James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Don't women's bathrooms have stalls? So who cares?

A new North Carolina law requires transgendered persons to use public restrooms of the sex they were at time of their birth. It has sparked outrage; Bruce Springsteen, for instance, is refusing to perform in the state. And that outrage has sparked a counter-outrage. For example, ESPN baseball broadcaster Curt Schilling  raised the specter of cross-dressing men sharing bathrooms with little girls. He was fired for his remarks.

This has been an eye-opener for me. I didn't know this was such a problem. But it must be. After all, conservatives tend to be skeptical of laws that micro-manage every little detail in life, especially if the risks are minor and there are already laws on the books that address the underlying concern.

Now, I have been in women's bathrooms. To take out the garbage because it was part of my job. Once or twice by mistake. Those I have been in have had bathroom stalls, just like men's bathrooms. Only they have more stalls and no urinals.

For NC's law to make sense, apparently my experience is an outlier. Apparently... 
  • In most women's rooms, there are no stalls separating the toilets, so female "private parts" are exposed.
  • In defiance of my personal experience and what we routinely see in tv and movies, women do not actually go to the restroom together for protection. 
  • Parents routinely send little girls into the public bathroom alone. 
  • A law will actually stop men from posing as women to get into  a women's bathroom for whatever perverse thrill that may provide.
  • Male-to-female transgendered persons actually do get some perverse thrill by using the same facilities as little girls or women.
  • There are no indecent exposure laws, or they don't apply to women's bathrooms. 

It seems to me that NC legislators made a "mountain out of a molehill" except that the molehill is nothing. Whether is was motivated by transgender bigotry or not, it's a law that "solves" a non-problem. 

Everyone of us knows little girls we care about whom we would not want to see harmed. Daughters, nieces, neighbor kids, whomever. I see no less risk to them with laws such as North Carolina's, and no greater risk without them. Either way, the public restroom is one the last places I'd worry about them.

Heck, maybe we're better off integrating restrooms. Urinals one side behind a wall, sinks in the middle, stalls on the other side that anyone can use. Then we can all shut up already about this non-issue.

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