Here in Philly. Having a blast. Learning about Teaching Open Source.
Really short version:
It’s the saddest, most pitiful piece of scared-because-progress-is-coming piece of embarrassing legislature that I think I’ve seen passed in NC in my lifetime, and I’m ashamed that the NC government passed it.
You remember the old advertising jingle “I like calling North Carolina home”? I used to fully believe that, but this bill makes it awfully hard.
None of the arguments *for* the bill make any sense to me.
Women need to be protected from transwomen (born as men, but identify as women) in bathrooms
This one is just redonk. If anything, the evidence suggests that transgender individuals are the *subject* of sexual violence far more often than is the norm, not the perpretrators (see http://www.ovc.gov/pubs/forge/sexual_numbers.html).
I’ve also seen the argument that women shouldn’t have to see “men’s genitals” in their restrooms. This has to have been an argument made by a man, because women know that we have stalls, we shut the doors to those stalls, and we don’t pee in the sinks!
Women need to be protected from straight men who will pretend to be transgendered and crossdress in order to go into the Women’s room and attack women
I don’t see bathrooms as becoming the “go to” place for predators, no matter what law is in place, for a couple reasons:
- In women’s rooms, you’re talking about a stall situation… if the stall door is locked (which you have to do to make the door stay shut), then it’s locked, meaning a predator is going to have a hard time…predating (?).
- If you’re positing a random “he grabs her at the sink” scenario… why the bathroom? Seems like that would be an extremely risky venue for a predator:
- there’s only one way out; and
- there’s no lock to keep more people from coming in, so
- almost anywhere else he could go, it would be easier to randomly grab someone.
- For a man to use a women’s room under the Charlotte ordinance (as written) he would have to “identify as being a woman.” I am imagining that in most women’s rooms, that would mean that we’re going to be looking for some attempt at “girl-dom”: some sense of femininity (whether it’s clothes or bearing or makeup or ….).
I am *guessing* (no research to back this up), that being *manly* is important to sexual predators, as sexual predation is all about _power_ at it’s root (and the sort of people who do this don’t think women are powerful).
So, I would posit that the likelihood of a gender normative man who is a sexual predator *choosing* to play a transgender person so he can slip into a women’s room to commit a crime, when there are about a million other ways to do it that wouldn’t require that… are pretty slim.
Cities shouldn’t be able to pass this sort of law
If you’re going to claim that the law was passed because the State is the only “correct” place for this legislation to live…why? It seems completely random to me to say that the Federal Government is too big and City governments are too small — based on what?
And the result is really silly, as it means that a city cannot, for example, recognize that, for example, its cost of living is higher (and taxes are higher) and raise the minimum wage accordingly. Boo.
Having transgender individuals in the restroom of their choosing will make people uncomfortable.
Ok, I fibbed. This one does make *sense*, in that I understand that this will probably make some people uncomfortable — I am just ok with the idea that there will always be people who are uncomfortable with changes that bring society towards a more inclusive ideal. Whether it’s women getting the vote, blacks being released from slavery, the right of black and white people to marry, or saying that “separate but equal” was not OK, there have been people every step of the way who have been *uncomfortable* with the decision.
And that’s ok. Being in situations that make us uncomfortable is how we grow.
Let’s say you read the following article in the paper:
Yesterday Sulyane Smith was driving home from work on Hwy 64, when a drunk driver crossed the median and slammed into her car. The police have been able to determine that she was on no illegal substances, doing the speed limit, and driving in the far right lane. Ms. Smith, age 26, was huge Earth, Wind & Fire fan and was listening to "September" when the oncoming vehicle hit her. Doctors at the local hospital say that she will likely be paralyzed for life.
I’m guessing your responses would range somewhere from:
“Oh God, that’s terrible!”
“I hate drunk drivers! Is the guy who hit her still alive?”
Which are all, I think, really reasonable responses and indicate that you’re a compassionate person and you think young Sulyane was the victim of an *awful*, terrible, crime.
I’m guessing that no one…not a single one of you…would say:
“Had she taken a defensive driving course?”
“Didn’t she swerve to avoid him”
“If she hadn’t been listening to music this wouldn’t have happened!”
“Didn’t she see him coming?”
Because we don’t tend to blame the people who are hit by drunk drivers for not being *better drivers* or not being able to anticipate and avoid the situation.
Yet, that’s exactly what we do to rape victims.
So when this graphic started making the rounds on Facebook (and I reposted it because I think blaming the victim for being raped is rediculous) it provoked some interesting discussions amongst my friends.
One friend said that she too does not believe the victim is ever at fault, but said “there are things you can do to lower your risk of being raped.” She continued by asking: “What would you tell your daughter?”
As in, wouldn’t you tell your daughter that wearing short skirts or walking around alone at night is more likely to put you in danger of being raped.
