Bathrooms, transgender rights, and should there be a legal definition of transgender?

Here is one summary of the recent brouhaha.  North Carolina made a mistake in signing the new law.  Not just a practical mistake, because of the backlash, but a mistake outright.  I’m not aware there was a problem needing to be solved, and yet new problems have been created.

There is nonetheless a relevant argument for the law which I believe resonates with many Americans:

Cruz’s argument centers on the idea that allowing transgender women to use the women’s restroom would lead to deviants dressing up as women and preying on young girls. His campaign released an ad accusing Trump of capitulating to the “PC police” and asking viewers whether a grown man pretending to be a woman should use a restroom with your daughter or wife.

Whether you agree or not, that argument helps us rephrase the dilemma as follows: should there be a legal definition of who is a transgender person and why?  And should transgender people wish that there were such a legal definition?

If there were such a definition, problem solved, at least in principle.  Transgender individuals could use the bathroom which their legal stipulation entitled them to, or would entitle them to, were a court case to arise.

Women’s colleges of course face a private sector version of this issue (here is one pending change).  Private companies have policies on bathroom use, and gender-specific sporting events must make rulings.

So what to do with the law?  I see at least three options.

#1: The first and most libertarian view is to refuse to offer a legal definition of transgender.

The transgender concept seems so…fluid.  This page from Wikipedia illustrates the underlying legal problems:

These include people whose identities are not exclusively masculine or feminine but may, for example, be androgynous, bigender, pangender or agender — often grouped under the alternative umbrella term genderqueer[5] — and third-gender people (alternatively, some references and some societies conceptualize transgender people as a third gender).[6][7] Although some references define transgender very broadly to include transvestites / cross-dressers,[8] they are usually excluded, as are transvestic fetishists (because they are considered to be expressing a paraphilia rather than a gender identification) and drag kings and drag queens (who are performers and cross-dress for the purpose of entertaining). Intersex people have genitalia or other physical sexual characteristics that do not conform to strict definitions of male or female, but intersex people are not necessarily transgender, since they do not all disagree with their assigned sex. Transgender and intersex issues often overlap, however, because they both challenge the notion of rigid definitions of sex and gender.

Facebook has introduced about fifty different terms related to gender identification.  It is not difficult to argue the current legal system won’t be “getting this one right,” whatever that might mean.  For a start, would you trust the legal system in North Carolina?  (From my understanding, it would indeed be a state matter.)  Probably some people who right now “slip by” would be caught on the wrong side of an unpleasant dragnet.  And what exactly is the final test to be run to determine the right answer to a contested issue concerning a transgender individual?  If there were ever a time for some creative ambiguity in the law, it seems this might be it.

In this view, yet another problem with the North Carolina bill is that it may end up forcing everyone’s hand on constructing a legal definition of transgender.

If we stick with no legal definition of transgender, let’s tackle the remaining problems directly.  For instance we could significantly increase the penalties for men who abuse women or young girls in or near women’s rooms, if indeed that is an ongoing problem.  You can tax either inputs or outputs and in this case it seems to make sense to place the higher tax on the outputs.

#2: Offer two parallel legal systems for gender.

In one of the parallel systems, you can apply formally for a change of gender status, although I suspect this could not end up handling more than two or three categories, hermaphrodites perhaps being the third.  In the second of the parallel systems, you can decide not to apply for formal legal designation of gender and instead live under creative ambiguity.  The practical import of that ambiguity often will depend on how clearly a person fits traditional social categories of gender in a simple and visible way.  In any case, a person can choose which legal system to live under.

The formal legal designation would matter for which prison you would be assigned to, which bathroom you could visit, and which chess tournaments you can play in, among a variety of other questions.  Here is a brief survey of legal approaches around the world, with some countries opting for versions of the parallel approach.

#3: Use the law to force everybody’s hand.

In this view, the current status quo is not very good for many transgender individuals, so something must be done.  Forcing a legal solution to these issues might raise social consciousness, even if some state rulings on transgender issues are objectionable in the meantime.  Let’s create something to fight over.  With a full legal definition of transgender in place, the logic of individual rights will turn its wheels, as it so often does in America, and eventually transgender individuals would fall under the protection of anti-discriminatory laws.  Perhaps this is better than the parallel legal systems approach, because under the latter too many individuals slide along in a state of creative ambiguity and transgender issues will remain underemphasized.  In this vision, the law — whatever its limitations — is likely to prove the friend of transgender individuals, so things should be sped along as rapidly as possible.

I do not have a good sense of which of these three approaches would be best in the United States.  In any case, it seems to me the question “how should the law deal with or define transgender individuals, if at all?” is more fruitful and fundamental than asking “how should North Carolina regulate bathroom admission policies?”  I would be interested to read a law and economics paper on these issues.

Addendum: Here is a paper on whether LGBT inclusion boosts economic growth in emerging economies, though I doubt if the effects are causal.

Second addendum: Henderson and Cordato make good points, and favor a version of option one.  That said, I don’t think all judgments can be left to markets, given prisons, the continuing existence of public bathrooms, etc.  Here are yet further comments.  Here is a good Jacqueline Rose piece from LRB.


Or, bizarrely, you could just abandon the idea that gender determines who uses a toilet stall.

A not precisely uncommon idea in many places.

It's not bathroom stalls, it's changing rooms and public showers. The motivating scenario for the NC law is the 11 year old girl forced to share a middle-school PE shower with the the 14 year old boy who's decided to exercise his Constitutional right to use the girls locker room. It's easy enough to make fun of intolerant hicks, but I can't imagine that too many fathers of budding young daughters would exactly be jazzed about that scenario.

Ok, then why are bathrooms included in the legislation? All the right-wing commentary has been about suspicion that the transgender woman from Transparent is just dying to go in the bathroom at the Olive Garden so she can touch Joe Blow's daughter.

