” The surgery squares the fact. Bruce Jenner has been running around for a couple of years now pretending to be a woman. It’s time he put a jar next to his gold medal.

    • #61
  2. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    AUMom: I was in Raleigh last week. On the way up, we stopped at Replacements LTD. There was a big sign on the door, “NC is better than this. Repeal HBwhatever it is. We looked around for 2 hours but didn’t buy anything mostly because we were ticked off that .05% of the country was calling the shots.

    We went to dinner in Durham Saturday. As we entered the restaurant there was a large sign “We Don’t Discriminate repeal HB2”.

    Ugh.

    So as  a joke I said “excuse me I feel feminine today so I’m going to the Ladies Room”.  My son said, “well all they have are 2 single stall unisex toilets”.  Sure enough, that’s what they had.

    And I thought. Of course, painless, smug virtue signaling where it doesn’t matter. Liberals at their best.

    • #62
  3. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Pilli: It does not keep the creeps out any more than a driver license keeps drunks off the highway. Your proposal requires a “Potty Cop” at the door to check the driver license of every person going in. What about younger “girls” that don’t have a license yet?

    I think the idea is that, if someone is in the ladies’ room, and someone else suspects that that person is not supposed to be in there, the law gives the police something to go by when they arrive. If someone mistakes me for a man (not beyond the realm of possibility, since my hair is pretty short) and calls a cop, he or she will ask for my drivers’ license which—under John’s proposed system—solves the problem. Whether I began as a woman or just ended up there somehow (?!).

    • #63
  4. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    In more than 71 years of life, I have known many homosexuals, but only one transgendered person which is probably higher than most people. This particular person was sent to my classroom to substitute for me while I attended an inhouse workshop of completely irrelevant content. Why anyone would have considered this person as being appropriate for a Special Education classroom for Emotionally/Behaviorally Disabled middle school kids is far beyond my comprehension.

    He was in early transition, a sort of early Caitlyn Jenner, still had a good deal of facial hair growth, very masculine features, tall, broad shouldered with boobs and shoulder length blond hair. I would describe him as a Viking with boobs. As far as I could guess, I assume he was still in possession of his male hardware.

    In dealing with him and his rather off-the-wall views on disciplining Sped kids, I realized that he had a lot of “stuff” going on. This was obviously a person with some serious psychological problems. It is probably unwise to generalize about all trans people based on this one, but I would say it is equally absurd to create a national controversy based on the bathroom needs of such a person. It seems to me that as long as you are in possession of male hardware, you are a male and should use the men’s room. If and when you are fully female, less reproductive ability, then you can use the Lady’s.

    • #64
  5. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Bob Thompson: Are we to formulate our laws and societal practices based on ‘feelings’ of a few individuals or on ‘facts’ all can see and understand given normal mental capacities?

    I felt just the way you do, Bob, when my female relative “decided” she was a man. Being a feminist, I was also outraged (OUTRAGE!) at this implicit endorsement of the inherent superiority of the masculine, blah blah.

    And I was pretty snotty about it to my relative, too, I’m sorry to say. As though I was so smart, I knew far more about gender dysphoria than s/he did.

    Anyway, he is now “transitioned” in terms of hormones but not surgical alteration of the naughty bits, because creating an outie from an innie is very expensive and doesn’t have particularly satisfactory results. Unlike the surgery that takes a person in the other direction which, I am told, can fool a gynecologist… (Oi vey!)

    Anyway, two things I learned. First, that whatever it is, gender dysphoria is “real” in the sense that neurology=reality. If you have a defect in your parietal lobe, it doesn’t matter that there’s nothing wrong with your eyeballs; you still can’t see. (Mental illnesses and disorders are like that—and sometimes we can fix it with medication, sometimes we can’t.)

    Second, “living as a man” brought my relative some relief. Since we have, as yet, no other relief to offer, it didn’t seem like so much to ask that we all consider “her” a “him,” call him by his new name and preferred pronouns.

    If my relative went into a women’s room, he would cause a considerable fuss, by the way. And would pose absolutely no threat to anyone in the men’s room.

    Meanwhile, a friend’s kid is struggling with this issue—and I do mean “struggling.” It’s not fun. If he becomes a she, I don’t doubt that she will look sufficiently like a girl to be far more comfortable (and safe) in the women’s room.

    I get that this is about state’s rights, and I also get that silly leftists are doing what silly leftists always do, and that’s annoying.

    but it would be a lot easier to make the case for getting the federal government out of the bathroom, or for coming up with some reasonable accommodation for all involved if people weren’t quite so… well, if people weren’t as reflexively snotty and presumptuous as I was, back in the day.

