30 April 2014

The Bathrooms, Again....

Another day and another...instance of hysterical reactionaries distorting reality, or simply lying, to keep a group of people from having the same rights everyone else enjoys.

This time it's happening in Maryland.  There's this funny little law that expresses the utterly radical notion that transgender people should not experience discrimination in housing, education, employment or the use of public facilites on account of their gender identity expressions.  It's, you know, one of those rights that cisgender heterosexual people (well, those of certain races and classes and, ahem, one gender, anyway) take for granted. It's been voted in; Governor Martin O'Malley has said he will sign this piece of legislation, which is scheduled to take effect on 1 October.

But a group of lawmakers who oppose the lawee that was signed into law last year are now looking to overturn that law.  They are seeking a referendum that would put the question of repealing it on the ballot this November.

And how are they scaring, I mean appealing to, voters whose signatures they need for the referendum to make it to the ballot?  You might have heard of this tactic before:  They're referring to the law as "the bathroom bill", just as they did when they tried to keep it from passing.

From hearing those legislators, you'd think the law was about nothing else--or, more precisely, the "right" of "men in dresses" to enter women's bathrooms so they can harass (or even sexually assault) the women and molest young girls.

Well, the right to use the bathroom appropriate to the gender by which you're identifying and living is just one part of the law.  But magnifying it wasn't enough for those elected officials:  They have pandered to the crudest stereotypes (trans person as predator) and the most exaggerated, baseless fears in order to convince some people that, essentially, bigotry is good social and legislative policy.

Never mind that cross-dressers and people who are transitioning from one gender to another--or simply presenting themselves as one they weren't assigned at birth--use bathrooms for the same reasons everyone else does.  And, to put it bluntly, we simply want to pee in peace, and let others do the same. 

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