Thursday, March 24, 2016

Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go Right Now

If you need to ask why our fictional happy endings matter, consider the fact that in real life our very existence still continues to be denied on the most basic human level. Yesterday, the North Carolina legislature passed and governor signed one of the most aggressive anti-LGBT legislations in the country. The bill, was rushed (and I mean rushed – a special session was convened and the bill pushed through in 10 hours with the governor signing Wednesday night) through by state Republicans in a knee-jerk, kick-in-the-head reaction to an anti-discrimination ordinance passed in Charlotte, the state’s largest city, giving LGBT people equal protection based on sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity.

Well, of course, that wouldn’t do. No, allowing us to peacefully pursue our life, liberty and happiness like every other citizen simply wouldn’t do for the GOP-led statehouse. So they wrote up a new law that prohibits local ordinances from superseding the state law, which does not protect people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In essence, they repealed every single LGBT anti-discrimination law in the state, all at once. Oh, and the new law also prohibits local ordinances from raising the minimum wage above the state level – just to punch poor working-class folks in the teeth for good measure, too.

So how did they pull off this hateful coup? Well, they pulled out the newest weapon in the Right Wing’s arsenal against LGBT people. It’s the newest faux battlefront in the so-called culture wars. Bathrooms.

To quote the state’s Republican Governor:

Yes, America is deathly afraid of trans people who have to go pee.

This is not the first time, nor clearly will be the last time, that this ridiculous, clearly false narrative about protecting the sanctity of our restrooms has been used. Last November saw a very high-profile political fight in Houston about a proposed LGBT rights ordinance ultimately failed when the opposition framed the fight as such: “No men in women’s bathrooms.”

Yes, it was that simple. This is the next great lie, the next big fear-mongering campaign LGBT folks must face. Since loving queer couples getting married hasn’t destroyed the very foundation of marriage and/or the fabric of our country, this is what the people who hate us have come up with next.

Trans people just trying to conduct one of the most essential of human biological functions are the latest boogeyman. Never mind that we all have to go sometimes. Never mind that transgender people are the ones actually facing increased violence and murder. A National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report from 2014 found violent hate crimes against transgender people has risen by 13 percent. This is true for trans women of color, in particular. A staggering 80 percent of trans people report experiencing harassment as youths. So you see, trans people are actually the ones more likely to be assaulted in a bathroom, locker room, wherever.

Since, thankfully, we have made some progress, this latest lie has been wrapped in another lie. Instead of most people just saying, outright, that they’re afraid of trans people, they’re pretending they’re afraid of random pervy men pretending they’re trans to gain access to women’s restrooms. The lie within a lie. (Not that pervy men don’t exist, they clearly do, but they’re already finding their own way into women’s restrooms, homes, lives by themselves just fine.)

The other, concurrent big lie the family values set has come up with, as you well know, is this whole “Religious Liberty” canard. How dare you have to bake a cake for a gay person? How dare you take away my ability to oppress you and treat you unequally based on religion? But, oh yeah, we should definitely have police patrol Muslim neighborhoods because that isn’t the kind of religious liberty we’re talking about.

So now our task is clear. We must all rise up against this vicious, insidious “bathroom safety” lie. We must all rise up against the hypocritical, incendiary “religious liberty” lie. These lies are just more in a long line of lies used to justify bigotry.

It’s also another reason we have to continue to press our politicians on the local, state and federal level to pass comprehensive LGBT rights legislation protecting sexual orientation and gender identity. Marriage equality was not the end of our battle, it was just the first big battle we have won. We cannot become complacent now. The other side has drawn its regressive line in the sand at the bathroom door. It is up to us to keep working, keep fighting, keep VOTING. Elections matter and one party obviously continues to cling to the wrong side of history. So if you are among the people saying, “If my candidate doesn’t win, I’m not voting,” please consider the consequences.

And, while some people might say, how can you care about a stupid TV show when our rights are being trampled in the real world, the answer is just as simple. How we are portrayed is integral to how we are perceived. When all people see on screen is our tragedy, is it any wonder they fail to value our happiness in real life? And, just as important, for all the LGBT people living out there facing these grim realities, the stories they see represent a glimmer of hope amid so much hopelessness. But take courage my gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning friends out there in North Carolina. You’re not alone. That law, above all else, has got to go. And we will make sure it does.

p.s. Adding a couple thoughts via Twitter.


Morgana Goossens said...

Dear Dorothy Snarker,
I have been following you for several years now but I can honestly say that you never cease to amaze me. I felt goosebumps reading this because I am naive enough to think that the world is improving. When my parents embraced my first girlfriend I could see improvement, when my 84 year old grandma said that someday I would meet my prince OR princess I felt it even more, when USA approved gay marriage all over the country I was positively flabbergasted and honestly felt like our fight was over or at least moving faster than I ever dared to hope.
But, as you said, it is not over and won't be any time soon, this recent bury your gays trope is a very good reminder of that as well. It is frustrating at times, but I am hopeful and arrogant enough to believe that if we keep bringing these matters to public and showing how ridiculous they are (and the arguments they use to justify it, I can't even begin to describe how erroneous and dangerous these are), as you always do in your posts, society will become a better place for all.
I am a very strong believer of reasonable argumentation and "changing minds" one person at a time. I urge everyone to keep fighting homophobia, chauvinism, racism, xenophobia, you name it, in EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY YOU CAN (unless when it is dangerous, of course). But I cannot emphasize it more, bigots will always be around and will always be loud, I commit myself to being louder EVERY SINGLE TIME :)
I am sure you have seen this video, but I absolutely adore it and like to watch it again to energize myself:
Thanks for being a beacon of wisdom in the midst of this crazy world

Carmen SanDiego said...

If these republicans care so much about "protecting women" why don't the provide funds for shelters for victims of domestic violence and funding for clearing the rape kits backlogs?
It's not like these laws will create force-fields in bathrooms that will keep some people out and let some people through...

Anonymous said...

Bernie supporters NEED to come out and vote democratic in the general election. Hold your nose if you must, but remember (or learn about) 2000. Ralph Nader split off voters and we ended up with George Bush. If democrats and progressive independents do not vote in the general election, we will end up with a republican and our rights will be rolled back faster than a sale at Walmart. The damage will not be limited to the presidential term, either, as he (not she, being a republican) will appointed justice(s) to SCOTUS during their term. That's a lifetime of impact. Talk to your friends and agree to vote even if Bernie is not the candidate. The rights you save may be your own.

Anonymous said...

As a queer woman living in North Carolina, thank you <3

Anonymous said...

What did expect5 from these Southerners?! Yeah I said it and I don't give a damn if they are all not the same. we get whjat we all in political office and as usual these sniveling mealy mouthed southerners bide their time until that developed the most hateful, divisive plane they could pull out of their asses.

Sad thing is that there are LGBT people who support this and the same goes for people of color.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I am an older gay woman. I've been through hell being a lesbian borne in the 40's.

But; have to say I have a problem with trans gender man to woman in the ladies room. First if you have 2 testicles and a penis you are a man and should be in the men's room. I don't care how kool your dress is. I used to hate it when cross dressers and all manner of males dressed as women would take over the ladies room in gay bars.

Do I want to hurt anyone or take away anyone's freedom NO. I also am entitled to my opinion and should be entitled to some measure of privacy.

If you don't agree with my opinion I don't give a S^%+. I'm tired of anything goes and the stupid PC police who pummel anyone who see's things differently. Because someone calls themselves a transgender doesn't mean they are a transgender.

If your still carrying you original parts then go to the correct restroom.... (JMHO)

mary said...

I don't care who uses the bathroom, as long as they put the seat down ;)