And actually the law only covers public facilities anyway, so maybe they're just worried about the bathroom at the library, but not the Olive Garden. As if that makes sense.

Stop pretending this is a practical issue. The whole trans thing is not about this vanishingly tiny group of people, it's a form of psychological warfare.

Weird argument.

Only if you are extremely naive.

Trannies are famous for their psy ops capabilities. I think they're winning, don't you? And everything they gain is a loss for you, makes you worse off.

Think young person. It's not about trannies, per se. Trannies are mostly useful idiots. In fact you don't even need many tranny useful idiots. Mostly you just need people like you.

This is much older than world war t. If you prefer the term social engineering to psychological warfare, that's fine. They mean the same thing. The point is, this isn't some isolated, poor tranny suffers PTSD from being told where to piss. This is just another example of the party telling us that 2+2=5. The party isn't concerned about math or the welfare of the number five. This is about having the events that give meaning to our lives curated and explained for us. Demonstrating to young people the paths to approbation and disapprobation respectively. Not that the choice of crusade is arbitrary. We essentially have a war on formal realism because that implies something not determined by force majeure. This also relates to the sexual revolution, which divorced sex from morality and natural ends, so that our passions can be used to sell us crap, control us, pacify us, etc.

@Josh, thank you so much for voicing this opinion. I woke up today and almost forgot how hilariously unhinged people get on silly issues and justify their outrage by appealing to a beautifully stated but even more unhinged conspiracy that involves Everything We Hold Dear. Thanks for the reminder.

I care not a jot for this "issue", but that social engineering is a thing and has been a thing for at least a century is obviously to anyone who even tries to learn history. I'm not talking about some kind of illuminati lizards, but there are certainly a number of elite power centers that have a great deal of control over the culture. And yes, many powerful people want to "change the world" and are willing to use their influence to accomplish this. And yes, they ways in which powerful people want to change the world tends to be biased in favor of what will be to there own benefit. And yes, these people often organize and act in secret and semi-secret or at least misleading ways. And yes, powerful people tend to focus on and resent those people and ideas most resistant to change.

With which part of this do you disagree?

I'll explain myself slightly further. You have to distinguish between the intentions of the people involved and the actual function of these issues. No doubt, the trannies involved think this is important. No doubt, the journalists think this is an important issue of justice. But what is the actual function of this as part of the news/entertainment cycle which makes up an ever increasing proportion of our lived experiences? It isn't to find a solution to some actual problem, its reinforce a narrative about sexuality and even about nominalism/realism and about who are the goodies and who are the baddies. This is true regardless of any particular persons intentions.

That the creators of culture tend to side with the idea that various truths are created by culture should hardly surprise us. Who becomes a culture creator after all?

Josh is right. Real psychological warfare is when a group stands up and says openly and in public how the status quo affects them and what they want, with no misrepresentation of the facts.

Or ... is that just how democracy is supposed to work?

As for those private businesses making independent decisions in response to the policy, surely that is dictatorship!

Josh, please be explicit. In your 2+2=5 example, what's the first "2", what's the second "2", and what does the "5" represent?

You are grossly misrepresenting the situation in almost all regards, and have not made a legitimate representation of any of the arguments on either side of the debate.

The debate about the bathroom? Who cares?

The ontological status of male and female, now that's interesting.

Nathan, how did the whole gender is different from sex thing come to be such a topic. Trannies don't get to set the agenda. Who is it who wants me to take sides on this debate? How is it that in a predict which is the "right side of history"? It's not about this dumb bathroom debate. World war t is in effect in every western country? How does that happen? Who sets the agenda, how, why?

perhAps I read of 2+2=5 I should say that we are supposed to call a deer a horse (Chinese idiom).

This is about having the events that give meaning to our lives curated and explained for us. Demonstrating to young people the paths to approbation and disapprobation respectively.

Absolutely correct. And attempting to control what religious schools can teach to children is not far off...

The solution is for sane people to unplug from the general culture and live in semi-detached communities where God, nature, and rationality can be part of a counterculture.

Now you've done it Doug. You had to go and bring real facts into the discussion and make Tyler look bad. Academics don't like it when reality interferes with their imagination.

Liberals are just too deep into the smug snarkiness and slander to ever let anything let truth and reality interfere. Making fun of hicks beats thinking and reality any day.

I propose that we just adopt the Obama solution. He doesn't care what the law or Constitution require. He just does whatever he wants. I think we should do the same. If a perv or predator lurks in my little girl's locker room, we're going to make sure he understands that it is a bad idea. Period.

If the law no longer serves a useful purpose, citizens need to take back the law. I say this as a lawyer. Their are tens of millions of ordinary people who are so pissed off at this crap that the government simply cannot enforce it if they all choose to raise hell. Time to raise hell.

Public changing rooms and showers are even worse. They should have private rooms if there is indeed a need. It is great to see they care so much about transgendered stuff, but beating up someone of the same gender in the shower is 100% OK.

If you're worried about showers, then let's discuss showers. And while we're on the topic of showers, why should ANY 14 year old child be showering in the nude in shared company? At my highschool we had a few private showers for rapid use after sporting events. Enough to quickly rinse off the sweat, and no one really ever had to wait.

I'm trying to imagine this scenario...maybe you would like to provide more information about the kind of 14 year old boy that would do this and what the reaction of their peers might be? Do you know many 14 year old boys? Would the school administrators be able to tell the difference between an actual transgender 14 year old a 14 year old that was just being an asshole? How long would the boy have to carry on this scheme? If they only did it one time, and then changed their minds, would the administrators be able to administer some kind of punishment...say suspension for the year? Would that be incentive enough to prevent your fantasy from has never actually happened before? Personally, I am much more concerned about sending my child to a Christian Church where the youth minister is a young man than I am about a 14 year old carrying out such a ridiculous scheme.

