Over the last few weeks, passionate arguments have been made in support of or against House Bill 2, the bill that requires transgender people in North Carolina to use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. I even saw a long, eloquent post on an acquaintance’s Facebook wall regarding how unfair it was to label those who oppose the bill as bigots or homophobic. The post ends with a passionate plea for us to just stop with all of the labels, receiving numerous likes and comments patting the author on the back for his “bravery.”
Most recently, I’ve taken to hanging up on my sister for making transphobic statements.
She’s embarrassing me.
We grew up in a Christian household. A Christian household that spawned the ingrained quote, “God is love and God made all of us so who are you to imply that God made a mistake.” A Christian household that has never sat on the couch and quietly allowed other family members to name our LGBTQ family members as abominations. We don’t follow those views. We don’t silently oppose them– because to remain quiet is to silently acquiesce.
So how did a member of my family member grow to have such hateful views and support HB2?
My sister spouts the same tired rhetoric I’ve heard day in and day out for the last month. “Would you want this person in your bathroom?” “Now my child can never go to the bathroom alone.” And finally, “This is just a way to stop child molesters from entering bathrooms. This is about protecting our children.” But there have been no recorded incidents of a transgender person assaulting a child in a bathroom and no recorded incidents of someone cross-dresseding to gain access to a bathroom and commit a crime.
So let’s talk about this.
First and foremost, I want to say this: HB2 gives exactly 0 fucks about protecting our children. 0. Fucks.
Politician Dennis Hastert just got 15 months in prison in relation to charges surrounding hush money that revealed he was accused of sexually abusing young boys while he was a teacher. Charges could not even be brought against him for the molestation because of the long-expired statute of limitations.
Eric Devin Masters, a man who videotaped the rape of a bound 18-month-old is the same man who was given 36 days in jail and five years on probation after pleading no contest to second-degree criminal-sexual conduct for a prior charge involving a 13-year-old.
A Montana judge thought that the 30 days Stacey Rambold, a teacher, had served for raping a 14-year-old student was plenty of time. The ruling was overturned since Montana requires a sentence of at least four years for raping someone under 16.
In recent years even Charles Manson bragged that he had raped a boy when he was young and people who are now all of a sudden advocates against child abuse did not bat an eye.
You know what these men have in common? They are all white cisgender men. And, remarkably, no new bills have been introduced “for our children” as a result of their abuse. We haven’t revisited the statutes of limitations topic in light of Dennis Hastert’s abusive behavior. Even harsher penalty for the abuse of power hasn’t been revisited. And as we all know, there’s no higher power than God– except maybe the Vatican.
Between 2004-2014, 3,400 cases of sex abuse were brought to the Vatican— not including those handled by local diocesan tribunals. 3,000 accusations were made between 2001-2009 —but on average there are with no civilian laws dictating their use of restrooms given that many are not required to register as sex offenders.
There are no laws dictating politicians’ or religious officials’ use of restrooms.
So HB2 is not about protecting our children.
HB2 is about labels. HB2 is about tagging the monster we couldn’t see. HB2 is a witch hunt in which members of the transgender community are being labeled as child molesters, predators who try to grab your children and run. If we are going to beg that people just stop using labels, we should start here.
— Michael C. Hughes (@_michaelhughes1) March 24, 2016
It is only fair to point out that studies have shown that there is no evidence that modern priests abuse children at a higher rate than the rest of the American public. Child molestation is incredibly common and most abusers know their victims. It is unlikely that abusers happen upon victims in the restroom.
What is more likely is that a transgender person will be sexually assaulted just for existing. While violence against children and girls perpetrated by transgender people has not been documented, the violence of men against transgender individuals, both transgender men and transgender women is available and it shows that this segment of the population, particularly transgender people of color, face real, tangible, documented risks. Every day of their lives.
Transgender women are more likely to commit suicide, become a victim of murder, police brutality, or sexual violence than any other group in our society.
The other two ridiculous points supporters of HB2 bring up regarding their superior rights to being comfortable in public restrooms are irrelevant. You weren’t allowing your child to go to the bathroom alone in the first place. Please put that untruth to rest.
And if you were fine with the choir lady who has 7 chin hairs and the shoulders of a New England Patriots linebacker sharing your precious space at the sink, then I think you’ll be fine with the transgender person using the bathroom that they identify with. Chances are you wont even notice.
But let’s say you do notice: you might be uncomfortable, but they will be safe. And the safety of transgender people, a group of people who are proven to be at risk of sexual violence, can be further protected by repealing HB2.
The safety of this community trumps your comfort.