Transphobia: Republicans dumping a bathroom bill on Wisconsin

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Dianne Skoll
LGBT Perspectives columnist

OTTAWA — Another day in the U.S.A. brings another bathroom bill sponsored, predictably, by a Republican lawmaker. There’s something about transgender people needing a place to pee that really seems to rile up social conservatives.

The latest offering comes from Wisconsin, where Republican lawmakers Rep. Jesse Kremer and Sen. Steve Nass have crafted a bill to “clarify policy and protect students’ privacy.”

As is usually the case with sponsors of these bills, the overriding concern is purportedly the protection of women. Kremer reportedly said that he wants to protect female students from someone posing as a transgender student who was “up to no good.” Apparently, male students don’t need such protection because (I suppose) males are tougher and stronger and all around better able to take care of themselves than the “weaker sex.”

And again, the bill doesn’t just ban transgender people from going to the  appropriate washrooms. It also contains the usual mean-spirited provision to punish school districts that may actually wish to respect civil rights: The bill provides a private right of action whereby parents could sue schools for unspecified damages if they weren’t satisfied that the school was stigmatizing transgender students specifically.

I have no doubt that eventually these disgusting bathroom bills will die out and any that manage to pass will be repealed, but in the meantime they can make life difficult for transgender people. They also, unfortunately, expose a truly dark side of American culture: A reactionary meanness of spirit and desire to actively punish those outside the norm.

The reactions are becoming all the more strident as social conservatives suffer one defeat after another regarding LGB people — same-sex marriage is a done deal in the U.S.A. LGB people are too mainstream for any serious political contender to attack, so the social conservatives are turning against the T community, who they correctly see as even smaller and more marginalized than the LGB community.

There is a bright future for trans people in the U.S. But unfortunately, we’re going to have to endure some dark days, indeed, before we get there.

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“Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey

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