Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday scenes: on public toilets

National Park facilities often get this right
I take this eruption of wingnut craziness personally: Lawmaker Wants To Pay Students $2,500 If They See A Transgender Person In The ‘Wrong’ Bathroom.

Let me explain: although I've never doubted that I'm a woman, for all my 67 years I've been a woman who all too frequently inspires gender anxiety in people I encounter. They can't instantly identify whether I'm male or female and it is very important to their own equilibrium that the first glance at me answer that question. Because I'm outsize for the average female, strangers who are not paying attention often make me a male.

Okay, their problem. I'm pretty relaxed about this. It's been happening for a long time. But the one place where it continues to trouble me is in public bathrooms. Every time I enter one, I risk being met either with silent looks of shock and perhaps terror -- or with aggressive demands to go use the other room. It's drag. I just want to pee.

Enter a Kentucky legislator who wants to ensure that his state's students never get over this childish gender absolutism. His prescription is radical:
Sen. C.B. Embry Jr. (R) has introduced what he calls the Kentucky Student Privacy Act (SB 76), which would force all students to be identified by their “biological sex” as determined by their chromosomes and what was assigned to them according to their anatomy at birth, essentially erasing transgender students. The bill requires that bathrooms and locker rooms must be divided according to “biological sex,” and schools are forbidden from accommodating transgender students by allowing them access to any facility “designated for use by students of the opposite biological sex while students of the opposite biological sex are present or could be present.”

... The bill provides that any student who encounters “a person of the opposite biological sex” in a bathroom or locker room shall have a legal cause of action if it’s because the school gave the trans student permission or didn’t explicitly prohibit the trans student from using that facility. The “aggrieved” student would be entitled to $2,500 from the offending school “for each instance” he or she encountered a trans student in a sex-divided facility in addition to monetary damages “for all psychological, emotional, and physical harm suffered” and attorney fees.
Mr. Embry should take his personal insecurities about gender and go home. No need to visit them on the young people of Kentucky. His anxious binary world simply doesn't exist and the sooner they learn that, the better.

In honor of Mr. Embry, here are some of my collection of public bathroom curiosity photos (sure, I collect these like every other subject; no people included, of course, except me .)

UPDATE: Because of low turnout in last year's essentially uncontested gubernatorial election, it will now require closer to 365000 signatures, instead of over 500000, to put a law on the 2016 ballot. The San Jose Mercury reports that we may be asked to vote on a bathroom anxiety law that didn't make it this year under the old requirements.

BATHROOM BILL: A conservative advocacy group tried putting a transgender student rights bill -- which allows transgender students to pick which bathrooms and locker rooms they want to use -- on last year's ballot as a referendum and narrowly failed. Now that the signature threshold is lower, the group may try again to reverse the legislation.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

I had not heard this one from the crazy, radical right. I just keep thinking I've heard it all but I haven't.

To be honest, I am amazed that people pay any attention to others in the bathroom. It's sure not on my list of what I need to do. I just want to be sure someone didn't pee all over the seat because they weren't willing to put the lid up or sit on it!

But it even more amazes me that a legislator would propose such stupidity. Who cares??? It seems to me some are only interested in causing paranoia over non issues. :( And it makes me wonder more about them than who else was in the public bathroom at the same time I was. I guess we are in for quite a ride for the next two years :(

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