Bathroom bill discrimination

Bathroom bill discrimination

The bathroom bill must be approached intelligently and ensure safety while not discriminating. Photo courtesy of

According to an article in the Associated Press, a proposed Tennessee legislation being referred to as the “bathroom bill” was withdrawn after Representative Susan Lynn made an announcement stating the need for certain issues to be addressed within the bill.

Simply stated, the bill seeks to enforce a new law requiring students attending public schools and universities to use restrooms — and locker rooms — that coincide with their sex at birth.

While the bill has been withdrawn in Tennessee, states like North Carolina have already passed similar legislation and have been dominating the news lately. According to Rolling Stone, high profile bands such as Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Boston have cancelled concerts scheduled to take place in North Carolina in light of the recently passed bill.

A visit to the Massachusetts Family Institute website will tell you the bill was passed to protect women and children from being forced to share restrooms with men, while opposition will point out the bill is discriminatory against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

While our nation’s political parties battle this hot-button topic out as publically as they can, I would like to take a different approach. Instead of referring to any political label I might subscribe to in deciding the side of this topic I agree with, instead, I will approach the issue in an unbiased manner.

I can understand the fear certain individuals feel in regards to this bill. The prospect of a man dressed as a woman entering a women’s restroom with malice intent sounds suspiciously like a horror movie. Public safety and well-being must always be considered in these matters. That being said, when you remove the politics, religious ideals and intense opposition, you are left with a very simple fact: we are discussing the rights of human beings. Precaution must certainly be taken when transitioning into this new era to ensure the small majority of those who would exploit the rights do not cause harm to anyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference.

Simply stated, forcing an individual to identify him or herself before entering a restroom is ridiculous. Admittedly the image of a bathroom attendant standing outside of a restroom requesting people state their sex is humorous in its absurdity. Any enforcement procedure I can imagine is incredibly discriminatory, so much so the idea of it taking place is preposterous.

It’s interesting to imagine who would enforce these regulations. Who would be in charge of ensuring only biological men and or women enter their respective restroom? The police? Or would the state develop a new organization to ensure the new law is carried out? Moreover, how would they prove the sex of an individual if they suspected a man was attempting to enter a women’s restroom? Would they be allowed to conduct thorough searches of the individual in question, further violating their rights?

While there are individuals in this world who would attempt to do harm to others, the overwhelming majority of the world does not fall into this category. Most people simply want to be treated fairly and as equals. Just because an individual doesn’t understand the lifestyle of another doesn’t mean they must become combative and lash out in fear.

If you disagree with the lifestyle of a member of the LGBT community, you need only remind yourself that their lifestyle does not impact you in any way, shape or form. The only aspect that you should concern yourself with is whether or not they mean to do physical harm to you or those you love. I will reiterate that I said physical harm, not what you might perceive as emotional harm. Being offended by the lifestyle of another is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. You don’t have to agree with anyone’s lifestyle, but respecting his or her right to live as they choose, so long as it causes you no physical harm, is not a lot to ask.

While there are evil people in the world, I would argue that evil knows no gender or sexual preference. We cannot insist individuals state their sex before entering a restroom based of the fact some would attempt to enter said restroom with the intention of harming others. This is a fine line that separates discrimination and public safety. If a ruling is to be made in this matter, it must be approached in an intelligent manner that seeks to ensure the safety of others while declining to discriminate. With a little more time and consideration for others, surely these state governments can come to an agreement that both protects their people while ensuring all individuals, regardless of their gender or sexual preference, feel accepted and equal.

Matt Eidson is a columnist for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]