    • #65
  6. Merina Smith Inactive
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    The problem really is a line-drawing problem, isn’t it?  Male/female used to be an easy line, and for certain purposes it is a vital line to assure privacy, modesty and safety.  I read about a woman who was completely taken aback recently when she was sitting in a stall and could see through the crack in the door that an obvious male walked in and used the bathroom in a stall across the way, standing up and  without closing the door.  I think any woman would be disturbed by that.  The choose-your-own gender movement with its multiplying genders wants to make line drawing impossible, yet as the NC legislature and most of us know, lines are necessary for some purposes.  In the days when men were men and women were women, we didn’t need any other way to draw a line.  Now we do.

    The current fad for denying the importance and reality for bathroom purposes of bodily male and female by people who want nothing more than to change their bodies be the other gender is mystifying to many of us to say the least. It’s all very chaotic and through the looking glass.  But there are humans involved who sincerely believe they are the other gender and take steps to make it as much of a reality as they can, and we can’t really change that.

    All this is to say that what John suggests sounds like a good compromise.  People have to go to a lot of trouble to change their birth certificate and driver’s license, the judge will be able to look at past history and other factors in making the decision, and the change will be verifiable (and revocable if abused).  It is a clear line that can be discreetly checked on the spot by security personnel if there is a question.  It draws a line that I should not think men would be tempted to cross for nefarious purposes.  They could be arrested for doing so.  I will say that I still think locker rooms are a different matter, since complete nudity is common there, but this seems like something that might work well in bathrooms.

    • #66
  7. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    The initial reactions to John’s modest proposal make it hard to believe, by the way, that “states rights” and the defense of women and children are what this is all about.

    Eugene—I don’t doubt that this person you met had plenty of other issues. (It’s been my experience that transgendered persons often do). How would this “Viking with boobs” fare in your average men’s room?

    • #67
  8. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Merina Smith:The problem really is a line-drawing problem, isn’t it? Male/female used to be an easy line, and for certain purposes it is a vital line to assure privacy, modesty and safety. I read about a woman who was completely taken aback recently when she was sitting in a stall and could see through the crack in the door that an obvious male walked in and used the bathroom in a stall across the way, standing up and without closing the door. I think any woman would be disturbed by that. The choose-your-own gender movement with its multiplying genders wants to make line drawing impossible, yet as the NC legislature and most of us know, lines are necessary for some purposes. In the days when men were men and women were women, we didn’t need any other way to draw a line. Now we do.

    The current fad for denying the importance and reality for bathroom purposes of bodily male and female by people who want nothing more than to change their bodies be the other gender. It’s all very chaotic and through the looking glass. At any rate, all this is to say that what John suggests sounds like it is a good compromise. People have to go to a lot of trouble to change their birth certificate and driver’s license, the judge will be able to look at past history and other factors in making the decision, and the change will be verifiable (and revocable if abused). It is a clear line and can be discreetly checked on the spot by security personnel if there is a question. It draws a line that I should not think men would be tempted to cross for nefarious purposes. They could be arrested for doing so. I will say that I still think locker rooms are a different matter since complete nudity is common there, but this seems like something that might work well in bathrooms.

    Yup!

    • #68
  9. Kwhopper Inactive
    Kwhopper
    @Kwhopper

    Jeez. This makes it all complicated. Stay on easy street and just mandate that there has to be a third bathroom with no gender assignment at Gov facilities. Every other private company gets to decide for themselves.

    • #69
  10. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Kozak:

    AUMom: I was in Raleigh last week. On the way up, we stopped at Replacements LTD. There was a big sign on the door, “NC is better than this. Repeal HBwhatever it is. We looked around for 2 hours but didn’t buy anything mostly because we were ticked off that .05% of the country was calling the shots.

    We went to dinner in Durham Saturday. As we entered the restaurant there was a large sign “We Don’t Discriminate repeal HB2”.

    Ugh.

    So as a joke I said “excuse me I feel feminine today so I’m going to the Ladies Room”. My son said, “well all they have are 2 single stall unisex toilets”. Sure enough, that’s what they had.

    And I thought. Of course, painless, smug virtue signaling where it doesn’t matter. Liberals at their best.

    Replacements LTD is owned by LGBT, no surprise with their opinion. Durham is only surpassed by Chapel Hill as to liberals.

    • #70
  11. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Western Chauvinist:

    Frank Soto: Trans individuals have been using the opposite bathroom of their biological gender for as long as gendered bathrooms have existed. Somehow it was never a crisis.

    Right, but I’m pretty sure North Carolina’s law was just a clumsy attempt to preempt the Left. Now that government is so important in our lives, it’s every man (cause) for himself (itself). Obama smashed the pinata and were all scrambling to get our “fair share” of the (power) candy.

    I’m not an expert on bathroom laws, but I actually think North Carolina was in the wrong on this.  It is reasonable for local municipalities to set some kind of policy on bathrooms in government buildings to avoid lawsuits as happened in New York where the police ejected a trans individual when they were legally the correct gender for the room they were using.

