Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students
May 13, 2016 7:33 AM   Subscribe

This morning, the Obama administration sent a letter (PDF) to all public schools in the United States, signed by the Department of Justice and and Department of Education, issuing guidance (PDF) that discrimination against transgender students’ rights violates schools’ legal obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. All students must be allowed to use the restroom and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, and "schools are prohibited from publicly disclosing a transgender student's birth name or biological sex, and are required to change the gender on school records and directories when asked." posted by roomthreeseventeen (197 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
 
To quote our most eloquent vice president:

This is a big fucking deal.
posted by explosion at 7:46 AM on May 13, 2016 [60 favorites]


This. Is. Good.
posted by dazed_one at 7:48 AM on May 13, 2016


Thanks, Obama!
posted by lydhre at 7:49 AM on May 13, 2016 [41 favorites]


I got $5 that says the original draft started with "Look Here, Fuckers...".
posted by Etrigan at 7:52 AM on May 13, 2016 [111 favorites]


Some schools already looking to lose their federal funding.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:52 AM on May 13, 2016


For schools, what's the real impact? I've heard comments from North Carolina from those who are fighting for HB2, and it sounds like they're creating more work and hassle ("All state employees are required to use the bathroom and changing facilities assigned to persons of their same biological sex, regardless of gender identity, or transgendered status" -- emphasis mine).

So if folks with that mentality have their way, are employers supposed to police their bathrooms? No one is telling anyone to create 3rd category bathrooms for transgendered individuals - just let people use the bathroom that correlates with their gender identity.

Schools will now have to update student records - that's the only actual impact I see. (Besides "gender-bender" fears or whatever nonsense that caused GOP folks to start these bills in the first place).

In short: fuck yeah "lame duck" Obama!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM on May 13, 2016


While I support this agenda, I am frustrated that the info doesn't seem to be coming with much education. How many kids today are transgender? What age group? How is it being addressed already in schools where they do have a transgender student or students? What are some examples of schools who are already doing a good job on this? What are the results?

I feel like transgender students are kind of being thrown to the wolves with the way all this is unfolding but... maybe that's how change happens?
posted by amanda at 7:53 AM on May 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


And off in the distance my brain hears what my heart usually wants it to ignore, the soft siren song of "it's important to support the better presidential candidate even if the better one feels like the lesser of two evils in a lot of ways."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:54 AM on May 13, 2016 [58 favorites]


Clearly, this is it. This is the wedge issue for the 2016 election. The one to get conservatives to come out and vote. Gay marriage has enough support now that it's not strong enough anymore. Transgender people don't have that level of support, but have gained the visibility. Heck, there's no shortage of people in the LGB community that aren't supportive, and there aren't the same level of protections because groups like HRC were just fine dumping gender identity protections from legislation they supported.

This is why the RNC is pushing for bathroom bills - because they can get people riled up that giving rights to transgender people will be "harmful" to others. That it'll mean everything from women in locker rooms having to be prepared to see a penis, to women and girls being sexually assaulted. Yes, the same people that are often convinced that most rape accusations are fake and that women who are assaulted are usually asking for it are suddenly concerned with women getting assaulted. But it gets those who don't know much motivated to come out and vote in the name of "safety".

Now Obama's action is going to be seen as government overreach to force men to be allowed into women's restrooms by a significant number of people.

And yes, the bills aren't just meant as a wedge, but a way to force transgender people out of public life. Because think about all the things you can't do if you can't be certain you can use a restroom when you need to.
posted by evilangela at 7:55 AM on May 13, 2016 [59 favorites]


Can liberals please stop complaining about Obama now? He's seriously been knocking it out of the park, and I think his administration's efforts on equality will be viewed as extremely transformative for our nation's development
posted by glaucon at 7:55 AM on May 13, 2016 [22 favorites]


amanda, check the second PDF linked: "Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students".
posted by Etrigan at 7:56 AM on May 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


For schools, what's the real impact?

The impact is that public schools rely on federal funding. If they lose that because of Title IX complaints, they close.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:58 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is so very good. And we (cis people) gotta keep hammering on this, gotta keep fighting for this, because our trans brothers and sisters can't do it themselves.

We cannot, no matter where we are in the world, allow discrimination to become enshrined in law.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:58 AM on May 13, 2016 [42 favorites]


While I support this agenda, I am frustrated that the info doesn't seem to be coming with much education.

In addition to the links in the FPP, you should really check out the text of the suit from the feds against NC over HB2. It lays out information simply and clearly. I'd say Loretta Lynch's speech regarding the suit is also required watching, because not is it also simple and clear, it's really powerful.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:59 AM on May 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


It's a clarification of something that's been communicated multiple times over the last few years. But a much desired and needed step this month.

So if folks with that mentality have their way, are employers supposed to police their bathrooms? No one is telling anyone to create 3rd category bathrooms for transgendered individuals - just let people use the bathroom that correlates with their gender identity.

I'm a broken record on this but these laws are a bait and switch. No, most people are not going to put policemen in restrooms (although that has happened this month), but the law provides a legal justification for discrimination where employers and services can say, "you can't be here, because you create a legal liability for us."

Which is exactly what "defense of marriage" law was about 20 years ago. "We can't recognize your relationship or sexual orientation in any way because that creates a legal liability for us." Bait and switch. It's never just about marriage or bathrooms. It's about justification for discrimination.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:01 AM on May 13, 2016 [43 favorites]


This is a huge fucking deal. Huge. I'm so fucking happy about this. Imagine being a closeted trans kid and having this information and support available. It would literally have changed my life.

amanda, did you even bother to read the documents? They come with examples of good policy in place, and copious footnotes and supporting research.
posted by odinsdream at 8:02 AM on May 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: The impact is that public schools rely on federal funding. If they lose that because of Title IX complaints, they close.

I mean, what's the impact of complying? What changes from what they were doing yesterday? I'm in government, and we deal with plenty of "unfunded mandates," and this doesn't look like one.

So it comes down to people getting worked up about gender identity, right?


roomthreeseventeen: Some schools already looking to lose their federal funding.
SOUTHEAST TEXAS — "I don't recognize President Obama. Nothing he does has any shred of leadership. When I get that letter I'll throw it away," PNG-ISD Superintendent Dr. Rodney Cavness tells KFDM News in response to a report the Obama administration will send a letter to all school districts across the nation Friday, directing them to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
And Obama won't recognize your empty gesture of throwing away the letter.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:02 AM on May 13, 2016 [14 favorites]


Clearly, this is it. This is the wedge issue for the 2016 election. The one to get conservatives to come out and vote.

The fact that a President Trump could undo all these protections with the stroke of a pen could also motivate young people to vote, even if the Democratic nominee isn't their preferred candidate.
posted by Gelatin at 8:04 AM on May 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


And we (cis people) gotta keep hammering on this, gotta keep fighting for this, because our trans brothers and sisters can't do it themselves.

1000000% agree that this is so crucially important, especially when it comes to debunking misinformation and fears. I think that, like the increased public "approval" of gay marriage and LGB acceptance in general, visibility has a lot to do with it. Someone learns their child/friend/neighbor/coworker/sibling is gay and all of a sudden they change their mind. I heard on the radio last night that 10% of Americans [think they] personally know someone who is transgender, and that number is sure go to up as visibility increases.

And yet I realize how problematic it is for me, a cis person, to call for better visibility among trans people. Especially when coming out is risky, especially in this climate. Real question: what can we do?
posted by witchen at 8:04 AM on May 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


I mean, what's the impact of complying? What changes from what they were doing yesterday?

I'm not sure I'm understanding your question, but many schools are currently requiring students to use the bathroom associated with the sex they were assigned at birth, and many more are requiring students to use a nurse's bathroom. Those are no longer legal options.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:06 AM on May 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


witchen, share the DoJ statements and these documents. They're really very precisely laid out and excellent at dispelling common myths. Point out already visible trans voices and amplify them on your social media. Share things written by trans people. If it's absolutely not possible to avoid speaking over trans people, simply use the DoJ arguments yourself.
posted by odinsdream at 8:07 AM on May 13, 2016 [14 favorites]


I mean, what's the impact of complying? What changes from what they were doing yesterday?