Ugh. I mean, yeah. I would, if I had one. Just like I don’t walk through dark, abandoned parking lots in a late at night by myself if I can avoid it.
And yet, I still Very Much Agree with the graphic. And I realize I can mostly reconcile those two things by the word “cause,” as in “correlation does not imply causation;” however, I still have troubles with that, because as a woman, anyone making a statement about what women should or shouldn’t do to lower their risk of being raped still *feels like* it puts the impetus for not being raped on me.
And I tend to figure things out by analogy (working through similar situations and finding out where the math doesn’t work anymore), so last night as I was not sleeping while worrying through this I came up with the drunk driver analogy.
We don’t blame the victims of drunk drivers for
- not having taken defensive driving class
- not being better drivers (and being able to swerve to avoid being hit)
- listening to the radio or
- not seeing the driver coming
…even though there’s a decent chance they could have avoided being hit if any (or all) of those things were true.
Think about the last time you took extreme measures while driving to avoid someone who did something bat-shit-crazy and nearly hit you.
That person could have been drunk. And if they had been drunk and they had hit you, No One Would Ever say that “You could have avoided this, if only…”
We don’t blame the victims of drunk drivers.
And that’s the difference. Because we never blame drunk drivers, it’s totally cool to say “Hey, defensive driving class is a thing you should do — you can never tell what kind of drunken idiots will be on the road.”
But saying “Hey, dressing conservatively and not drinking are things you should do, because you never can tell what kind of vicious rapists are out there,” is not.
I *know* this isn’t a black-and-white situation. It’s shades of grey, like everything else. But the kind of thinking that tells women to not wear skimpy clothing (so men don’t want to rape them) leads straight to women being clothed head-to-toe with no skin showing at all.
(BTW, I would *love* to see statistics that correlate % of women who are raped with % of their body covered by fabric. I am guessing that if you look back through history and across cultures, you’d find that there’s no correlation at all between amount of skin and incidence of rape. I don’t have the metrics to back up or refute this, but please holler if you do.)
I’ve tried to explain before (probably not here, but definitely in person to a lot of people) how I was extremely lucky when it came to gender expectations: both my Dad and my maternal grandfather (“Grumps”) let me play with “boy stuff” (and, in fact, encouraged me to).
With Dad it was taking apart stereos and playing with Erector sets, while my Grumps let me build things in his shop (supervised, of course). In both cases I didn’t have any sense that I wasn’t supposed to be doing these things, and it wasn’t until I was much older (middle school, maybe?) that I realized that it was considered somewhat weird to be a girl who liked computers and science. I still remember Dad teaching me how to add in binary when I was in the seventh grade — I ended up going to computer camp that summer and programming in Basic on “trash-80s.”
But my experience wasn’t the norm then, and it feels to me like it’s even less the norm now. It seems everywhere I turn it’s the Pink Pink Pink Princess World (which you *have* to be in if you’re a little girl) versus the Superhero Robot Machine World that little boys get. Most of my friends who are raising children are exceptions — one of my dear friends was delighted when her boy-child took an interest in home decorating, and another friend made her daughter a Thor costume. Because Thor.
Of course if you are little girl and you love princesses and pink and all things glittery, that’s delightful too — I’m just saying that shouldn’t be your only choice! In fact, I happen to also *love* all things glittery, much to the chagrin of my husband, who understands the …contagious… nature of glitter.
Growing up with the idea that your choices — about what to like, how to act, how to dress, and what you can do — aren’t defined by your reproductive organs is incredibly powerful. This choice by Target to examine their signage and remove the genderdness except for where it makes sense (to help a parent determine a size, for instance) is wonderful. It’s a great step towards helping to eliminate all those subtle cues designed to keep kids stuck in their gender stereotype.
Any child should feel equally at home looking at the pink sparkly backpacks…or the laser-building-robots.
Going through some old photos over the weekend, I found pictures that I took of my Granny and Grumps’ kitchen wall, which was covered with awards, certificates and photos that reflected that his years of service to North Carolina. One of them was for the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine,” which Wikipedia said was created in 1965.
Well, my Grumps was presented the award on September 9, 1964 (which means Wikipedia was wrong, and I had proof!). Looking further, I found the website for the Order of the Longleaf Pine and the listing for all recipients — and Grumps wasn’t listed. Apparently record-keeping was somewhat sparse during the early days of the award’s existence, and the site asked anyone who knew of a missing recipient to send that information in.
So I did. And I just got a very nice email back from the current manager of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society saying that not only was he delighted to add Grumps, but that Grumps’ certificate was one of the earliest he’d seen.
And I’ve made a mod on the talk page for the Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Wikipedia explaining that the award existed at least as early as 1964. We’ll see what happens.