Tag Archives: Gender identity

Government Should Give Us All a Break. A Bathroom Break, That Is.

English: A bathroom.
English: A bathroom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apparently government solved all of society’s real problems while I wasn’t looking. Woo hoo! Violent crime has been eradicated. The Islamist terror threat is no more. Poverty? Everyone’s a millionaire with a Rolls in the driveway. Heck, the Cubs may even win the pennant this year. At least I have to assume all that’s been taken care of. Otherwise the politicians wouldn’t have time to argue over who gets to use which bathroom. And that’s what they’re doing, soooo …

Charlotte, North Carolina’s city council passed an anti-discrimination ordinance requiring both public venues (e.g. government schools) and private businesses to allow transgender people to use the bathrooms matching their gender identities.

Then the North Carolina state legislature passed a bill overruling Charlotte’s and FORBIDDING both public venues and private businesses to allow transgender people to use the bathrooms matching their gender identities.

Even though the North Carolina bill seems to be economically suicidal — it’s already cost the state money and jobs, including 400 new jobs at a PayPal operations center that was going to be built in Charlotte and now won’t be — lawmakers in South Carolina and Tennessee are taking up similar legislation.

Because, you know, this has been such a burning social problem in the past.

Except that it hasn’t.

For all the hobgoblin talk about men in dresses sexually molesting our daughters at rest stops, I’ve been unable to find any public mention of that happening. If it has, it’s either been very rare or kept under wraps. And the latter seems unlikely given the paranoia even talking about it seems to bring out in people.

If you don’t think you’ve ever shared a bathroom with a transgender person before, consider this: Depending on which study you believe, somewhere between 1 in 100 and 1 in 300 Americans are trans people. Now, think back over your life. All the school restrooms, highway rest stops, store bathrooms, concerts, ball games, and so on. Do you honestly think that over your life you’ve shared bathrooms with fewer than 300 people in all?

You’ve been sharing bathrooms with trans people your whole life, and you never noticed until some idiot fearmongering political hack brought it up because he thought he could scare you with it. Did it work?

This isn’t that complicated.

In  venues like government schools, politicians and their lackeys shouldn’t be allowed to peer up skirts and inside zippers like a bunch of pervs. Does your gender identity match the “M” or “F” on your birth certificate ? None of their business.

Businesses should be free to set whatever policies they like. If they want to keep their customers, they probably won’t get too nosy.

And as cultural changes do, this will all work itself out.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Don’t Let Transgender be the New Black

Another Yin-Yang-Yuan BiggestWholeButterfly Tr...
TransGender-Symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Sometimes large social and cultural changes roll out slowly, often at the expense of individual rights. Other times they roll out quickly, to the discomfort of those of us who are set in our ways. Gender identity seems to be taking the latter course.

The ability to physically reshape our  gender appearance and genitalia has been around for decades, popping up now and again as a controversial news topic, from  Christine Jorgenson in the 1950s to Deirdre McCloskey in the 1990s. But in this second decade of the 21st century, it’s become a topic of daily interest, from Chaz Bono to Laverne Cox to Caitlyn Jenner to Fallon Fox.

Look, I get it: I’m nearly 50 years old. I can remember when overt racism was considered normal and tolerable, even if it was on its way out. When I was a teen, homosexuality was widely considered immoral and a social stigma. Those two things are passing into history. I think — at least I hope — that a decade from now, or even sooner, transsexuals will find themselves well down that same path to social acceptance.

But right now, some people remain uncomfortable with the whole thing. There’s going to be a period over which old ways of doing things only grudgingly give way to more comfortably and lovingly seeing ourselves and others.

That should not be the case where the state is concerned, though. The use of legal force to impede — or advance — social change is always a bad idea. Transgender people should not be forced to march through Selma in order to claim equal treatment under the law.

As always, the libertarian approach is most fit for getting us through this transition period. Libertarianism is the only political philosophy which allows everyone to answer “yes” to the question “can we all get along?”

If you want to believe that Caitlyn Jenner is still Bruce Jenner, and insist on referring to her as him, well, you’re entitled to your opinion … right up to the point where you claim a right to impose that opinion by force.

And the same applies to me.

I can’t force you call her Caitlyn, and I wouldn’t want to if I could. Nor should you be able to get a politician to tell her which restroom she can use, who she can marry, or what box she has to check next to “sex” on a form.

The last thing any of us needs is another multi-decade round of identity politics, complete with legally enforced discrimination, de facto ghettoization and vexatious litigation. All we need to do is not aggress against others. Time and mutual respect will take care of everything else.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.