Monday, April 4, 2016

Common Sense and Cruelty in North Carolina

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 
Galatians 3:28

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory appears sincere, reasonable and deeply concerned in his video appeal for the fair treatment of his fair state. “Some have called our state an embarrassment,” he says solemnly. “Frankly the real embarrassment is politicians not publicly respecting each other’s positions on complex issues.”

Ever since he signed what he claims is a very common sense bill designed to protect the privacy and dignity of North Carolina citizens, the state has been the target of what he describes as “a vicious, nationwide smear campaign.” The critics, he said, “demonized our state for political gain.”

In support of the beleaguered governor and his allies in the North Carolina legislature, Kellie Fiedorek, writing for the Heritage Foundation’s “Daily Signal,” describes the new law as common sense.

First, she explains the danger that the new bill, HB 2, was designed to address: “The Charlotte City Council passed an ordinance Feb. 22 that was a direct attack on the long-acknowledged truth that maintaining sex-specific bathroom facilities preserves the privacy and safety of women and girls." 

And then she makes the central point of her common sense argument. “If enacted, this ordinance would have allowed men to choose—based on feelings rather than biological facts—to enter restrooms reserved for women and girls.”

Thankfully, she explains, the craziness in Charlotte was stopped before their non-discrimination ordinance could take effect. “Recognizing the inherent dangers created by Charlotte’s ordinance, the North Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, acted swiftly and appropriately to pass the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act  (“Privacy Act”) to rectify Charlotte’s failure to protect its citizens. The Privacy Act restored fundamental privacy norms to bathrooms in government and public school facilities. It also protects against future attempts to erode the fundamental right to privacy in other venues throughout the state.”

For the record, I am very much in favor of “common sense.”

But in this case, the new North Carolina law uses “common sense” to oppress and humiliate a group that has already suffered more than its share of oppression.

With regard to restroom use, what the new law actually requires is that persons use the gender specific facility conforming to the gender they were assigned at birth. If your birth certificate says you are a male, then you use the men’s room.

That works fine as long as you are not transgender.

If you are a transgender man, you will be required to use the women’s room. And if you are a transgender woman, you will be required to use the men’s room. That doesn’t sound very safe to me. Nor does it sound like common sense.

Of course, the assumption in the new law is that being transgender is about feelings and choices. And in her defense of the new law, Ms. Fiedorek seems to apply that those feelings and choices might change on an almost daily basis.

In other words, the new law is built on the oppressive fantasy that transgender persons are not real persons.

It is heartbreaking. 

It is unspeakably cruel.

I am a cisgender male. That means that the gender I was assigned at birth matches my self-identity as well as my anatomy. Most of us are cisgender males or females. 

We do not think about being cisgender because we don’t have to think about it. It’s just the way we are.

But if you are cisgender, try to imagine what it would be like to feel that the gender you were assigned at birth is not who you really are. Try to imagine what it would be like not to feel at home in your own body; to feel that there was something fundamentally wrong with you at the very core of your being.

Then  imagine that with the help of psychologists and psychiatrists and physicians, you work through all of that, and you go through a painful but transformative experience, and finally after all of the pain and grief you finally feel right. And after that, the state enacts a new law to make it clear to you that you will never be right because they will never let you be right.

Why would North Carolina, or any other state, want to do that to a human being?


  1. Because they're "Christians" who "believe in" "God."

  2. Very compassionate, genuinely common-sense post, Bill. Picking up for UM Insight, with your kind permission.