What roomthreeseventeen said. There's a lot of trans kids who are being bullied by their schools, either closeted or out, and now they have a clear voice telling them they don't need to take their shit any more. Same goes for their families, and all the mindless hand-wringing in school boards. This shuts that all down in a very strong way.
posted by odinsdream at 8:10 AM on May 13, 2016 [18 favorites]


I am reading the documents but I'm also listening to the news and reading local news on this and, as usual, it's focusing on the "divisive politics" and very shallow reporting. I'm not surprised but it is a little frustrating. I think I'm also knee-jerking on how much traction "religious right" folks and conservatives get out of this bullshit.
posted by amanda at 8:12 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Last year a number of small bathrooms in our 6-12 school formerly labeled "staff" were changed to "unisex." That's an easy way to fix the problem. Ours is a public school, but it's an arts-based school, so, as you can imagine, we have quite a few students with all kinds of different gender identities (and sexual preferences, which I'm guessing many Americans don't exactly understand are two different things).
posted by kozad at 8:13 AM on May 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


it's focusing on the "divisive politics"

It is infuriating that this continues to be framed as a "political" issue, and/or that there are two sides to this story.
posted by witchen at 8:13 AM on May 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


If I remember the NPR summary right, single-occupancy restrooms are an option if they're an option for all students. In other words, the single-occupancy restroom can't be a designated transgender restroom.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:14 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


NPR this morning couldn't find a trans person to talk to but they gave plenty of airtime to some faith-based legal fund chucklehead going on unchallenged about Our Uncomfortable Daughters. ~so 90s~
posted by theodolite at 8:14 AM on May 13, 2016 [45 favorites]


Last year a number of small bathrooms in our 6-12 school formerly labeled "staff" were changed to "unisex." That's an easy way to fix the problem.

What today's guidance says is that it's NOT an easy way to fix the problem. You can offer unisex restrooms, but you cannot require anyone to use them.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:14 AM on May 13, 2016 [10 favorites]


I want, I really really really want, to see Clinton pick this up and hammer the assbags at every chance she gets.

What today's guidance says is that it's NOT an easy way to fix the problem. You can offer unisex restrooms, but you cannot require anyone to use them.

Unless you require everyone to use them, yeah?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:16 AM on May 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


Last year a number of small bathrooms in our 6-12 school formerly labeled "staff" were changed to "unisex." That's an easy way to fix the problem.

No, it isn't. We are women and use the women's restroom. This is fully explained in the fucking document. Which you should really fucking read.
posted by odinsdream at 8:17 AM on May 13, 2016 [68 favorites]


"I don't recognize President Obama. Nothing he does has any shred of leadership. When I get that letter I'll throw it away," PNG-ISD Superintendent Dr. Rodney Cavness tells KFDM News

Now I'm curious, was that a telephone interview, or a press release on school district letterhead, or just a rant off his personal Facebook page?
posted by peeedro at 8:17 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Unless you require everyone to use them, yeah?

Right, yeah.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:17 AM on May 13, 2016


"North Carolina does not treat transgender employees differently from non-transgender employees," the lawsuit states. "All state employees are required to use the bathroom and changing facilities assigned to persons of their same biological sex, regardless of gender identity, or transgendered status."
George Orwell would be fucking proud.
posted by Talez at 8:21 AM on May 13, 2016 [22 favorites]


i cannot believe someone wrote that and believed it.
posted by sio42 at 8:23 AM on May 13, 2016


It's the same argument these bigoted assholes had against marriage equality -- "we're not discriminating against gay people, even straight people can't marry a person of the same sex!".

Gah. Just: fuck these people. The DoJ is doing a great job here, but holy shit am I concerned that this really is just the tip of this iceberg. The religious right has lost on gay marriage, and it seems pretty clear that this is their new battleground. It's easy to on the one hand think "well OK, that means eventually the right side will win out", but in the meantime it's gearing up to be a decade or two repeat of the last time around.

How many fucking times can a group of people end up on the wrong side of history and then choose willingly to do it again?
posted by tocts at 8:25 AM on May 13, 2016 [23 favorites]


I mean, what's the impact of complying? What changes from what they were doing yesterday? I'm in government, and we deal with plenty of "unfunded mandates," and this doesn't look like one.

Apparently, following the stuff in NC, the DoJ began receiving a lot of inquiries from schools and districts who WANT to be in compliance with Title IX with respect to trans people, but who don't know the first thing about trans issues and genuinely had no idea if they were in compliance or not. This explicitly answers those questions.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:26 AM on May 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


How many fucking times can a group of people end up on the wrong side of history and then choose willingly to do it again?

Because, in the short term, it often wins them elections.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:27 AM on May 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


How many fucking times can a group of people end up on the wrong side of history and then choose willingly to do it again?

These people don't consider themselves in terms of how they'll look in the history books. They consider themselves the last line of defense against America's descent into moral degeneracy. They fear that once America has become Sodom that god will come and smite it hard. The only way to stop that from happening is turn America back to 1955 socially. White nuclear family with man bringing home the bacon, happy smiling homemaker wife, family goes to church every Sunday, two kids, a dog, and a white picket fence to keep the dog in.
posted by Talez at 8:29 AM on May 13, 2016 [10 favorites]


1955? Methinks you're off by 100 years or so.
posted by scolbath at 8:30 AM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


the documents ... come with examples of good policy in place, and copious footnotes and supporting research

Hey, you know that narrative the Republicans push that the government can't do anything right? Maybe when they run the show, but otherwise -- hogwash!
posted by Gelatin at 8:31 AM on May 13, 2016


Some schools already looking to lose their federal funding.

I understand why this is the only lever the Obama administration has here, but it still makes me sad that the only way to enforce basic fucking decency in this case is to threaten to pull funding from schools. Mainly because the pricks behind laws like HB2 would love to see all the public schools shut down anyway, so playing chicken with the feds over this issue is basically a win-win for them.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:33 AM on May 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


The American Right is nostalgic for an era that never existed. It's hard to put a date on that.
posted by schmod at 8:33 AM on May 13, 2016 [35 favorites]


1955? Methinks you're off by 100 years or so.

No. They're pining for days of "Father Knows Best" and "Leave it to Beaver".

1955 is where we won the war, unskilled labor paid well, and blacks and women hadn't become uppity demanding "equal rights".
posted by Talez at 8:34 AM on May 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


Yet another brick in the wall I'm building to seal "the parties are no different!" up in an alcove.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:34 AM on May 13, 2016 [27 favorites]


For the love of god, Montresor Pope Guilty!
posted by Gelatin at 8:41 AM on May 13, 2016 [11 favorites]




"We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States."

Which will make it all the sweeter when they do.
posted by Gelatin at 8:44 AM on May 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


Can liberals please stop complaining about Obama now? He's seriously been knocking it out of the park, and I think his administration's efforts on equality will be viewed as extremely transformative for our nation's development

Does that mean l liberals shouldn't mention a new round of mass deportations? Or can we allow people to praise Obama when that's merited, and criticize other policies that deserve opprobrium? This isn't a case of "he can't get something good he would like to do through an obstructionist Congress," but an instance where an initiative of his administration is really a terrible thing. I don't think it's unfair to complain about that, and I don't think it's incompatible with giving credit where credit is due.
posted by layceepee at 8:44 AM on May 13, 2016 [52 favorites]


The impact is that public schools rely on federal funding. If they lose that because of Title IX complaints, they close.

Obama is doing the Tea Partiers a favor? (/s)
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:44 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Has anyone traced this bathroom law bullshit back to its first proposals, and then traced the sponsors and their connections? I'm really curious about the initial genesis of all this. Someone decided to push this as the new culture war battleground, and then convinced the rest of the right wing to jump in.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:45 AM on May 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


Gelatin:
"The fact that a President Trump could undo all these protections with the stroke of a pen could also motivate young people to vote, even if the Democratic nominee isn't their preferred candidate."
I was about to point out that Trump has been publicly in favor of people using whatever bathroom they're comfortable with but then saw the latest news where he is doing that "The Republican stance is inhumane but I want their votes" thing.
Trump said he believes "everybody has to be protected," but when it comes to transgender students, "you're talking about a tiny, tiny group of the population. With that being said, everybody has to be protected. I would leave it up to the states."
So everyone has to be protected, even that "tiny group", but he'll leave it up to the states. Like North Carolina, who he's been criticizing.
posted by charred husk at 8:45 AM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


"We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States."

Which will make it all the sweeter when they do.


I dunno. I think there's plenty of people who would be perfectly happy to dump public education entirely, because those people get it too.
posted by Etrigan at 8:45 AM on May 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


Does that mean l liberals shouldn't mention a new round of mass deportations?

could we really really really really not with this please
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:46 AM on May 13, 2016 [15 favorites]


I think there's plenty of people who would be perfectly happy to dump public education entirely, because those people get it too.

But they won't be so happy to dump those sweet, sweet Federal funds.
posted by Gelatin at 8:46 AM on May 13, 2016


Look, I get that some folks have a very narrow tolerance for minor deviations from their comfort zone. It's unfortunate, but it's normal. What I'd like for these people to tell me is, aside from an abstract challenge to their concept of cosmic order, how does this effect them at all?

You want to privately think trans people are weird and icky? Fine, nobody's going to police your inner monologue. Just let the kids use the goddamn bathroom they want to use. This isn't a con. No poor straight kids are in danger. Nothing's at risk but your delicate sensibilities. And isn't that precisely the kind of shit you rail at the Left over?

God damn it, GENDER UP MOTHERFUCKERS.
posted by echocollate at 8:48 AM on May 13, 2016 [10 favorites]


Has anyone traced this bathroom law bullshit back to its first proposals, and then traced the sponsors and their connections?

If you start with the Wikipedia page, you can probably start drilling down to find connections. I assume it's the usual suspects, same assholes behind anti-SSM bigotry.

