Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Take on Bathroom Laws

Over the past 24 hours I have taken a hard and quite bizarre journey into the new world of gender identity. In order to make sense of the controversy surrounding the bathroom debate in North Carolina, I had to wade through the new sexual identity lexicon. I'm still quite sure that I don't understand any of it, but here they are, just in case you're wondering:

Transgender, pansexual, bisexual, asexual, cisgender, intersex, queer, genderqueer

Incidentally, approximately 99.7% of us are not transgendered, so therefore, not subject to either the protections or violations of this North Carolina law, depending on which side of this issue you happen to be on. In other words, most of us are cisgender. Despite the minuscule number of people involved, apparently Charlotte, North Carolina is the epi-center of transgender life in America since that city saw fit to craft a law that allowed its citizens to use whichever bathroom they feel most comfortable with, rather than the one which matches what's on their birth certificates, or as the Trans folks like to say, "the gender you were assigned at birth." I found this phrase amusing, since it conjured up an image of some gray haired old kill joy arbitrarily assigning gender on a spiteful whim, rather than by just looking and saying, "Ok, that one's got a penis. Male...check!

Anyway, once the Governor of the State got wind of what the city of Charlotte was up to, he hastily called the state assembly into special session to put a stop to it by passing, he insists with bipartisan support, NC house bill 2. This bill requires that all North Carolinians use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender identification on their birth certificate. If someone who has actually gone to the trouble of having all of the operations necessary to become fully, physically transgendered, they could have their birth certificates changed and use their new preferred sexual identity bathroom. If they haven't bothered to have their birth certificates changed, then they will be in violation of this new law. So a person who was born female but identifies as male, would have to go the ladies bathroom. Conversely, a person born male, but who identifies as female, would have to visit the men's room.

 I blame all of this on indoor plumbing. You didn't have these types of problems in the days of outhouses. Back then, the only thing anyone was concerned with come bathroom time was coming out alive! This is what happens with all of these fancy new gadgets. Somebody developes advanced plumbing methods and pretty soon you've got long rows of shiny urinals as far as the eye can see. It was a recipe for disaster from the beginning!

Couple of things...I don't understand what horrible wrong the Charlotte law was trying to remedy. Has there been an uptick in sexually charged bathroom attacks throughout the city? Or is this a solution in desperate need of a problem? I mean, we're talking .3% of the population, right? Maybe the LBGT crowd figured that they've been on such a winning streak lately, what the heck? Why not go for bathroom equality? But, I also can't quite understand what the North Carolina Governor was aiming at with his law either. Here's why.

Ok, when I pop in to your garden variety public bathroom, I'm a pretty single minded guy. I'm thinking, this place is disgusting, why didn't I go before I left the house! My mission is to find a urinal which is farthest away from any human as possible. If not, I want the one next to the best dressed, least odiferous human. Once in place, my eyes are front and center baby, there's no turning to the right or to the left. I'm not interested in anybody else's work, I'm trying to set the all time land speed record for getting the hell out of a public bathroom, that's all! Now, if the Charlotte law were the law of the land, my chances of sidling up next to a transgendered man are roughly as high as my chances of winning the lottery while juggling chainsaws, as I walk on a tightrope across the Grand Canyon.(slightly higher in Key West). Nevertheless, if, against all odds it were to happen, if I understand the physics properly, then the woman/man standing at the urinal beside me, wouldn't be, because she/he would most likely be in a stall...because of...you know, biology. So, I will most likely miss out on my chance encounter. For my wife, her chance encounter would be similar since the man/woman standing at the urinal next to her wouldn't be standing there because there are no urinals in the ladies bathroom! So this elusive transgendered person would be going about his/her business in the privacy of his/her stall. So...what encounter?

But Doug, but Doug, you may be thinking...how would you feel if some ripped, hot, twenty something male model walked into the same bathroom that your wife was in the process of using? I probably wouldn't like it very much, but that isn't what this law is about. Yeah, I know. Slippery slopes and all that. Well, in the immortal words of Ted Kennedy, let's drive off that bridge when we get there!

Yesterday I published a quote from a transgendered man named Charlie. I repeat it here:

"Some of us transition physically, some of us don't. Some of us are more feminine or more masculine with no correlation to what gender we are. Some of us identify as nonbinary/gender nonconforming, and I realize these might be new terms for folks. Look it up. Educate. I am a transgender male and nonbinary, and yes, that is possible."

Never in a million years will I ever be able to understand what Charlie's life must be like. To go through life fraught with so much physical, sexual, emotional, not to mention spiritual confusion is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. So, part of me thinks, listen, if it gets him through the day, he can go in whatever bathroom he wants. I admit, I don't know the statistics on sexual assaults among the transgender community. Are they many times more likely to commit sexual assaults, especially on children? If so, maybe the North Carolina law is a good thing. But if not, maybe we should all just chill out for a minute and ask ourselves whether either one of these laws was a necessary step. How about we all just remember to go before we leave the house? Even better, why don't we all consider reinstating the outhouse?

I now will officially retire this subject from further discussion ever on this blog. Yes, I wash my hands of this business forever!