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 In essence, they repealed every single LGBT anti-discrimination law in the state, all at once.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.
1 What I didn’t touch on in my post on North Carolina is the new/old way they are framing their lies abt LGBT ppl… https://t.co/SCvYYdS9cG— Dorothy Snarker (@dorothysnarker) March 24, 2016
2…their argument is steeped in the same ages-old racist canard of bigotry perpetrated in the guise of protecting “women and children”…— Dorothy Snarker (@dorothysnarker) March 24, 2016
3…in this case “scary trans people” and “attacking in bathrooms” has become the new “black brute” and “raping white women” false boogeyman…— Dorothy Snarker (@dorothysnarker) March 24, 2016
4…see it for what it is: hate & scare-tactics hell-bent on keeping an underrepresented group of ppl from achieving equality/simply existing…— Dorothy Snarker (@dorothysnarker) March 24, 2016
5…so it is incumbent on us to swat back these lies, expose them for what they are – virulent oppression akin to antique antebellum thinking…— Dorothy Snarker (@dorothysnarker) March 24, 2016
6…because in truth trans ppl face more & more violence and are the ones who really must fear for their safety when simply trying to go pee.— Dorothy Snarker (@dorothysnarker) March 24, 2016