You want to privately think trans people are weird and icky? Fine, nobody's going to police your inner monologue. Just let the kids use the goddamn bathroom they want to use.

Fundamentally, these regressive idiots think that gender=sex (and won't listen to anything to the contrary), and/or that being trans is a mental illness (and won't listen to anything to the contrary), and/or that a trans woman is just a man in a dress (and won't &c), and/or conflate being trans with cross-dressing with perversion (and etc).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:50 AM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Today is a grand day to never read the comments!
posted by Theta States at 8:54 AM on May 13, 2016 [9 favorites]


Last year a number of small bathrooms in our 6-12 school formerly labeled "staff" were changed to "unisex." That's an easy way to fix the problem. (my comment)

No, it isn't. We are women and use the women's restroom. This is fully explained in the fucking document. Which you should really fucking read. (odinsdream)

Sorry, you're right. At our school anybody can use any bathroom they want; it's not an issue here...I'm so used to my trans-friendly city and even more trans-friendly school that I forget this is a big deal for a lot of people. And some kids don't identify as male or female so prefer the unisex bathroom.
posted by kozad at 8:55 AM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think this is one of those issues where Trump is going to either triangulate the heck on the issue, or rubber stamp whatever congress gives him.

This is one of those issues where in about a decade, Obama has shifted from a follower to a leader. And he credits his teen children, Malia and Sasha as teaching him on this issue, which I find amazing.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:01 AM on May 13, 2016 [27 favorites]


Someone decided to push this as the new culture war battleground, and then convinced the rest of the right wing to jump in.

The wing nuts just stay wanting to be on the wrong side of history, don't they?
posted by fuse theorem at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2016


>"Clearly, this is it. This is the wedge issue for the 2016 election. The one to get conservatives to come out and vote."

>"The fact that a President Trump could undo all these protections with the stroke of a pen could also motivate young people to vote, even if the Democratic nominee isn't their preferred candidate."
Notably, Trump has been remarkably liberal about trans issues, even if it is still in a just as misogynistic against trans women as cis women kind of way.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:06 AM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think this is one of those issues where Trump is going to either triangulate the heck on the issue, or rubber stamp whatever congress gives him.

More likely, both.
posted by Gelatin at 9:12 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Someone decided to push this as the new culture war battleground, and then convinced the rest of the right wing to jump in.

Well, they really don't have a choice. For over twenty years, a government interest in supporting heterosexual nuclear families was their primary legal argument for justifying discrimination. Obergefel kicked their legal doctrine out from under them. Now they need a new doctrine, therefore: trans panic and religious liberty laws.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:21 AM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


And he credits his teen children, Malia and Sasha as teaching him on this issue, which I find amazing.

Do their ages add up to a number over 35? Can we push for them to run as co-presidents this Fall?
posted by tobascodagama at 9:22 AM on May 13, 2016 [21 favorites]


kozad, just fyi the whole "separate but equal, just use the staff bathroom, just use the only single stall facility" tactic is a favorite talking point of the right on this issue. Ironically the ADF's transphobic lawsuit points out the hardships of this scenario, but to point out why it's an unacceptable and discriminatory response for cis students. .... yea...
posted by odinsdream at 9:22 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]




Meanwhile in North Carolina: School Board Allows Pepper Spray In School Suggesting Use Against Transgender Students

*looks up from computer at classroom full of high school students*

I see no possible way allowing pepper spray in schools could go wrong for anyone.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:35 AM on May 13, 2016 [29 favorites]


If you start with the Wikipedia page, you can probably start drilling down to find connections. I assume it's the usual suspects, same assholes behind anti-SSM bigotry.

Sadly, there's also a strain of feminism that has made transphobia (and transmisogyny in particular) their biggest political cause. They refuse to see trans women as women, but instead as "mutilated" men that are trying to destroy women. Led by a truly loathsome lawyer named Catherine Brennan, they're joining up with religious organizations and hate groups to push bathroom bills. And while TERFs are a subset of a subset of a subset of feminism at large (some have even compared them to the Westoboro Baptists in relation to Christianity), that doesn't mean they're not dangerous.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:35 AM on May 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I know about TERFs. I doubt they'd join in common cause with the right-wing assbags championing this shit though. As I understand it, TERFs have basically zero political power.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:38 AM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Fundamentally, these regressive idiots think that gender=sex (and won't listen to anything to the contrary)

Interestingly, the recent DOJ complaint against HB2 in North Carolina pushes back really hard against the "gender != sex" formulation, while still supporting trans rights.

There are actually a lot of different ways you can position sex and gender relative to each other:
  1. Conservatives: Sex is biological and fixed at birth. "Gender" is some airy-fairy bullshit we don't believe in.
  2. Many liberals: Sex is biological and fixed at birth. Gender is a matter of self-identification and is more important.
  3. Most actual trans people I know, some intersex activists: "Sex" is a figment of doctors' imagination. You just can't divide people into two "biological" categories no matter how hard you try, so we should quit trying. Gender is a matter of self-identification and is all that really matters.
  4. Obama administration, as of a few days ago: Sex is an important legal category, so we can't get rid of it. But it isn't purely biologically determined. If someone has stated how they identify, that can be taken as determining which sex they should count as for Title IX purposes.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:38 AM on May 13, 2016 [33 favorites]


Man, I'm glad my boss is out today so I don't have to hear about "Washington telling you where to pee."
posted by malocchio at 9:39 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Notably, Trump has been remarkably liberal about trans issues...

I'm very afraid that he sees any given issue as a bargaining chip, and any previous statement as just dickering, open to negotiation. As soon as it appears that his base of support wants to make this an important issue--and from my experience there is a big overlap between those who support him and those who think trans people are immoral or sick--Trump will have a change of heart. A violent change of heart. (I hope not, but I'm not hoping for much from the guy who wants to up the torture ante.)
posted by TreeRooster at 9:46 AM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


There clearly needs to be single stall restrooms - for those whose religious beliefs makes them uncomfortable using public restrooms suited for serving the entirety of the public.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:46 AM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


There clearly needs to be single stall restrooms - for those whose religious beliefs makes them uncomfortable using public restrooms suited for serving the entirety of the public.

There was a comment on an FPP I can't find that one (or some?) school districts approached it this way. They informed people of the new bathroom policies, people threw a shit fit, school district solved the problem by letting kids who weren't comfortable sharing the bathroom with trans kids use the teacher's bathroom. Unsurprisingly none of the kids bothered and it became a non-issue.
posted by edeezy at 9:52 AM on May 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


There clearly needs to be single stall restrooms - for those whose religious beliefs makes them uncomfortable using public restrooms suited for serving the entirety of the public.

Y'know, an awful lot of schools out there would greatly benefit from something as simple as making sure bathroom stars have actual functioning doors. Things like that would be better for basically everyone.

The more I see this discussed, the more I have found that men's restrooms, at least, are uncomfortable for basically everyone, whether cisgendered or trans.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:54 AM on May 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


This is awesome on so many levels, not the least of which is informing me with a quickness which of my acquaintances are bigots in liberal clothing.
posted by Mooski at 10:06 AM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


charred husk: So everyone has to be protected, even that "tiny group", but he'll leave it up to the states. Like North Carolina, who he's been criticizing

Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don't-
I've come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,
cut a little swathe and lead the people on.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:10 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


There was a good piece on what Charles Pierce refers to as Urinal Cooties Protection Acts on NPR this weekend (in contrast to the one-sided piece from this morning mentioned up thread). They talked to police departments throughout North Carolina on how they planned to enforce the new UCPA. Some declined to comment, but other pointed out the same thing I have been saying, namely that it is impossible to enforce from a practical standpoint. There is simply no way to have a police officer stationed at the entrance to bathrooms all over the state demanding to see the birth certificate of everyone who enters. I guess they would need to do a quick karyotype on anyone who did think to bring their birth certificate with them. And what about people like Obama that can't even produce an acceptable birth certificate? I guess they just hold it in till they get back to the White House. So yes, this is just to rile up the base, and that needs to be pointed out every chance we get.
posted by TedW at 10:11 AM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Man, I'm glad my boss is out today so I don't have to hear about "Washington telling you where to pee."

Right, because that's the job of the bigots.

You know, I just want to pee. I don't really give a damn if the person in the next stall looks like me or not, dresses like me or not, has the same genitalia as me or not, or may be sexually attracted to me or not. Whoever you are, just damned well go, and let me do my business as well.

What is so difficult about that?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:12 AM on May 13, 2016 [19 favorites]


Yeah, I know about TERFs. I doubt they'd join in common cause with the right-wing assbags championing this shit though.

Don't be so sure. TERFs really, really hate transwomen. The foundational TERF belief is that tranwomen are committing rape on womanhood itself (cf. Janice Raymond).

