I’ve never heard so much talk about transgendered people in all my life. Although people say that we don’t know the actual number of transgendered people in American, generally the number is estimated at 700,000, or 0.3% of the US population. Like most Americans, I have met very few transgendered people in my life.
Lately everyone is talking about them because of bathrooms. Or, more to the point, which bathroom someone who has body parts of one sex should use if they identify as a member of the opposite sex. Things seem to have come to a head with North Carolina’s HB2 law. This law has caused businesses to pull out of the state. A few musicians are cancelling their concerts there. At least one movie won’t be released in North Carolina. And now presidential candidates are taking sides.
Depending on who you ask, the law is one of two things: It’s either a simple bill that prevents people born of one gender from being able to use the bathroom of another gender, or its a nefarious plot to stop all anti discrimination laws in the state and foster an environment of discrimination for LGBT people. There are lots of article on both sides. The right sees NC as a champion of conservative values. The left sees the law as a direct attack on LGBT people. There are a lot of opinions floating around out there.
But not a lot of people have actually read the law. Here’s a link to the text of the law. It’s 5 pages. If you’re concerned, you should read it.
Here’s the break down:
Title: Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act
Preamble: Says they have the authority and responsibility to enact laws like this.
Part 1: Describes in detail who can and cannot go into bathrooms and locker rooms.
Part 2: Some pork that doesn’t have much to do with the subject. Basically, the state government says they regulate labor in the state, and their rules supersede any local ones.
Part 3: I think this is the one that gives opponents the most concern. NC says that the state level discrimination laws supercede any and all laws at the local level. Ordinances and laws imposed in a city cannot be in conflict with NC state law. Goes on to reiterate ideas in Part 1 and lays out who will deal with complaints.
Part 4 & 5: Severability and date of enforcement.
So, some history. Charlotte’s city council had voted to approve a transgender bathroom ordinance. The state government quickly adopted HB2 to stop that ordinance from going into effect, and say that the state government has authority over these laws.
No hidden agenda. Just making it impossible for Charlotte or any NC city to pass laws allowing people who are biologically one sex into bathrooms or locker rooms for the opposite sex. And saying that this sort of decision is one that should be made at the state level.
The left says it’s discriminating against transgendered people. The right says it’s protecting people from those who would abuse the system. The left says that’s crazy, what’s the chances of that actually happening?
There’s actually a better even chance that the man in my daughter’s bathroom is a sex offender, not transgendered.
Remember, there are 700,000 transgendered people in America. As of 2015, there were over 843,000 registered sex offenders in the US. Just like LGBT people, there are many sex offenders we don’t know about. (No, I’m not equating being gay with being a sex offender, just acknowledging that there are people who belong to both groups but are not represented in these numbers.) From what we do know, there are more sex offenders than transgendered people. It’s actually more likely that the man in the women’s bathroom is a criminal than a man identifying as a woman. Because the number both groups is so small, it’s also not very likely anyone in my family will ever see someone of the opposite sex in their bathroom.
Which brings us to Part 3. The state government supersedes all local authority on this issue.
I know, right? How dare the state government believe it has authority over cities inside the state? And that laws it passes should take precedence over local ordinances?
I remember a few months ago something similar, on a federal level. An event where a federal branch of government enacted a law that superseded all state level laws. And now same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. Of course the difference here is that the NC legislature is actually tasked with writing laws, while the US Supreme Court is not.
But fret not, members of the Left. There are avenues you can travel toward righting what you consider a terrible wrong. Unlike the “law” created by the Supreme Court regarding marriage, the people of North Carolina have a recourse to change HB2, if they wish to. They can vote out their officials and vote in people who will repeal it. If the people of NC want anti discrimination laws related to sexual identity and behavior, they can elect people who will pass those laws at the state level.
That’s how representative government works.