    My bigger concern is that there are more masculine women, and feminine men on this planet who are using the correct bathroom, but are suddenly at risk of being harassed by people looking for trans folks in the wrong bathroom.

    I have now heard numerous conservatives in person, to my face, make comments that if a man who thinks he is a women enters a the women’s bathroom while their wife or daughters are there, they will beat the crap out of them.

    Perhaps our rhetoric needs to calm down.

    • #71
  12. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Kate Braestrup:The initial reactions to John’s modest proposal make it hard to believe, by the way, that “states rights” and the defense of women and children are what this is all about.

    Eugene—I don’t doubt that this person you met had plenty of other issues. (It’s been my experience that transgendered persons often do). How would this “Viking with boobs” fare in your average men’s room?

    I think this is being over thought. A man in a dress will have obvious problems in either a men’s or a women’s restroom, however those people are outliers. Most people can find a restroom that will suit their needs and transfolk have been doing this for years and it’s never been a real problem this law really is about keeping pervs out of the ladies room, and allowing private businesses to make their own bathroom policies. If a man (a cisgendered male) can just say he “feels” like a woman and there are no objective reason (like anatomy) to kick him out he has a right to be in there. They had this issue in Seattle and the cops didn’t know how to handle it.

    But this whole issue is about government control. The left is pushing this to obliderate social norms. They hate Western Civilization and want to burn it all to the ground. This administration is leftism run amok.

    • #72
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Frank Soto: I’m not an expert on bathroom laws, but I actually think North Carolina was in the wrong on this. It is reasonable for local municipalities to set some kind of policy on bathrooms in government buildings to avoid lawsuits as happened in New York where the police ejected a trans individual when they were legally the correct gender for the room they were using.

    I tend to agree with you. But, it’s the breakdown in society that’s causing people to feel these sorts of laws are necessary.

    I much prefer the old way of common sense and common decency.

    • #73
  14. FreeWifiDuringSermon Inactive
    FreeWifiDuringSermon
    @FreeWifiDuringSermon

    Merina Smith: It’s one of those things that should have been left under the radar. Yes–transgender people were using the restroom with you but you didn’t know it and it was fine.

    Right. The entire U.S. is currently operating under the “Pass For” law. Whatever you pass for is the bathroom you should use. The NC legislation is actually a gift to the leftist activists because NOW they’re being “oppressed”. Now we see the violence inherent in the system.

    • #74
  15. FreeWifiDuringSermon Inactive
    FreeWifiDuringSermon
    @FreeWifiDuringSermon

    PHCheese:When a male transgender has his penis in a jar over his/ her mantle I have no problem with him/her using the girls room.

    Does it have to be in a jar? Could we just have a picture of shim holding it? As if it were a peculiar specimen of fish he/she had caught one weekend at the lake.

    • #75
  16. FreeWifiDuringSermon Inactive
    FreeWifiDuringSermon
    @FreeWifiDuringSermon

    Western Chauvinist: I tend to agree with you. But, it’s the breakdown in society that’s causing people to feel these sorts of laws are necessary.

    • #76
  17. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    FreeWifiDuringSermon:

    Merina Smith: It’s one of those things that should have been left under the radar. Yes–transgender people were using the restroom with you but you didn’t know it and it was fine.

    Right. The entire U.S. is currently operating under the “Pass For” law. Whatever you pass for is the bathroom you should use. The NC legislation is actually a gift to the leftist activists because NOW they’re being “oppressed”. Now we see the violence inherent in the system.

    Guys, guys. You need to read more of the background. The reason HB2 was passed was in response to a Charlotte city ordinance requiring private businesses to open bathrooms and showers to all sexes.

    • #77
  18. FreeWifiDuringSermon Inactive
    FreeWifiDuringSermon
    @FreeWifiDuringSermon

    Lucy Pevensie: Guys, guys. You need to read more of the background. The reason HB2 was passed was in response to a Charlotte city ordinance requiring private businesses to open bathrooms and showers to all sexes.

    oh. Hold on.

    YEAH BUT STILL!!

    See what I did there? Now we’re tied.

    • #78
  19. MoltoVivace Inactive
    MoltoVivace
    @MoltoVivace

    Or we could get these obviously mentally-ill people the help they need instead of enabling them…

    Nahhhhh! It’s way better to tell the schizo’s the voices in their head are real.

    • #79
  20. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    MoltoVivace:Or we could get these obviously mentally-ill people the help they need instead of enabling them…

    Nahhhhh! It’s way better to tell the schizo’s the voices in their head are real.

    Given how the modern left thinks of religion and is threatening “climate-change deniers,” I’m very cautious about any policies to empower the government to “help” the mentally ill. Even though they obviously need help, and many won’t accept help when given it.