As for being a minority of a minority, they can and do still play a vital role in providing pseudo-intellectual cover for those pushing these laws. The arguments behind laws like HB2 are exactly the arguments peddled by TERFs.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:15 AM on May 13, 2016 [10 favorites]


The more I see this discussed, the more I have found that men's restrooms, at least, are uncomfortable for basically everyone, whether cisgendered or trans.

This. There's something about this issue that really just flies the arrow right into the heart of the frothing patriarchy and all the harms it does to the culture and everyone. The North Carolina stuff is all about "what about the women and children?!" Well, what about the goddamn women and children? Truly, they are statistically more likely to be abused and/or murdered by a man in their close relationship than encounter let alone be menaced by a transgender woman.

If I think real hard about what kind of list I could come up with about being menaced in a "public" bathroom (which is what? in a mall? at my office?), I would list these in order of my fears: a man intent to do harm, another woman possibly suffering mental illness, a teenager who is an asshole, a bee. Honestly, far more likely to be stung by an errant bee in the bathroom than encounter any violence whatsoever. The same is likely not true for men (of any kind) entering a men's restroom. The number of males with "intent to do harm" out there vastly, vastly outnumber trans men and women.
posted by amanda at 10:22 AM on May 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


I wish we could take all the hatred and vitriol aimed at trans people in public bathrooms and re-target it at people who talk on cell phones in public bathrooms. They're the real monsters.

Protip: If somebody is talking on a cell phone in an adjacent stall, fight back by making shockingly loud, disgusting farty noises.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:25 AM on May 13, 2016 [18 favorites]


I'm very afraid that he sees any given issue as a bargaining chip, and any previous statement as just dickering, open to negotiation.

Well to be fair, many cis and straight Democrats impress me as fair-weather allies. They're quick to claim both leadership and momentum after the fact, and equally quick to lecture LGBT+ people that we need to be less aggressive in our advocacy in the face of elections and political compromise. For that matter, I'm already seeing chatter that Texas is the bellwether and Obama is costing Clinton votes.

I'm not convinced that the Obama Administration's legal argument is strong enough to displace the need for modifications to Title IX and a trans-inclusive ENDA. So it's going to be a long decade of political change ahead of us.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:32 AM on May 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


I, for one, am indifferent to where anyone potties, but for the record, that wikia article is pretty clearly an opinion piece, rather than objective writing, in that it posits that any feminist discussion about trans is automatically offensive and that nobody has any right to even discuss it without being labeled a hate monger. That's absurd. All culture changes need exploration. Even some transwomen are discussing the issues of feminism and gender identity. To say that any feminist discussion is verboten, and that feminist scholars and philosophers should be silenced, is just another example of women being told to shut up and sit down.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:35 AM on May 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


Y'know, an awful lot of schools out there would greatly benefit from something as simple as making sure bathroom sta[ll]s have actual functioning doors.

but then they might draw on the walls with a Sharpie!
posted by ArgentCorvid at 10:43 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]




There is simply no way to have a police officer stationed at the entrance to bathrooms all over the state demanding to see the birth certificate of everyone who enters.

I'm frustrated with this, because while I'm thrilled to know that police are rolling their eyes about this whole thing, that argument doesn't really hold up to much thought. There's also no way to have a police officer in front of every home making sure only the residents and their invited guests enter, too, but breaking and entering is still illegal.

What's much more important is for police to point out how many "offenses" of this type they've seen, which is still basically zero. In fact I'm really surprised I haven't once seen that fact disputed so far.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:45 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


feminist discussion about trans

Trans people. Trans men. Trans women. Trans girls. Trans boys. Transness. Trans issues. Trans politics. Trans film directors, trans checkout clerks, trans rollerskating team.

"A trans" is a backpack.
posted by Frowner at 10:47 AM on May 13, 2016 [35 favorites]


rather than objective writing, in that it posits that any feminist discussion about trans is automatically offensive and that nobody has any right to even discuss it without being labeled a hate monger. That's absurd. All culture changes need exploration. Even some transwomen are discussing the issues of feminism and gender identity. To say that any feminist discussion is verboten, and that feminist scholars and philosophers should be silenced, is just another example of women being told to shut up and sit down.

Two things. Trans women literally predate feminism. And, we're women. Any discussion of feminism that doesn't unequivocally include trans women is by definition transmysogyny and not feminist at all.
posted by odinsdream at 10:47 AM on May 13, 2016 [43 favorites]


That's an easy way to fix the problem.

No, it isn't. McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents makes it extremely clear that providing a small minority with their own special facilities serves to inflict stigma, among other ills.
posted by fifthrider at 10:51 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, bait and switch. Bathrooms are the symbolic case. But conservatives and terfs don't want trans and non-conforming people anywhere in education. Bathrooms get them more cred than their complaints about pronouns, dress codes, inclusive curricula, and names.

Bathrooms are just the wedge to justify exclusion or coersion.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:53 AM on May 13, 2016 [13 favorites]


How is it being addressed already in schools where they do have a transgender student or students? What are some examples of schools who are already doing a good job on this? What are the results?


I realize this comment is way upthread and may have already been addressed, but this link should be disseminated at every opportunity anyway.

A Comprehensive Guide To The Debunked “Bathroom Predator” Myth

"23 School Districts and Four Universities ... have trans-inclusive policies and serve an estimated 1.5 million students each year without incident"
posted by AFABulous at 10:53 AM on May 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


*reads headline*

Woo! Great job, Obama adminstration!

*reads Texas response*

OH FOR THE EVERLOVING JESUS FUCKING CHRIST YOU ASSHOLES
posted by Gaz Errant at 10:56 AM on May 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


Protip: If somebody is talking on a cell phone in an adjacent stall, fight back by making shockingly loud, disgusting farty noises.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:25 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Eponysterical?
posted by Tknophobia at 10:56 AM on May 13, 2016 [10 favorites]


The more I see this discussed, the more I have found that men's restrooms, at least, are uncomfortable for basically everyone, whether cisgendered or trans.

Huh, really? I am a trans man who has been using men's rooms for about a year. I was fucking terrified at first - not so much afraid of violence as being pointed out as an imposter and kicked out.

A year later, absolutely nothing has happened. I learned that men's poops are stinkier, but they are more likely to flush the toilet. They leave more water around the sink area, but I can usually do my business in a peaceful silence. The literal worst thing that has happened is a double take and a quizzical look.

All my trans male friends have had similar experiences - I have talked to dozens and no one has been threatened or assaulted. This is not to say that no trans man has ever been assaulted in a bathroom, but it's an extremely false equivalency to trans women's experiences and the focus should be on their risk.
posted by AFABulous at 11:01 AM on May 13, 2016 [16 favorites]


To say that any feminist discussion is verboten, and that feminist scholars and philosophers should be silenced, is just another example of women being told to shut up and sit down.

We're not talking about "oh, let's talk about gender theory" here, we're talking about claiming trans women aren't women, are a danger to other women and society at large, and then using political power to persecute and harass them. To claim that pointing that out is somehow anything even remotely like "women being told to shut up and sit down" is an extremely dishonest bit of false equivalence.

Also, FWIW, Michelle Goldberg's criticism of the trans community in that article got a lot of pushback, including some serious blowback from at least one interviewee (and she links to a bunch more). It's not a good or even decent example of any serious discussion about the intersection of feminism and trans activism.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:01 AM on May 13, 2016 [17 favorites]


Clearly, this is it. This is the wedge issue for the 2016 election. The one to get conservatives to come out and vote.

I think self-identifying transgender election workers would be a pretty sweet response. They can have their wedge and meet it too!
posted by srboisvert at 11:02 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


That could very easily put said election workers at risk of assault or worse.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:04 AM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Protip: If somebody is talking on a cell phone in an adjacent stall, fight back by making shockingly loud, disgusting farty noises.

Fight back? I call that relaxing.
posted by srboisvert at 11:05 AM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Uh this is kind of a Really Big Issue for a lot of people, including many who are posting right here in this thread, so like maybe not with the farting and poop and "what really sucks in bathrooms is cellphones amirite" jokes?

Right now, at this very moment, people are putting the education of their children far behind their fake, made-up bullshit about sexual predators, and using trans people as the punching bag. Seems to me like fart jokes are tone deaf at best; go back sixty years and it's like going on about how you'd better stay away from the egg salad sandwiches at that lunch counter. It's really gross, and really dismissive and trivializing of the actual real struggle that actual real people--some of whom are right here posting in this thread--are going through. Please stop.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:10 AM on May 13, 2016 [19 favorites]


The more I see this discussed, the more I have found that men's restrooms, at least, are uncomfortable for basically everyone, whether cisgendered or trans.

Huh, really? I am a trans man who has been using men's rooms for about a year. I was fucking terrified at first - not so much afraid of violence as being pointed out as an imposter and kicked out.

A year later, absolutely nothing has happened.