Brilliant and logical! Sex should determine bathroom usage, and sex cannot be changed. If you are male, you will always be male. You might be a self-mutilated and hormonally enhanced male, but never will you be a female. No eggs. Not of the egg producing class. And you will never be impregnated through rape. If you want to look like a lady, feel free. But don't expect women to pay the price for your self delusion.

Neither brilliant nor logical. Consider female-to-male transsexuals. Do you want such folks -- who look like men, identify as a men, and may be sporting a beard -- this guy, for example:

To use the ladies room!? With the goal of not making women feel uncomfortable? Really?

exactly. I think we need to stop the world until we've figured out which public toilet should be used by beared female-to-male transexuals. I don't know how we've got this far with this doozie out there.

Funny how it always seems to be the men getting all worked up about this. Are there actually very many women who fear sharing the bathroom with transvestites? Why not just make all bathrooms (excluding change rooms) unisex and forget about all this nonsense?

Twice in my life I have accidentally stepped in in a men's bathroom. There was no one inside but I instantly recognized my mistake by the stench. I don't think many women would jump at the idea of sharing bathroms with men.

Look on Wikipedia for "intersex". There are people with different combinations of male/female genitals, gonads, and perceived genders. Gentials are, of course, externally viewable, but some people have indeterminate genitals. Gonads are more difficult to work out, but there are people with ovaries and penises but no testicles. Gender is in the mind, and to date science has not quite determined what brain structures determine gender. However there is good evidence that many people born with female gonads and genitals who feel a male gender have abnormally high levels of androgen hormones which may have influenced brain gender.

This issue affects about 1% of the human population to some extent.

BTW a female friend of mine went to a college with "mixed" bathrooms in the dorms and never had a problem with it.

Ha, ha and ha. Glad you're educating yourself--not sure Wikipedia is the best source. Intersex and transgender are two different things and there is no evidence that gender is even a thing.

We could just abandon our culture because it is, by definition, not the culture of most people who ever lived.

Charlotte passed a law that anyone could use any bathroom. The state law said, no you can't pass such a law and in publicly owned facilities people must use their birth certificate gender. The problem is that the Charlotte law, said, as in NYC, that no one can object to a man in the ladies room or shower. This man using the ladies facilities need not "molest" anyone--he can just look, or get undressed and use the showers, and no one is allowed to object because there is no document to prove one is trans. That is the problem. As to "why" people are upset about men in the ladies room--men, ask your wives if it is ok with them. Men aren't that modest nor are they scared of a trans in their bathroom (weirded out, yes, scared, no). And by the way, women adjust and change their clothing in the ladies room--it isn't just about stalls.

Extreme virtue signalling is leading to spasms of hysteria and hypocrisy.

Bryan Adams for example canceled a Biloxi gig after playing in Egypt, which just jailed some men for being gay.

Once you clear the air thick with moral exhibitionism, it's a tough call on a principled level. I think genders will blur as medical tech allows people to switch and society will need to adjust.

But I wouldn't let my young daughter enter a bathroom with strange men.

So, practically, transgender bathrooms are dumb idea now. But we need to start talking.

(On a side note, the US has a whiff of decadence and decline about it. Mounting debt, millions losing their occupations forever - and the country is obsessed with circuses.)

"But I wouldn’t let my young daughter enter a bathroom with strange men"

Its 1971, my freshman year @ Vanderbilt University. All the bathrooms in my dormitory in Kissam Quadrangle were unisex.

We got over it.

Hurray for you. University bathrooms are among the most carefully curated bathrooms in the world. Building passes, gates, security guards, admissions officers -- there is a whole army of people working to ensure bathroom safety in universities.

I've never seen a guarded university bathroom in my life. Or been asked to show ID to enter any room in any university, with the exception of some special sections of the library.

Sigh. Nathan, if that is the case, try going to a random bathroom in a random dormitory in a university near you. You won't be able to enter the building.

What does that have to do with bathrooms? You're not allowed in unallowed areas regardless of your reason.

Uh, Bingo. If you can't get into the building, how will you use the bathroom?

At my university the mens' room in the music library was where closeted gays like the former Senator from Idaho could hook up.

University dorms are by their nature something that you choose--don't like unisex? don't go to that school. And college students are adults. But these laws also affect elementary and high schools, and children in the YMCA.

"Bryan Adams for example canceled a Biloxi gig after playing in Egypt, which just jailed some men for being gay."

There is something ironic about, in the name of combatting discrimination, refusing to perform for someone because they are Egyptian or Mississippian. As far as I know, not all Mississippians share the same views on the proper criteria by which to segregate locker rooms. Even if they did, should we also have pro-choice and pro-life businesses that only serve customers and hire employees that have the same views on abortion? People on both sides consider abortion to be a fundamental human rights issue, but I would hope that concerts continue to be neither pro-life nor pro-choice, neither pro-sex-segregated-bathrooms nor pro-gender-segregated-bathrooms.

There may be many pro and con arguments for segregating locker rooms, schools, sports, etc. by biological sex, psychological gender, or some other criteria. I suspect that the "right" criterion for locker rooms, which involves privacy and modesty, may be different for schools, which involves learning environment, and for sports, which involves physical abilities. However resolved, I don't see how a resolution in favor of segregating by biological sex could be discriminatory against transgenders any more than it's discriminatory against blondes that we don't segregate locker rooms by hair color, for example. If biological sex and psychological gender are truly different and separable dimensions as many claim, then how can segregation along one dimension be discriminatory along the other?

Hopefully, the debate doesn't devolve, as it seems to be, into yet one more example of people trying to avoid debate by simply defining all opposing viewpoints as discriminatory, bigoted, micro-aggressive, etc.

It's ironic how so many liberals can, in the same breath, advocate relativism and be disgusted by its outcomes.

Either cultures can be wrong, or respect must be shown for differing ones. Actually, that dichotomy is false. Cultures could be in systematic error and still deserve respect.

I'm pretty sure he didn't decide not to play "because they were Mississippian" or "because they were Egyptian".

