I see here where the governor of New York has banned “nonessential” state funded travel to North Carolina. See, North Carolina’s legislature had way too much time on its hands and decided to codify bias against gender nonconformity. You can’t pass a local ordinance protecting gay people from discrimination, and if you’re a transgendered person — even, presumably, one who’s been through the entire hormonal and surgical process of physical transformation into your identified gender — you gotta use the bathroom that corresponds with your chromosomes. How in the everlasting fuck North Carolina plans to enforce this last ordinance, I don’t know.
For one thing, as has been pointed out, the old stereotype of a trans person presenting as a grotesque caricature of his or her elected gender are rather past us. Possibly the last time any of these lawmakers saw a trans person or cross-dresser was in a bad red drag show. (Spring Break trip to Rehoboth? Just guessing.) The effect of this law, if followed to the letter, would include apparent men striding into the ladies’ loo, as has been delightfully illustrated in The Daily Beast.
Scott Turner Schofield, a transgender man who grew up in Charlotte and went on to play a major role on The Bold and the Beautiful, told The Daily Beast that before he even transitioned, he was physically assaulted for using the women’s restroom at a North Carolina movie theater based on his masculine gender presentation.
“I got out [of the bathroom] and there was a woman in her early fifties who freaked out and began hitting me with her purse,” he said. “And that sounds kind of funny except that it was a really big purse with metal edges and it cut me.”
Schofield, then a teenager, had to lift up his shirt in public to expose his bra in order to stop the attack.
I thunk this over for a few minutes. You see, I am a gym rat — a big woman with broad shoulders, large vein-corded hands and ropy forearms, size-ten feet, a long stride, a deepish voice (I can sing Scarpia on pitch) and, being now sixtyish, a little dusting of whiskers that occasionally crop up on my jawline because I can’t see well enough to notice them and can’t always be arsed about them when I do. I wear sport bras that mash rather than lift. I haven’t had a dress on since the 2012 Christmas party.
Piffle, you say, surely everyone can tell you’re a woman, but I’ve more than once been addressed as “sir” by a customer service person on the other end of a phone, or by a passerby when my two feet of hair was wound up under a hat. It’s amazing how the flustered apologies fly when these people realize their mistake, as if being mistaken for someone of the opposite sex were an insult. Really, I am just a human being, who does not go in for the everyday exaggeration of slightly divergent traits (make-up, fluttery clothing, pushup bras, dainty little shoes) that is expected of women, and happens to work out a lot.
True fact: I once was invited to a “girls only” Fourth of July picnic, hosted by my high school boyfriend, who finally decided at the age of fifty-something to embrace a female gender identity that had been rattling around in there since puberty. I was the only chromosomal woman and, by a long stretch, the butchest thing at the table. (Everybody brought the potato salad.)
It would be amusing to walk into a series of ladies’ rooms in North Carolina and see if anyone whacked me with a purse, but — no, really, you know, it wouldn’t.
I freely admit I don’t actually get the transgender thing. That’s okay. I don’t have to. Some people want to change their physical sex so urgently that they’re willing to take hormones and undergo surgery, and once that’s done, they seem happy and at peace with themselves. It’s not hurting me. That’s all I need to know.
Meanwhile, everyone needs to pee. I can’t think of a more vivid common denominator of humanity.