I think this is basically true for "adult" restrooms, but anecdotally speaking, my elementary school had no locking stall doors, middle school was hit and miss, and I remember just giving up on stalls by high school (Graduated 2002 for reference).
posted by avalonian at 11:14 AM on May 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


My eight-year-old, who is now homeschooled, and I talked about the provision about changing names in school records. When he was still in school, it wasn't clear to the principal that his name could be changed in official school records. When she consulted higher-ups about it, she was told that it couldn't be done without a legal name change. So, while his boy name was used in the classroom and so on, and in any school-only databases his boy name appeared. But his old name was still in the system, and it would show up, oh, on his school picture packet and in the first draft of the school directory. The school were our allies; the office staff would do their best to catch and correct the name problem before it reached us or anybody else. But it slipped through sometimes.

He was very excited to hear that kids would be able to change their names at school more easily. He said he almost wished he was back in school so he could have the experience of doing that.

Thanks, Obama. My kids wish, for this and other reasons, that you could have a third term.
posted by not that girl at 11:17 AM on May 13, 2016 [52 favorites]


I think this is basically true for "adult" restrooms, but anecdotally speaking, my elementary school had no locking stall doors, middle school was hit and miss, and I remember just giving up on stalls by high school (Graduated 2002 for reference).

Sure, but that's a fucked up situation in that school for everyone whether they're trans or cis. Students are actual human beings who deserve a functional bathroom stall.
posted by zachlipton at 11:18 AM on May 13, 2016 [12 favorites]


Now Obama's action is going to be seen as government overreach to force men to be allowed into women's restrooms by a significant number of people.

So fucking what? Fuck those people. My 50% trans 6-person family can't get over this, and Loretta Lynch's unequivocal statement of support a few days ago. When does the government do this? Declare unconditional support for a marginalized group without a single weasel word or hedge or prudent softening of the language to avoid pissing off people who hate us?

They did it this week. They did it for us. So many times in history they had the chance to do it for others and didn't. But this week they stepped up. I'm not going to let the satisfaction of that be overshadowed by anything, at least not yet. Not when I'm looking at my two trans kids and thinking, "There are people at the highest level of our government right now who have publicly allied themselves with me and your father in our quest to keep you safe." Loretta Lynch is my fucking hero right now, because she said she would take care of my children, and she didn't say it in a vague, mealy-mouthed "no child left behind" kind of way. She said, "Your kids, not that girl. Your specific trans kids. I'm going to do everything I can to help you take care of them, and the president is going to help me." And I believed her.

Jesus, I just made myself cry. Because I love my fucking kids so much and what I want for them is to be safe and loved, and I need the help of everyone in the world for that to be true.
posted by not that girl at 11:28 AM on May 13, 2016 [106 favorites]


"We see you!" That made me cry and I am not trans!
posted by zutalors! at 11:31 AM on May 13, 2016 [18 favorites]


Yeah, the inner workings of the minds of horrible fucking bigots are basically the last thing I'm concerned about right now.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:33 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Now Obama's action is going to be seen as government overreach to force men to be allowed into women's restrooms by a significant number of people.

I am willing to bet cash money that literally not one single person changed their mind on Obama because of this.
posted by Etrigan at 11:34 AM on May 13, 2016 [15 favorites]


What not that girl said, all the fucking way. I don't give a shit about giving ground to bigots on this issue, at all.
posted by odinsdream at 11:38 AM on May 13, 2016 [9 favorites]


COUNTDOWN TO KIM DAVIS REAPPEARING
posted by rhizome at 11:38 AM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


I feel like "We See You" has been a hallmark of Obama's Presidency, from same sex marriage, to mentioning nonbelievers in his inauguration speech, to being the first to acknowledge Diwali and record a message for it.
posted by zutalors! at 11:41 AM on May 13, 2016 [19 favorites]




I would like to shout out to my fellow Fort Worthians who showed up to support trans-inclusive policies put in place by our local superintendent.

I love those of my fellow Texans still fighting for basic humanity to prevail. If you pray, pray for those folks.
posted by emjaybee at 11:48 AM on May 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm a trans woman, although I have varying degrees of how 'in' or 'out' I am depending on my current life situation. Right now, I'm pretty much 'in,' because I've had to get a new job recently and it would have been impossible to show up for interview as a woman who - let's face it - looks and talks a bit like a bloke in girly clothes and be offered the job. No matter how many legal protections there are, I as an ordinary person have very little recourse. After all, if I go to a job interview as an out trans woman and don't get the job, of course it's because "I'm overqualified" or whatever. I can't go back in time, do the same interview dressed as a bloke and get the job to prove my point. :) It's the same if I was ever to come out at work - because of the insecure nature of work these days, all I'd find is that my contract wouldn't be renewed at the end of the month for completely unrelated reasons.

I know I'm a woman. Inside, I'm a woman even if on the outside I don't often look like one - I started to transition, started to live part-time and then full-time and then had to dial it back because of where I live and the economic necessity of finding work and so on. It makes me feel like a useless, pathetic piece of shit that I can't seem to find the courage to transition and go full-time and often a lot of the encouraging messages from allies make me feel even worse - "you can do it!" - no I can't, I would literally get killed if I went out as a woman around here. It doesn't help that we seem to hold trans women to unrealistically high standards of appearance - and I simply do not have the time, energy or money to get my facial hair lasered, frequent the local (terrifying) MAC counter and so on, nor do I have the desire to be a 'beautiful person' spending shitloads of money on makeup and hair and clothes and stuff. I wasn't like that as a man, why would I be like that as a woman? I'm still me, for fuck's sake. I wish we could stop over-emphasising clothes and appearance as a marker of transition.

I don't want to have to think of myself as 'a trans person.' I'm just a person, I have hopes and dreams and ambitions and loves and none of them have anything whatsoever to do with gender. In my life's goals, gender doesn't even register. It absolutely fucking exhausts me to have to think about this stuff at all, let alone day-in, day-out. I don't even really know what point I'm trying to put across here other than that I'm so super exhausted with gender as a whole and don't really know where to go from here. The whole gender, transition etc thing feels like this almighty, energy-sucking distraction from pursuing my actual life goals and in an actual, fair just world I'd be able to do whatever the fuck I wanted gender-wise without having to compromise on my real aims in life.

This thread is moving really, really, really fast and every time I start typing something it comes up "12 new posts!" or whatever, so apologies if this is irrelevant or the thread has taken a different turn. As a non-American though, can I just say that I give even less than a single flying fuck about the intricacies of US party politics, Obama, Donald Fucking Trump and so on and can it please get out of this thread and into the election thread? Also, yes this is a bit of a rant, for which I apologise. It's been building up for a bit. If anyone wants to memail me, please do. It is a bit of a shout for help, I'm sorry. And mods, if it is inappropriate please delete.
posted by winterhill at 11:51 AM on May 13, 2016 [64 favorites]


It doesn't help that we seem to hold trans women to unrealistically high standards of appearance [...] I wish we could stop over-emphasising clothes and appearance as a marker of transition.

A friend of mine wrote a great article about this exact issue, which I've linked on MeFi before: I’m A Trans Woman And I’m Not Interested In Being One of the “Good Ones”.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:56 AM on May 13, 2016 [15 favorites]


Has anyone traced this bathroom law bullshit back to its first proposals, and then traced the sponsors and their connections?

I'm not sure about the sponsors, but from what I understand, the awful discriminatory anti-trans aspect of this bill was intended as a wedge to gain support for the rest of the bill, which is an anti-Fight for 15 effort to prevent cities from raising minimum wages or regulating labor rights:

Part 2 of the law, which reworks the state’s “Wage and Hour Act,” prevents any local government, whether city, town, or county, from regulating wage levels, hours of labor, or benefits of private employers.
posted by dialetheia at 12:00 PM on May 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


from what I understand, the awful discriminatory anti-trans aspect of this bill was intended as a wedge to gain support for the rest of the bill, which is an anti-Fight for 15 effort to prevent cities from raising minimum wages or regulating labor rights

Remember, the Republicans are the party of "small government" and "local control," until they aren't.
posted by Gelatin at 12:05 PM on May 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


And yet I realize how problematic it is for me, a cis person, to call for better visibility among trans people. Especially when coming out is risky, especially in this climate. Real question: what can we do?

See, this is where you get to pull out the "But some of my best friends are trans" card. Not to other trans people, but to cis people. Humanize us. Your friend Jill goes to church and likes canoeing. Your coworker Sky is a whiz at graphic design and plays guitar. Try to find some common ground between us and whoever you're talking to. We're not defined by our transness, we have full, multidimensional lives. But those lives and freedoms are threatened purely because we're trans.

Don't have any trans friends? Go to demonstrations, volunteer at the LGBT center, follow trans people on Twitter, etc. My username is @desjardins and a good % of the people I follow are trans.
posted by AFABulous at 12:12 PM on May 13, 2016 [34 favorites]


A friend of mine wrote a great article about this exact issue, which I've linked on MeFi before: I’m A Trans Woman And I’m Not Interested In Being One of the “Good Ones”.

Please tell your friend that article changed my life.

posted by nebulawindphone at 12:20 PM on May 13, 2016 [17 favorites]


Uh this is kind of a Really Big Issue for a lot of people, including many who are posting right here in this thread, so like maybe not with the farting and poop and "what really sucks in bathrooms is cellphones amirite" jokes?