The strawman is always an option though ...

He cancelled the concert in Mississippi because of the bathroom law and, in so doing, is refusing to play for every Mississippian whether they support the law or not. Same is true for every company cancelling plans to build facilities in North Carolina, effectively deciding that they are not going to hire North Carolinians. I would hope that no company would boycott Dearborn, MI, which has a large Muslim population, every time a Muslim commits a terrorist act. Somehow, lumping Southerners together and holding them guilty by association is ok. The rush to boycott reflects anti-South bias, as does the rush to label policy disagreement as discrimination. (As I explained above, segregating bathrooms by biological sex no more prevents transgenders from using bathrooms than does failure to segregate by hair color discriminate against blondes.) I have spent my entire life in the North, but even I can recognize anti-South bias when I see it.

Public policy has consequences. Conservatives love to bring that up when it comes to regulation.

No one is holding uninvolved people guilty by association. Although, yes, it may impose costs on people who do not support (or even oppose) the policy that these decisions aim to overturn.

Don't forget that Marvel just opened a theme park in gay-executing Dubai, while cancelling a film shoot in Georgia because political correctness.

Sure is great to have the freedom not to do business with people you disagree with.

But if this were a religiously conservative bakery denying service to customers they disagree with, it's not OK?

We're on the same side bro.

The law is not based on "disagreeing" with people. It's based on not discriminating against people for things they are born with.

Also, there's a big difference between standing there with open doors at the business saying "you, yes, but not you, GTFO", compared to dragging someone half way across the country (or world).

Also, there's a big difference between refusing to offer a service that is an important component in one of the most important events in anyone's life, and refusing to go dance around a stage for some people for idle entertainment.

Stop suggesting that behavior has genetic roots you evil bigot.

Good summary of the situation. I say let the states decide. Hopefully we can keep this out of federal jurisdiction.
Overall, it is a tiresome mess to me.

A first world problem if ever there was one. Trans-gender people are a vanishingly small percentage of the population anyway, and the harm to them of using the "wrong bathroom" vs the harm to people offended by them using the "wrong bathroom" must be one of the smallest possible total gross utility difference to arbitrage and optimize that we can choose to spend our time and energy on. If you are the type of person with high empathy, surely there are greater utility pareto optimization opportunities?

Of course this is not really about harm minimization, it is just another battle in the culture wars - the age old war between the urban and the hinterland.

Yes, thank you.

I truly want to know: are there any well-known instances of a transgendered woman molesting a little girl in an Olive Garden bathroom?

This bill is a solution in search of a problem.

If there actually were some sort of epidemic of child molestations in public restrooms going on (which there absolutely is not) then maybe it would be worth at least having this discussion. But in the absence of such an epidemic, there is clearly no purpose of this bill whatsoever other than to gin up animus and intolerance to score points with a particular political constituency.

I have a similar feeling about these voter ID laws. If there were any evidence (and there is none right now) of widespread voter fraud and manipulation of voter rolls going on in our elections, then yes, its worth having a real conversation about how we can prevent that and solve that problem. But these laws are imposing a solution to a problem that there's no evidence exists in the first place, imposing new costs on people (the ones who have difficulty getting IDs) for no reason other than veiled partisan purposes.

One of the rare intelligent things Trump has said lately is about this bathroom brouhaha. When asked which bathrooms transgenders should use, he said 'the same ones they've been using all this time'.

This is pure culture war, and I wish it would go away. If someone uses the bathroom to molest kids, that's a crime no mater your gender status. But that's not a thing, so drop it already.

And if you are one of the vanishingly small % of kids who have to shower with some kid who has gender issues and it's a problem, talk to your teacher. It doesn't have to be literally a federal case.

Absolutely. A more interesting question is why Republicans feel the need to pursue this. My own thought is when you don't want to focus on solving real problems, and don't want to face your losses, you have to make ones up for diversion.

Ugh. Not this s**t again.

Do we need a national conversation, laws, battles in the streets and in the stalls...every-time some mentally challenged individuals demand that we take their delusions seriously?

Can't we give a s**t about people's delusions?

Well, there are religious exemptions and accommodations for everything under the sun. Why would we stop enabling people's delusions when it's the turn of the transgendered? (If indeed theirs is a delusion, for which I'm guessing you have zero evidence.)

Yeah, like paying for contraceptives.

You need evidence that its a delusion to think you're a woman when you have a pecker?


If you define woman as "having XX chromosomes" then obviously having a dick makes you not a woman.

However if you concede that it's possible for the brain to have a gender as well --- given how little we understand of the brain, ruling this out seems absurdly premature --- then it is conceivable that someone with XX chromosomes might end up with a "male"-like brain, or vice-versa.

Trans people are using the latter idea in the debate. You seem to be sticking to the former, regardless of how many times people say it's not what they mean. It's almost like you're not interested in hearing the other side.

You will have this "conversation", and you will have it now! We will also reveal the conclusion of the debate (sometimes known as the "right side of history") before the "conversation" takes place. This in no way implies that the game is rigged, nor that your participation was about something other than engaging in dialectic regarding this seemingly trivial incident. As you were citizen

In which sense is the game rigged? I think it's rigged in a few ways, in particular considering current campaign financing laws. But I have a hard time seeing how that has anything at all to do with the subject of this post.

Campaign finance. Dude, you are too much.

Yeah, it's pretty shocking that people will observe that corporations and billionaires can donate millions at a time to campaigns and not have to disclose who is buying up the legislative process one line at a time.

America is so corrupt, it's legal.

No doubt the political class are prostitutes, bur campaign finance is the least of the ways we have been pwned, as the kids used to say.

But you have it backwards. For most cities in the state, the NC law changes the status quo from just leaving these people alone to do their thing to explicitly legislating which restrooms they can use.

if your position is that we shouldn't be dealing with this issue at a governmental level at all then you should be against the NC law, not blaming the LGBT people. The NC legislature took its time to go out of its way to change the status quo to be explicitly more discriminatory, not to protect the status quo from the demands of LGBT activists. Your narrative is backwards.

