From 1997 to 2002, the television show Ally McBeal portrayed a law firm where the titular character worked. One of the more innovative aspects of this law firm was that a unisex bathroom was the setting for more than a few dramatic moments.
But the viewing public never reacted to that bathroom as many are to North Carolina’s new bathroom laws.
From 2008 to 2010, the only daughter of Cher and Sonny Bono transitioned from female to male and subsequently changed names from Chastity to Chaz. Public reaction to a female becoming a male back then was not as many are reacting to North Carolina’s bathroom laws now.
Is this because a female becoming a male does not result in the same appearance and functionality to the genitalia?
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In April of 2015, a former Olympic athlete transitioned from male to female and subsequently changed names from Bruce to Caitlyn.
But, the public reaction to a male becoming a female has been drastically different. Is this because Bruce Jenner was one of America’s Olympic heroes and many of you feel robbed of the man who once adorned our Wheaties boxes?
Because I don’t. Is it that male genitalia is external and therefore the uneducated general public considers the penis a threat to the perceived safety of a restroom? Male genitalia does not automatically equate to sexual predator.
Basketball star Dennis Rodman once put on a wedding dress and the general public laughed. The sight of a heavily tattooed and pierced black man with a flowing blonde wig wearing a virginal white wedding dress was absolutely comical.
RuPaul Andre Charles makes his living as a female impersonator, has appeared on numerous television shows, and the public laughed, more than anything. The sight of a 6’4” man, without heels, in drag is both comical and realistically obvious.
Ellen DeGeneres is gay. She usually wears a button-down shirt, a vest or a suit. These are classified as stereotypically male clothing. The general public has not reacted with outrage. She is publicly acceptable. Why is this so?
So why is America suddenly going crazy about where a person goes to the bathroom?
Why do people suddenly care about the unisex bathroom that is usually located between the men’s and women’s room? Why is there a petition and protest against Target allowing people to use the restroom with which they self-identify?
How is North Carolina policing this policy? Are there police officers assigned to every restroom in the state? Is it their responsibility to check the genitals of each person wishing to use the restrooms?
This “law” (which I purposefully use quotes to imply that it isn’t actually a law that can be implemented, policed or fined) makes no sense. It has about as much possibility of bankrupting North Carolina because of protesting businesses than anything else.
It is discriminatory. It is inflammatory. It is idiotic.
Donnie J. Grayson Jr., an Ashland native, lives in Lexington and works as an online lecturer of writing for Eastern Kentucky University.