Last Wednesday North Carolina, lawmakers passed a devastating bill that would, among other things, force transgender persons like myself to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender on their birth certificate. Like most places that enact these laws, the NC lawmakers who drafted the bill have suggested that trans people more specifically trans women (because unfortunately we are most often the target when people draft laws like these), are simply men in dresses looking to sexually harass or otherwise attack women in restrooms.
Only… I have a query on that front, ignoring the fact that no one has been able to find evidence of this, first and foremost I must question, how on Earth did you even come to this conclusion? Besides the fact it doesn’t happen, would a ‘man’ even need to dress like a woman were he going to do such a thing? The fact is, if this were something that were going to happen, it would happen. I realize many are still stuck in the era of Silence of the Lambs when we think of trans people; who spoiler alert everyone said Buffalo Bill was NOT ACTUALLY TRANS, but I digress. The point is folks, if some hypothetical ‘man’ were to do something like this, I can’t imagine he would take the time to pretend to be a woman.
The reality is, people like me, aren’t pretending. And guess what, my identification says female, but because of complications with other laws, my birth certificate does still say male. Which means that according to this law, I would be forced to use a men’s room. I realize this may be hard to believe but actually you can’t just tell someone is transgender just by looking at them. And even if you can, so the fuck what?
Is your ability to judge whether or not a person looks male or female really worth putting actual real people at risk for abuse and harassment? Because the reality is, for far too many trans people using the restroom of their gender is already dangerous, but it’s not safer the other way either. Many supporters of this bill say ‘no men in women’s restrooms’ but seem not to realize that hey, trans men exist and they are men, and if you force them to use a woman’s bathroom you are essentially PLACING MEN IN WOMEN’S BATHROOMS! Because apparently, we have come to the point where liberty and justice for all does not include those who want to pee without being harassed. One last thing before I go. Because again, I am still curious how this is going to work…
Who exactly is going to stand in front of bathrooms and ask for papers? Who is carrying their birth certificate or ‘original birth certificate’ for that matter. Far be it for me to question the wisdom of the North Carolina lawmakers that created this law, but beyond a huge nuisance, ridiculous, and not to mention a human rights nightmare, there’s a component few lawmakers considered. Do you really want people carrying around their birth certificate in their pockets and/or purses? Think about the potential for identity theft. Your birth certificate carries a lot of private information including your birthdate, your full name, and your parents full names and birth dates.
At a certain point all of the hypothetical situations in which this bill works becomes less a law about protecting people from a hypothetical trans boogeyman and becomes a very real human rights violation for many people including but not limited to cisgender people who happen to look more butch or more femme than their gender suggests they ought to. Mark my words, it will only be a matter of time before a masculine cis woman, or feminine cis man find themselves forced to show a birth certificate because of this law. If you live in North Carolina and you see this law as ridiculous as it is, let your legislative body know how you feel. Because this sort of thing isn’t acceptable nor should it be.
And if you are in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alaska, and Kansas or anywhere they are attempting to enact similar laws discriminating against LGBTQIA persons, please help make sure that is not allowed to go through by letting your state representatives know how you feel about it.
The good news, and actually this story does have good news is that North Carolina is facing a lawsuit over their human rights violation and while it’s likely that it will reach the Supreme Court before the case is fully put to rest, it’s good to know that these laws aren’t going unchallenged.