The libertarian principled view here would be to just leave LGBT people alone, give them whatever rights everyone else has, and mind our own business, not to go out of where to specifically legislate restrictions on their every day behavior, as NC has just done.

The law was made in response to a law passed by the city of Charlotte. If you read the law it is designed to prevent local governments and school boards from mandating access to women's bathrooms by everyone.

Women would also have access to men's bathrooms. Which they might quite appreciate, in particular at festivals, etc. (if they don't mind all the piss on the seats).

In other words the state wanted to preempt something done by local leaders, who are presumably accountable to local constituents.

You clearly don't understand the background here.

And please stop saying LGBT. This isn't about the LGBs. This is about the Ts.

This is about men with peckers who want to use women's bathrooms.

Just because they're different from you doesn't make them mentally challenged.

Bearded 300lb man walking around in women's underwear and platform shoes: what a BRAVE woman!!!!

Crazy white girl fools everyone into thinking she was black: how DARE she pretend to be something she's not!!!!

Seriously, how can anyone talk about these insane SJW causes with a straight face? These people ought to be ridiculed for their insanity, not talked to seriously.

Ha. I hope you have child who is transgender. Either you will completely reverse your hateful position, in which case you're a hypocrite. Or you'll kick her out of your house, in which case you'll confirm you're a terrible human.

The funny thing is you probably don't even think gay people are extreme anomalies deserving of ridicule and hate. But 20 years ago you would have. What does that tell you?

Well done, Jan! Excellent use of the "right side of history" technique.

Thanks. And it is 100% correct for the majority of people.

You're wishing gender dysphoria on a random human child, but calling someone hateful at the same time? Jesus.

Yup, that's our Jan! That's why we love her/him/it!

Well if people were indifferent to whatever sexual identity others had, and just minded their own business about things that have absolutely nothing to do with them, then it's not like the child would have any special troubles as a result.

And yeah, it would definitely be poetic justice if AIG had kids like all the people he hates (or at least enormously disrespects). But, they, that would be a horrible thing for the children, probably, so ignoring the wonderful poetic justice aspect of it, it would still be a pretty bad situation.

You don't think having gender dysphoria, even in a perfectly tolerant society, would introduce more unpleasantness into a person's life than not having gender dysphoria? Do you feel the same way about depression, such that in this perfectly tolerant society, you'd feel okay wishing depression on someone else?

If AIG hated depressed people and thought they were deviants, then yes I would wish it on him because it would likely change his point of view. See for example Dick Cheney's position on gay marriage.

Turkey - probably, yes, confused gender identity would be less pleasant than not having it, even in a perfectly tolerant society.

What she is calling for is poetic justice. I do not doubt that, give Godlike powers to make such a thing happen, she would not actually choose to do so. But I would not feel at all guilty about deriving some pleasure in such an offensive person having to deal with such realities personally. However, it would make me very sad about the children who would have to deal with him.

Jan is a moron. That much, should not surprise you.

I hope you have a child who is a conservative republican. Either you will completely reverse your hateful position, in which case you’re a hypocrite. Or you’ll kick her out of your house, in which case you’ll confirm you’re a terrible human

It's always a delight to witness conservatives' ignorance in full blow, and how proud they are at flaunting it for the whole world to see. Feeling a certain race is not a thing you can attributes to genes, or genes mutations; you can't attribute it to the working of any particular part of the brain either; gender, on the other hand, has a lot to do with how the brai processes information.

wait, gender is controlled by genes?

Ahh!! It's genetic...they say.

And then they come up with 50 different genders. I'm sure there's a genetic explanation for furries too.

Look, I have no qualms with you that there's a genetic abnormality at play here. There's usually a genetic abnormally at play with any mental disorder.

That's why we call them...disorders.

Cordato clearly disagrees with Cowen as to whether the NC law was a mistake, and correctly identifies the effects of the law. There are two principal effects: public schools must have sex segregated (not gender segregated) restrooms and locker rooms, and private establishments remain free to make their own decisions as to restroom and locker room use. To say that NC made a mistake, Cowen must believe either that schools should require mixed sex locker rooms, or that private establishments shouldn't be free to make their own decisions about restroom and locker room usage. Federal officials have repeatedly attempted to require mixed sex locker rooms, and Charlotte had limited the freedom of private establishments. Those efforts never received the skeptical "I'm not aware there was a problem needing to be solved" treatment--only the response to those efforts. The NC law doesn't address transgenderism at all, so to suggest that the NC law, and not Charlotte's law or the federal regulator's view of federal law, requires a definition of transgender is just conceptually confused.

You're surprised that no one talking about this topic...understands what they're talking about?

You're surprised TC doesn't either?

Why are you surprised again?

Charlotte had limited the freedom of private establishments? The ordinance said that businesses in Charlotte can’t discriminate against gay, lesbian or transgender customers, in addition to long-standing protections based on race, age, religion and gender. So banning discrimination based on race and gender is also technically limiting freedom. Why not get up in arms about that? Good thing the state was able to swoop in and address this purely local issue for them. Wouldn't want cities making their own decisions, especially liberal ones with a lot of black people.

Sweet, I was trying to work in a baseless, throwaway racist charge but you beat me to it!

"with a lot of black people"

Blacks are, as a group, pretty socially conservative and religious.

I think you might be surprised which side the blacks of Charlotte are on.

And let's be clear, the law says that sex segregation is based on your male or female sex based on your government-issued birth certificate. Basically the same document that used to say if you were "colored" or "white."

Apparently, NC will change the sex on your birth certificate if you undergo sex reassignment surgery. Not sure what they do during the pre-surgery transition, though.

You make it sound like they're forcing children all into the same locker room. The reality is that this means that in some rare occasions where it matters to the child, they can make their own decision.

