It’s Back: The Bathroom Meme

What’s back, you may ask, dear P-Mag reader? The shittiness that is the bathroom meme. Oh, but Alyson, what is the bathroom meme? Well, dear reader, it is a repeated belief statement that trans people should not be allowed to use the correct restroom. Why would someone want that, Alyson? Well, because people are assholes who believe their twisted version of Christianity dictates they discriminate against people they consider “sinful.” This belief speaks to their own fears and misgivings.

The cycle goes like this. A town, a county, a city, or a state wants to pass anti-discrimination laws that include LGBT people. The anti-discrimination ordinances usually contain prohibitions against discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations, which includes bathrooms. Next, conservative Christians speak out and flat out lie. They say these laws will persecute them, that by speaking the word of God they will be arrested and thrown in jail. They believe that trans women are rapists who only want access to women’s bathrooms to prey on women and children. They believe gay people are recruiting their children to their “sick” lifestyle.

This has been going on for decades. At first, the vitriol was mostly directed at lesbians and gays. Look at the Briggs Initiative in California. It proposed to remove all openly gay teachers from their jobs. Thankfully, places passed laws that did the opposite of that. The state of Pennsylvania, shockingly enough, passed the first employment anti-discrimination law on the basis of sexual orientation in 1975. Minneapolis passed the first trans-inclusive legislation that same year.

In the last decade, a lot of states and cities have gotten progressive and included sexual orientation and gender identity in their anti-discrimination legislation. If you follow any major LGBT news outlets, I am sure you have seen some of the battles.

The newest battle is in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Yes, Arkansas. According to the Fayetteville Flyer, “The proposal, brought forward by Alderman Matthew Petty, would appoint a city staff member to field complaints from residents who feel they’ve been discriminated against during housing transactions, employment decisions, and other public accommodations in Fayetteville.” That sounds relatively benign right? Alderman Petty quoted in that same piece, “No one should be denied employment, housing, or public accommodation simply because of who they are.”

Well, Alderman Perry is awesome and he does not deserve the media shit storm that is occurring right now. Predictably, an organization with “family” in the title (The Family Council of Arkansas) is rolling out the opposition. This is noteworthy because they got a famous person to do a robocall for them. Which famous person, you ask? Is it Kirk “Bananas prove God exists” Cameron? Is it Victoria “I just lost my local election primary” Jackson? No, it is Michelle Duggar from 19 Kids and Counting. It is honestly not shocking she would do this, given her religious beliefs. A lot of people have given passes to the Duggars over the years because they have mostly stayed out of the political spotlight. Apparently, the thought of a trans woman sharing a bathroom with her broke the proverbial straw. Taken from the same Fayetteville Flyer piece:

“I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls,” said Duggar. “I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space.”

A woman half smiling in a green shirt looks at the camera
Michelle Duggar, does this face look like a predator to you?

The full robocall transcript can be read in a few different places. It is too headdesk-inducing to reprint the whole thing here.

The saddest thing about this whole affair is that at least one of her children, statistically speaking, is likely to be LGBT. An unnamed P-Mag writer brought up the question of when was the last time you were in a room of 19 people and didn’t have a queer person around? How about never? I want to hug whichever Duggar might be queer and tell them that it does get better. That there are plenty of people who will love them for who they are. That God does not really hate them, that they are not condemned to hell for all eternity. Unlike those on the right, we lefties tend to have compassion. I know I have lots of it to go around.

On the plus side, in late breaking news, the law passed the city council, which means queer citizens of Fayetteville can rest a bit easier tonight. Alderman Perry deserves cases of beer sent to his house. He is a true ally.

I really wish people would stop caring what I do in the bathroom. You know what trans people do in the bathroom? We pee. We wash our hands. We towel off. We leave.

By Alyson

Queer Pop Culture Junkie in the Northwest. Addicted to Coffee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fantasy Sports, The Mountain Goats, and Tottenham Hotspur.

5 replies on “It’s Back: The Bathroom Meme”

This is sad in many ways (just let people pee ffs) but the sad I had on reading the first few sentences was that this bullshit is so common that most readers know this as “the bathroom meme” instead of the correct bathroom meme Jeff Goldblum Is Watching You Poop. Our world would be a much better place if the only thing we had to worry about when choosing a bathroom was whether or not Jeff Goldblum was watching.

[In all seriousness, these people are asshats and people should be able to pee where they need to pee. As a female person, have I ever shared a restroom with a trans woman? I’m sure I have, but I don’t know. And why is that? Because I don’t care what kind of genitals the lady peeing next door to me has. That would require caring way too much about other people’s pee for my taste. Just get on with your business and go on your way and we’re cool.]

I think the whole argument has a logical fallacy in it somewhere. (Forgive me, I used to be good at naming LF’s, but I’ve lost that talent.) Transwomen using women’s bathrooms is a danger because transwomen could secretly be predator men who just want to endanger our daughters?

Let’s really think about this argument. So if a predatory person wants to harm women in a public restroom, what’s going to stop them is that they are clearly identified as “male.” They don’t identify as trans, but now they’ve gotten into the bathroom anyway, because IT HAS A FREAKING SWINGING DOOR AND IS NOT WATCHED ALL THE TIME. Anyone can attack you in the bathroom. It’s not exactly a safe room.

And if there is a place to use the bathroom for either sex/gender it’s the women’s bathroom! It’s full of stalls! No one is watching you! Do your thing and get out! Which is what most people do. Unless you’re the Christian Right, of course, in which case, you’re probably peeking under the stalls to make sure that everyone in there looks like your definition of a female person.

The Christian Right are Peepers, y’all. You heard it here first.

I think so many people are worried about this for a different reason, but are afraid to voice their true concern: if more people use the women’s room, the lines will be longer! This is, of course, a valid concern. However, it could be answered by either a) building enough damned stalls already, jeez, it’s no secret there are lots of women who will need bathroom access in public venues, or b) the people who are worried for their safety could bycott public bathrooms and just plan their whole day around finding bathrooms that won’t make them upset or cause strife. You know, like so many Trans folks have to do now.

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