In this world of technology and information sharing, you would think nothing could slip past any of us who try to keep up with political news. Each morning, my e-mail and social media sites are filled with articles from various media outlets with an overabundance of information. Sometimes the actual title in the subject line is: “What you need to know for today”.
However this past week my local media outlets didn’t seem to think one particular proposed Phoenix City Council ordinance was important enough “for me to know” that day. Without fanfare and late that evening at the end of the local news, there was a tiny blip of a story that was so brief I had to watch it again to understand what I’d just seen. It wasn’t even mentioned in the next day’s Business Journal’s “Top Stories of the Week” e-mail, beaten out by a post about a reporter’s search for a first home…Only one website, The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), thought the story important enough to send a mass e-mail to all of their subscribers.
What Phoenix seemed to be trying to sneak through unnoticed is a bill that is going to vote this week based on “anti-discrimination towards transgender individuals” with a portion of the bill being dubbed “The Bathroom Bill”.
I had never heard of “Bathroom Bills” until now, but many conscientious citizens in Maryland, Washington State, Massachusetts and other parts of the country have been experiencing them firsthand. It is disturbing that local media outlets didn’t speak about this bill sooner in the Phoenix community. When I asked my friends if they had heard about it, most had not and responded in shock.
In a nutshell, “Bathroom Bills” are portions of bills that address “discrimination and hate-crimes” against individuals who have chosen to self-identify as the gender of which they were not born. However, according to the Human Rights Campaign more than 160 cities and counties already have laws banning transgender discrimination.
These days in our ‘politically correct’ world, politicians, lobbyists and activists throw around the words “acceptance and fairness” in nearly every bill presented. They are positioning those for whom the bill will benefit as “victims in need of special considerations” to make their life and path through life easier.
While I have no problem with making life easier, when equality is being discussed there are almost always two sides to the story.
In passing “Bathroom Bills” transgender individuals would be allowed to use public facilities such as restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms as whatever gender they are identifying at that time. In Phoenix specifically, the proposed changes to the city’s anti-discrimination laws will add “sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” to the protected classes list for housing, city contractors and public accommodations.
Supporters of bills, such as Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, present arguments about how making transgender individuals “feel more welcome” in our communities will ultimately make businesses “seem more attractive”, thus helping the city’s future economy.
What supporters of these types of bills don’t understand is that the opposition isn’t trying to discriminate against anyone. Instead, they simply want to ensure the safety and security for all citizens—including children– from the possibilities of inappropriate and uncomfortable situations, as well as the threat of potential predators who could easily take advantage of this bill and gain unlimited access to children.
In their quest for equality and freedom for transgenders and others, consideration should also be shown for people who want to raise their families in the way they choose. The problem in this case is that activists separate people into two camps: The “Alternative Lifestyle” Victims vs. The “Traditional Lifestyle” Haters. Ironically, the “Victims” end up attacking the “Haters” with such verbosity that they end up becoming the real ‘haters’ in the mix without ever hearing the other side’s story at all.
My personal belief is that if they want us to hear their side, they will have to hear ours.
One example of a problem that occurred because of a “Bathroom Bill” was in the locker room at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. “Gender identity” is protected under the state’s discrimination law, thus allowing those who are transgender to move about freely among minors. Evergreen College shares their locker room facilities with the Capital High School swim club and a children’s swim academy. In a local ABC News affiliate report, a 17-year-old girl was upset because she “observed a person at the women’s locker room naked and displaying male genitalia”.
Another more dangerous aspect of this potential law is based on some of the horrifying stories of predators trolling public restrooms and assaulting children when they enter alone. Parents in today’s world need to be overly cautious when children are in public places and if instituted, the “Bathroom Bill” could in fact open doors to these problems and more.
When self-identifying individuals are legally given the opportunity to use school restrooms, public restrooms, church restrooms, school locker rooms and other facilities where young children may potentially be at risk, lawmakers should also be obligated to make new discrimination laws for all their citizens—including those who choose to not sexually identify themselves differently than how they were born.
If our local and state governments chooses to enact inclusive (and invasive) laws in the name of “financial benefit” for a tiny group of individuals, we as citizens must remind them that their job as law makers is to protect ALL of their citizens, not just a select few.