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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Bathrooms: For some, they’re a sanctuary of privacy from incessantly annoying roommates. For others, they inspire a frantic cleaning spree before an unexpected visit from mom and dad. But for those in the transgender community, bathrooms represent civil struggle.

On March 23, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed an “anti-bathroom” bill blocking transgender individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond with their biological sex. Now aside from the other discriminatory provisions of North Carolina’s bill, we at the Alligator want to highlight this specific bathroom position for a moment.

Overwhelmingly, though not exclusively, it’s Republican legislators who support “anti-bathroom” legislation. But is this issue really that conservative? 

Kaeley Triller Haver, a columnist for The Federalist, argued not all transgender people are predators, but the costs of not having such bathroom protections are too high: “There are countless deviant men in this world who will pretend to be transgender as a means of gaining access to the people they want to exploit, namely women and children.”

We acknowledge these concerns: The prevalence of child sexual abuse in our society is deplorable and must be combated. But are transgender people using the “wrong” bathrooms really the right targets? We hear cases of men dressing as women to watch, harass and violate other women in the bathroom, acts that are undeniably criminal. But this is no way equivalent to transgender bathroom usage.

The evidence speaks for itself: A comprehensive Media Matters for America study interviewed police departments and state commissions from 12 different states that prohibit transgender discrimination in public accommodations — such as bathrooms — and there were no reported cases of bathroom assaults from transgender people or rising sex crimes.

So then why do we see such stark opposition to transgender rights? Why was the North Carolina act introduced, passed and then signed by the governor in less than 12 hours? It’s all about politics. Plain and simple. Look no further than the Republican Gov. McCrory himself. In 2015, he vetoed a bill regarding same-sex marriage discrimination. Why is it now, in 2016, we see the sudden change of heart in McCrory? Perhaps it’s because he’s up for re-election this November and needs support from his voter base to clear his polling gap.

Again, we ask: Is this “anti-bathroom” position truly conservative? We’ve already established how party leaders prioritize their personal agendas. How about conservative principles, such as fiscal responsibility? 

Well, from businesses such as PayPal and Google Ventures threatening to cancel all new investments in North Carolina based on the new law’s discriminatory provisions, the state is projected at losing millions. How can such a policy be of the conservative camp when it’s entirely fiscally irresponsible?

That’s because this bathroom issue and LGBTQ+ rights aren’t really liberal versus conservative issues in principle. We’ve been sold this notion of “the PC left-wingers infringing on family values,” but at the end of the day, this issue is bipartisan and concerns constitutionality and civil rights. Fifty years ago, it was “those dangerous African-Americans.” Now, we’re at the next step of progress.

Before we’re Republicans or Democrats, we’re Americans, and it’s our duty to stand together to protect civil rights. So to transgender public accommodations discrimination, or bathroom rights, we say let transgender people have their pee in the same way everyone wants their Wi-Fi, and let the stream flow fast and free.

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