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=Pointless "Bathroom Safety" Laws=
 
=Pointless "Bathroom Safety" Laws=
 
Republicans, in an apparent backlash against municipal laws intended to protect trans people from abuse (a real problem, but one they write off as "political correctness"), Republicans have been sponsoring a wave of bathroom laws designed to... well, we don't really know what they're intended to accomplish ''as policy''; their primary purpose seems to be posturing for their base, for whom transpeople have been offered up as an imaginary Terrible Threat against which only Republicans are willing to defend us all.
 
Republicans, in an apparent backlash against municipal laws intended to protect trans people from abuse (a real problem, but one they write off as "political correctness"), Republicans have been sponsoring a wave of bathroom laws designed to... well, we don't really know what they're intended to accomplish ''as policy''; their primary purpose seems to be posturing for their base, for whom transpeople have been offered up as an imaginary Terrible Threat against which only Republicans are willing to defend us all.

Latest revision as of 22:20, 16 October 2019

IMG 20171114 132658565.pumpkin.crop.cln.adj.135pxw.png Page Moved
The current version of this page is at WhyRepublicansSuck.com.

Pointless "Bathroom Safety" Laws

Republicans, in an apparent backlash against municipal laws intended to protect trans people from abuse (a real problem, but one they write off as "political correctness"), Republicans have been sponsoring a wave of bathroom laws designed to... well, we don't really know what they're intended to accomplish as policy; their primary purpose seems to be posturing for their base, for whom transpeople have been offered up as an imaginary Terrible Threat against which only Republicans are willing to defend us all.

It should be noted that there have been more US Senators arrested for misconduct in bathrooms than there have been trans people arrested for same. (Why don't the Republicans warn us of the Terrible Threat posed by US Senators, and do something about it?)

The GOP on Safety: a brief history

Part 1:

Me: We need reasonable gun laws.
GOP: It's already illegal to shoot people.
GOP: [fights all attempts at gun regulation of any kind]

Part 2:

GOP: We need to protect people in bathrooms against those wicked transies!
Me: It's already illegal to harass in the loo.
GOP: [makes law anyway]

— adapted from a Tweet by Josephine Altzman

NC

North Carolina's recent HB2[1] is perhaps the gold standard of awful legislation, regardless of topic. It not only ignores multiple facts and contradicts both itself and stated Republican positions, but it's also written so ambiguously that local governments have been left scratching their heads as to what their obligations under the law actually are now -- which, of course, is consistent with the general tendency of Republicans to destroy effective government wherever and however they can.

The vote for HB2 was unanimous in the NC Senate because all of the Democrats walked out in disgust -- every single Republican supported it. It was signed by Governor Pat McCrory (R). State Representative Paul Stam (R) spoke in support[2] of the bill, calling it "common sense". State Representative Dan Bishop (R), co-sponsor of the bill, used the same phrase[3].

These idiots not only don't understand what "sense" means, they apparently don't realize that they don't understand it -- and it doesn't matter, because people keep voting for them anyway.

NC Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest (R) called the Charlotte ordinance (overturned by HB2) "amazingly discriminatory"[4] -- an amazingly stupid thing to say, and definitely against "common sense". He finished the sentence by digging himself in even further, claiming that the victims of this supposed discrimination was "women and girls who no longer basically had the freedom to walk into a restroom and know that they were gonna be safe and secure in that restroom, without a man walking in or a pedophile or a predator walking into that bathroom."

Apparently he wasn't aware of the fact that HB2, the law he supports, requires certain men to use the women's room -- a fact which has been widely pointed out, so his unawareness is either feigned or a sign of incompetence. Further, this is sheer hypocrisy coming from any Republican, as their party (and probably they as individuals) have actively supported many measures that harm women and girls (see the War on Women chapter).

