Earlier this year, Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed a hateful anti-trans bill after meeting with some transgender people. In that case, face time worked, and it worked well. Unfortunately, bigots are never content to give up on their irrational hatred and fear, and insist on a foundation of outright lies.
After North Carolina stole the spotlight last year with its passage of HB2, it’s easy to forget that 2016 started with a fierce debate about transgender rights in South Dakota. Though a bill to require discrimination ultimately lost to a veto, the state clearly isn’t done trying to ban trans students from the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
Jack Heyd, a Republican man living in Box Elder, South Dakota, has filed a ballot initiative that is almost an exact copy of the bill that failed to become law this past year. It dictates that all public schools would have to define sex as “the physical condition of being male or female as determined by a person’s chromosomes and anatomy as identified at birth.” Trans students would not be allowed to use facilities that match their gender identity; the only accommodations that would be allowed would be to segregate them to single-occupancy restrooms, unisex restrooms, or facilities to which faculty members hold a key.
Heyd, who founded the Committee to Ensure Student Privacy to support his efforts, explained that he thinks allowing trans students to use facilities with other students is unsafe and “opens privacy up beyond any reasonable measure.” He worries about people going into restrooms for “nefarious” reasons.
Oh, those nefarious reasons! Christ, I am so tired of the obfuscation, bullshit, and outright lies, and that’s nothing compared to what transgender persons are feeling or going through at any given moment. I’m also tired of pointing this out, but once again: ever since public lavs were segregated, which was not that long ago, there’s been absolutely nothing stopping anyone from going into one, whether their gender appeared to match the sign on the door or not. I’ve been in both, more than once, it’s a bloody lav, who cares? (When you’re having a long thirsty night at your local gay bar, really, no one much cares where you go, as long as you make an effort to actually get to a toilet first.) I might add that no one has been particularly concerned about that, for decade upon decade upon decade, and no, transgender people aren’t a brand new thing. People I know who are transgender are just like other people, well, decent people anyway, and just want to be able to do all the things people do, including being able to go into a public lav to conduct private business without finding themselves in fear of their lives. All this hate legislation is, is a call to make transgender people live in fear every single day of their lives, just in order to make a bunch of assholes, usually so-called Christians, happy and smug in their “godly” hate.
There is zero truth to the idea that transgender people put anyone at risk in public lavs. Don’t want to read? Then listen:
A rapist will rape, and generally speaking, rapists take the path of least resistance. You aren’t going to find rapists leaping out of the proverbial bushes, spending a ton of money on wardrobe, cosmetic procedures, and figuring out how to do their make up just so, in order to waltz into a public lav and do harm. Why in the fuck would they? All they have to do is walk right in. I’ll also point out that public lavs are not popular places for rape or sexual assault. It’s always interesting that the hate brigade focuses on people who might have penises going into the womens’ lav. No one much seems to care about transgender men in mens’ lav. If you really really want to be safe, your best bet is to bar heterosexual men from all public lavs forever. Funny how that legislation never comes up.
As someone who is often in genderfluid dress, I’m not comfortable with some smug asshole deciding what gender I am, or what I may or may not be packing under my clothes. That’s my business, and when I’m in a public lav, I go into a stall, conduct my business, and leave. Why in the hell anyone else thinks they have a right to go poking about, I don’t know. People come in all shapes, sizes, looks, and we all dress in different ways. Seriously, there’s just no way to be sure – so how about everyone has to strip naked in front of all public lavs from now on? Or maybe everyone has to have a karyotype card, and you better hope you aren’t one of the ones with an interesting chromosomal arrangement, because those happen a lot, and you might find yourself a decidedly different gender than you thought you were, and no, of course it won’t matter if you insist you’re a specific gender. How on earth would you know that, after all, it’s down to your chromosomes, right? Oh, and you smug haters get to pay for all the karyotype analyses which will be required.
Or maybe all those smug, hateful assholes could just stop. Stop spreading filthy lies, stop hating, stop being in love with irrational fears. Maybe we could all get some serious good lavatory design going on, go completely inclusive – stalls for everyone! Along with basic societal politeness, which would dictate you don’t get overly nosy about people who are in a public lav for the same reasons you are.
All you sDakotans with good sense, gear up for the fight, it’s on again. Let’s not let the assholes win, okay?
Full story at Think Progress.