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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How to create a panic about one thing to fuel a cold, clear-eyed animus toward another

I can never decide: does North Carolina Values Coalition just have no ethical standards, or do they really believe their audience are witless dopes? Here's a case in point, which they posted on Facebook: an article on the transgender public restroom panic groups like NCVC has adopted as a stalking horse for its antigay agenda. Start with the photo: a soaking wet woman in a bathtub? What has that to do with public restrooms? With the exception of concerns the author has with the safety of locker rooms in gyms- where toilet availability isn't really the stalker's Eden opponents claim restrooms in, say, a mall, are- absolutely nothing. In fact, Mike Huckabee mocked the very notion in June: “I wish that somebody would have told me in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in P.E. I’m pretty sure I would have found my feminine side, and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today,” Huckabee said to laughter and applause. “You’re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous, doesn’t it?” said the GOP presidential candidate. So you get to the article and it's written by a communications director for a Seattle area nonprofit. There's no objective data cited in her article. It's not within her expertise. The author is, however, a victim of childhood sexual abuse, and there is now doubt from even her elided account that she has suffered greatly. But she was not abused in a public bathroom. For The Federalist and NCVC, it's the basis for a powerful, and misleading, emotional hook for the story. For the author, transgender equality is a wedge in a door that is already open, and that her solution will not close, or lock: "Let me be clear: I am not saying that transgender people are predators. Not by a long shot. What I am saying is that there are countless deviant men in this world who will pretend to be transgender as a means of gaining access to the people they want to exploit..." The author, understandably, seeks a bulletproof level of assurance that life will not deal with her the same way again, but concedes that transgender people do not need to be kept out of women's restrooms- it's men who can still get in there. "Don’t they know that predators are known to intentionally seek out places where many of their preferred targets gather in groups? That perpetrators are addicts so committed to their fantasies they’ll stop at nothing to achieve them?", she asks, adding "With zero screening options to ensure that biological males who enter locker rooms actually identify as female, how could a woman be sure the person staring at her wasn’t exploiting her?" And what, one might ask, is one to do if the woman doing the staring is a pervert of the lesbian variety? Here, the entire point of the article fails utterly. So her solution- and, presumably, NCVC's- is telling transgendered people just go somewhere else- wherever they can find, if they can. And the real abusers- the ones the author admits are NOT transgender, laugh and laugh, because they know this really isn't about them. This is a straw issue, useful only for pushing transgendered people out front to scare people into conflating that non-issue with civil rights protections for The Mean Gays.

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