I’m taking a break from setting up Video Rage (more on that in a later post) to talk about a serious subject that needs to be talked about before serious damage is done to my state and to the transgender community here.

If you’ve been paying attention to developments in LGBT rights here in America, you’re probably aware that North Carolina has a transgender bathroom law that effectively bars transgender people from using the bathroom aligning with their gender identity, forcing them to instead use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex. Mississippi has a much broader anti-LGBT law that includes this provision, and Kansas is considering a law that would force school districts to pay twenty-five hundred dollars to any kid who finds a transgender kid in their bathroom (how the schools are supposed to pay for that, I’m not sure. Kansas is flat broke).

Now Ohio’s got a bathroom bill. Or it will. A representative named John Becker from Clermont County is planning on introducing a bill that would “protect” families from “predators” who take advantage of businesses’ LGBT-friendly policies that allow customers to use the bathrooms corresponding to their gender identities. Becker says that the bill will have an exemption from LGBT individuals, which would make it different from the law in North Carolina. But with a bill like this, can you really just say there’ll be an exemption and expect people not to get worried?

And we should be worried about this bill, no matter what promises of exemptions or assurances that the transgender community isn’t the problem here. You know how I know this? Because people who would harass or harm men, women and children already exist! Not just in bathrooms, but in schools, homes, places of worship, government buildings, private businesses, public parks, and more than I can list in a single blog post! And you know what else? They don’t need to pretend to be transgender to do the attacking! They’ll just do it! I’m surprised we’re not getting more laws and outrage over that?

In fact, where is that anger? Where is that outrage, those proposed laws? Why aren’t we more upset about the rape that occurs everyday whether there’s a non-discrimination ordinance or not? Ke$ha was assaulted by her producer but is still stuck in a contract with a guy, even after several legal battles with him. A former Speaker of the House raped young boys in the shower (without putting on a dress, I might add), but nobody seems to care that he was only convicted for another crime. A well-known media critic has been constantly harassed online by people threatening to rape and kill her, but where’s the rush of politicians and clergy to pass laws to protect her? I find it very odd that the outrage only comes when there’s transgender people involved. Like allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms of their choice, rather than forcing them to use one aligning to their biological sex and possibly face physical assault, is somehow a recipe for increased assaults.

We should not be punishing the trans community for an imaginary fear!

Which it isn’t. Look at the research. A non-discrimination ordinance doesn’t increase sexual assaults. There are no recorded cases of NDOs leading to an assault in a bathroom. This is fact. This is just trying to punish transgender individuals. Sure, perhaps some of it is actual fear of sexual assault, but if this was the real focus, then we’d be seeing bills that more heavily punished sex offenders or took steps to do away with rape culture and the systemic causes of it. We’d be seeing all this outrage 24/7, no matter who is perpetrating the raping.

But these aren’t the only reasons this bill shouldn’t be passed. Oh, all that I’ve talked about are definitely the most important reasons, but they’re not the only reasons. No, there are other reasons, and these are the reasons that politicians who aren’t that sympathetic to the transgender community. The reason that they should get these folks against this bill is that if it passed, all of Ohio would be punished. Not just the transgender community in Ohio. All of Ohio.

Since North Carolina and Mississippi passed their bills, they’ve received such a backlash. Celebrities have canceled concerts or filming movies in those states due to these laws. Large companies like Paypal or the NBA have said they won’t do or expand business in North Carolina or Mississippi if these laws stay on the books. Entire towns and states have even passed resolutions not to have business with these states unless absolutely essential (my own Columbus passed such a resolution for North Carolina).

What would happen if that happened in Ohio? I don’t think we’d lose our swing state status come November (especially with the GOP convention in Cleveland in July), but we’d lose a whole lot in the process! Nationwide has its headquarters here in Columbus, and a lot of other major businesses have important branches in our metropolitan areas. We have several sports teams throughout the state at the college and professional levels. And prior to contrary belief, we get a lot of musical stars in Ohio during their tours. If this bill gets passed, those businesses may want to halt expanding in the state or relocate elsewhere, hurting our economy. Sports teams and celebrities may not want to play in our state, to the detriment of people who just want to see their favorite celebrities do their thing.* Entire states will say, “Sorry Ohio, we don’t agree with your human rights laws. Unless it’s absolutely essential, we’re discontinuing our business with the Buckeye State.”

This bill won’t deter sexual predators. It’ll just hurt Ohio, hurt its citizens, no matter if they’re trans or cisgender. So even if you don’t care for or dislike the the LGBT community, you should be worried for that very reason.

