Bathroom equality: Virginia and North Carolina

Associated Press: Court overturns Virginia school’s transgender bathroom rule. The rule, implemented by the Gloucester County School Board, prohibited a transgender teen from using the boy’s bathroom. The 4th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals ruled that the school board not only violated Title IX, the federal law prohibiting discrimination in schools, but also ignored a US Department of Education rule requiring that transgender students must be allowed to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity.

The case as decided by the appeals court seems cut and dried. The case argued by the school board, and behind North Carolina’s hysterical anti-LGBT law last month, seems more rooted in fear and bigotry than in the law. The concept that transgender students are more likely to commit sex crimes in public restrooms than GOP lawmakers is a fallacy, and in trying to protect against this strawman case, the rights of transgender people are being sacrificed.

Put more simply: you’re a transgender boy, born female. Under North Carolina law you are told you must use the women’s room. How long until there is a massive outcry from women afraid that you are there to cause them harm? The net effect is to deny you the use of any public facilities at all, which is clearly discriminatory.

It would have been cheaper, and more intellectually honest, for the North Carolina GOP (and the Gloucester County School Board) to simply erect signs in hospitals, public schools, and airports that state “No transgender people.” Or, given the way the rhetoric is coming from GOP presidential candidates these days, “No transgender or Mexicans.”

In the words of I.F. Stone, “is it necessary to repeat after 2,000 years all the things you people learned in Sunday school?! How — how absent-minded — how forgetful!”