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 First, the bill included an unrelated provision (that McCrory has now said should be repealed) that eliminates the right for anyone to bring a discrimination action in state court.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. FreeWifiDuringSermon Inactive
    FreeWifiDuringSermon
    @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.

    No likes on this? I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

    • #91
  2. Merina Smith Inactive
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    Mate De:

    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.

    I agree with you about the Charlotte ordinance.  Lynch is wrong, no question.  And I will further say that I think the whole transgender movement is a fad that, for many who jumped on the bandwagon, will pass, as Walt Heyer often points out on The Federalist. But there are a lot of people who are biological one thing who look exactly like the other sex.  Strangers in restrooms don’t know it, and most don’t care, so long as their restroom isn’t invaded by a person who is obvious the opposite gender.  You can’t expect to have someone stationed at the restroom door checking everybody who goes in, and how in the world would they do this?  That’s why this compromise is good.  It leaves this sort of person alone without bothering anyone else and makes their restroom use legal, while drawing a line that is enforceable without making us look like we are picking on these other poor souls.

    • #92
  3. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    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.

    I can understand that because most people know nothing about it the law. There is misinformation everywhere on this. Most people only know Bruce Springsteen doesn’t like it.

    The reporting on this issue has been terrible. So it doesn’t surprise me that the most people oppose it because all they hear is that it’s “hateful”. The journalists reporting on it haven’t even read the law

    People will wake up when this hits the Supreme Court and gender neutral bathrooms are mandated throughout the land and their kids have to have co-Ed bathrooms at school

    • #93
  4. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    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…

    Oh, ok.   Maybe she should the people should be aware of the company’s policy?   Business should post notices on these dressing / locker rooms if men are allowed in so that, if you use these facilities, you can make sure you can adjust accordingly.

    Still, my original comment stands – I learned this was an issue because Plant Fitness invited men into the ladies locker rooms.

    • #94
  5. Kwhopper Inactive
    Kwhopper
    @Kwhopper

    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.

    … and NC voters are free to make the legislators pay for it with their seats. This is how it’s supposed to work. As for earlier comments that this isn’t a state issue – everything not enumerated specifically to the Federal government, or specifically removed from all jurisdiction, falls under the 9th/10th Amendments. That’s the legal part; politically, it’s not as easy, but they’re certainly in their rights to do this. The idea that citizens of NC are any less “free” because of this law is not defensible.

    • #95
  6. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Merina Smith:

    I agree with you about the Charlotte ordinance. Lynch is wrong, no question. And I will further say that I think the whole transgender movement is a fad that, for many who jumped on the bandwagon, will pass, as Walt Heyer often points out on The Federalist. But there are a lot of people who are biological one thing who look exactly like the other sex. Strangers in restrooms don’t know it, and most don’t care, so long as their restroom isn’t invaded by a person who is obvious the opposite gender. You can’t expect to have someone stationed at the restroom door checking everybody who goes in, and how in the world would they do this? That’s why this compromise is good. It leaves this sort of person alone without bothering anyone else and makes their restroom use legal, while drawing a line that is enforceable without making us look like we are picking on these other poor souls.

    I have compassion for the transgender, and it’s not them who is the issue here (although this will not help in their cause). It is the left trying to socially engineer society, trying to obliderate distictions between men and women. This isn’t just bathrooms, frankly because it has never been an issue before. You never hear of transfolk being arrested for being in the wrong bathroom. What you do hear about, is perverts who go into the ladies room for nefarious purposes.

    This lawsuit is a way to jam this down the throats of the rest of the country through the courts. So compromises won’t help, they won’t drop the suit, they want to take this all the way because that is how the left works, that is how they get social change.

    • #96
  7. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Mate De: 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.

    I agree on this, by the way.

    I always thought that the Flag Burning Amendment that periodically arose to arouse was an unnecessary distraction and opportunity for moral posturing, so I can’t say it’s only the left, but it has certainly been mostly left lately.

    Our recent bear baiting referendum was an “issue” that, far from being a grass-roots movement was basically cooked up by the national human society as part of a deliberate strategy to, eventually, outlaw hunting. (The referendum failed to pass, by the way, but I don’t know whether that means that the overall strategy was set back, or was it just the fuss itself they were after?)

    Baiting conservatives may be the leftist’s favorite sport these days, but dang, y’all make it easy…

    I agree with Merina—most people are male or female, most aren’t all that interested in swapping out their parts, and it’s not a bad thing that people have learned to be a bit more sympathetic to transgender people who are a tiny and unenviable minority whose behavior hurts no one but (arguably?) themselves.

