Monday, December 14, 2009

Potty Paranoia

Leave it to the Rabid Religious Right Repuglicans to carry their opposition to equal rights for LGBT people to the most absurd extreme.

GOP Potty The next big culture war battle is about to be waged in an unlikely place: the restroom. After many years, Congress may finally have the votes to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The measure, which the Obama administration views as key to advancing gay rights, would ban workplace discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgendered people. But Christian right groups are fighting the legislation -- on the grounds that it would force businesses to allow transgendered and "transitioning" men and women to use opposite-sex restrooms or face lawsuits from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Traditional Values Coalition, a major foe of ENDA, has written a lengthy report on the potential dangers of the legislation, and the bathroom crisis is high on the list. As proof of the coming bathroom integration, it cites a Seattle incident in which two women who were taking male hormones were thrown out of a men's room at the Washington convention center. The women were staging a "pee-in" as part of a Gender Odyssey Conference, but TVC sees "she-men" invading the hallowed confines of men's restrooms everywhere should ENDA pass.

In talking points issued to ENDA opponents, Liberty Counsel, the conservative public interest firm associated with Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, warns:

ENDA mandates that employers give access to shared facilities, such as restrooms and other similar facilities for those who are of the same sex, but have an opposite gender identity (i.e. a male identifying as female), or of those who have notified their employer of an ongoing gender transition (i.e. a male transitioning to a female). Those employees would be allowed to share restrooms and other similar facilities with members of the opposite sex.

Peter LaBarbera, president of the anti-gay group Americans for Truth, has called ENDA the "Transgendered Bathrooms for Business" bill. He frets on his Web site that women will be forced to share facilities with "a big-boned man claiming to be 'transitioning' to 'womanhood.'" He writes, "Biologically-born ladies, beware!"

Conservative activists warn that by pushing ENDA, the Obama administration is embracing not just the homosexual agenda, but that of liberal atheist George Soros. His Open Society Institute helped fund a 2005 study [pdf] by the Transgender Law Center called "Peeing in Peace: A Resource Guide for Transgender Activists and Allies," which argued for an end to the men's-only room. The study highlights the fact that some transgendered people have been fired because of issues related to bathroom use. By adding both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the language in federal anti-discrimination laws, ENDA would protect them, much to the religious right's chagrin.

Potty paranoia is the latest attempt by social conservatives to fight the march of gay rights promoted by the Obama administration... [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alternet>

During the Vietnam War a friend, who had served as a fighter pilot in Thailand (and became an anti-war activist on his return), told me a story about an experience there.  When he had recently arrived there, he went to a bar and asked the bartender about the facilities.  He entered the rest room to find an open ditch lined with tile.  Water flowed into the ditch from a pipe and out the other end through the wall.  While he was still looking at it, a woman entered the room and, paying no attention to him, squatted over the ditch.  He ran out of the room and asked the bartender where he could find the MEN’S facilities.  The bartender laughed at him.  Within a month, sharing a restroom with women had become second nature to him.  Many parts of the world have no separate facilities for the genders and they manage perfectly well.

In my opinion, extremist anti-gay Republican fanatics who are still in the closet present a far greater threat to the sanctity of men’s rooms than biological females with male gender identity.  Perhaps it might be better to have separate restrooms for Democrats and Repuglicans.  Independents could choose at the door, much as they do in the voting booth.


CrazyLiz said...

I appreciate the article; we in the transgender community don't get nearly as much exposure on our issues as we need in order to clear them up.
However, in the interest of improving future articles, I have a few observations for you. First, its transitioning, not "transitioning". There is nothing wink-wink or otherwise dubious about it; to get our records changed so we can live in peace, its required by both the laws of every state and by the medical community that hold themselves to be the gatekeepers of our right to live our lives as we feel we must.
Secondly, the two transmen accosted in Seattle are not women taking male hormones; they are transmen, period. Their hormonal treatments were not necessary to include in the story, as it was not an issue in the incident. Also, have you seen any pictures of the transmen from the incident? I see more feminine features on the men with whom I am forced to share facilities on my not-ready-for-trans college campus every day.
Finally, please do not use the phrase "she-men" even when quoting; it's insulting. If a quote contains that kind of language, its a slur, plain and simple, and unworthy of repetition. Would you repeat a quote containing the n-word in a discussion of race?
Otherwise, thank you for the article.

Mauigirl said...

It's all such a red herring that they're throwing out there. Women's rooms have stalls - it doesn't matter who is in the stall next to you, you're not seeing them, they're not seeing you.

Transitioning individuals who are changing from a wooman to a man going to men's rooms may be a little different because of the openness of urinals. But who cares? Gay men use the urinals too, does that mean that they should have their own bathroom? Come on, this is just ridiculous.

TomCat said...

Thanks Liz, and welcome. Your points are well taken, and I appreciate the input. For your future reference, when I insert part of an outside article, integrity requires that I do so verbatim. I always post such citations in black. Your objections were to the citation, not to my commentary, which is always in blue. I hope you understand that the only slur in intended was against your opponents, not against you.

Thanks Maui. I fully agree. I'd much rather pee next to a gay man or a transitioning one than a Republican.

Kevin said...

Where does the discrimination end? These individuals would surely be rejected by the very people who oppose such protective legislation. In their eyes, these people deserve zero protections because they are making a "lifestyle" choice, much like choosing to drink or smoke.

These laws are needed to ensure that everybody receives equal treatment.

In my opinion, the religious conservative agenda has been making a greater push to legitimize their hatred by bullying the GOP, and the GOP has been complicit in allowing them entry among their ranks. I hope more laws like this are passed in the future to help diminish the hold these anti-everything zealots have on our government.

Oso said...

I like the pic of "Wide-Stance" Larry Craig there.

Oso said...

I like the pic of "Wide-Stance" Larry Craig there.

Oso said...

Well, I didn't like it THAT much. I must have clicked twice.

TomCat said...

Kevin, I agree completely.

If you like it that much, does that mean you lave a thing for Larry and his stance? ;-)

Lisa G. said...

I'm a hetero woman - I have peed in more men's rooms than I can count. Go to a bar sometimes - there's never a line to the guys bathrooms, but the girls are backed up a mile outside. Men's rooms have stalls too; I know, I don't have the equipment to use a urinal. I don't care who's peeing next to me; as long as I can go, that is waaayyyy more important than who's in the bathroom.

Really, bathrooms? I like the idea of having one bathroom for everyone. I got looks in the ladies rooms when I brought my 6 yo boy in there; really, you have a problem with that? It's not like he was peeing in the sink!

Go find another bathroom or go outside.

TomCat said...

Lisa, isn't it amazing how the right keeps harping on non issues. If the ladies room is full, you're welcome to share my Kitty box. Just bury it well. ;-)