Much has happened since the last time we had to actually talk about bathrooms, so let’s get caught up, shall we?
ICYMI, Pat McCrory, Henchman for the Evil Empire of Bigots Governor of North Carolina, signed HB2 into effect back in March, which officially decreed that individuals MUST use the bathroom which corresponds to their sex at birth. I sure as shit hope there aren’t any kicky BBQ joints in NC where the bathrooms are labelled “Steers” and “Cows,” because then where TF are HUMANS supposed to pee? Oh, you wacky transphobes! How are you going to enforce this policy? Parody website Funny or Die suggested one possible solution:
Target stores, our beloved supplier of stuff we didn't come in to buy but just couldn't pass up, took a pro-LGBT inclusive stance on the matter later that month by issuing a statement on their company website:
"In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity."
Target signed off by saying, “Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected, and welcomed at Target.” I mean, what could give you more warm fuzzies than that? Aside from seeing that orange price sticker ending in a “.04” (that’s FINAL CLEARANCE, baby! I should know — I worked at Target during college)!
Cue the backlash! A nationwide boycott of Target stores was quickly initiated by people who somehow confused Target’s inclusive, common-sense stance on bathrooms with the lyrics for Garbage’s 2009 song “Androgyny”:
Target CEO Brian Cornell went on CNBC's Squawk Box to stand by the chain's position after the boycott gained national attention:
So as long as Target stands by its policy of "[providing] a welcoming environment for all of our guests," let’s clear a few misconceptions up:
First of all, allowing trans people to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity is explicitly NOT permitting “boys in the girls’ room, girls in the boys’ room.” If you're confused, please refer to The Genderbread Person, a good shortcut to understanding gender identity and expression.
Secondly, Shirley Manson is BAE.
Finally, if you’re a cis man whose response to inclusive bathrooms is “can’t wait to put on a dress and go peek under some stalls!” because your twisted brain conflates equal access with sexual assault, then guess what? You are not allowed to use any bathroom (I said so) and you need to hold in your poop until you explode like the human supernova of feces that you are.
Phew! Sorry for getting a little heated just then, but I’m pretty sure Obama would back me up on this. His administration is sending a letter to school districts which will instruct the schools how to make and enforce inclusive bathroom policies, so that children don’t feel discriminated against! The New York Times obtained a copy of this letter, and which states: “A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so.”
We all know there’s going to be opposition to this, but as long as he’s in office, Obama is going to use his executive force to fight the Dark Side. Of the letter, signed by officials from the departments of Justice and the Dept. of Education, the Times notes: “It does not have the force of law, but it contains an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid.”
Beyond Target and the Obama administration, the effects of HB2 have been reaching people on a personal level. There have already been reports of people being harassed in bathrooms by wannabe "potty cops," who have taken it upon themselves to police the genitals of people using the restrooms. Jessica Rush recorded her encounter with a concerned citizen (read: nosey asshole) who stopped her from entering a woman's restroom in a medical center in Texas until he could clear up his confusion about her gender identity. Apparently, Rush wasn't dressed femininely enough to use the restroom while waiting to get treated for two broken fingers? Just wait. Ellie DeLano wrote a piece on SheKnows.com about visiting a Target bathroom and finding herself the target...of a peeper! Apparently, this woman was so intent upon "making sure [DeLano] was a woman" that she failed to see the irony whereby scanning stranger's genitals while urnitating through the crack in the stall door had turned her into the very monster she was trying to protect herself from. Oh, if irony were spaghetti, we'd all be like this right now:
Don't change channels yet! It gets even worse, because now the actual cops are involved, demanding IDs from prospective bathroom partons! Tamara McDaniel posted a cell phone video to Facebook which is explicitly titled, "Lesbian Forcibly Removed From Women's Bathroom." No spoilers! But you pretty much see where this is going.
HB2 was signed into law on March 24th. Since then, it seems as though the floodgates of hate have opened, unleashing a maelstrom of vitriol against LGBT people. While we do not wish to undermine the fact that HB2 and other laws like it specifically target trans and non-binary folk, lawmakers and hatemongers alike overlook the ripple effect these laws have on parents of small children, caregivers and people who are unable to use bathroom facilities without assistance. Why all the hoopla, then? Conservatives who support bathroom bills just want to pat themselves on the back for upholding reactionary values without thinking too hard about the inintended consecquences of their actions.
Bottom line: discriminatory bathroom bills are garbage. And not the sexy, danceable, Shirley Manson 'Garbage,' but literaly stinky, useless GARBAGE. The hate they represent is an affront to the freedom and equality our nation supposedly stands for. America, it's time to take out the trash.
lead image via dirtyboxface on flickr
More from BUSTGhosts, Murders and Mayhem Walking Tours. She is open-minded about everything, but intolerant to gluten. She blogs at meghansara.com, is a regular contributor to Femnasty, and tweets her feelings @MeghanSaraK.