Even beyond that, how about we acknowledge that this isn't Just A Bathroom Thing at all.

Yeah, I get it, the shit about bathrooms is a concrete issue that's highly visible to cis people, and it's been drummed up by transphobes. But for the actual trans students I know, it is so, so far from being the most important issue that this letter addresses. Why can't we be talking about trans women's right to attend women's colleges? Or trans kids' right to play on the correct sports teams? Or to register for classes under the correct gender marker? Or to attend school without being nonconsensually outed by the administration?

Those things are major, major victories. Discussing this as if it was all about where we poop and pee — as many people in this thread are doing, and as all the mainstream media I've seen is doing — is infantilizing and transphobic. Stop it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:26 PM on May 13, 2016 [32 favorites]


That's a great point and I apologize for contributing to it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:27 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's just... so rare that I get to feel this proud of my government.

Tim Moore, the Republican speaker of the North Carolina House, just whined that "We all have to wonder what other threats to common sense norms may come before the sun sets on the Obama administration."

I wonder indeed. And I can't wait to see.
posted by you're a kitty! at 12:28 PM on May 13, 2016 [13 favorites]


Please tell your friend that article changed my life.

Seconded.
posted by odinsdream at 12:29 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Has anyone traced this bathroom law bullshit back to its first proposals, and then traced the sponsors and their connections?

This article might be of interest.
posted by peeedro at 12:42 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Now Obama's action is going to be seen as government overreach to force men to be allowed into women's restrooms by a significant number of people.

So fucking what? Fuck those people


First, for clarity, that statement of mine was in no way meant as a criticism of the Obama administration. The two transgender-related rulings today are both MASSIVELY AWESOME to see. What I'm saying is that by the GOP making this a thing, it effectively forced the administration to make decision that was going to have negative consequences somewhere no matter what. I'm very glad they chose the right one, but it's one more rallying point that conservatives can use in response.

Also, the more I've thought about the bathroom bills, the more I realize they're a subtle but clear attempt to get rid of trans people. It's not just forcing out of public life, but using a means to deny people a way to address a basic biological need that will exclude them from so many things. Not just from your standard public activities such as sporting events and concerts, restaurants, movies, and so on, and things like travel (what if you can't use the restroom in an airport, or a rest stop), but through making it even harder to get employment. If you can't work, you can't pay rent or buy food. Trans people will be forced to leave if possible, and if not, turn to sex work in higher numbers, or detransition.

So I agree that this isn't just a bathroom thing, but clearly a fundamental attack on whether transgender people get to live in the world with everyone else or not. And it's being done by trying to shut people out of as much as possible while dressing it up as "concern for the safety of women and children".
posted by evilangela at 12:49 PM on May 13, 2016 [6 favorites]




holy fucking shit.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:43 PM on May 13, 2016


I've been dealing with drama since last night and totally missed this.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:44 PM on May 13, 2016


A friend of mine wrote a great article about this exact issue, which I've linked on MeFi before: I’m A Trans Woman And I’m Not Interested In Being One of the “Good Ones”.

Please tell your friend that article changed my life.


(And please your friend it changed mine too)
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:45 PM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]




Jesus christ, Dan Patrick. I fucking live in Texas, I was a trans kid growing up in Dallas. I'm lucky I survived. What in the fuck.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:52 PM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


So the state of Texas' official position is "fuck all the kids because we don't like trans ones?"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:53 PM on May 13, 2016 [13 favorites]


This is fucking surreal.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:54 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thank god for some sanity in some cities (my first thought would have been "except in Fort Worth!", but thanks emjaybee for letting us know how they're handling it)
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:55 PM on May 13, 2016


Do funds from the fed go through the state or are they sent directly to the school districts?
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:57 PM on May 13, 2016


willingness to reject federal funds feels like Texas leaders are saying "we're prepared to leave the union over this".

Please someone tell me it's not as bad as I think it is.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:57 PM on May 13, 2016


Pretty sure they go through the state.
posted by avalonian at 1:58 PM on May 13, 2016


If I recall, most, if not all, of federal funding goes towards special education and low income schools. Take from that what you will.
posted by avalonian at 1:59 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


willingness to reject federal funds feels like Texas leaders are saying "we're prepared to leave the union over this".

Maybe. At the least, they're saying "we're prepared to screw over our children over this."

However! It's the middle of May. Even if schools shut down tomorrow (which I think isn't happening?) kids won't miss much. The timing is pretty clever actually, gives until next September (more or less) to get this through the courts and deliver the legal smackdown.

It will be an election issue, though. I can't imagine how terrifying that must feel.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:01 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


All my trans male friends have had similar experiences - I have talked to dozens and no one has been threatened or assaulted. This is not to say that no trans man has ever been assaulted in a bathroom, but it's an extremely false equivalency to trans women's experiences and the focus should be on their risk.

I must be the outlier then - because just last Sunday, at Target of all places, I went into the Men's room to do my thing, and someone got up in my face about it. While wearing male clothes, a binding sports bra, a men's hat, and a crewcut (which admittedly one wouldn't see under the hat). I also haven't started hormones yet, so I still have a puffy face. But I definitely felt intimidated.

Target staff were extremely amazing and apologetic about it, but the customer kept on pointing out that I was in the 'wrong place' and I kept on asserting that 'no, I am where I need to be'. Because I'm now getting looks in the women's restrooms re: crew cut, hat, shirts, etc. But in terms of safety? I may have to retreat to women's restrooms, as I still look 'female' upon first glance, and probably will until I actually let Testosterone take it's course. Sorry, Ladies - this is as awkward for me as it is for you.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:02 PM on May 13, 2016 [31 favorites]


spinifex23, I'm very sorry that happened to you, and glad that Target did what they could. Some people are complete assholes.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:05 PM on May 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


likewise spinifex23; I dread being harangued in public, and I'm so sorry that happened to you.
posted by odinsdream at 2:07 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


spinifex23 I can't imagine, I'm horrified for you OMG. All hugs and love.
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:07 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm very sorry spiniex23. The good thing about this news is that the administration is standing up for equality! The bad thing is that all this attention on where people go to pee and poop has opened the door for assholes to suddenly care. We've already seen AFA "bathroom testers" at Target trying to make some kind of idiotic point, and I suspect we're going to see a lot more nonsense in the coming months. And the sad thing is that nobody has ever gotten hurt by someone using the "wrong" bathroom, but an awful lot of people will be hurt by confrontations from assholes trying to make a stand.
posted by zachlipton at 2:09 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, thank you all. At first I blew it off, but I do have to admit, it rattled me a bit. Unharmed, but rattled. Luckily I see my Therapist next Tuesday, so I can discuss it with her.

It was absolutely ludicrous. I'm not so much afraid of people calling 'security' on me, I'm more afraid of vigilantes. Hell, even the *pharmacist* calls me by my new name, and my prescriptions are issued with them on it. (I even celebrated by changing that 'identity color ring' to baby blue.) And this was in downtown Seattle. I can't even imagine what it would have been like if this was in suburbia - or a small town.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:14 PM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Seattle?!? The city target?
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:16 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yup. The one and only.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:17 PM on May 13, 2016


Please someone tell me it's not as bad as I think it is.

Bourbon.
posted by mikelieman at 2:19 PM on May 13, 2016


What seems even more is stuff like this. It's the worst combination of bathroom panic and gun-nuttery. And considering the states in question see using the "wrong" bathroom as a threat, they'll just invoke SYG because they can claim it was an act of aggression.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:19 PM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


If people are getting harassed in Seattle...shit.
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:28 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


glad that Target did what they could

Well, it doesn't actually sound like they did. Because they could have told the person in question that they could stop harassing people or leave the store and not return, but apparently they let the person go on blathering about people being in the wrong place.
posted by tavella at 2:31 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


To be fair to Target, the harasser in question was long gone before I approached them, as they used the bathroom ahead of me, and I had to go to a different floor to find the manager. But they said that they'd mention the incident to Security.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:39 PM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ah, okay. The phrasing in the original sounded like Target had let them keep on talking to you after you had contacted security.
posted by tavella at 2:50 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Target is the focus of an organized anti-trans harassment campaign right now.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:02 PM on May 13, 2016 [13 favorites]


I'm way behind, but just because I couldn't let it go:

kozad, as a trans person who has experienced serious transphobia in your "trans-friendly city" I ask you to be more careful in your assumptions and statements.
posted by lab.beetle at 3:20 PM on May 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


Now, I'm grateful that 'all-gender' bathrooms exist, and I use them at my school. But, there's only two of them, they're only in one building out of the three that are on my public campus, on one floor, tucked away in a back hallway. So, if I'm taking classes in that same building, everything is fine. But, if I'm not? I can't be taking the 10 minutes to sprint from Building A to Building B every time I need to go.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:28 PM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]




Yeah, no not all trans guys are free from harassment. I've been on Testosterone for just under a year and even though I have a beard (ok fine it's patchy peach fuzz but there's A LOT of it) and my voice is now a pleasant baritone, I have been, in no particular order, shoved against the men's room wall, told I'm in the wrong place, gotten double takes, and just generally now go out of my way to find a family restroom. When I would use the women's room, even before starting T, I had security called on me by some mom whose kid said "there's a boy in the bathroom stall." That lady just grabbed her kid away from the sink they were using to wash their hands and literally bolted from the bathroom. The next thing I know is some security guard comes in as I'm washing my hands.

