Arizona’s Bathroom Bill

Posted: 27 March 2013 in Blog Entries, Food for Thought

The last few days I keep hearing about the so-called “bathroom bill” in Arizona that would require individuals to use the bathroom, dressing room and locker room assigned to the gender listed on their birth certificate. If the bill weren’t really under consideration I would laugh my ass off at the idiocy of it all. Instead of laughing, I’m saddened that one lawmaker in particular in Arizona seems to feel the need to discriminate against those who don’t identify with the sex or gender they were born with.

One reason that has been given for the need for this law is that certain people feel uncomfortable when someone uses the “wrong” bathroom. And yet according to the BBC article I read, Mr. Kavanagh, the lawmaker behind the bill, has stated that “police would be allowed to use their discretion over whether to press charges if women used the men’s room to avoid a long queue.” So someone that genuinely identifies with a gender other than the one on their birth certificate will be fined and/or jailed for using the “wrong” bathroom, but women who want to avoid the inconvenience of waiting more than likely won’t be penalized, even if that makes the men in the bathroom uncomfortable? That is some fucked up shit. I’m astounded that this man would seriously seek to fine people for an identity that they have given serious thought and that permeates every part of their life while allowing women to get away with using the other bathroom just because of a queue they don’t feel like standing in.

There are private stalls in bathrooms and in dressing rooms, so what difference does it really make who uses which stall? If I’m in a dressing room trying something on or relieving myself in a bathroom stall, how the hell will I even know the gender or sex of the person in the stall next to me? As for the urinals in the bathroom, well, the only people who use them are people with penises. Who fucking cares if one was born with said penis or acquired it later in life? Are you really going to start checking out dicks at the urinals to determine whether any given man always had a dick, or can you just grow the fuck up, piss, wash your hands, and go about your life?

Not to mention that if a woman who has undergone a sex change (or who simply identifies and lives as a man, for that matter) is forced to go to the women’s room, some women might freak their shit when they see a man in their restroom. They might not see his dick since he can pee in privacy in a stall, but when he goes into or comes out of the stall, they’ll be upset about the man in their midst.

Another reason given for the supposed necessity of this bill is children. Pedophiles, they say, could go into the other restroom and show their junk to children of the opposite sex. That seems so bogus to me. What is keeping them from doing the same thing to children of the same sex? If we’re that concerned about pedophiles, then we should tackle the problem regardless of the orientation or gender of the offender and perhaps post guards in or outside the bathroom to look out for the youth. That would be much more beneficial than this proposed bill.

And I guess the guards would be necessary anyway because how the hell else is such a law supposed to be enforced? I’m guessing they won’t have someone force you to show your genitalia because that would certainly make many people uncomfortable when the point is to keep “the majority of people” from feeling uncomfortable. So the alternative would be to have people show ID before going into the bathroom. And you really would have to ID everyone just like you ID everyone for alcohol in the States. You’d cause a shit storm if you didn’t ID one person but did ID the next because the person was a woman who looked more like a man or vice versa. Such a bill would serve to reinforce gender binary roles – at least in terms of appearance – and I for one don’t like that idea at all, even if my gender and my sex are the same.

But now it looks like Mr. Kavanagh is changing tactics. Rather than putting people in jail or fining them, his new solution is to leave it up to businesses to decide who can use what bathroom. Essentially that means that it’s up to the individual business to decide if it’s going to discriminate or not, and if it does decide to discriminate against transgender members of society, well, then Mr. Kavanagh doesn’t want those members of society to be able to take legal action against the business because government shouldn’t be involved. That is truly some ass-backwards shit. Thank God he doesn’t have a similar stance on racial discrimination.

More than anything it seems like Mr. Kavanagh is motivated by a fear of that which he doesn’t understand, and letting that fear lead is unacceptable. I’m not transgender, and I’ll probably never really understand what it means to feel like a gender that doesn’t correspond to my original sex. But my or anyone else’s inability to understand doesn’t mean that people who do identify as transgender shouldn’t be able to live their life as the gender they choose and to use facilities accordingly. If that makes Mr. Kavanagh feel uncomfortable, then maybe he should work on accepting that others are different rather than trying to force those who are different to conform to his narrow-minded view.

Whether it fines and jails transgender members of society or allows businesses to discriminate without facing repercussions, this law is bullshit and hopefully will never find its way onto the Arizona books.

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