The Restroom “Threat” to NC Women and Children


>>1571114869_01e55e0912_oWhat’s the most clear and present threat to North Carolinians? Is it teachers fleeing the state? Or a lack of healthcare and food benefits? Maybe it’s discriminatory voting laws, or disappearing state employee benefits?

Nope, it’s none of these. It’s bathrooms. Specifically bathrooms that allow people to choose which room they use based on how they define their gender.

The >>Charlotte City Council passed a non-discrimination ordinance this week that will allow LGBT citizens equal rights under the law. This means LGBT men and women cannot be discriminated against in any way — including in job hiring, education, or access to facilities.

In a completely measured and not-at-all-hyperbolic statement, >>Governor Pat McCrory called the new law a threat to safety and privacy for women and children.

As a mom — and woman — let me say right now, Governor McCrory: I’m good. My rights end where they infringe on others’. And keeping anyone who identifies as a woman out of a women’s bathroom is completely an assault on that woman’s rights.

NC Speaker of the House Tim Moore >>says he intends to pursue legislative intervention in this case. Let’s take a second to consider that, shall we? Hundreds of thousands of women in NC without access to health insurance? Yawn. Business as usual. Dozens of women possibly encountering a transgender person in their bathroom? SOUND THE LEGISLATIVE ALARMS.

Personally, I don’t see why single-room bathrooms, or even those with stalls, need to be unisex. All the private action takes place behind closed doors. But I accept that seeing a burly man standing at the sink >>could be triggering for some who have suffered assault and need a safe or private space. Or it could pose a challenge to people of certain religious faiths.

But we’re not talking about burly men hanging out in the ladies’. We’re talking about women and men who deserve a right to use the facilities they need. No one lightly undergoes gender reassignment or begins passing as a gender other than that they were born with. This is not about perversion or wanting access to the inner sanctums of the women’s locker room.

This is about fairness. If we cannot provide residents of our state with fair opportunities and restrooms where they can feel comfortable, then we are failing. It’s amazing that the Charlotte City Council realizes that and has adopted a law to that effect. It’s equally amazing — but in the opposite way — that our elected officials are considering spending even a dime of state money to oppose this.

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  1. tara romano

    Thanks, Jen, for sharing this. As a long-time advocate for victims of sexual violence, seeing people who normally never believe survivors and who regularly blame women for the violence the experience suddenly declaring women’s safety is their penultimate concern has been more than a bit frustrating. There are so many ways we can create a safe culture that isn’t dependent on just keeping men and women segregated in the hopes that men won’t attack women; because, honestly, that doesn’t work. We’ve seen that throughout history. We need to spend more time teaching men and women to respect other’s bodily autonomy, and not reduce our treatment of others based on their sexuality, gender expression, or genitals. And creating an ordinance like this is part of that.

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