So I absolutely do not care if this bathroom panic is just a diversion or if others have been so lucky to avoid being harassed because it sucks.

It sucks to go into a men's room and see a line and know that you'll get weird looks at best and maybe bw pushed around again (or worse), or that you'll have to wait longer for a stall that almost always has giant gaps between the door and sides. Or to weigh between waiting for the bathroom to empty before leaving a stall or dealing with a potentially violent outcome.

I used to drink a gallon of water a day. Ever since the last time I got bothered in a bathroom I have dropped that down to maybe 1qt during the work day. Not healthy but better than anxiety. Which, by the way, also inhibits the need to use a bathroom during the day. If you're too stressed to pee, turns out you can avoid a bathroom until you're home.

I live in Salt Lake City, so I figured that it was just a culture thing there. But I've been on an internship in San Francisco and I've had to deal with this stuff here, too, even though HR has made it very clear I am "allowed" to use whichever bathroom I want.

It is humiliating and ignites a visceral anger that I'm "allowed," even though I understand the language.

When I watched Loretta Lynch, I was relieved that I was SEEN. When I read these Title IX letters, I feel relieved and hopeful, something that I haven't felt since basically January and all these bathroom bills started in vengeance. It is a peculiar feeling to hear and see how many people want you to stop existing.

It doesn't feel good. So it's cool and all that people say these bills are just a division and a diversionary tactic, but while it may be academic to some people it certainly isn't academic to me. It's my life and the lives of my friends.
posted by chaostician at 5:26 PM on May 13, 2016 [41 favorites]


I'm so sick of the 1950's. When can the 1950's just end already?

filthy light thief: I so enjoyed that someone else has seen The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and was thinking of that moment.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:17 PM on May 13, 2016


Trans woman. With a space. Every damn time.

Yeah, I know about TERFs. I doubt they'd join in common cause with the right-wing assbags championing this shit though. As I understand it, TERFs have basically zero political power.

Would that it were so, on both fronts. There's history contradicting both.
posted by Dysk at 7:07 PM on May 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


Serious hugs to you, chaostician.

This shit needs to settle down. Now.

And even if you're not being harassed? It's tiring to find yourself unwittingly in the crosshairs of a huge cultural issue, where one side thinks you're literally Public Enemy #1, when all you want to do is live your life in peace.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:54 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


To clarify, I'm not saying that bathrooms are a diversion so much as a lever. The endgame is complete exclusion or coercion of trans and nonconforming kids from education. Any inclusion of trans kids is unacceptable to them. Not at prom. Not at graduation. Not in the classroom. Not in the after-school activities. Not using preferred names. Not using preferred pronouns. Not in preferred clothing. Not mentioned in the curriculum. Trans and nonconforming kids have been discriminated in all of the above ways in the last year.

Conservatives and terfs are using bathroom taboos as a lever to justify opposition to any form of recognition or accommodation. It's really stunning to see the slippery slope in action. "Suzie and her parents want her teacher to use feminine pronouns, something something, therefore child molesters in trash drag haunting our bathrooms!" "Social transition just a reification of patriarchal gender roles, something something, therefore rapists in trash drag haunting our bathrooms!" And they do that because the bathroom taboo provokes gut reactions from people who would otherwise live and let live.

Deny a group access to restrooms, and in many cases you deny them employment or an education. And you can mumble something about lacking a plumbing budget rather than say that you really don't want trans people, the disabled, or women in your space.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:26 PM on May 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


Unfortunately, I fear we're going to continue to hear a lot more about this recent incident in which a man choked an 8-year-old girl in a Chicago restaurant's women's restroom. People will inevitably fail to recognize that there are already plenty of perfectly good laws against choking people no matter who you are or where you are and that someone who chokes 8-year-olds is highly unlikely to care about bathroom laws of any sort. Instead, this is already being used to justify discrimination and more hate.
posted by zachlipton at 8:38 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why can't we be talking about trans women's right to attend women's colleges?

The guidelines don't address that:
Single-Sex Schools. Title IX does not apply to the admissions policies of certain educational institutions, including nonvocational elementary and secondary schools, and private undergraduate colleges. Those schools are therefore permitted under Title IX to set their own sex-based admissions policies. Nothing in Title IX prohibits a private undergraduate women’s college from admitting transgender women if it so chooses.
posted by Corinth at 12:22 AM on May 14, 2016


I noticed that, too. Is that more a reflection of the inadequacies in the underlying statutes with respect to the application processes used by such schools? It does seem to imply that public systems would still not be permitted to exclude in that area, though.
posted by odinsdream at 5:37 AM on May 14, 2016


Thanks for the correction, Corinth.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:21 AM on May 14, 2016


And yeah, it was hasty of me to say the bathroom thing doesn't matter. Of course the harassment and assault have real consequences.

And then this morning on Twitter a friend of mine was talking about getting a bladder infection bad enough that she was pissing blood early in her transition, from keeping herself dehydrated so she wouldn't have to use public bathrooms — and I was like "Oh, yeah, now that you mention it, that happened to me the first year I was transitioning too." Bathroom panic totally does have consequences even for those of us who avoid harassment or assault.

I'm still tired of it being The One Issue — and I still do think it's transphobic for the media to present it as The One Issue. But I'm sorry for trying to shout down people here who want to talk about it, and I should recognize my own privilege that a bad UTI is the worst it's ever gotten me.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:29 AM on May 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think the bathroom is where the battle is fought but the principles behind the war and where we need to be fighting is far outside the frame of the bathroom.

This is a plan to create so much legal, legislative and medical friction preventing trans people from having access to their true identities that it effectively eliminates us as a class of citizen. I can tell you who I am today is...well, I wish I could explain what feeling trapped as nothing felt like, because that is what the repressed life feels like.

So yes, the bathroom is where the battle is fought, but the principles behind this go WAY WAY further than the bathroom. And where the source of this scourge is coming from is where we need to be a aiming our strategies. By fighting in the bathroom and thinking that's the extent of the war is allowing them to set up new goalposts for us to have to overcome in the future, which leads to them being able to draw the narrative while all we can do is react.

It's time to take control of the narrative.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:08 AM on May 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Maybe. At the least, they're saying "we're prepared to screw over our children over this.""

Technically they were already willing to screw over children for this, but now they're also willing to screw over cisgender children.
posted by RobotHero at 8:37 AM on May 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


The DOJ response is about as perfect a response as I can imagine to issue a new narrative and refocus the story back to the broader goal of complete justice. There are oversights and imperfections for sure, but given the nuance and complexities of gender, the DOJ efforts right now are the freshest take I've seen in a long damn time. The HRC (not Hillary) is stale and ineffective on this IMO (calling out to Silicon Valley for help is WEAK) and within trans activism circles and feminist movements in general it seems there's a lot internecine bickering over exactly how to even talk about gender in a way that doesn't step on anyone's toes. The DOJ just stepped in and said "enough of this crap, we're laying down the law". And that's exactly what they are doing.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:50 AM on May 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


Technically they were already willing to screw over children for this, but now they're also willing to screw over cisgender children.

You're right, that was a stupid mistake on my part.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:02 AM on May 14, 2016


Yeah, the idea that our children are cisgender, and that trans children are other, is precisely the worldview that lets this whole shitstorm make sense.

Count me in with Annika Cicada as being completely blown away by this.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:51 AM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm excited to read the books when they get written on this, because damn if this isn't a pretty tightly coordinated, very controlled set of steps taken by the administration at multiple layers of government. I'm impressed, and totally surprised.
posted by odinsdream at 9:57 AM on May 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


It's ridiculous to imagine the amount of shear and tug a self-determined body with boobs and a penis can have on the fabric of the U.S.

I'm like "are trans people the reason for this? Are we really The catalyst for this? What the fuck?!?"

THIS ALL SEEMS SO SILLY Y'ALL.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:13 AM on May 14, 2016 [13 favorites]


Well, they're kind of a mess, these true believers. I don't even think they accept that we're actually real. It's all part of this culture war, PC, Obama, something something thing they're really not clear on, but it's definitely got a core of them losing the ability to control people, specifically women, at it.
posted by odinsdream at 11:04 AM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


And then this morning on Twitter a friend of mine was talking about getting a bladder infection bad enough that she was pissing blood early in her transition, from keeping herself dehydrated so she wouldn't have to use public bathrooms

omg. *lightbulb moment*
posted by AFABulous at 11:51 AM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, I fear we're going to continue to hear a lot more about this recent incident in which a man choked an 8-year-old girl in a Chicago restaurant's women's restroom.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but this incident is totally irrelevant unless the man was wearing women's clothing and claimed to be a trans woman. I doubt those things happened and even if they did, it's no defense for choking someone. What do people think, the judge is going to say "Oh, okay, you had a total right to be in that bathroom because Obama said so. Sorry for the bother, Miss."
posted by AFABulous at 11:56 AM on May 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "You're right, that was a stupid mistake on my part."

