In 2013, the California legislature passed AB 1266. Signed by Governor Jerry Brown (D), it went into effect January 1, 2014. So far, after two years and five months, California has not fallen into the Pacific Ocean, and the world has not come to an end.
Recently, North Carolina passed legislation, near-instantly signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory (R), to remove the ability of county and city governments to enact protections for, among others, the LGBT community. Spurred by the city of Charlotte’s passage of an ordinance to prohibit discrimination directed at LGBT residents, one of the effects of House Bill 2 is to ban transgender individuals from using the bathroom that matches their gender expression.
Insisting they are protecting women and girls from men pretending to be women and entering the women’s facilities to attack them (but silent about the “dangers” to men and boys from transgender men (men born female) in the men’s facilities), they’ve added to the un-informed hysteria surrounding transgender issues.
Ignoring the obvious truth that transgender people have been using restrooms that match their gender expression since there have been restrooms, and having not a single example of a transgender person committing a criminal sexual act against a cis-gendered person in such facilities, the anti-transgender movement has sparked a nationwide freak-out against retail giant Target. Target recently responded to the North Carolina legislation by reaffirming their policy of inclusion and equality, stating that “We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity. Everyone deserves to feel like they belong.” An online petition has garnered over a million “signatures” condemning Target, and supporting a boycott. (since the site allows anything to be entered into name and address fields, and will accept anything with a gmail.com address regardless whether it’s valid or not, fraud cannot be ruled out, and the count cannot be accepted as reliable. Regardless of the real numbers, Target doesn’t seem fazed.)
An ironic Internet meme has been making the rounds in response. In a still image from a recent movie, Sam Elliott is looking into the camera with a withering look on his face. The message reads something like “you think laws about guns won’t stop criminals from using them, but a law about bathrooms will stop criminals from molesting children? You’re a special kind of…” well, you know the rest, right?
The small government folks are only for small government when it suits their purposes. Otherwise, they’re all for imposing controls on local authorities that dare to challenge the status quo. Charlotte was slapped down by a GOP controlled state legislature, and trans individuals are going to be the ones paying the ultimate price.
California’s laws protecting transgender individuals from discrimination haven’t brought the state to a stand-still, and cis-gendered residents seem able to use restrooms and locker rooms in peace, usually unaware that a transgender person is next to them. North Carolina, however, has seen a tsunami of negative reaction, with major businesses and entertainers deciding to take their activities elsewhere. Billions of dollars of Federal money may also be jeopardized. The immediate back-lash has stunned the anti-trans crowd, leaving them sputtering about “liberal media bias” and “misunderstandings” of the law. What’s clear, however, is that North Carolina has increased the likelihood that transgender individuals will be harassed and assaulted when trying to use restrooms and other facilities.
In California, state law protects transgender individuals. If you or someone you know is transgender, and are experiencing discrimination issues, theSOURCE LGBT center is available to assist. Resources and referrals are available to help resolve problems. From restroom access, discrimination in employment, accommodations, or housing, medical care, or any other aspect of daily living, theSOURCE has the knowledge to help. Contact theSOURCE at http://thesourcelgbt.org or https://www.facebook.com/thesourcelgbt The Center itself will soon be open for walk-in visits. Look for hours of operation to be published soon.
(Disclosure: I am a member of the Board of Directors at theSOURCE LGBT+ Center)