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 First, the bill included an unrelated provision (that McCrory has now said should be repealed) that eliminates the right for anyone to bring a discrimination action in state court.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

    The opponents feel that transgender people don’t deserve to be stigmatized when they need to go to the bathroom like everyone else. 

    This is the false-choice fallacy: they do deserve to be stigmatized because they are not supposed to be “transgenders”.

    • #1
  2. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    I started reading this and then realized the sheer lunacy of this issue. People believe their birth sex was an error? What a bunch of utter insanity. These people are mentally deranged. The people should not have to cater to a minute portion of deranged people. If that sliver of the population doesn’t like it then replace the legislature with people who will bend to the will of the radical Left and the five people in NC who think their biological makeup was a mistake. The Governor and the legislature did the right thing.

    • #2
  3. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    You know, I am still wondering why in the wide, wide world of sports we even have to have this discussion. It never dawned on me that I would ever in my  life have to explain to anyone why I do not want to share a bathroom with a man.

    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.

    *If I can’t tell you are not a woman, I don’t care if you are the same bathroom.

    • #3
  4. SpiritO'78 Member
    SpiritO'78
    @SpiritO78

    The frustrating part about all of the bathroom non-sense is laws are being re-written and exemptions carved out for such a tiny minority. The safety of women and children be damned. Transgender issues are meant to be divisive.

    • #4
  5. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge
    @wilberforge

    Has anyone here ever worked at a place that had a Trans in process in their location ? It is interesting to say the least.

    • #5
  6. Merina Smith Inactive
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    I think that most people don’t know or care, so long as someone who is obviously of the opposite gender is not there beside you in the restroom.  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.  When the left pushes and pushes and makes unreasonable demand after unreasonable demand–we want to use any bathroom we want to use, no questions asked!– then people feel the need to make what ought to be a matter of culture and good manners a matter of law.  It’s obvious that males in the ladies room make most women uncomfortable.  Men should respect that, and no one should be asking someone who looks like a woman to prove anything.  Saying that man must be admitted to the ladies room or else is just asking for trouble.

    • #6
  7. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    You know, I am still wondering why in the wide, wide world of sports we even have to have this discussion. It never dawned on me that I would ever in my life have to explain to anyone why I do not want to share a bathroom with a man.

    It certainly is absurd on its face. But I think some of the main reasons we are include a. sending far too many kids to college to be indoctrinated, b. the gay mafia adding ‘t’ to themselves, and then acting as if LGBT is a race, c. paying attention to the gay mafia in the first place, d. social media, and e. electing Barack Obama.

    • #7
  8. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    f. a preoccupation with the civil rights movement of the 60’s leading to a new generation of people who wish they could participate in something like that.

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

    Okay, but in the original post, John solved the problem of creepy men going into the ladies’ with impunity.

    So why aren’t y’all on board with that?

    If someone is willing to go to all the trouble of petitioning the court and changing their documents, they’re probably pretty freakin’ sincere. They may or may not be mentally ill, but they’re definitely not just “girl-for-a-day,” and since their mental illness doesn’t affect me (though it is painful for them) this ceases to be my problem. Right?

    • #9
  10. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    The problem here is that the whole argument proceeds from the premise that “transgender” is a real thing. More specifically, that it is some kind of protected class, rather than a lifestyle choice made by people who want to pretend to be something they’re not. I am sure that it’s very difficult to go through life believing that you’re trapped in the wrong body, but nobody said life with psychological issues was easy.

    One of the favorite tactics of the progressives is to treat a controversial issue as settled. But I’m not prepared to have an argument over conclusions when I don’t even agree on the facts.

    • #10
  11. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @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.

    • #11
  12. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @WBob

    I’m not the first person to ask the question: Even if you believe transgender is a real thing, what is the specific reason that such a person would have for wanting to use only bathrooms of their preferred gender?  That is, the opposite of their birth gender. Why would they want to go into such a bathroom?

    We’re talking here about people who have not had the surgery yet. (  If they had, it would be a moot point. It’s the pre- surgery people who are driving the issue.)  So again, why would such people feel that it is so important to avoid the bathrooms assigned to their physical gender?

    • #12
  13. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    kylez:The opponents feel that transgender people don’t deserve to be stigmatized when they need to go to the bathroom like everyone else.

    This is the false-choice fallacy: they do deserve to be stigmatized because they are not supposed to be “transgenders”.

    Should women be stigmatized because they don’t want to use bathrooms, locker room showers and dressing rooms with heterosexual men?   (because they will be).

    • #13
  14. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    SpiritO'78:The frustrating part about all of the bathroom non-sense is laws are being re-written and exemptions carved out for such a tiny minority. The safety of women and children be damned. Transgender issues are meant to be divisive.

    Women’s right to privacy, dignity and safety are not even considered by the left.   They’re too busy trolling conservatives.

    • #14
  15. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.: The problem here is that the whole argument proceeds from the premise that “transgender” is a real thing. More specifically, that it is some kind of protected class, rather than a lifestyle choice made by people who want to pretend to be something they’re not.

    Why would anyone choose this? “Transgender” is obviously some sort of “real thing.” I don’t know what that thing is—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. And for what? Using the ladies’ room isn’t that much fun.

    I get that it creeps you out. But most of the complaints I’ve heard about the bathroom issue claim to be focused, laser-like, on the issue of the safety of little girls. Since John’s “modest proposal” pretty much rules out the possibility that nasty-but-all-male-men are going to use transgenderism as a screen for molesting little girls, why aren’t y’all making admiring and enthusiastic comments instead of grumping about penises in jars? (ooogh!)

    • #15
  16. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    what will happen when these transgender women apply to college and want dorm assignments as if they are women? Not separate but equal, but assignments as if they are truly women?

