Several state governments in the U.S. have recently passed what to most of us seems like an absolutely bizarre law, popularly known as the bathroom bill. These bills require that a transgendered person, someone who has endured long-term and intense emotional and physical pain to become the person they felt they needed to be, can only use a public washroom designated for their gender at birth. Effectively, this means that it is illegal for a transgendered person – a tax-paying citizen – to use a public washroom. To think it through, someone who was born with a gender assignment of, say, male, but after years of feeling trapped in the wrong body began to express their gender as female, would not feel safe using a male washroom, for good reason. The only person at risk in such a situation is the already vulnerable transgendered person. And how this would be enforced doesn’t bear thinking.
Steve Rudner of Texas posted the following on Facebook, which pretty much says it all, and says it very well:
“I’m the father of a 21 year old daughter. There are lots of things I worry about. I worry about her being sexually assaulted, because that happens a lot. I worry about her being the victim of a drunk driver, because that happens a lot. I worry about her being the victim of gun violence, because lots of people die from gun-related injuries. Here’s what I do not worry about: I don’t worry about her being attacked in a restroom by a trans woman because (a) it has never happened; and (b) trans women are the most victimized group of people I’ve ever met, and the least likely to commit a crime of indecency in a restroom, because they are afraid of getting beat up when all they want to do is pee. And here is something else I don’t worry about: I don’t worry about my daughter being cruel and inhumane to trans men, women or kids, because my wife and I have raised her to have values and because she is a kind person. There are things to worry about. and then there are things people want you to worry about to conceal their agenda of discrimination and hate. Wake up.”
To actually introduce a law in a modern society that further victimizes someone who is already victimized is beyond comprehension. The reality is that if you google transgendered people and crime or violence, the only entries that come up are crimes against trans people, not by them. Trans folks are among the most vulnerable people in our society; these are people who have put everything on the line – including public humiliation, pain, and often rejection by loved ones – just so they can be who they feel they need to be. Just how is that threatening to anyone but them?
And this is where I say kudos to all those corporations that have declared that they will not do business with the states that have brought in these discriminatory and completely indefensible laws. I have read articles saying that corporations should not be taking the lead on this, that they’re only pandering to their customers, doing it for their bottom lines. Interesting, considering that the politicians passing these inexplicable bills are only pandering to their “base”, doing it for their votes. It is a sad day when democratic governments think it is legitimate to ignore their fundamental commitment to the human rights of their citizens, all their citizens. And it is an interesting world we live in for sure when, at the same time, large corporations understand the importance of standing up for human rights – for a few reasons. Being decent to each other is the right thing to do; it would be even better if we could actually be kind to each other, but decent is a start. Disney, Salesforce, the NFL, American Airlines, Hilton Worldwide, PayPal, T-Mobile, Apple, Amazon, Google, Target, Monsanto, Unilever , AMC, and many, many others have demonstrated their understanding that respecting people’s human rights is the right thing to do. It just so happens that it is also good for business – and that is a good thing.