    • #97
  8. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Kate Braestrup:

    Baiting conservatives may be the leftist’s favorite sport these days, but dang, y’all make it easy…

    I know, conservatives fall for it everytime. Probably because we don’t want to use the government the way the left does. We’d rather win on ideas.

    Which is why I wanted to point out that these are small groups with big donors who drive these things. Everyone is thinking,” hey I didn’t think this bathroom thing was a problem”. Well because it wasn’t. Even transpeople have said it was never a problem, well maybe a little problem but were able to deal with it. This is a big red flag that the left is operating here. Actually the head of the HRC, said to the governor of North Carolina that this was the plan.

    • #98
  9. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    I suppose they would argue that it’s the principle of the thing. Even if thousands of transgendered persons are being forced to do their business in the bushes out back because of cruel cisgendered citizens, if you believe that a person has the right to live as the gender they believe themselves to be —and if you believe that’s a “thing” or, I suppose, a natural, normal variation in human sexual expression —then it doesn’t matter if it’s ten cases or five cases. What matters is that we establish that it must not happen at all.

    While I tend to agree with the rest of you that this wasn’t something the federal government needed to involve itself in, and that there are larger issues we should be discussing and aren’t, I’d add that any issue that involves sex will disproportionately command our attention. So to those who lament that we’re fussing about bathrooms as Putin gears up for WW3, I’d point out that we all were riveted by Monica Lewinsky even as Al Qaeda was preparing to attack the World Trade Center. Should Clinton have resigned? Should the Republicans have backed off? Was it The Principle Of The Thing (lying under oath) really? Or was it the sex?

    No one—certainly not the saintly Seymour Hersh— was paying attention to the disgusting, inhumane disaster that was the whole of  Abu Ghraib Prison until there were pictures with sex (naked men! sleazy women!) in them.

    I’ll be those humane society people are kicking themselves for not thinking to include “justice for raped bears!” in their referendum…

    • #99
  10. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Mate De: Which is why I wanted to point out that these are small groups with big donors who drive these things. Everyone is thinking,” hey I didn’t think this bathroom thing was a problem”. Well because it wasn’t. Even transpeople have said it was never a problem, well maybe a little problem but were able to deal with it. This is a big red flag that the left is operating here. Actually the head of the HRC, said to the governor of North Carolina that this was the plan.

    Yup.

    • #100
  11. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    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.

    Except the Social Justice Warriors will never accept this because Justice!

    • #101
  12. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Eugene Kriegsmann:… 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.

    I commented on another thread, same subject, with your same concept, Eugene. But upon further reflection, the probability that trans gendered persons have been using their preferred sex bathroom for years is highly likely, especially if they are dressed as their preferred sex. Actually I would rather a man dressed as and believing he was a woman, use the women’s bathroom. It’s a better fit, much less awkward for everyone. Since all toilets in a woman’s bathroom are private stalls, it is also less disruptive. Obviously if that person were dressed as a man, they should use the men’s room.

    • #102
  13. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Perhaps the best way to show that this whole thing is absurd is for one or two conservative men to invade every women’s bathroom and locker room all across the country, wherever it is legal to do so. Would it take long for even the most obtuse leftist to see how awful it is?

    • #103
  14. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    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.

    No. The NC bill created a law with respect to public buildings–schools and the like. It was the Charlotte city council that created a law applying to private buildings.

    You’ve been listening to the Left’s propaganda.

    • #104
  15. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Kate Braestrup:I always thought that the Flag Burning Amendment that periodically arose to arouse was an unnecessary distraction and opportunity for moral posturing, so I can’t say it’s only the left, but it has certainly been mostly left lately.

    Kate, moral posturing/preening/virtue-signaling are only things other people do. ;)

    • #105
  16. Matt Upton Inactive
    Matt Upton
    @MattUpton

    Lucy Pevensie: No. The NC bill created a law with respect to public buildings–schools and the like. It was the Charlotte city council that created a law applying to private buildings.

    Point of clarity–the bill does two things:

    1. Sets public building policy, as you said, and
    2. Added defining language to the state’s public accommodation laws, stating that people could only file anti-discrimination suits based on biological sex. It implicitly rules out transgendered as a protected class. (Side note: North Carolina also does not include sexual orientation as a protected class either).