Looking primarily at the "bathroom safety" part of the bill, we see the following problems:

  • Fact-blindness: Allowing people to use the bathroom of their identified gender, and defending their right to do so, does not in any way pose a public hazard. On the other hand, people not being allowed to do so does pose a public hazard. The lawmakers are well aware of this, from extensive testimony.
  • Fact-blindness: They don't even make an exception for those who have had corrective surgery. While such a law would still be abusive, it would at least be a bit more consistent with the idea that physical differences need to be accommodated via separate bathrooms. As it is, the implication is: however you are identified at birth (correctly or otherwise) is what you will always be, with no room for error or change.
  • Fact-blindness: Claiming that the protective law enacted by Charlotte "defies common sense and basic community norms by allowing, for example, a man to use a woman’s bathroom, shower or locker room." (This is absolutely factually untrue -- and the law he signed now requires transmen to use the women's room.)
  • Hypocrisy: quashing local ordinances using the "big government" of state authority -- while claiming to oppose "big government" (a principle they also use to cut social safety programs).
    • It should be noted that the "big government" aspects of HB2 go far beyond trans protections: "The law also prevents cities from regulating in areas like living wage laws, benefits and hour regulations for workers in the city, city contracting, and even child labor regulations."[5] This was basically a "big-government" power-grab by the GOP, propelled by the hatred and ignorance of their supporters.
  • Hypocrisy: Citing "basic privacy and etiquette" while denying those things to a particular group that actually needs them, and not actually making any improvements on those things for anyone.
  • Hypocrisy: Claiming that "The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings [...] was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte" while promoting that exact same violation himself.
  • Lack of compassion for the many trans people who will now be forced to use the wrong bathroom or else risk legal consequences. Laws like this also serve to reinforce the popular (but wrong) idea that trans people are somehow a threat, which leads to increased violence and discrimination against them.
  • Terrible for business: Companies and organizations too numerous to count, large and small, have announced plans to scale down their North Carolina operations or withdraw their involvement with state initiatives.
    • PayPal cancelled their plans to open a new center in Charlotte which would have employed over 400 people, after it had been announced as a done deal two weeks earlier.[6]
    • NC's FullSteam Brewery has completely withdrawn its involvement in state promotional efforts until HB2 is repealed.[7]
    • Durham restaurant Watts Grocery posted a sign on their door opposing HB2.[8]
    • Durham's Carolina Friends School posted and emailed a statement opposing HB2.[9]
    • Bruce Springsteen cancelled a performance scheduled for April 10 in Greensboro, in solidarity with those fighting HB2.[10]
  • North Carolinians don't support it:
    • It overrides the wishes of most Charlotte citizens.
    • The Durham City Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the repeal of HB2.[11]
  • Poorly written:
    • There is significant ambiguity regarding who has to enforce the new law, what parts are mandatory and what parts optional, etc.
    • Although this may not have been intentional, language in the new law prevents public school teachers from using the same bathrooms the students use -- even in schools where there are no staff-only bathrooms.

(It should be noted that all the evidence I'm aware of suggests that gendered bathrooms aren't even necessary in the first place, and that the Republicans are therefore going in exactly the wrong direction with this, but that's another discussion.)

MN

Further Reading

Footnotes

  1. Wikipedia: Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act; see also:
  2. “"This is a common sense bill that protects the privacy expectations of our citizens while clarifying local authority," said Republican Representative Paul Stam.” -- this bill does the exact opposite of what "common sense" would suggest, and local authorities are now left with major ambiguities to deal with. In short, what Stam said is exactly wrong.
  3. "What we did was restore common sense, and we did it on a statewide basis." http://www.towleroad.com/2016/03/dan-bishop/
  4. http://www.indyweek.com/news/archives/2016/04/04/dan-forest-the-charlotte-ordinance-was-amazingly-discriminatory
  5. http://www.hrc.org/blog/five-things-to-know-about-north-carolinas-newest-radical-anti-lgbt-law
  6. https://www.paypal.com/stories/us/paypal-withdraws-plan-for-charlotte-expansion
  7. http://www.indyweek.com/food/archives/2016/03/31/fullsteam-brewery-to-withdraw-from-state-promotional-programs-over-hb-2
  8. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10208359556327705&set=a.2038492923143.124509.1268872909&type=3&theater It seems worth noting that the owner of Watts is a woman with two daughters.
  9. http://www.cfsnc.org/page.cfm?p=1475
  10. 2016-04-08 Bruce Springsteen cancels Greensboro concert on Sunday because of House Bill 2
  11. https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesAlliance/posts/1084593711582082