Saturday, October 31, 2009

B is for bathroom




  1. The following states have all been the battlegrounds for bathroom issues.

    1. Alaska: In Anchorage, Ordinance 64, a piece of anti-discrimination legislation, was watered down to exclude trans protections for fear that bathrooms would no longer be safe.
    2. Arizona: The 9th Circuit ruling in Kastl v. Maricopa County, wherein Rebecca Kastl was denied employment at a government funded community college because she desired use of the appropriate bathroom matching her gender presentation. Her job was terminated after she had commenced transition.
    3. California: SB 777 was used as fodder by Citizen Link (Focus on Family), the Christian Post, the Trumpet, as well as a number of local newspapers in the effort to scare California citizens into believing that bathrooms would no longer be safe, were the bill to be enacted. After passage, the bill was still called into question, and subsequently upheld as legal by a Sacramento Superior Court.
    4. Colorado: Colorado Springs is home of James Dobson and Focus on Family, so the unsuccessful attempt to prevent the enactment SB200 was no surprise. Regardless, the campaign waged by Dobson was underhanded, specious and relentless. The vitriol was spewed by many of Dobson’s cronies, e.g., World Net Daily “correspondent” Jane Folger and Mark Hotaling of Colorado Family Values. As in California, the argument alleged that perverts would run amok disguised as trans persons. Women and children would be targeted and law would sanction these attacks.
    5. Florida: This state was the scene of one of the ugliest campaigns aimed at distorting the facts. The Gainesville City Council was to vote on amending their discrimination policy to include transgender protections. The culprit here is the hate based organization called Citizens for Good Public Policy. Their dirtiest trick was the creation of a video featuring an undesirable man in men’s street clothes lurking by a public bathroom in a park frequented by children. After a five or six year old girl goes into the bathroom, he is seen following her in. The footer reads “Your City Commission Made This Legal”. There is nothing to suggest their odious proposition that passing trans protections will legalize this kind of victimizing behavior. In a side note, one of the antagonists in this campaign of hate and lies, a CVS manager, admitted to filming women in his store’s restroom. Talk about perverts…
    6. Iowa: the City Council of Ottumwa, IA deleted gender identity protections from its prospective anti-discrimination ordinance. The reasoning was two councilman’s fears that inclusion would open the door for pedophiles to frequent women’s restrooms.
    7. Maine: An unnamed thirteen-year-old girl has been persecuted and harassed because she wants to use the girl’s bathroom, the one which matches her gender identity. The Orono, ME. The Christian Civic League and its president, Paul Melanson, whose grandson attends the same school, have assaulted the school system. The grandson had been encouraged by Melanson to follow this poor girl into the girl’s room, ostensibly on the grounds that he should legally be able to go in there too. Twice he did this. Twice he was suspended. It’s obvious that the grandfather has instigated his grandson to harass this girl. In June of 2009, the Barre Montpelier Time Argus reported “The Maine Human Rights Commission says the Orono School Department discriminated against a transgender child who was denied access to the girls' restroom.”
    8. Maryland: As mean-spirited and nasty as Gainesville, FL., Montgomery County Maryland in metro DC was the scene of an equally disturbing battle. Like Gainesville, the dirtiness of the tactics was extreme, but perhaps even more scary was the degree to which bigots will go to defend their intolerance. The hate-spewing group here calls itself Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government. In its attempt to undermine the County’s gender identity inclusive law about to take effect, the group and its president Dr. Ruth Jacobs allegedly collected 25,000 signatures to force a referendum. Sadly, they used illegal tactics to bolster that list of names, and Maryland’s highest court ruled against the referendum. One of the sleaziest tactics used by MCRG was to send a hetero male, dressed in drag, into a local health club to incite fear and panic. Their ploy was discovered and this group’s cover was blown.
    9. Massachusetts: HB 1728 came to be called the “bathroom bill” by opponents and adversaries. Evelyn Reilly of the Massachusetts Family Institute put the grouip’s concerns like this: "[For example] if...a man believes or pretends to believe that he is actually a woman, then you could not question, challenge, or stop him from entering a woman's bathroom, shower, locker room, fitness facility, or whatever.” This is the typical red herring argument meant to sow the seeds of fear. Sadly, Massachusetts has not passed a bill which protects the rights of those who express diverse gender.
    10. Michigan: The cities of Kalamazoo and Hamtramck were both sites of bathroom issue conflicts. The latter saw an enacted city ordinance rescinded after the local contingent of American Family Association gathered support comprised, partially, of Catholic priests and Muslim clerics. This is in a community that overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama in the presidential election. Of additional note, the Muslim community had been recently fighting against it’s own community’s victimization at the hands of discrimination, bigotry and intolerance.

    Kalamazoo has been an ongoing battleground for the last twelve months. The internet heavies…OneNewsNow and WorldNetDaily… have weighed in on numerous occasions, and this one, again, has trans individuals and bathrooms in the crosshairs. Gary Glenn, of Michigan AFA, has led the attack. Initially, the argument was based on fear of the “homosexual agenda” He asserted,“This ordinance violates the First Amendment rights of religion and free speech of those who oppose cross-dressing and homosexual behavior." It seems as though AFA is alleging that it would be discriminatory to disallow the kind of discrimination practiced by fundamentalists under the cloak of First Amendment protections. He has also been credited with creating a flyer reading: “IS THERE A MAN IN YOUR DAUGHTER'S BATHROOM?" Echos of Gainesville resonate. Subsequently, the argument was amended by averring that an ordinance was not needed because discrimination does not really exist in Kalamazooo.
    11. New Hampshire: HB415 was brought before the New Hampshire legislature in the Spring of 2009. Just as in Massachusetts, it came to be called “the bathroom bill”. The fight was as just as contentious. The same principals weighed in… OneNewsNow and WorldNetDaily. The argument was the same. Passage of HB415 would give boys and men carte blanche to invade girls’ and women’s restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms. It would legalize predation of girls and women in the sanctity of their safe place because predators would masquerade as women. This bill did not receive sufficient legislative support; no protections exist in New Hampshire.
    12. Tennessee: Shelby County (Memphis) lost the opportunity to pass effective ordinances that would have made discrimination against LGBT persons in the workplace illegal. Instead, the ordinance has removed mention of any protected group and merely reads: “discrimination against any Shelby County Government employee on the basis of non-merit factors shall be prohibited.”
    13. Vermont: South Burlington Middle School student Kyle Giard-Chase aroused the ire of school officials and OneNewsNow by suggesting the school institute gender-neutral bathroom facilities for him and other gender diverse individuals. Brian Camenker of neighboring state MassResistance put his objection this way: Well, it's a huge problem," he explains. "Number legitimizes the concept of transgenderism among middle-school kids, which is completely absurd and offensive and medically dangerous. The medical community recognizes gender-identity disorder as something that needs psychological help, you know -- not this politically correct pandering that actually causes more self-destruction. "

    There have been issues in many other states, cities and counties, but none that caused the degree of media uproar as the ones enumerated above.



Post a Comment

<< Home