Now the good news is that there’s at least one petition out right now against this bill. At the time I’m posting, it’s got 7,022 signatures out of 7,500, and depending on how many people sign, it may go for even more signatures. This is great, and I hope more people, including you, my dear Followers of Fear, sign this petition. However, it’s not enough. It’s far from enough.

Not now. Not ever.

In order to stop this bill from becoming law and damaging Ohio, we need to make our voices heard. Writing blog posts, or writing or calling or tweeting Ohio representatives and Governor John Kasich, telling them that this bill is just plain wrong and that Ohioans will not stand for it. We have to make sure that when Representative Becker comes to the Legislature in Columbus, which happens to be one of the LGBT capitals of the Midwest,** that this bill is dead on arrival, and that no one is going to support such a hateful bill.

So do what I’m doing now. Make your voices heard, and don’t let anyone shut you up. Encourage others to speak their minds. Start petitions, talk to your elected officials. Make sure they know how the public feels about Becker’s bill. Because we can’t afford a bill like this, and we can’t afford hate in the Buckeye State. Not under any circumstances.

*We have a heavy metal festival in Columbus every year called Rock on the Range, that attracts bands and fans from all over the world. Imagine how bad next year’s festival will be if this bill is passed! Believe it or not, we heavy metal fans can be pretty liberal, and so can our bands.

**No seriously, Columbus is an LGBT power center! Our Gay Pride Parade and Festival attracts thousands of people every year. Not to mention that the rest of the year, we have a vibrant LGBT community active in our city. And a couple of really fun gay bars, more than a few within walking distance of each other. Believe me, I know.

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Comments
  1. This bathroom thing is insane – and unenforceable. If someone who identifies as a woman and looks even slightly woman-ish walks into the women’s bathroom and CLOSES THE STALL DOOR no one knows what she has between her legs. Same if someone who identifies male walks into the male bathroom and shuts the stall door – no one sees what they have – or don’t have. Unless an employees is going to grope people or make people pull down their pants how will they KNOW what someone has?? Bathrooms aren’t guarded – heck, I have used the men’s bathroom a few times (usually by accident because walmart has flip flopped which one is on which side and I am in an unfamiliar store and don’t notice until I am inside and by then I’m just running for a stall before someone sees me LOL!) and not only did no one notice, I can guarantee there were no guards to stop me – and I make no bones about being a female, so if I looked even slightly masculine they certainly wouldn’t have noticed. This crap about sexual assaults is insane because up to this moment transgender people have been using the bathrooms and no one has been assaulted because of that – I honestly don’t even understand how this became an issue – or why! As a woman who uses lots of women;s bathrooms, I can;t even figure out when these crazed perverts are supposed to be able to assault me. When I am walking in the door (fully dressed and no more vulnerable than I was outside the bathroom)? While I am LOCKED in the stall – are they going to come UNDER the stall door? If so, why am I not kicking them in the head, or are they spiderman and coming over the top? Or maybe they are going to attack me at the sink while I am washing my hands (again fully dressed and no more vulnerable than I was outside)? or is it when I’m leaving? And as for them snatching children – go to the bathroom with your children! Nothing makes me angrier than seeing small unattended kids in a bathroom – not because I’m worried they’ll get kidnapped particularly, but because 99% of them play in the sink, throw paper towels on the floor, don;t flush the toilet. If you can take your kids to the store then take them to the bathroom like a responsible person. A parent’s presence is the best way to protect a child from everything.

    Sorry for ranting, this is just an issue that really irritates the crap out of me. Not only is it taking writes from LGBT people, but it also insinuates that straight men are sneaky sexual predators so desperate to get a woman or child that they would try to pretend to be a woman to fulfill their depraved desire, and it insinuates that we women are so pathetic and weak that we can’t kick someone in the head when they are trying to climb under our bathroom stall (not that there would really be anyone, but you know what I mean.) I’m tired of hearing how vulnerable women are. We want equality and then run around pointing out how week we are. If we’re equal then we are 100% equal and STFU and quit expecting special treatment.

    Okay, I’m stopping now. :p

    • If I had had time and I wasn’t worried that the post would be too long, I would’ve included a lot o what you just said here.
      And you’re right, it’s all a bunch of unenforceable BS. I think most of it is because gay marriage is legal now, and with efforts to shut that down finding very little success, the far right and anti-LGBT movements are focusing their efforts in other areas. Hence the Bathroom Bills.
      Which is why, for the sake of equality and sanity, we have to put a stop to them, and now!

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