Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Biology-based Bathrooms

Those of us who follow the tactics of the anti-gay right have noticed a trend over the last couple years. Any time an ordinance or law comes up that would forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender expression, the opposition now tries to make it all about transgenders — and their main argument is that men will begin cross dressing in order to get into public women’s bathrooms.

We know this is a national strategy because we’ve seen the same pamphlets and commercials show up in city after city, from Gainesville, Florida to Kalamazoo, Michigan. One famous one showed a shifty-looking man looking vaguely evil as he follows a little girl into a girl’s bathroom, presumably to do something evil to them.

None of this is reality, of course. There isn’t a single documented case anywhere in the nation, as far as I know (and I’ve asked religious right leaders making this claim for examples and never heard any), of a transgendered person or a cross dresser (which is not the same thing) committing any crime in any bathroom anywhere in the country. In fact, the only examples they can come up with are of heterosexual men doing it. Do they really think that men who want to spy on or molest women in bathrooms are going to go have sex change operations to make it easier?

But I’m noticing a related meme cropping up, the idea of “biology-based bathrooms.” Any suggestion that transgendered or transsexual people should have equal rights is called an attack on biology-based bathrooms. But this is being made by people who are, of course, profoundly ignorant of biology — and in particular, of the biology of transgender, transsexual and intersexual people.

1 of every 1000 males in this country is born with XXY chromosomes. Are they male or female? Which bathroom should they use? The anti-gay bigots want the world to be a simple black and white place where everyone is obviously male or female, but the real world just doesn’t line up. Yes, most people fit comfortably into those categories, but a significant minority do not. And they didn’t choose to be that way. The bigots simply want to pretend that they don’t exist.

Here’s an article from the Worldnutdaily about the possibility of allowing transgendered students to choose which bathroom to use in schools in Maine. Do these wingnuts really believe that a high school kid is going to pretend to be transgendered in order to be allowed to use the girl’s bathroom so they can sneak a peek? Seriously? Do they not recognize the abuse taken by any kid who is even perceived as being less than perfectly male or perfectly female?

The truth is that they do recognize it. They just don’t care.