    For the big picture, the latter is the much bigger issue, even if the first is what set off the debate and gets all the press attention.

    • #106
  17. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Matt Upton:

    Lucy Pevensie: No. The NC bill created a law with respect to public buildings–schools and the like. It was the Charlotte city council that created a law applying to private buildings.

    Point of clarity–the bill does two things:

    1. Sets public building policy, as you said, and
    2. Added defining language to the state’s public accommodation laws, stating that people could only file anti-discrimination suits based on biological sex. It implicitly rules out transgendered as a protected class. (Side note: North Carolina also does not include sexual orientation as a protected class either).

    For the big picture, the latter is the much bigger issue, even if the first is what set off the debate and gets all the press attention.

    Right. That absolutely should have been in a separate bill and to be debated separately. I  meant that that’s what the law does with respect to bathrooms.

    • #107
  18. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Man With the Axe:Perhaps the best way to show that this whole thing is absurd is for one or two conservative men to invade every women’s bathroom and locker room all across the country, wherever it is legal to do so. Would it take long for even the most obtuse leftist to see how awful it is?

    Actually the whole “Identify as X” routine is a potent weapon to destroy all the racial, and gender set asides implemented  by the Left.  What if masses of kids begin to check the African American, Hispanic or Native American box on applications.  They “identify as such”. What if guys start trying out for the ladies basketball and volleyball teams.  How about men start applying for Small Business loans as Females or Minorities.  What if on their 18th birthday men suddenly identified as female and refuse to register for the draft.  We could toss the courts into absolute chaos.

    • #108
  19. Merina Smith Inactive
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    Mate De:

    Merina Smith:

    I agree with you about the Charlotte ordinance. Lynch is wrong, no question. And I will further say that I think the whole transgender movement is a fad that, for many who jumped on the bandwagon, will pass, as Walt Heyer often points out on The Federalist. But there are a lot of people who are biological one thing who look exactly like the other sex. Strangers in restrooms don’t know it, and most don’t care, so long as their restroom isn’t invaded by a person who is obvious the opposite gender. You can’t expect to have someone stationed at the restroom door checking everybody who goes in, and how in the world would they do this? That’s why this compromise is good. It leaves this sort of person alone without bothering anyone else and makes their restroom use legal, while drawing a line that is enforceable without making us look like we are picking on these other poor souls.

    I have compassion for the transgender, and it’s not them who is the issue here (although this will not help in their cause). It is the left trying to socially engineer society, trying to obliderate distictions between men and women. This isn’t just bathrooms, frankly because it has never been an issue before. You never hear of transfolk being arrested for being in the wrong bathroom. What you do hear about, is perverts who go into the ladies room for nefarious purposes.

    This lawsuit is a way to jam this down the throats of the rest of the country through the courts. So compromises won’t help, they won’t drop the suit, they want to take this all the way because that is how the left works, that is how they get social change.

    Exactly, so let’s not let them jam it down our throats by being very reasonable, as the compromise is.  No, we won’t accept the stupid notion that any man who wants to use the women’s restroom or locker room and vice versa is fine because it most definitely isn’t.  The compromise keeps what is basically the status quo, but doesn’t give the left what they want, a bathroom free-for-all.  It is a way of compassionately drawing a line far short of what the left is pushing for, one that is enforceable and compassionate,  and that is a win.

    • #109
  20. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I don’t think that the transgender issue is a fad.  I think that it is the natural consequence of a deliberate assault on traditional views of sex roles and sexual morality.

    It wasn’t long ago, the 1970s if I remember correctly, that homosexuality was considered a mental illness.  Much of the Left has been engaged in a 40-50 year campaign to normalize homosexuality, which has been extraordinarily successful.

    The main source of this success was the “self-identification” idea that is also behind the transgender issue.  This concept allowed the advocates of homosexuality to persuade many people that their arguments were perfectly analogous to opposition to racism.

    As was once the case with homosexuality, transgenderism is currently considered a mental illness (I think).  I think that the technical term is “gender dysphoria.”  I suspect that this will change in the near future.

    • #110
  21. TempTime Member
    TempTime
    @TempTime

    Kate Braestrup: If someone is willing to go to all the trouble of petitioning the court and changing their documents, they’re probably pretty freakin’ sincere.

    Or, an activist with little sincerity.

    • #111
  22. TempTime Member
    TempTime
    @TempTime

    Kate Braestrup: why aren’t y’all making admiring and enthusiastic comments

    Because it is nonsense.

