(Consider this my minor contribution to Lou’s excellent post on The Bathroom Wars.)
I’m an engineer. In general, that means I tend to break a big problem into its components, analyze each one, work out contingencies, then work back up the chain to resolve the bigger issue. So let’s consider this bathroom silliness for a minute…
First consider the normative state: men use men’s rooms, women use women’s rooms. The former typically have semi-private urinals and private stalls, the latter have private stalls.
Now consider post-bottom-surgical trans people: whatever their anatomy at birth, the men now have penises and the women do not. Under North Carolina’s law, these men now have to use a women’s room and vice-versa. They’re all going to use stalls, because the men are forced into a bathroom that has no option, and the women aren’t equipped to use a urinal. However now little Janie sees a man trot into her bathroom, scandalizing her poor innocent eyes and doubtless causing endless mental anguish (</sarcasm>). Uh, isn’t that what the law purports to prevent?
Hm. Ok, let’s consider pre- or non-bottom-surgical trans people: people who self-identify as men lack a penis, and people who self-identify as women have one. Their preference, based on self-identity, is to use men’s rooms and women’s rooms, respectively. But the trans man can’t use a urinal, so they go into a stall. The trans woman goes into a stall as the only option. Privacy achieved, and only someone peeping over/under the wall will ever know what anatomy was peeing next door. Under North Carolina’s law, those trans men have to use a women’s room and the trans women have to use a men’s room. They still use stalls (see above), but they are now again scandalizing little Janie. Moreover, the trans person themselves is now at personal risk from intolerant folks.
In short, letting people follow their own identities leads to privacy. Enforcing the law risks embarrassment at best and harassment, abuse, and assault at worst. So tell me, how the fuck is this stupid law protecting anyone??
(And in case it isn’t obvious, the ultimate question here is largely rhetorical.)