26 April 2016

The battle for North Carolina

A couple of weeks ago, when I read Comrade Misfit's report that North Carolina's Republican Governor was timidly watering down his state's vicious anti-gay law a little in hopes of warding off the massive economic counter-attack by everyone from PayPal to Bruce Springsteen, my reaction was immediate and visceral.  No compromises.  Crush them.  We are strong enough for that now.

Well, here's a more significant crack in the wall.  Some state legislators have introduced a bill to repeal the law.  While it's unlikely to get far right away, it shows that the wave of boycotts, business withdrawals, and criticism is having its impact.  As I observed recently, very powerful economic forces are now arrayed against the primitive taboos and prejudices.  The reactionary forces in Indiana surrendered last year, as did those of Georgia this month.  Keep up the pressure, and the same will happen in North Carolina and Mississippi.

On a related note:  I have been hesitant to comment on another much-discussed aspect of the North Carolina law -- its demand that transgender people use restrooms based on their original biological gender as opposed to their gender identity -- because, frankly, I've been a lot less confident that our side occupies the moral high ground on that issue.  I know that the possibility of male sexual aggression causes women legitimate concern, even fear, in many situations.  Is the bathroom issue being driven solely by the usual haters who always try to bash and denigrate anyone who is sexually unconventional in whatever way, or is it also women motivated not by bigotry but by an understandable nervousness at the thought of women's restrooms being accessible to persons who are, from a strictly anatomical viewpoint, male?  An unambiguous man walking into a women's restroom would, after all, quickly be taken as a possible threat.

A couple of other bloggers have recently provided some reassurance on this.  In response to a comment of mine on her blog where I mentioned this point, Shaw Kenawe observed:

It's a real good bet that many transgender men who identify as women have been using the "Ladies Room" everywhere, and no one was aware that there was a problem. It's only since certain red states decided that it is a problem that it's even come to anyone's attention. I've been in a room full of transgender females (at a luncheon) and I'd challenge anyone coming into the restaurant without knowing this to claim they were men.

And Republic of Gilead, back with a welcome barrage of posts after a three-week hiatus, devotes two of them to the topic -- the second of which emphasizes that women's groups and anti-sexual-assault groups are overwhelmingly aligned against the North Carolina law.

So it seems that once again what we're seeing is merely a passel of taboo-driven bigots demonizing an ill-understood minority and trying to turn that minority into a bogeyman to whip up fear.  As a civilized society, we cannot allow them to succeed in this.

No compromises.  Crush them.  We are strong enough for that now.


Blogger Green Eagle said...

As far as I have seen, no one has come up with a single case of a woman being attacked in a women's restroom by a man dressed as a woman. This is like one of the Republicans' perennial favorites, voter fraud- an essentially nonexistent crime that can still be used to drive their animalistic base into a frenzy of fear and anger.

It's all they've got- well, that and Benghazi...and cheating. Okay, they have a lot of things, but this is one of them, and since they can't win on the issues, don't expect them to give up plucking on this particular string any time soon.

26 April, 2016 20:56  
Blogger Ahab said...

HB2's supporters are so hypocritical. Transgender people experience sexual violence at disproportionately high rates compared to the general population. They're vastly more likely to be victims than perpetrators. Five minutes on Google Scholar will produce research to back that up. If HB2's proponents are so concerned about sexual violence, why are they persecuting a vulnerable population instead of helping them?

We all know the answer. HB 2's proponents don't really care about sexual violence. They merely chose a scapegoat so that they could whip up fear and then pander to that fear.

27 April, 2016 07:25  
Anonymous NickM said...

This not about the restrooms (we call them toilets over here) but about fear. Many of the socially conservative side of things are not so much concerned about a gay apocalypse but the fact a very large and growing proportion of the population are nowhere near as homo/trans/whatever phobic as them. They have to use these ruses because their chips are running out.

