The country has come a long way from “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy in the United States military instituted under Bill Clinton’s administration regarding gays and lesbians serving in the military, the gist of which can be explained as follows (for military personnel only): if you are homosexual, keep it to yourself (stay in the closet, so to speak); otherwise, you will be kicked out of the armed forces. That was based on Directive 1304.26 issued on December 21, 1993 by Department of Defense which lasted until September 20, 2011. The ramifications of the policy extended beyond those in the military; if you wanted to join, you could not if you were openly gay.
With a stroke of a pen, all that changed in December of 2010; then president Barack Obama repealed the “discriminatory” practice, opened the door for gays and lesbians to serve in the military and provided the opportunity for those who were kicked out (12,000 according to Britannica.com) to re-enlist. After 17 years of having to hide their sexuality, thousands and thousands of enlisted men and women who have been protecting our freedom finally got theirs. However, the controversies over the issue of homosexuality in general had just begun. Lines were drawn; Conservatives on one side, Liberals on the other; each side gears up for a very long and fierce battle and aims at one another.
It’s worth noting that most social issues we’ve confronted here in the country can be explained away in the simplest terms, Republicans vs Democrats. Most of the time, it’s not even about the issue; it’s never about the country, it’s almost always about the party. Republicans believe they own or wrote the book on family values; Democrats believe they have the mandate on inclusivity. Each side is adamant about its role in society and convinced it’s up to its members to fulfill its sacred duty. There lies the problem at the core of the big divide between the two sides irrespective of which party occupies the Oval Office.
So, it is no big surprise (it should be no surprise at all) the issue of homosexuality has not resolved itself after more than two decades of debates, protests and policy implementations. One should not expect any final resolution of the homosexuality issue much less so than one would expect a resolution of racial discrimination in America.
Enforcing the bathroom law
Hypocrisy of the North Carolina Christians aside, how is the law to be enforced? North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed the bathroom law prohibiting transgenders from using bathroom of the opposite sex from the one unto which they were born; in plain English, if you were born a male, you are prohibited from using the WOMEN’s bathroom vice versa for women. What would happen if you violate the law? There is no provision (in the law) how the governor intends to enforce the bathroom law in North Carolina. That’s where I come in. I offer below a few scenarios under which the North Carolinians would now have to co-exist (maybe peacefully).
Scenario 1 – Security Guard To Enforce The Law
Under this scenario, the state may experiment with unarmed Security Guard whose sole job is to ensure individual bathroom users enter the “appropriate” bathroom. In the rare instances where the Bathroom Guard cannot determine which gender an individual belongs to, the Guard would be allowed to touch the individual’s crotch area to make a determination and guide such individual to the appropriate bathroom. Should the individual refuse to be touched, he may be denied access to either bathroom. In the case of physical altercation, the Bathroom Guard should call for backup using the “Bathroom Law Frequency” radio. An armed Police Officer would be dispatched to resolve the bathroom standoff. If the officer is unable to convince the prospective bathroom user to comply, the officer might prevent the user from entering the bathroom or place the user under arrest and charged him with attempt to use wrong bathroom, conviction of which is punishable by one month in jail and up to $1,000 fine. In the event the user resists arrest (according to the officer and regardless whether it’s true), the officer may use reasonable force to subdue the “wrong bathroom” user; and if the officer feels his life is in danger, he is allowed to use lethal force (translation: to shoot the “wrong bathroom” user), thus putting an end to the bathroom dispute.
Scenario 2 – All Facilities Have Unisex Bathrooms
Under this scenario, all facilities will continue to have gender oriented bathrooms but would also feature UNISEX bathrooms. Whether the facility has a Security Guard would be optional since transgenders and all gender confused individuals would be allowed to use the UNISEX bathroom without fear of harassment or bewilderment; this would also minimize the need to resort to armed Police Officers to resolve bathroom standoffs.
Scenario 3 – The Way It Was
Under this scenario, Carolinians would go about their business the way things were before the law was signed by the governor. In other words, no one would care which bathroom the other individual uses; of course, the weird looks and comments would still fly high in the state regarding the individuals who use the “wrong” bathroom. But there would be no scenario under which a “wrong bathroom” user is whisked away in handcuffs or shot dead by the police (without the opportunity to use any bathroom).
I always know there is a (physiological) need to go to the bathroom but I have never imagined there would be laws to head there; then again, time has changed. The bathroom is a dangerous place, ISIS’ like assaults may surprise its visitors; so, there must be laws to protect its (temporary) residents. In fact, I would call on Washington to allocate funds for armed guards outside the bathroom doors across the nation. One can never be too careful. Renewed concerns among bathroom users of stealth like attacks by unknown assailants have prompted local authorities of several communities to beef up police presence both inside and outside the bathrooms; residents of those communities have expressed their utmost gratitude; they believe police presence gives them peace of mind to be in the bathroom and sit in there for as along as necessary. Go Blue!
