I admit, it’s heartening to see the outpouring of outrage over the latest so-called Religious Liberty laws and that clueless politicians are paying a price for pandering to the bigots. And it’s nice to see that some of the other bigots are starting to realize that pandering no longer works to their advantage.
But there is still plenty of fight left, so we can’t relax or pat ourselves on the back, just yet: Nevada Lawmaker Proposes New Anti-Transgender Bill Pushed By Out-Of-State Lobbyist. And that’s just the latest in this wave: The growing trend of transgender ‘bathroom bully’ bills – Nevada, Florida, Texas and others have proposed bills that would bar trans kids from using certain school bathrooms.
The religious liberty bills are toxic. They address a non-existent problem. Freedom of conscience is already protected thanks to the Constitutions’s first amendment and loads of Supreme Court rulings. And the religious liberty bills can be used to discriminate against a whole lot of people, including trans* kids who just want to got to school and while at school sometimes they need to pee just like everyone else.
But these bathroom bully bills are just as toxic. They are also addressing an imaginary problem. It really is imaginary, and we can prove it:
Media Matters has a nice compilation of statements from law enforcement officials and other experts from the 12 states that have had laws protecting transgender people on the books for a while (some going back to 1993!) about whether or not all those predictioned sexual assaults in bathrooms and locker rooms have occurred. Shockingly, no such assault has occurred in any of those twelve states. Who would have thought?
Please look at that chart, and repeat this to any people who start repeating those claims about bathroom assaults: some states have by law allowed trans* people to use whichever bathroom matches their own gender identity since 1993, and not once, ever, has anyone used that law as a means to sneak into a bathroom and assault someone. Not once.
The problem is that while it’s pretty easy to get people worked up about a really broad-based license to discriminate law, it’s a little more difficult to get those same people to rally against these bathroom bully bills. Because a lot of people who think of themselves as liberal and open-minded, who label themselves “gay allies” still have problems with transgender people. And they still get irrational about anything having to do with “children.”
They wring their hands and say vague (but very emotionally laden) things like, “I don’t want my kids seeing… um…”
Here’s part of how you respond to that. “I get it. But think about it, none of us want to actually watch what people go into bathrooms for, right? You want to go in, do your business, wash your hands, and get out, right? Well, so do they.”