The proposed change? An LBGT civil rights ordinance. The liberty it would take away? It's a pretty fundamental one.
But here he stood last March at one of three televised forums the city called to gather opinions about a proposal that would add lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people to an anti-discrimination ordinance. Dan Ells was ready to reveal his heart on a topic he’d heard a lot about at church.
“As a husband and a father of two young girls,” said the 28-year-old associate pastor, “this aspect of the bathroom issue is a very real issue to me... that we all cherish as we do something private like using the restroom. This change would take away that liberty.”
For a moment the audience sat, confused. Amid all the calls for “gay rights!” and “religious freedom!” this speaker, like many others, was worried about a particular angle of the proposed ordinance: Potty paranoia. Fear of a cross-dressing man using a women’s bathroom. And this ballot proposal would make it legal.
This is what they're talking about in churches? Cross-dressing men using women's restrooms?
For fuck's sake: trans women are legally women and can legally use women's restrooms already. Cross-dressers—guys who pull on women's clothes for thrills—cross-dress at home. They do it for sexy-times and they do it privately as most cross-dressers are highly invested in being perceived to be straight. (And most of their fellow non-cross-dressing straight people are confused about cross-dressing, believing it to be a marker for homosexuality, when it is, in fact, the exact opposite.) And if the passage of LGBT civil rights ordinances resulted in cross-dressing straight guys crowding into women's toilets, opponents would be able to cite hundreds and hundreds of cases of this exact thing happening. Because laws banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or sexual identity have been on the books in twenty-one states, Washington D.C., and over 140 cities and counties for years and years—for decades, in some cases.
Where's your proof, Associate Pastor Ells? Put up or shut up. Where's your evidence that the passage of LGBT civil rights legislation results in cross-dressers crowding into public toilets?
He doesn't have it because it doesn't exist. Haters constantly make dire predictions that never come true. Bigots and nuts and rightwing fundamentalists predicted that half a million troops would quit the armed forces if DADT was repealed. DADT was repealed. Exactly two wound up quitting—both chaplains and, you know, not exactly crucial to military readiness. The people who predicted that the armed forces would implode if DADT was repealed are the same people who predict that the institution of marriage will collapse if bans on same-sex marriage are lifted. These people should have no credibility at this point in the debate about LGBT civil rights. None. They have been proven wrong again and again. And Dan Ells has already been proven wrong on the whole cross-dressers-in-toilets issue. The complete lack of cross-dressers in women's rest rooms in places that already have LGBT civil rights protections proves him wrong. His daughters' "cherished right" to wee in toilets without cross-dressers nearby will be unaffected by the passage of this law.
The only time there's actual violence in women's restrooms is when non-trans people attack trans men and women for using the appropriate restroom. Maybe what we need are special toilets for paranoid bigots and their children.