“Common Sense” about North Carolina HB2

Last week, I caught part of an interview with a defender of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 on NPR. This is, just to recap in case you are from Mars or something, the infamous “Bathroom Bill”, which, in addition to forbidding cities from passing local laws protecting the rights of the LBGT Community, specifies that a person’s gender assigned at birth, as evidenced by their birth certificate, shall be the sole arbiter of which public rest rooms they’re allowed to use. In response to the passage of the law, businesses such as PayPal have cancelled plans to expand into the state, New York, California, Washington and other locations have forbidden non-essential travel to the state for government employees, and Bruce Springsteen has cancelled a concert there. Defenders have for the most part backpedaled from saying outright that this bill is about them seriously just wanting trans people to just cease to exist and insist that it’s really about sex offenders who would be “emboldened” to “pretend” to be trans in order to sneak into the ladies room and commit sexual assault, since, apparently, someone who wants to commit sexual assault is liable to say, “Gee, I’d really like to go in there and break the laws against sexual assault, but breaking the law against going into a ladies’ rest room is just beyond the pale.”

Anyway, I just want to vent a little bit here about the arguments being made in defense of this nonsense.

  1. On the boycotts: funny, isn’t it, how the same people who claim we should “vote with our wallets” cry foul when our wallets decide we want nothing to do with a bunch of bigots.
  2. On The Boss Specifically: How exactly does someone get into the mindset, “I really liked Springsteen until I found out that he strongly supports equal rights and opposes oppression, which is something about him I had hitherto never suspected because I have not actually ever listened to any of his songs.”
  3. Sayeth the defender, “Well those companies that are pulling out of North Carolina have no problem outsourcing American jobs to third world countries with far worse human rights violations!” Um. You know that’s not exactly flattering, right? New state motto: “North Carolina: We’re technically better than a third world police state.”
  4. Sayeth the defender, “Just ask any five year old whether a man should be allowed in the women’s rest room!” Leaving aside for the moment that a transwoman is not a man, are you entirely sure that the musings of a five year old should be the basis for public policy? Admittedly, my son is only four, but we’re still struggling to break him of the belief that a woman shouldn’t be allowed to wear the color blue, because blue is a “boy color”.
  5. Also, however he feels about bathrooms, my four-year-old has absolutely no problem walking around in mixed company naked from the waist down, so maybe you should actually ASK a five-year-old how bothered they are by this
  6. Also, my son uses the women’s restroom pretty much every single time he goes anywhere with his mother, and once she’s old enough, I’m quite sure there will be times when I’ll be taking my daughter to the men’s room, so I challenge this whole “Any five year old knows that men shouldn’t be in the ladies’ room” thing.
  7. Also, it’s only been like three years since people were making the, “If you ask any five-year-old, they’ll tell you that marriage is between one man and one woman,” argument.
  8. Actually, let’s go back and stop leaving aside the whole “a transwoman is not a man” thing. You show your hypothetical five-year-old a picture of Caitlyn Jenner and ask which restroom she should be allowed to use. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that your hypothetical five-year-old isn’t going to ask to see a birth certificate.
  9. While we’re at it, can we dispense (or “dispel” as former presidential candidate Marco Rubio would put it) with the repeated claims that these bathroom bans are “common sense”. Here’s a nice “common sense” adage for you: “If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck, and flaps like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” If someone tells you they’re a woman, dresses like a woman, and wants to use the women’s rest room, it’s not “common sense” to demand to see a birth certificate before you let her take a leak.
  10. If anyone really thinks that a law requiring one to use the rest room matching the sex on one’s birth certificate is the only thing stopping sex offenders, perhaps we could just replace the Triangle-Stick-Person symbol with the bat-symbol, because criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot, and won’t go into a bathroom if they think Batman is there.

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