    My daughter is a freshman at college, and said her dorm mates were obsessed with the topic of gender fluidity.  She said that if you express opinions that are not fully supportive of the agenda, you are ostracized.

    • #16
  17. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    Kate Braestrup:Okay, but in the original post, John solved the problem of creepy men going into the ladies’ with impunity.

    So why aren’t y’all on board with that?

    If someone is willing to go to all the trouble of petitioning the court and changing their documents, they’re probably pretty freakin’ sincere. They may or may not be mentally ill, but they’re definitely not just “girl-for-a-day,” and since their mental illness doesn’t affect me (though it is painful for them) this ceases to be my problem. Right?

    They’ll object to being stigmatized.   Are we supposed to ask them for their ‘papers’?

    • #17
  18. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    One of the big problems here is that we’re not balancing peoples’ rights and needs and safety.  We’re taking one group and making its rights supreme, and subordinating everyone else’s rights and interests to the first group.    Its not right, fair, or mature.  And it will lead only to strife among people.

    • #18
  19. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

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

    • #19
  20. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    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.

    • #20
  21. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Incidentally, I am sympathetic to the irritation-with-PC part of this. Just in case I wasn’t making that obvious?

    • #21
  22. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    Lily Bart:

    kylez:The opponents feel that transgender people don’t deserve to be stigmatized when they need to go to the bathroom like everyone else.

    This is the false-choice fallacy: they do deserve to be stigmatized because they are not supposed to be “transgenders”.

    Should women be stigmatized because they don’t want to use bathrooms, locker room showers and dressing rooms with heterosexual men? (because they will be).

    Not sure you understood my comment. For the women you mention, no, that’s the point. For men who “identify” as women, but haven’t gone full tranny, yes. My point was a person isn’t supposed to be a transgender, so there should be no policy encouraging it.

    • #22
  23. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    Lily Bart:

    SpiritO’78:The frustrating part about all of the bathroom non-sense is laws are being re-written and exemptions carved out for such a tiny minority. The safety of women and children be damned. Transgender issues are meant to be divisive.

    Women’s right to privacy, dignity and safety are not even considered by the left. They’re too busy trolling conservatives.

    They are considered when the topic is abortion. When it’s about trans-folk in the bathroom, then they are not considered. To the Left, rights are situational and dependent on the race/gender/orientation of the antagonist. Please consult the current grievance hierarchy chart.

    • #23
  24. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Take the “Men” and “Women” signs off the bathroom and locker room doors, and put up “Innie” and “Outie”.  Problem solved.

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Billions of years ago when I was in French class in high school, I remember the teacher saying that in Europe, most places had mixed-sex bathrooms, and even if there were separate doors and signs for male and female, they would go into the same large lavatory. I don’t know if the stalls tended to be more secure or if there were other differences between European loos and the typical US version, but maybe the real problem is separate facilities in the first place?

    • #25
  26. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    Arahant:

    Billions of years ago when I was in French class in high school, I remember the teacher saying that in Europe, most places had mixed-sex bathrooms, and even if there were separate doors and signs for male and female, they would go into the same large lavatory. I don’t know if the stalls tended to be more secure or if there were other differences between European loos and the typical US version, but maybe the real problem is separate facilities in the first place?

    In my experience, Europe’s larger buildings have separate facilities, small businesses have one water closet for everyone (single use).

    Edited – condensed

    • #26
  27. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    John Morgan: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.

    Given that North Carolina judges are chosen through popular election (and re-election) this seems like a reasonable solution.

    That said, I stand by my earlier point that the old system was probably simplest: If a trans person made a good-faith effort to pass for the opposite sex and didn’t bother anyone, that was condoned in practice if not law.

    • #27
  28. Derek Simmons Member
    Derek Simmons
    @

    Kate Braestrup: Why would anyone choose this? “Transgender” is obviously some sort of “real thing.” I don’t know what that thing is—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.So that’s your evidence for a “real thing”.

    WOW! You or anyone can “look down” and determine the “real thing.”

    APA Revises Manual: Being Transgender Is No Longer A Mental Disorder. This Saturday, the American Psychiatric Association board of trustees approved the latest proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, what will now be known as the DSM-5.Dec 3, 2012

    Is the DSM “science” or “politics”? Answer that question correctly and though there is no $200 payout or passing “GO”, you will have all the explanation needed for the current spate of silliness.

    • #28
  29. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    John Morgan: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.

    Given that North Carolina judges are chosen through popular election (and re-election) this seems like a reasonable solution.

    That said, I stand by my earlier point that the old system was probably simplest: If a trans person made a good-faith effort to pass for the opposite sex and didn’t bother anyone, that was condoned in practice if not law.

    This solution could open up a can of worms that we will never be able to put back. We need more something more objective then, I feel this way when making law. Especially as now there is a concept called gender fluidity that there could be some confused social Justice type who will try on a new gender for the fun of it and never do a transition or whatever. 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.

    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.

    • #29
  30. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Lily Bart:In my experience, the French museums and national parks/historical sites all had separate facilities, smaller restaurants mostly shared the same small bathroom (one toilet – one person at a time). For the hotels lobbies, the larger ones had separate bathrooms, small hotels had one bathroom for everyone (again, for one person at a time). Italy was pretty much the same. I’ve not spent much time in Germany, but the Frankfort airport definitely has separate bathrooms.

    I’ve never been to a French school, so I don’t know how they handled these things day-to-day.

    Update: Just asked my husband, who goes to European cities on business all the time – he says they have separate bathrooms ,by gender, unless there is only one ‘water closet’ for everyone.

    I did mention how out of date my data was, didn’t I?

    • #30

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