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Gender and the Politics of Bathrooms

March 25, 2016
Plain English Version
Transgender man and partner.

Transgender man and partner.

North Carolina enacted a new law. It was introduced,  passed and signed into law in one day. The law says that transgender people must use locker rooms and bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.

The state’s new law overturned a local law.

The city of Charlotte had passed a law that said gender was up to the person. It said a person’s sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity mattered the most. It said a transgender person may use a public bathroom based on his/her gender identity.

The new state law says you must use the bathroom of the gender on your birth certificate. In the legislature, all the Republicans supported the bill. Many Democrats walked out of the session.

It is not only a transgender law. It takes away power from local governments. Before, localities were able to pass minimum wage laws. Now they cannot. This issue is attracting attention.

South Dakota and Tennessee turned down bills much like the law passed in North Carolina.

Some big business firms in the state are against the new gender law. Dow Chemical said the bill was  “an attempt to undermine equality.”

minimumA young woman was supporting the bill. She said people born male should not use women’s bathrooms. It would expose girls to sexual predators. She went on, “Girls like me should never be made to shower and undress in front of boys.”

A transgender woman said, “I cannot use the men’s room. It is unsafe for me. And it freaks people out when I am in the men’s room. Would you want to go to the men’s room with me?”

She said the fears of predators was overblown. “People are not getting raped and murdered. They are just going to the bathroom.”

Source: The New York Times March 23, 2016

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