Where it matters to one child, it may matter to other children as well. And yet they don't get to make their own decisions, do they? In fact, in one well publicized case, they are called bigots for asserting a right to make their own decisions, because that decision is that the girls in questions would prefer not to have a person with a penis undress next to them.

If there's no good reason for girls to say that they'd prefer not to undress next to a person who is, anatomically and biologically speaking, a male--if saying that is just bigotry, nothing more--then there's no good reason for sex segregated locker rooms. Be clear about your position, and be brave.

The issue is bigger than described here. There is also the issue of locker rooms. The larger issue being addressed by legislatures, who seem to be on the side of the majority of people -versus the news media from the NE and CA and their friends on the courts and in the entertainment industry - is is your gender biologicaly,determined? as has historically been how this world has looked at it or r by how your mind perceives it. Talking to a number of women, they're not to comfortable with men walking in on them in the locker room/restroom.

One little discussed aspect is the psychological commonalities among high achieving heterosexual males who announced in middle aged that they were always a girl on the inside, even when they were fathering their children or playing football for Harvard. (They are a distinct group from extremely effeminate homosexuals interested in changing gender, who are usually low achievers.) There's a series of traits that show up disproportionately in these high achievers:

-- An interest in science fiction -- e.g., both Wachowskis, the guy I went to MBA school with who is now listed as the highest paid female CEO in America

-- Right of center politics -- e.g., McCloskey, Morris (who is the second coming of Rudyard Kipling)

-- An interest in the military -- Col. Pritzker, various others

-- Fiercely logical

A lot of it sounds like the content of Robert Heinlein sci-fi novels. The most obvious feature of course is that these high achieving straight guys who decide they were always a girl on the inside have extremely male brains.

For example, many years ago when I was much more naive about this topic, I read the great Tory travel writer James/Jan Morris's memoir Conundrum, partly because I thought it would teach me something about the differences between male and female psychology. But Morris is remarkably uninterested in that subject, and barely seems to have changed from his/her books before the big operation. At one point Morris remarks that since taking female hormones all the time, he/she finds fabrics more interesting. Morris had never been interested in fabrics before, but on estrogen has developed an interest when shopping. But that was it.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was some sort of correlation among traits such as being on the autism spectrum, high IQ, love of sci-fi, libertarianism, rationality, and transgenderism. The commenters of would probably score high on all these metrics. Simon Baron Cohen's theory of autism as a manifestation of the extreme male brain seems relevant. Perhaps this mode of transgenderism is something that happens to men with extremely male brains?

'I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some sort of correlation among traits such as being on the autism spectrum, high IQ, love of sci-fi, libertarianism, rationality, and transgenderism.'

Well, that would certainly explain these sorts of cultural practices - 'Traditional Apache have a number of gender roles, however the same skills are learned by both females and males. All children traditionally learn how to cook, follow tracks, skin leather and sew stitches, ride horses, and use weapons.'

Or these - 'The third gender role of nàdleehì (meaning "one who is transformed" or "one who changes"), beyond contemporary Anglo-American definition limits of Gender, is part of the Navajo Nation society, a "two-spirit" cultural role. The renowned 19th century Navajo artist Hosteen Klah (1849–1896) is an example.'

Not to mention a group of people with a highly gendered sounding name, though quite patriarchal in reality - 'A third gender role of Badés, beyond contemporary Anglo-American definition limits of male or female gender, is accepted by many Sioux, as part of the "two-spirit" cultural role. The 19th century Crow people Osh-Tisch and Pine Leaf are examples.'

You really need to do just a little bit more research, because using such highly precise anecdotal information when talking about a subject that has existed as long as people have illustrates just how far you need to go before understanding that gender is decidely a social construct.

So extremely tenuous ideologically motivated research based on what other people said about cultures that are far away, little known and now mostly gone, proves what exactly?

I am not sure there is anything here for anyone to research.

And, at least in this comment, they don't really address anything sailer said. Does prior test reject the idea that there is more than one "type" of tranny? So some, but presumably not all, other cultures had trannies(wise "natural" Indian cultures no less). That's hardly surprising. There is nothin new under the sun after all. What is your point?

Right. There's a massive difference between people who were highly effeminate since early childhood and people like Professor McCloskey, who chose to play football for Harvard.

It's this second group of high achieving highly masculine men who are more puzzling. And it's people from that group, like Professor McCloskey, who have tried to destroy the careers of scientists interested in understanding the truth behind the party line about having always felt like a girl on the inside:

As usual, piror_test2's "research" consists of googling a subject and then pasting the link to the wikipedia entry, as if that was the last word on the matter.

Right. Everyone knows links to knowledge create an anti-reality, and the one with nothing wins. Commentariat rules.

So, it's a bit weird, because I'm a woman, born as a woman, content with being a woman.... and.... I love science fiction (including Robert Heinlein and the Wachowsi films), consider myself a moderate libertarian, enjoy the SlateStarCodex blog, people do tell me I'm analytical, etc. I'm not going to tell you my IQ other than to note that high IQ seems to be a feature you classify as male... Really, going down your list I have everything.... except the "male" brain. I hit all the marks for being female (stay at home mother is my "occupation") and yet, somehow, by your definition, my brain is male. Is there a term for when other people think you are the wrong gender?

Just ignore people who talk of "male brains", which is just a silly reification of statistical distributions rather than an actual thing. You all know that statistical distributions overlap, right?

Do you think research like this is wrong?

That more males than females have brain feature x, possibly related to hormone expression, does not imply the converse: the presence of feature x is indicative of a male brain. This is basic set theory.

Well, I hope this won't offend you, but if you are highly analytical, high IQ, etc., a commenter on SSC and Marginal Revolution, you indeed share many male traits. Given your profile, someone rational would predict (say, bet money on) you being male. You are exceptional, that's all, and stereotypes don't apply to you. (I'd love to know if you also prefer the presence of men vs women, and other behaviors that would make you more "male".)

