On March 23, 2016, the State of North Carolina passed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act (PFPSA), and predictably, much like when the State of Michigan supposedly banned oral and anal sex (a myth I previously debunked here), or when Indiana supposedly instituted Sharia law by allowing businesses to refuse to serve LGBT individuals, social media lost its goddamned mind, and claimed the PFPSA was anti-LGBT. At most, it is anti-T, and even that claim dissolves upon closer scrutiny.
The Obama Administration is evaluating whether or not it can use the PFPSA to coerce and extort North Carolina into overturning the law by withholding federal funds, and many corporations and activist groups have denounced the North Carolina state government for its supposedly discrimination against trans women. But while the argument could be made the PFPSA discriminates against trans women, if the PFPSA did not exist, the ordinance the city of Charlotte passed would discriminate against biologically-born women.
A few days after signing the bill into law came “Myths vs Facts: What New York Times, Huffington Post and other media outlets aren’t saying about common-sense privacy law” released by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s office. A few excerpts:
“3. Can businesses and private facilities still offer reasonable accommodations for transgender people, like single occupancy bathrooms for instance?
Answer: This bill allows and does nothing to prevent businesses, and public or private facilities from providing single use bathrooms.
4. Can private businesses, if they choose, continue to allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom, locker room or other facilities of the gender they identify with, or provide other accommodations?
Answer: That is the prerogative of private businesses under this new law. For instance, if a privately-owned sporting facility wants allow attendees of sporting events to use the restroom of their choice, or install unisex bathrooms, they can. The law neither requires nor prohibits them from doing so.”
“9. Why did North Carolina pass this law in the first place?
Answer: The bill was passed after the Charlotte City Council voted to impose a regulation requiring businesses to allow a man into a women’s restroom, shower, or locker room if they choose. This ordinance would have eliminated the basic expectations of privacy people have when using the rest room by allowing people to use the restroom of their choice. This new local regulation brought up serious privacy concerns by parents, businesses and others across the state, as well as safety concerns that this new local rule could be used by people who would take advantage of this to do harm to others.”
“6. Does this bill mean transgender people will always have to use the restroom of the sex of their birth, even if they have undergone a sex change?
Answer: This law simply says people must use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. Anyone who has undergone a sex change can change their sex on their birth certificate.”
There are only four states that will not change the sex on a birth certificate: Idaho, Kansas, Ohio, & Tennessee. North Carolina General Statute §§ 130A-118(b)(4), (e) (2005) reads, in part:
“(b) A new certificate of birth shall be made by the State Registrar when…
(4) A written request from an individual is received by the State Registrar to change the sex on that individual’s birth record because of sex reassignment surgery, if the request is accompanied by a notarized statement from the physician who performed the sex reassignment surgery or from a physician licensed to practice medicine who has examined the individual and can certify that the person has undergone sex reassignment surgery.”
I refuse to believe the requirement to change the sex listed on a birth certificate is a hurdle too high to clear for a trans woman, if she wants to be able to use the women’s restroom. After years of mental anguish pro-op trans women cope with, months of hormonal treatments and then the surgery and any attending rehabilitation, dealing with the bureaucracy of getting a birth certificate changed should be a walk in the park.
I’m sure LGBT activists and SJWs would find this requirement to amend a birth certificate unduly burdensome, much like the trauma of voter ID laws (how anyone functions in society without an ID, photo or not, escapes me. If you are not allowed to vote because you don’t have an ID, nor the wherewithal to obtain one, you have much larger problems to deal with in life, and I don’t want my vote cancelled out by a person who is so incompetent that he somehow drifts through life without ever having to present an ID, a requirement in society that is so ubiquitous it may as well be an involuntary action, like breathing or blinking). Of course, some of those LGBT activists and SJWs believe the PFPSA is discrimination of the most nefarious kind. On CNN.com’s “North Carolina transgender law: Is it discriminatory?” transgender woman and activist Candis Cox asserts:
“This law affects us because it puts us in danger, and it’s open discrimination. It’s no different than the Jim Crow laws that we had here in the South. There are many Americans who are alive today and were alive with some of those laws before we passed the Civil Rights bill. This law is literally the same thing. And if we didn’t find that acceptable, this is not acceptable. It doesn’t matter who it’s towards. Discrimination is not acceptable.”
This claim is both wildly risible and inaccurate. Jim Crow was state-sanctioned discrimination in which blacks were made to be second class citizens. The North Carolina law overturns a city ordinance in which a man can use a women’s restroom simply by claiming to be a woman (there are fears, borne of prior cases in other states, that men will abuse the “right” to use a women’s restroom for the purposes of sexual assault and surveillance), but it ultimately leaves the decision up to business owners, who may come up with conceivably any manner of accommodation they’d like for their customers bathroom requirements.
In “When Did It Become Controversial To Keep Men Out Of The Women’s Bathroom?” Townhall.com columnist John Hawkins writes:
“Even if we accept that a transgender man dressed like a woman would be embarrassed to go into a men’s bathroom, doesn’t it make more sense for him to be uncomfortable than all those women? Why do his rights supersede the rights of so many women who just want to use the bathroom in peace without prying male eyes watching them?”
Why should the potential embarrassment of transgendered citizens outweigh the privacy concerns of women? Because they are considered a special, protected class due to a history of marginalization? Women, regardless of race and socio-economic class, have spent the vast majority of human history denied the rights to vote and own property, and had been considered the property of their fathers and husbands. Less than 1% of the population are transgendered, but over 50% are female. To be overtly cynical, in what sort of society do we want to live in? One in which a tiny tail wags a large dog, or one in which the tyranny of the majority is the prevailing order?
Luckily for North Carolina, the PFPSA allows the market to serve as its guide. I highly doubt many businesses will shutter their doors because they prioritized the privacy concerns of women over those of trans women. But, for a business to survive, it must cast as wide a net as possible in which to draw in customers. The costs of voluntarily paying for changing the bathroom policies of a business, and/or installing a unisex bathroom if one does not already exist, would probably pale in comparison to the goodwill a business would earn by being more inclusive towards its potential customer base. In any event, the response of business owners would undoubtedly make more sense than the coercive tactics of government, and the hysterical bullying of LGBT activists and SJWs.
This article was edited for grammar, style, and spelling, but not for content. The views expressed are that of the author, Dillon Eliassen, exclusively, and do not reflect that of BeingLibertarian.com or Being Libertarian LLC
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