27 April, 2016 07:51  
Blogger Jono said...

Shaw has it right. I suspect many of us have run into trans people without knowing it. The few I have known in my life are the sex they have become and no one would know otherwise. They don't use restrooms to prey on unsuspecting victims.

27 April, 2016 07:57  
Blogger Murr Brewster said...

I have never felt threatened by anyone in a public restroom. I'm no prim petunia. I've been in all sorts of skanky places and done all sorts of untoward things in all sorts of diminished conditions, and I've never felt threatened. I'm 62. Wouldn't you think I'd have run into this by now?

27 April, 2016 09:28  
Blogger Bob Harrison said...

The target of the law was actually the localities who were pressing forward with raises to the minimum wage. The bathroom biz was included to get the churches and the bigots involved in once more shooting their feet with a weapon they bought and with ammunition they borrowed.

27 April, 2016 14:34  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Green: That does seem to be the case. There are no actual instances of the "problem" this is supposed to solve.

Ahab: If HB2's proponents are so concerned about sexual violence, why are they persecuting a vulnerable population instead of helping them?

Evidently because, as with the bullying-of-gay-kids issue, they think some people deserve to be targets.

Nick: Yes, it's scary to them to find that the majority no longer gives a damn about their stupid taboo system.

Jono: Probably so. I wonder if even the bigots would know a trans person if they saw one, in many cases.

Murr: Thanks for confirming my impressions. Again, it's targeting a harmless minority as a bogeyman.

Bob: Sorry, I don't find that credible. The main effect of the law is to ban localities from protecting gays against discrimination. Everyone seems to agree on that. I've never seen supporters of the law mention the minimum wage. This is just another example of Christian hate and bigotry in action.

27 April, 2016 17:22  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

I thought having The Trumper as their nominee would have been enough for the TeaPublicans to come out in mobs to vote, but apparently, the Panty Sniffers of the TGOP aren't too sure, so they've decided to bang their drums loudly on a non-problem that gun-slinging Defenders of the Faith and Correct Crotches can rise up as Pate-ree-Oh-Tic and god-ferrin citizens should.

If we think the natives are frenzied now, wait 'til The Short-Fingered Vulgarian gets the nomination and names The Nuge as his running mate.

28 April, 2016 05:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame some people are not aware of the history of kids being molested by perverts in public bathrooms. I have no doubt some pervert will follow the publicity on this issue, to dress up and molest some child. I'm sure most parents thought their child could never be molested by the priest in charge of their child's education, or that your child is safe with a relative. Evil perverts will take any opportunity they can. Hope the child attacked is not one of yours.

28 April, 2016 09:20  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shaw: She may become the first person actually banned by Target -- she'll make people more nervous than the trans people will.

I still hope Trump will name Palin as his running mate. It's a perfect fit, the Dream Ticket of Dumbth.

Anon: Bit of an overactive imagination there, since apparently nobody can find an example of a trans person actually doing that. Or could it be that by "perverts" you meant those Catholic priests? Because that seems to be out biggest systematic-molestation problem.

28 April, 2016 18:00  
Blogger Bob Harrison said...

The attempts to repeal the law did not begin after the boycotts-- the efforts to repeal began the day after the bill was passed when Democratic lawmakers started protesting. (Actually the Democratsd were screaming and yelling as the bill was being passed.) The boycotts have had an effect on the Republican droogs, of course, but meanwhile, innocents are being hurt in the crossfire, mostly the underemployed who are losing the jobs that would have come, so economic warfare also has collateral victims.

30 April, 2016 08:33  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Unfortunately it's impossible to exert pretty much any kind of pressure without some innocent people being hurt. However, that harm is temporary -- it will end once the Republicans knuckle under and agree to repeal the law, and the boycott ends. Other innocent people are being hurt while the law remains in place, and if there isn't enough pressure to force its repeal, that harm will continue indefinitely.

By the way, when I used the expression "crush them", I was referring to the Republicans and bigots, not to the whole state.

30 April, 2016 09:14  

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