Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Hold On...What Are Public Restroom / Locker Room Laws Typically Like? Transgenderism and Restrooms Reconsidered

   Does anybody know what public restroom / locker room laws were like before the recent dust-up?
   I tried to find that out, and it turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be.
   Seems like there mostly have not been actual laws enforcing sex-segregation of restrooms and locker rooms. If true, I think that's important. That seems to shift the burden of proof (not legally...but...otherwise...) over onto North Carolina et al.
   The established practice ought to get a kind of presumption. If, basically, a system had evolved according to which men typically use the men's room and women typically use the women's room...but it was a matter of convention and not law...well...normally I'd say that the state and the law should butt out. In the absence of some crisis that forces intervention.
   (Of course their response here, legally speaking, would probably be: they do have the right / authority to intervene / pass the law...)
   I'd been thinking that there were already laws in place dictating public restroom use, and that the new laws were basically just saying Hey, you know the laws? Well you have to act in accordance with them.
   If, however, there were no (or few) laws actually governing this stuff, then I'd say that might change things.
   The relevant current version of transgenderism theory is still wrong--and that's what I'm most interested in. Men who think of themselves as women and/or look like women are not thereby women. And the DoE, DoJ and everyone else who are trying to argue otherwise are simply wrong, and their arguments are patently unsound. And those arguments need to be rejected. They are confused, and the arguments strongly suggest an official state acceptance of a crackpot "social constructionist" metaphysics, at least with respect to some properties. At the very least the issue needs to be actually discussed, not simply imposed by fiat, with discussion suppressed via accusations of bigotry.
   BUT (and this is a position I think I've been pretty consistent about) it may still be the case that the best policy solution here is to just let people use the restroom they want to use, so long as they aren't doing anything illegal, and so long as it's not too disruptive.


Anonymous rotgut said...

This issue has always struck me as one where the old-fashioned conservative idea that unwritten, socially enforced rules are better than statutory law is right. Was there any genuine problem that such laws would solve, or that are solved by a law explicitly allowing people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their "gender identity?" I'm sure there were occasional issues or incidents, but for the most part, we seemed to have navigated this particular issue just fine. It isn't obvious to me that a law either way is an improvement over the status quo. I have a transgendered student I know pretty well. She uses the women's room, and I don't think anyone has ever said anything about it. I think she is a case where it would be exceedingly strange to see her using the men's room. I'm not sure we need a law to sort that out. Trying to make a law that allows or disallows all and only those things that we want to allow or disallow is really hard, and in many cases, we do it better on our own than with the intervention of law.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, that's the way it kinda seems to me, too.

OTOH, the current transgender fad is clearly increasing the number of people that are going to be using the other restroom. I acknowledge that this *could* be the kind of occasion that legitimately prompts legislation...but we also might be able to get by without it.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous rotgut said...

Yeah, that number probably is increasing, though I suspect by itself that wouldn't be much of a problem. The problem will be with an increase in the number of people who make an issue out of the fact that the bathrooms aren't officially inclusive of trans-people, regardless of whether there was any actual incident involving them using a particular bathroom.

I don't know enough about the history of this issue to know who first starting challenging the "hidden law" and demanding we have written bathroom laws. My guess is that it was trans-activists, and that the conservative response is a fire-with-fire reaction to that. But whoever started it, it does seem like a possible lesson in the dangers of messing with the hidden law. It can be slow to change, and that sucks sometimes, but it is usually capable of being more nuanced and flexible than anything we codify.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, that's a good guess. Either side is capable of it, of course. In NC, it came first from Charlotte, which tried mandating that everybody gets to use the restroom compatible with blah blah "gender identity" blah blah... NC then responded with, as it were, extreme prejudice....

It's my understanding that the practice of women passing for men goes back a long way. That of men passing for women...the more recent, currently more common, and more problem-generating...direction seems rather newer...

In general, my view of conservatives is that they think everything was like the 1950s forever until 1960... When, in fact, it's my suspicion that things were a lot more anarchical / chaotic / up-in-the-air for a long, long time...

For one thing, I can tell you right now, from growing up on an antiquated farm in the Missouri Ozarks, there was a much less well-developed distinction between what males and females should look like. We all wore blue jeans, we were all covered in cow shit...

4:24 PM  
Anonymous John Plato said...

The fact that this is being misleadingly framed as a "bathroom debate" at all is no accident. It's a deliberate political tactic. From the

"The sweeping directive to public schools seemed to come out of nowhere. In fact, it was the product of years of study inside the government and a highly orchestrated campaign by advocates for gay and transgender people. Mindful of the role 'Whites Only' bathrooms played in the civil rights battles of more than half a century ago, they have been maneuvering behind the scenes to press federal agencies, and ultimately Mr. Obama, to address a question that has roiled many school districts: Should those with differing anatomies share the same bathrooms?"

Framing the discussion around bathrooms is designed to link the modern left's confused, nonsensical gender ideology to the black civil rights movement and Jim Crow segregation. It is engineered to distract from how leftist gender ideology marginalizes women's voices and eliminates their ability to speak for their own needs.

It also has the effect of minimizing the scope of the debate, since public bathrooms are relatively low-stakes environments. Stalls are semi-private, stays are brief, and using them isn't mandatory. But the consequences of government adopting the left's gender ideologies are profound.

Obama's DoE guidelines require teenage girls to dress, undress, and shower with teenage males, or drop out of public school entirely, since schools aren't allowed to accommodate students or parents who disagree. Women's athletics, women's scholarships, and women's health advocacy all become subject to invasion and conquest by men.

All this is to say that to focus on bathrooms is to lose the ball in the sun.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


First, I owe you an apology b/c a couple of weeks back I accidentally rejected one of your comments when I blearily tried to publish it from my phone one morning.

Second, wow. I read that story and your point never even occurred to me. I mean, it DID occur to me that activists have been plotting this all for years, it's suddenly launched against an unsuspecting public, the terms of the debate are set, and the issue is half-settled before most people even know what's going on... That alone is a *big* problem...

But I had not thought of focusing on restrooms as a tactic that aims at forging an analogy with civil rights battles...

Very interesting.

I *did* note that the title of the piece includes the phrase "...Advance the Bathroom Rights of Transgender Americans..." Which suggests that there are new rights--"bathroom rights"...and that it's just an effort to "advance" them. Not: Do such rights exist? But: they exist...and of course if rights are real they should be

10:46 AM  
Anonymous John Plato said...

Oops... the link to that NYT story appears not to have made it through. It's:

And I'm not sure I even remember a comment of mine being rejected, but I appreciate the sentiment. Just glad to be here.

11:15 AM  

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