Joking aside, for the sake of our discussions here, we will stick to just the bathroom aspect of the law in North Carolina (NC) which has catapulted the state to national spotlight in spite of or probably because of an ongoing presidential election season. In essence, here is the gist of the law, Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed into law on Wednesday, March 23, 2015 what is now called the “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act”. What in God’s name does that mean? One probably needs a translator to figure out the mumbo jumbo, right? Luckily, I am here to help. Here is in common parlance what it means, if you are a dude, I mean a man, if you were born a man, if you have a penis, you are therefore a man and you must use the bathroom labeled MEN or GENTLEMEN regardless what you wear, no matter what you look like, irrespective what sex you think you are. The law also applies to the other side; if you are a woman, if you have breasts (big, small, curvy, flat, round, etc.), if you have a vagina, you are therefore a woman and you must use the bathroom labeled WOMEN or LADIES regardless what you wear, no matter what you look like, irrespective what sex you think you are.
To be fair, the “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” seems to targets men transgenders especially; in other words, women transgenders get a FREE pass; they are in fact free to use either bathroom – although not explicit in the law – but men transgenders can only use the MEN’s bathroom. As you might have already guessed, the law “zoomed through” both the House and the Senate (with Republican majority) in NC; in the Senate, Democrat lawmakers simply walked out in protests. As it is in most social issues, Republicans – protectors of family values in America – have sided with the bathroom law and Democrats – defenders of equality and inclusivity in the Republic – are against it. It is my view that the law will eventually be modified or annulled. The protests against the law have multiplied; across all sectors of society, celebrities, businesses and commoners have all banded together to impose a stifling form of economic sanctions on the state. Celebrities (Singers, comedians, actors, performers) have all cancelled entertainment activities previously scheduled to be in North Carolina; they all took their shows elsewhere. Businesses with plans to open branches in North Carolina have either postponed the plans or selected a neighboring state to setup shops. Commoners (tourists both here at home and abroad) are warned about NC bathroom law; some decided to cancel their vacation trip altogether, others made changes to avoid stopping in NC. If loss of jobs and business opportunities are factored in, North Carolina lawmakers would have to rethink the “whole bathroom law” thing.
If you’re Republican, you support the law of course; if you’re Democrat, you’re naturally against the law. This is where I come in, not to tell you who is right who is wrong but rather to shed light over the issue and let you – hopefully – make rational decision which is not based on political party affiliation.
Notwithstanding which side is right or wrong, here are some perspectives on the bathroom law in North Carolina (or anywhere else for that matter).
How was it before the law?
How did NC live before the bathroom law? Was there chaos in the state in front of the bathrooms? Did people have to constantly call the cops to settle dispute on bathroom use? Did anybody even notice who went to which bathroom? My suspicion is nobody really cared; I also suspect nobody would have ever cared until of course some smart genius (es) decided to make an issue out of “who should use which bathroom.” Before the law in the state requires that you carry an ID to go to the bathroom, you may have encountered someone (weird) – who may look like s/he belongs to the other gender – entering or exiting the “wrong” bathroom. You would most likely take a second – probably a third – look, and adjust your glasses (or contact lenses) to make sure they are still in place. You may have even made a mental sketch of the individual but by the time you got back to your desk, or to the table at the restaurant, or walk to a store at a mall you would have completely forgotten about the encounter. And even when you did, it was to tell a friend (or family member) about a “weirdo who entered or came out of the wrong bathroom”, have a good laugh and move on with your life. You wouldn’t dwell on the encounter; you wouldn’t file a police report; you wouldn’t load your gun for the next such encounter.
With the law in place, you are now empowered to tell others which bathroom they should use, and they’d better listen or else…
You’ve heard the uproar, you’ve seen the outrage; NC is in a state of turmoil, you’re in a state of panic. You support Governor Pat McCrory but the business you’ve worked for five years is moving its office to another state because of the bathroom law the governor signed or you work in the entertainment industry but all scheduled performances in the state have been cancelled or you work in the tourism industry but tourists both here in the country and abroad are taking their sightseeing tours elsewhere. It’s just a matter of time before the state of North Carolina plunged into a financial crisis similar to Detroit, Michigan. Would you stick by your “principle”? Would you let the bathroom law drag the state to an economic depression? It’s not that serious.
Before you begin cursing “those liberals, fagots, transgenders, gays, lesbians, hellbound sinners” responsible for the financial problem in your state due to the action of the governor who doesn’t like them, picture the scenario where the table is reversed and your individual rights are limited by some “stupid” law, would that be okay? I asked because it is very puzzling that most people, especially those who like to be known as Christian Conservatives, have ironically displayed the most selfish behavior towards their neighbors all the while quoting the Bible against homosexuality but completely bypassing the important commandments, two of which are considered most important by God himself 1)Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; Jesus said “this is the first and great commandment; the second is similar to it” 2) Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Matthew 22:37-39).
I don’t want to start “calling people names” but do you see the dilemma here? Do you see the hypocrisy in the behavior of those who shout at the top of their lungs they are Christians all the while professing nothing short of hatred? Don’t tell others you are Christians, show them. Besides, God would never employ you to decide for him what to do with sinners, would he? I am sure he would not. So, get off your high horse and do the one thing God asks you to, to love thy neighbors (be they straight or gay, black or white, men, women or transgenders).