Who Birthed the Anti-Trans Bathroom Panic?

From The Pacific Standard:  http://www.psmag.com/politics-and-law/who-birthed-anti-trans-bathroom-panic

Conservatives and religious groups are borrowing myths about transgender people from feminists.

Mar 22, 2016

On a new campaign website in North Carolina, under a silhouette of a woman and some kids crowding her clip-art triangle skirt, there’s this text: “Days Until Charlotte Bathrooms Are Unsafe for Your Family” and there’s a clock ticking down. Fifteen days, some hours, and change. Your first thought might be like mine: I’m not sure why all these families are using bathrooms together, and if they are, doesn’t that mean there’s parental supervision? You won’t find a word for the thing that the people behind this website think is so unsafe, not even on any of the Pinterest-ready images they’ve posted. There, an array of smiling people are also, according to the text adorning them, absolutely horrified at the idea of “women and girls” being forced to use bathrooms with or having to undress around “men.”

The word the people behind this website are loathe to use is “transgender.” What they are so scared of is not the fate of their children, but a legal recognition of the rights of transgender people.

So let’s start there, on a point much of the media has ignored, a simple one that could also work on a Pinterest meme: This is not a bathroom panic; it’s an anti-trans panic.

In 16 states to date, legislatures have been made into arenas for this fight. As I wrote a few weeks back, anti-trans campaigners have marketed their legislative targets as having something to do with bathrooms—or changing rooms, locker rooms, and other places that stir up all kinds of emotions about privacy, sex, and the body. But that’s precisely the point, finding a hook of convenient fears to hang a much broader agenda meant to roll back rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people (as well as lesbians, gays, and bisexuals) in America.

The conservative trump card, the myth that women and girls face a particular threat from transgender women, is still alive, painfully, in feminist circles.

Their campaign doesn’t seem to be letting up. It has two legislative strategies: defeating anti-discrimination bills using trans panic, as well as passing anti-trans bills stripping rights. The Republican National Committee passed a resolution this January encouraging states to go on attack, stating, “These Obama gender identity [their italics] policies are a federal governmental overreach, a misinterpretation of Title IX policies, and an infringement upon the majority of students’ Constitutional rights.”

But where is all this stuff coming from? This specific angle, the idea that gender identity is something made up (a topic for another day, and a longer reading list), something used to manipulate or dupe—that the self-determination of transgender people presents a threat to the rights of (not that they put it this way) cisgender people, or even that transgender people themselves are a threat—this isn’t new. It recalls every culture war argument about “special rights” for LGBT people. The conservative right has long linked gender non-conformity to political deviance. It’s why Pat Buchanan would not only consider LGBT rights unacceptable, but also would describe the Democratic National Convention in 1992 as an event where “20,000 radicals and liberals came dressed up as moderates and centrists–in the greatest single exhibition of cross-dressing in American political history.”

This stuff—the invocation of a threat to the personhood of anyone who isn’t trans, this victim mentality so divorced from the reality of anti-trans discrimination and violence—is not the province of the conservative right alone. The conservative trump card, the myth that women and girls face a particular threat from transgender women, is still alive, painfully, in feminist circles.

Continue reading at:  http://www.psmag.com/politics-and-law/who-birthed-anti-trans-bathroom-panic

2 Responses to “Who Birthed the Anti-Trans Bathroom Panic?”

  1. mizknowitall Says:

    Why in all this noise is there never any mention of the gigantic elephant in the room?
    Hetrosexual Transvestites?
    Or that their flat out insistence upon admission to all womens spaces, rather than gender neutral isn’t about rights, it’s about coercivelly forcing women to participate in a sexual fantasy! Or the argument that they can’t use mens facilities, because “male violence” isn’t a valid argument for women, if the men in question are wearing lipstick!

    Why can’t they be honest? Fuck gender! If you want to wear a skirt, wear a skirt, if you like jewelry, wear jewelry! instead they hide behind transsexuals, ALWAYS ducking the question of surgery with “its none of your business, and not all trans need surgery to be women!” Sorry, women don’t have a swinging dick!

    The reason why is, if any of this were addressed openly. Women’s spaces would be permanently closed to 80% of the trans-woman population, and they would have to face head on the gigantic issue of male violence rather than running and hiding behind women who have no choice but to face it every single day of their lives!

    • Suzan Says:

      You know you might have a point.
      Except The only fucks supporting this sort of bullshit are women hating misogynistic pigs who have done their damnedest to harm women at every turn by closing Women’s Clinics that provide abortion and birth control. By making sure that birth control isn’t covered by health insurance. By refusing to process rape evidence gathering kits. By refusing to so support laws guaranteeing equal pay and equal access.

      In short the only things that these legislators support are things that harm women.

      Have you considered this law will force F to Ms to use the women’s rooms.

      It also requires long term post-op women to use the men’s room. I guess that means you will cheerfully volunteer to be the first to start using the men’s room. After all it is for the protection of women.

      This assigned female at birth man will by law be required to use the women’s room. Buck Angel

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