With their "protecting our kids" narrative, you were focused on how they were failing at the "protecting" part and left their definition of "our kids" unchallenged. I can see how that was easy to overlook under the circumstances.

I had read this cartoon which uses the phrase "let men who think they're women go to the same bathroom as our kids." And I was struck by how the trans people (leaving aside the "___ who think they're ___" pattern for the moment) in this scenario are described with the adult words "men" and "women" while the students who must be protected from the trans bogeypersons are described as "our kids." But these guidelines are talking about schools. We're not doing away with staff washrooms, (and if someone who is neither staff nor student is hanging around in school washrooms, I think we could ask them to leave no matter their gender) so we are talking about trans students, right?

The trans students are somebody's kids too, and I think it is important to not let them gloss over that.
posted by RobotHero at 10:43 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


The anti-trans POV is such that trans children's experiences are not afforded a place in the discussion or negotiation. It's an intentional effort by the architects of the anti-trans political efforts in this country to create such a dominant cis-centric model of the world that it becomes very easy for people who are not trans to forget for a moment that trans children actually have lived experiences that deserve comment. So it's not by accident that it's easy to forget trans children in the discussion, it's baked into program the anti-trans political actors have put forth and something we all need to pay close attention to inside ourselves when discussing these matters.
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:01 PM on May 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


For an excellent textbook example of that, take a look at the testimony given to this committee hearing on Minnesota's own version of HB2, wherein the anti-trans speakers are some of the very parents who were part of the mob that drove a trans kindergartener out of her school here in St Paul. (You can start at 12:40 to jump straight to one of these parents).

The father of that trans child is in the room listening, and testifies towards the end of the hearing.

Incidentally, the chair of that committee, Peggy Scott, was the winner of the Family Champion Award from the Minnesota Family Council, a hate lobby group that routinely offers praise for legislators who tack anti-trans measures onto legislation. Also, they're still not over the whole marriage thing, ya know.

Seriously, sign up for some conservative group's mailing lists and just witness the batshit insane at this moment in time.
posted by odinsdream at 7:27 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


SCOTUS Won't Review 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Case

I think this is a good thing? I'm not really sure. I think it means the 4th circuit's ruling stands. Can anyone help?
posted by odinsdream at 11:33 AM on May 16, 2016


Normally I wouldn't read the comments, but this exchange is just hilariously over the top.
Michael Raleigh
This bodes well for transgender rights. Another blow against conservatism.

Rick Mccowan
Closer to bloodshed. Don't forget why we fought for independence
I don't remember that part of history class.
posted by AFABulous at 11:50 AM on May 16, 2016


odinsdream, that is indeed a good thing!
posted by Corinth at 11:53 AM on May 16, 2016


I think trans children's needs and views are doubly ignored by these people because, at the risk of being obvious, they're not only trans, they're children. There's an awful lot of overlap in political alignment between the anti-trans forces and people who don't particularly care about the rights and wishes of actual individual kids, as manifested by things like slashing school funding. Since they see neither trans people nor children as worthy of respect, it's almost inevitable that they've never actually considered that there are actual trans kids on the other side of this, kids who have dealt with enough crap already that they really don't need idiot lawmakers piling on.
posted by zachlipton at 12:16 PM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I do worry about all this leading to a very extraordinarily nasty cultural war that will strain the U.S. in totally ridiculous and completely unneeded ways.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:53 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I do worry about all this leading to a very extraordinarily nasty cultural war that will strain the U.S. in totally ridiculous and completely unneeded ways.

Like, it hasn't been for the last 40 years (if not a bit longer)? Statehouses passing legislation to spite their more liberal municipalities has been a thing since I came out 25-odd years ago.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:10 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cisgender woman mistaken for transgender, harassed in Walmart women's room

There have been similar stories, and there will be more due to the visibility of these laws. No woman is safe, really.
posted by AFABulous at 1:32 PM on May 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


I see a current cultural war on three main civil fronts:

Biological Essentialism in the form of anti-abortion laws, which seek to reinforce the notion that a woman exists primarily as a birth vessel
Policing and legal systems that are biased to reinforce the position of black people as "lesser than"
Anti-trans efforts seem to be outright seeking to eliminate 700 thousand people from this country.

So no, I don't think it has been quite like this for 40 years. The closest thing I can imagine is back in the 50's when gay people were told they were straight and laws existed to criminalize all sex and gender deviant behaviors. Those laws thankfully went away a long time ago though.

So it's weird, because I am having a hard time finding another area of the contemporary cultural wars that are seeking to eliminate an entire group of people from existing. Help me out here, please.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:40 PM on May 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Biological Essentialism in the form of anti-abortion laws, which seek to reinforce the notion that a woman exists primarily as a birth vessel
Policing and legal systems that are biased to reinforce the position of black people as "lesser than"
Anti-trans efforts seem to be outright seeking to eliminate 700 thousand people from this country.


I grew up in an America with all of the above. And attempted genocide through AIDS. The pushback is coming because we're finally making some forms of discrimination and coercive therapy illegal.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:29 PM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


"attempted genocide through AIDS"

Thank you for pointing that out. God, that was a horrific time for a lot of people, and even to this day the epidemic still rages on.
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:36 PM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Any mefites who are able, please donate to Trans United Fund. They're doing real, direct work and it's by and for trans people. Put metafilter in your note field.
posted by odinsdream at 2:44 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Part of my objection here is that trans people already face pervasive institutional bias and uncontrolled peer violence in public school systems. I've kept an ear on LGBT youth research, and it's gotten only incrementally better in the last few decades. Young Mr. Grimm and President Obama are not provoking institutional anti-trans violence. They're making the routine anti-trans violence of the system impossible to ignore.

Conservative legislation regarding LGBT people almost always serves to protect by law forms of discrimination and violence that are already pervasive in practice.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:29 PM on May 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


That's a really insightful comment. I think what I'm experiencing is the horror of realizing that the anti trans coalition is attempting to codify into law their terrible wish that trans women would just go away.
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:58 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


CBrachyrhynchos, I wish I was so optimistic. Since I first signed up towards the beginning of facebook, I have maintained a habit of not unfriending facebook friends for political reasons, from the pipsqueak libertarian my ex ex ex-partner kind of knew when she worked with him one time to the increasingly open white supremacist who was kind of an asshole in high school when I did a project with him one time but has since gone on to be a truly mean, violent, and broken adult desperate for someone safe and easy to blame for his brokenness. What I see on all of their feeds terrifies me. The walls of even the less political ones are still teeming with violent rhetoric from both them and their friends. I'm afraid that this is radicalizing people who, while they might never lift a finger to defend a trans person, would now do violent and terrible things.

This might just be the thing that changes my habit, even while the worst of them were slinging racial slurs after the Obama elections or promoting with the most outlandish and racist Trumpery, no one was calling for lynchings and getting open agreement.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:35 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think of myself as optimistic. I think of myself as angry and realistic after having been harassed, threatened, and bashed multiple times. I have never been safe, and I know that history, experience, and hypervigilance is shared by many others within the community.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:16 AM on May 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


To be fair, I'm probably overestimating the risks because of my personal crazy. But a large chunk of that personal crazy involves a phobia about being bashed again because some guy doesn't like the cut of my jib. Facebook conservatives are escalating that threat this election cycle, but it's always been there.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:40 AM on May 17, 2016


Today in Canada
posted by Theta States at 12:20 PM on May 17, 2016


German Lopez: The House of Representatives snuck an anti-LGBTQ measure into a spending bill
"Shame, shame, shame!" Democrats in the House of Representatives chanted as Republicans switched their votes to block a measure that would have overturned an anti-LGBTQ measure passed on Wednesday.

The anti-LGBTQ measure, known as the Russell Amendment, was included in the National Defense Authorization Act, a spending bill for the Department of Defense passed by the House late Wednesday.

According to religious liberty expert Douglas Laycock, the Russell Amendment will likely allow some federal contractors to cite their religious beliefs to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The amendment effectively applies broad "religious liberty" exemptions to an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2014, which banned federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Specifically, the measure applies to "any religious corporation, religious association, religious educational institution, or religious society" that receives a federal contract. But the measure doesn't define what constitutes a "religious" group, leading LGBTQ advocates to fear that practically any contractor could use a religious justification to discriminate.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a New York Democrat, attempted to overturn the measure with his own amendment on Thursday. But after it looked like Maloney's amendment would win, the House leadership refused to bring down the gavel until Republican members of the House could convince several of their colleagues to switch their votes in opposition — leading to the "shame, shame, shame" chant.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:25 PM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


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