This week, Washington State legislators are expressing concern that "sexual predators" would pretend to be transgender just so they can abuse cis women and cis girls in sex-segregated bathrooms.
"Many people have a legitimate concern that sex predators are going to abuse the HRC rule in order to get into bathrooms and locker rooms where they can see, film, or hurt young girls," Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla) said in a statement.
But our state legislature's current fixation with transgender people using bathrooms is misplaced.
In 1997, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released a report called "Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault." It drew on crime information from the "second largest ongoing household survey sponsored by the Federal Government," police-recorded incident data, and FBI arrest data—"more than two dozen statistical datasets maintained by the Bureau of Justice (BJS) and the Uniform Crime Reporting program of the FBI" overall.
Here's what the BJS found:
Federal statistical series obtaining data on arrested or convicted persons—Uniform Crime Reports, National Judicial Reporting Program, and National Corrections Reporting Program—show a remark- able similarity in the characteristics of those categorized as rapists: 99 in 100 are male, 6 in 10 are white, and the average age is the early thirties.
Victim and offender are likely to have had a prior relationship as family members, intimates, or acquaintances. Victims of rape and sexual assault report that in nearly 3 out of 4 incidents, the offender was not a stranger. Based on police-recorded incident data, in 90% of the rapes of children younger than 12, the child knew the offender; two-thirds of the victims 18 to 29 years old had a prior relationship with the rapist. The FBI's UCR arrest data, as well as court conviction data and prison admissions data, all point to a sex offender who is older than other violent offenders, generally in his early thirties, and more likely to be white than other violent offenders—characteristics that match the information obtained from victims who describe the offender to interviewers in the National Crime Victimization Survey.
Imprisoned violent sex offenders were more likely to have been male and white than other violent offenders (table 2). Offenders serving time for sexual assault, in contrast to those incarcerated for rape, were substantially more likely to be white, and they were nearly 3 years older, on average, at the time of their arrest for the offense. While about half of incarcerated rapists were white, about 3 out of 4 prisoners serving time for sexual assault were white.
Age differences were particularly striking less than 5% of incarcerated violent offenders are at least age 50, but about 7% of rapists and 12% of sexual assaulters are 50 or older. The average age at arrest of violent offenders serving time in State prisons was 29 years, compared to rapists, 31 years, and sexual assaulters, 34 years.
Huh. It would appear that the legislators seeking to discriminate against trans people—overwhelmingly straight, white cisgender men—happen to belong to one of the demographics most likely to sexually abuse others.
If legislators were truly concerned with protecting young girls, and if it were constitutional to discriminate against someone based on their gender identity, race, or sexual orientation, perhaps they'd want to focus on limiting the freedoms of straight, white cis men of a certain age?
Just a suggestion.