But Sailer wan't talking about you, since you are already female. He was talking about male-to-female transgenders who are paradoxically ultra-male based on these (admittedly imperfect) measures. This is related to the hypothesis that these persons are pathologically aroused with the idea of being female.

Right. Science uses concepts like average and variance to better understand reality.

"Perhaps this mode of transgenderism is something that happens to men with extremely male brains?"

Or maybe a partial female wiring, paired w/a male body, overresponds to higher levels of male hormones in other places. I'm not an expert in the research, but I believe that early BSTc study(sample size,I know), showed both types of transwomen's BSTc's to have be altered in the same way. I think others have followed up, maybe some of the complaints about the first study have been addressed. I've always been disheartened at the extent to which the steve/hbd-o-sphere seems to rely on psychology for this particular topic, while emphasizing biology elsewhere. There seems to be a fair amount of science on the biology of things:

The "I'm a girl trapped in a man's body" line was, of course, what people learned to parrot back if they wanted hormones, leaving little room for alternate narratives. I see trans as being, at the top level, a miswired brain craving a different hormonal/chemical state. My cut on the old 1-liner is "I'm a woman beaten up by a man's physiology." Huh, that kindof comes out bad given some of the politics surround things. lol, entirely unintentional. One frequent comment you see post-HRT (not controlling for trans type) is that "I feel like I'm running on better fuel."

Okay, so perhaps it's time for anti-science activists like Professor McCloskey to admit the truth and apologize to their victims?

Professor McCloskey has nothing to apologies for she robustly criticised Bailey's book as pseudo-science, which it is.

Autogynephilia is a non-falsifiable theory. Either you are motivated by a sexual fetish of imagining oneself as a woman, or you are a homosexual who becomes a woman in order to get straight men into bed by deception. Don't agree? then you are just plain lying. Either way its sex, sex, sex - not identity. McCloskey simply highlighted this.

Bailey sample was flawed. His sample of less than 10 consisted almost entirely of sex workers and professional drag queens. That is not a representative sample. Neither has he bothered to check whether cisgendered women would be classed as autogynephiles under his theory. Spoiler alert - they would. McCloskley simply criticised Bailey's methodology.

Bailey behaved unethically exploiting his powerful gatekeeping position as therapist to interview his subjects personal lives in great detail in return for promised letters of referral. Neither did he let his subjects know that they were part of such a study. McCloskley simply criticised the ethics of that and followed to established routes of complaining about professional misconduct.

Bailey's professional and personal reputation is in tatters because he tried to pass his opinions and prejudices off as science and was caught red handed. It is he who should be making the apology not McCloskley.

"Facebook has introduced about fifty different terms related to gender identification. It is not difficult to argue the current legal system won’t be “getting this one right,” whatever that might mean.(...)"

Here's my idea: write the laws on a wikipedia-type page that anyone can edit. That wa, anytime some deviant comes up with a new "identity" the law could be rapidly and easily updated to reflect the new Scientific Consensus. One may worry about trolling, but Poe's law will make that impossible.

First off, this is actually a growing issue, which the far right has pejoratively called "World War T". In their minds, now that the homosexual issue has been solved, and they lost the culture war on that issue, a whole new branch of aggravation is being pursued in a form of mission creep and a moralistic crusaders looking to justify their own crusades. On an oppressor oppressed axis, there must always be new class of oppressed, just as there must always be a Farmer Jones.

The issue of transgender people is all about 'what should the default be', who has the right of way, who has the default property rights. In an economic sense, it doesn't matter if the beekeepers pay the farmers or the farmers pay the beekeepers, but from a social justice or egalitarian sense, it can matter a big deal in what direction the money flows.

Further there are difficult issues dealing with the rights of children. A recent trend has caused some parents believe it's OK to abuse their children by allowing them to permanently damage their bodies before puberty because the children are rational entities capable of deciding complicated issues of identity and gender before they can do their times tables. But coming out and saying it's messed up to allow children to take hormone treatments to stop puberty, creates a whole new dialogue of how children should be raised, what is the role of the state here, and what exactly should be the role of society in raising children. That is just a national conversation that we as Americans are incapable of having. The role of the state versus the role of the family in raising children goes back to Plato and Confucius and I don't think we're going to be solving it here.

Both of these issues basically say, the state has a compelling interest towards making explicit whether the regime is transphobic or transphilic, even if the particulars don't actually deal with the underlying issues. The underlying issues are deep and complicated, but by getting an early signal out there, the state can set expectations of how the balls will drop with regard to insurance, or intersex bathrooms.

The real problem is that there's no such thing as disease, there's physics. Disease is not just 'something that's wrong with someone', it has a whole baggage of moral weight and obligation, for both society AND the patient. The transgendered want to get the benefits of illness, without the "costs" of illness. You're right that there shouldn't be a legal definition of the term, because defining it undermines its power. Explicitly acknowledging gender dysphoria as a kind of handicap that the state has duties to protect, like blindness, creates all sorts of baggage with the issue that the lgbt community does not want to deal with.

And everybody who isn't a useful idiot is lying about why anyone should care about any of this.

" A recent trend has caused some parents believe it’s OK to abuse their children by allowing them to permanently damage their bodies before puberty...." Are you talking about tattoos or circumcision?

A woman in Delaware just "won" the "right" to have (The State pay for )her child take hormones to avoid puberty because he is really a she on the inside. This child is about 10 or 11 years old.

This is what concerns me. Adults can do as they please (though it shouldn't be covered by public funds, or be a required component of private insurance). But I worry about some goofy parents showing the world how open-minded they are by taking a confused kid and drastically changing them.

I once went on a date with a woman who had done that. You would never in a million years guess she was born male. She was beautiful enough to be a model and extremely girly in demeanor. Not drag-queen looking at all.

An important thing to keep in mind is that a lot of transgender activists are lying to you about the nature of their condition. That's understandable.

