For some reason, North Carolina decided to pass a law stating that everyone in the state of North Carolina had to use the bathroom that corresponded with the sex on their birth certificate, regardless of what gender people actually identify with. In the aftermath, some states have banned travel for official purposes to North Carolina to protest the law. Regardless of whether the law itself is right or wrong (and it is totally wrong), I just don't understand why it needed to be passed or how the state plans on enforcing it.
First of all, there is nothing wrong with someone who is transgender using the bathroom that they identify with. Even if there was, was there really such a problem with it that the state needed to pass legislation about it? I highly doubt that everyone across the state called their representatives and demanded that the infestation of transgender people be dealt with. It's simply the government making up a problem that doesn't exist.
What's the purpose of this law, anyway? Is transgender bathroom usage really such an issue that it required the attention of the state government? I'm sure North Carolina has more pressing issues to deal with, but sure, let's ignore that North Carolina ranks 27th in the country in fiscal condition. Let's ignore that the state cut teacher salaries by over 17 percent, which is the highest pay cut for teachers in the nation, and that North Carolina had the lowest per student expenditures in the nation. Clearly, lawmakers have their priorities straight.
How would it be enforced, anyway? Does North Carolina have TSA agents manning every public bathroom to make sure everyone has the right parts? Do North Carolinians have to carry their birth certificate with them at all times? Seems like a lot of work for something so trivial.
Ah, but now we get to the real heart of the matter. Why did this law pass? Was it really about bathroom privileges? Nope. According to state lawmaker Paul Stam, the law is designed to prevent transgender people from gaining what he calls "special rights". "What they're really complaining about is that we have not become like the 17 other states that have put in special rights for them," says Stam. "We're trying to protect the reasonable expectations of privacy of 99.9 percent of our citizens, who think when they're going into a restroom or a changing room or a locker room, that they will be private." There are so many things wrong with this statement. First, who are the 0.1 percent of citizens who don't expect privacy in a bathroom? Are there really people who think to themselves, "There is a total lack of privacy in that bathroom, but I'm going in anyway." No one does that. Representative Stam, I know that in Politics 101 you're taught not to say that everyone likes something or doesn't like something, but I think this might be the exception. Second, no one's privacy rights are being invaded. Transgender people don't go into the stalls and stare at people who use them. They, like everyone else, go in, do their business, and leave. At no point in that chain of events is anyone having their right to privacy violated. Third, and most importantly, allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with isn't a "special right," it's an "equal right."
No one is treating transgender people as "special." Much as Representative Stam and his colleagues would like to say otherwise, transgender people aren't lying about anything in order to receive special treatment. These are real people with real gender identities, and just because lawmakers can't understand what that means doesn't mean that these people should have their rights stripped away. If the protests of the people living in the state aren't enough to change lawmakers' minds, then I hope the boycotts by other state governments will. This restriction of inalienable rights is a disgrace and morally abhorrent.