Commentary

9 bathroom myths about trans people debunked

  1. Right Wing Talking Point: Let the states decide.

You know we’re talking about the south, right? Where 50 years after Loving v. Virginia republicans control everything, and 46% of them think interracial marriage should still be illegal, (only 30% believe it should be legal)? Where Alabama didn’t remove anti-miscegenation laws until 2001? And 11 states still have Jim Crow laws on the books? Where 12 years after Lawrence v. Texas, a dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books?

So, given all of this, what makes anyone think that these states would come up with a solution that is constitutional?

  1. Right Wing Talking Point: We shouldn’t have to accommodate a tiny minority.

The most recent studies of transgender populations in the US found that .5 percent of the population identifies as transgender. Similarly, about .69 percent of the US population uses a wheelchair. However, unlike the Americans with Disabilities Act, accommodating transgender people usually requires nothing more than being willing to share space with someone.

It’s not that accommodating transgender people is difficult or costly.  It’s just that people who don’t want to do so don’t like transgender people on principle.

  1. Right Wing Talking Point: “Normal” people shouldn’t be made uncomfortable by sharing space with transgender people.

How would someone sound if they said they shouldn’t have to share bathrooms with black people? Or Jews? How about Mexicans? That would basically be the definition of racism, anti-Semitism, and nationalism. Then how is refusing to share space with transgender people not transphobia?

Want more proof this is a phobia?  Almost everyone has probably shared a bathroom with a transgender person at some point in their life, and never knew it. This implies that people are ok with sharing space with transgender people, as long as they don’t look gender non-conforming in some way. As such, opposition this isn’t about transgender people, so much as fear of a stereotype about transgender people. We see this evidenced in how many gender non-conforming (cisgender) women are being attacked and accosted.

Let’s be clear: this talking point is nothing more than a “nice” expression of an irrational bias against a stereotype of a class of people.

  1. Right Wing Talking Point: Sexual predators will exploit protections for transgender people.

Politifact busted this one. So did the Washington Post. There is no evidence that people have ever exploited transgender inclusive non-discrimination ordinances in the US to commit crimes.  They concluded: “We haven’t found any instances of criminals convicted of using transgender protections as cover in the United States. Neither have any left-wing groups or right-wing groups.”

Most mainstream media outlets, like the LA Times, Washington Post, and New York Times have concluded that this talking point is nothing more than fear mongering.

  1. Right Wing Talking Point: There’s nothing discriminatory about HB2: everyone can still use bathrooms in accordance with their birth gender.

The Supreme Court considered and rejected the exact same arguments in 1967 and 2015. In 1967, it was argued that everyone has the same right to marry people of their own race. In 2015 it was argued in Obergefell that everyone had the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex. In each case, it was decided that these were inferior options which interfered with the fundamental rights with the individuals involved.

Similarly, for transgender people the option of bathrooms which do not match the gender they live in, or a materially inferior alternate, interferes with their ability to function in society without a rational basis.

In other words, the courts didn’t buy it then, and they won’t buy it now.

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