    • #112
  23. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    cdor:

    I commented on another thread, same subject, with your same concept, Eugene. But upon further reflection, the probability that trans gendered persons have been using their preferred sex bathroom for years is highly likely, especially if they are dressed as their preferred sex. Actually I would rather a man dressed as and believing he was a woman, use the women’s bathroom. It’s a better fit, much less awkward for everyone. Since all toilets in a woman’s bathroom are private stalls, it is also less disruptive. Obviously if that person were dressed as a man, they should use the men’s room.

    I think we are on the same page. Mostly, I think it is completely outside of the responsibility of the federal government to get involved in something of as little consequence as this. There is a difference, though, between a tranvestite and a transsexual. My father was a theatrical photographer. I saw a lot of transvestites who made very beautiful women, but had no desire to become one. When not performing on stage, though gay, they preferred to use the bathrooms designated for their actual sex.

    • #113
  24. TempTime Member
    TempTime
    @TempTime

    Kate Braestrup: but it’s real in the sense that people (including some of my relatives!) maintain this lifestyle choice over many, many years, at considerable cost in terms of hassle and ridicule.

    Key word is choice.  Lots of choices are “costly”; it’s not a relevant to the discussion.  Use of bathroom choice is not going to change anything. 

    But that doesn’t really matter.  This whole bathroom situation is a made-up controversy.  It’s not real.  The real goal of this faux controversy is something else; yet to be disclosed.   This is just the opening move, the set-up.

    • #114
  25. TempTime Member
    TempTime
    @TempTime

    Mate De: But it is ridiculous that this is a Federal issue, with lawsuits and countersuits. Anyone can tell that this is not about rights for transfolk it’s about the federal government controlling the states. North Carolina should not back down, if a state can’t determine who goes to the bathroom we have no freedom.

    Yes, and the promotion of divisions/separation/faux opponents.

    • #115
  26. Joe P Member
    Joe P
    @JoeP

    Kozak:

    Man With the Axe:Perhaps the best way to show that this whole thing is absurd is for one or two conservative men to invade every women’s bathroom and locker room all across the country, wherever it is legal to do so. Would it take long for even the most obtuse leftist to see how awful it is?

    Actually the whole “Identify as X” routine is a potent weapon to destroy all the racial, and gender set asides implemented by the Left. What if masses of kids begin to check the African American, Hispanic or Native American box on applications. They “identify as such”. What if guys start trying out for the ladies basketball and volleyball teams. How about men start applying for Small Business loans as Females or Minorities. What if on their 18th birthday men suddenly identified as female and refuse to register for the draft. We could toss the courts into absolute chaos.

    I think this is a great idea, but even the left has its limits. You can’t use the name “Bruce Jenner” in a newspaper anymore, but it is acceptable to describe Rachel Dolezal as a white woman pretending to be black.

    • #116
  27. Linc Wolverton Member
    Linc Wolverton
    @LincWolverton

    I can think of no better solution than the one that we have experienced to date:  don’t ask, don’t tell.  It appears that there has been no problem with transgender people using the bathrooms of their choice in the past, so what is the need to advertise that voyeurs with iPhones and  sexual deviants can use the women’s rest rooms and showers without fear of reprisal — as long as they identify themselves as women?

    • #117
  28. Samizdat Inactive
    Samizdat
    @Samizdat

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.:One of the favorite tactics of the progressives is to treat a controversial issue as settled.

    Well said.

    • #118
  29. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    TempTime:

    Kate Braestrup: If someone is willing to go to all the trouble of petitioning the court and changing their documents, they’re probably pretty freakin’ sincere.

    Or, an activist with little sincerity.

    Well, maybe. But it’s still a money-where-your-mouth-is exercise. After all, the sheer time and effort it takes are going to preclude this from being an every–other-day thing. Which is sort of the point (of the OP, that is.) Those  few people for whom this is a genuine concern will have a remedy, and the vast majority for whom it really is not can go back to worrying about some other trivial problem. Like, say, ISIS.

    • #119
  30. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    TempTime: But that doesn’t really matter. This whole bathroom situation is a made-up controversy.

    Yup. I agree. Another reason to like the O.P.—it throws the weight of resolving the “issue” back to those who claim to have a problem with the status quo. Transgendered people who have been doing just fine bathroom-wise without the help of the city council of Charlotte can go on doing fine. Those who want to clarify matters can get their paperwork done. Everyone else can piddle and poo in peace.

    • #120
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