    • #80
  21. Herbert Member
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    Mate De: if a state can’t determine who goes to the bathroom we have no freedom.

    Why is it a state issue?

    • #81
  22. Herbert Member
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    Mate De:Keep the wording of the law as it is. Transfolk that pass well enough have been using the bathroom this way anyway so no need to change it.

    Isn’t that what the NC bill did?  It created a law that said now you have to go by what it says on your birth certificate,  it changed what was previous policy.

    • #82
  23. Herbert Member
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    Matt Upton: The left fired the first shots with the city ordinance forcing private businesses to conform to a single policy, but the right have used all the same weapons to legislate cultural norms. If a state can determine who goes to the bathroom, we have no freedom.

    yep

    • #83
  24. Merina Smith Inactive
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    Lucy Pevensie:

    FreeWifiDuringSermon:

    Merina Smith: It’s one of those things that should have been left under the radar. Yes–transgender people were using the restroom with you but you didn’t know it and it was fine.

    Right. The entire U.S. is currently operating under the “Pass For” law. Whatever you pass for is the bathroom you should use. The NC legislation is actually a gift to the leftist activists because NOW they’re being “oppressed”. Now we see the violence inherent in the system.

    Guys, guys. You need to read more of the background. The reason HB2 was passed was in response to a Charlotte city ordinance requiring private businesses to open bathrooms and showers to all sexes.

    Yes–but we’re referring to the terms of the bill.  The Charlotte ordinance was definitely wrong, but we have to be strategic too.  If we overstate our case, then we can’t win.  The left has pushed and pushed and pushed and given us unreasonable ordinances like the Charlotte one, but we need to push back with something eminently reasonable.  That’s why the compromise suggested in the OP is probably a good one for rest rooms, not so much for locker rooms though.   There separate facilities for transgendered people are a good idea.

    • #84
  25. Herbert Member
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    Lily Bart:

    She complained and Planet Fitness revoked her membership because of her “bigotry”.

    Well, supposedly she was approaching other customers on multiple consecutive days at the facility and complaining to them that got her terminated.  Not her bigotry per se…

    • #85
  26. Topher Inactive
    Topher
    @Topher

    In Europe and Israel, many bathrooms are private stalls with washing facilities out side. I’m, frankly, not crazy about sharing the sound of my private business (or hearing the same) with anyone, male, female, or whatever. Of course, this would up the expense.

    • #86
  27. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    MoltoVivace:Or we could get these obviously mentally-ill people the help they need instead of enabling them…

    Nahhhhh! It’s way better to tell the schizo’s the voices in their head are real.

    No. No. No. The new rule is to make the body conform to what the mind thinks. We need to get all those teenage anorexics onto the treadmill and on a strict diet until their body comports to their mental image. Even if they die of malnutrition.

    • #87
  28. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    Topher:In Europe and Israel, many bathrooms are private stalls with washing facilities out side. I’m, frankly, not crazy about sharing the sound of my private business (or hearing the same) with anyone, male, female, or whatever. Of course, this would up the expense.

    I find that the fully enclosed stalls give great acoustics for amplifying the penumbras of my emanations. Loud and proud, baby!

    • #88
  29. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Merina Smith:

    Lucy Pevensie:

    Guys, guys. You need to read more of the background. The reason HB2 was passed was in response to a Charlotte city ordinance requiring private businesses to open bathrooms and showers to all sexes.

    Yes–but we’re referring to the terms of the bill. The Charlotte ordinance was definitely wrong, but we have to be strategic too. If we overstate our case, then we can’t win. The left has pushed and pushed and pushed and given us unreasonable ordinances like the Charlotte one, but we need to push back with something eminently reasonable. That’s why the compromise suggested in the OP is probably a good one for rest rooms, not so much for locker rooms though. There separate facilities for transgendered people are a good idea.

    With all due respect, this is why we are losing to the left. There is nothing reasonable about this entire issue. Businesses were being forced by the city of Charlotte as to what their bathroom policy should be, and how many bathrooms should a business have? It costs a good amount of money to put in a new bathroom or reconfigure an exising one, to accommodate .01% of the population.

    The left is crafty, this whole thing was cooked up by the Human Rights Campaign who wanted to make this a national issue, and with this Federal law suit this could make it to the Supreme Court. read Loretta Lynch’s remarks on this suit, she made this bathroom issue sound like it was a throw back to Jim Crow. This is how we get Social change forced down our throats by the left. North Carolina is right to counter sue, and I think this issue maybe a bridge too far for people and their toleration of the left, but who knows.

    • #89
  30. Herbert Member
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    Mate De: This is how we get Social change forced down our throats by the left. North Carolina is right to counter sue, and I think this issue maybe a bridge too far for people and their toleration of the left, but who knows.

    the latest polling indicates that 60 percent are against the NC law.

    • #90
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