But they don't just lie, they also try to shut up and destroy scientists who are trying to tell the truth about the subject:

Also relevant: most cases of GD are false-positives; the 'patients' are bisexual or homosexual, not trans. Also, Dr. Susan Bradly has show that reparative-like therapy for adolescents with GD is effective. Again, the nearly universally turn out bisexual or homosexual, not trans.

If all other mental health disorders are distressing disconnects between perception and reality, why is GD the exception?

Finally, what I find odd is that the recommended treatment these days for children is hormone blockers.

Right, elite American opinion is drifting toward the norms of places like Indonesia and Iran, where it's not okay to be an effeminate homosexual male. These Muslim cultures expect effeminate males to transition to female.

Personally, I think it's okay to be an effeminate man, but upper middle class opinion seems to be drifting toward pressuring effeminate male children into using strong chemicals on themselves.

Is this a good idea?

I tend to believe what someone says about their own experience much more than whatever some guy in a white coat says about them. Especially when you're talking at the level of individuals.

I spent about 15-20 hours in 4 person group meetings in 1981 at MBA school with a man who is now listed as the "highest paid female CEO in America." He displayed zero feminine characteristics and was widely disliked by other students for his masculine arrogance. I tried to get along with him because he was incredibly logical and I was somewhat interested in his obsession, space exploration.

I always wondered why I couldn't request the TSA patdown officer be the gender of my choice. Is the patdown more of a sexual assault than TSA will admit? Is it some heteronormative notion that men touching men isn't sexual?

Anybody remember when there weren't government goons who could grope your wife and kids freely? Anybody care?

Freedom isn't free. You can 1) not fly, 2) walk through the scanner instead, 3) not put any metal on your body that would give them a reason to make sure it's not a bomb. I fly a lot and have never been hand searched. Do you also want to take away cops' ability to use their hands to search people?

There is an objective measure, and it's called chromosomes.

The rest is just pathetic whining.

So, these people with two x chromosomes are male, right? 'Klinefelter syndrome is one of the most common chromosomal disorders, occurring in 1:500 to 1:1000 live male births. It is named after Harry Klinefelter who identified the condition in the 1940s. 1956 saw the identification of the extra X chromosome.'

Even if they don't have their possibly enlarged breasts cut off? 'Often individuals that have noticeable breast tissue or hypogonadism experience depression and/or social anxiety because they are outside of social norms. An academic term for this is psychosocial morbidity. At least one study indicates that planned and timed support should be provided for young men with Klinefelter syndrome to ameliorate current poor psychosocial outcomes. The surgical removal of the breasts may be considered for both the psychological reasons and to reduce the risk of breast cancer.'

Still left unanswered is so much of this debate is how enforcement will be done - is a person with long straight hair, thin hips, and a flat chest, without makeup or jewelry, wearing clothing like jeans and a flannel shirt suspicious regardless of whatever bathroom they enter, and thus it is reasonable to call the police just in case?

The phrase "chromosomes are an objective measure" is not incompatible with the existence of people with chromosomal abnormalities such as Klinefelter, nor does it imply that 'xx female' and 'xy male' are the only possibilities. My personal stance would be to have an additional bathroom for anyone who doesn't fit neatly into male or female, or who doesn't much care who they share a bathroom with, and have done with it.

XXY are still males with testes, apparently.

Having XX chromosomes and a uterus and ovaries is a pretty big deal, just like having a Y chromosome and testes is a pretty big deal. The idea that these men are women (or vice versa) is so at odds with biology that the simpler explanation is these people have a mental disorder, not that their minds were somehow metaphysically deposited in an opposing-sexed body.

Effeminate men and masculine women appear to have an androgen imbalance in utero, which seemingly could be monitored and regularized like we do other in utero conditions, and that probably eliminates a great deal of homosexual behavior as well.

A lot of research is being cut off at the pass in order to avoid offending a few people.

'XXY are still males with testes, apparently. '

But who, with the presence of breasts large enough to require surgical removal, look like women.

Meaning that if a man (we all agree that such people are men) with prominent breasts was to enter the male bathroom, need they fear police questioning after a concerned citizen reports a 'trans-gender' public restroom user?

The further into the tails of the distribution you go, the more complicated your categories need to be.

A good first cut is to say there are two categories: men and women, everyone in both groups assumed to be straight. This captures like 95% of the population passably well but misses some people. (gays, trans people, bisexuals, etc) You can make simple rules like "we'll have mens' and womens' locker rooms, and nobody will have to worry about someone in their locker room ogling them or hitting on them" or "we'll have only girls and women go camping with our girl scouts and only boys and men with our boy scouts, to avoid any weirdness about sexual attraction or awkwardness about showers and such." And it will mostly work, but it will fail where your categories don't catch reality.

You can then expand this to make four categories: straight men, gays, straight women, and lesbians. Now you've got 98-99% of the population covered, but you're still missing bisexuals and trans people and probably a bunch of other people I don't even know about. And now, with more categories, the simple rules need changing. If you recognize that maybe 5% of your population is gay or lesbian, then your locker room and camping strategies don't work out so cleanly anymore. (The Boy Scouts had a rule for a long time that openly gay adult men couldn't be scout leaders--that was an attempt to update their rules in the face of a more complicated model, albeit one with some bad impact on gay men who had boys and wanted to help them be involved in scouting. I think they've since changed that rule.)

And you can keep expanding categories to include bisexuals, trans people, non-binary people, etc. As you add categories, your model gets a little better, but you're well into the realm of diminishing returns. Two categories gets you 95% of the population, four gets you 99%, and maybe to get to 99.9% you need a dozen categories.

"1:500 to 1:1000 live male births"

"Many men who have Klinefelter syndrome do not have obvious symptoms. Others have sparse body hair, enlarged breasts, and wide hips. In almost all men the testicles remain small. In some men the penis does not reach adult size. Their voices may not be as deep. They usually cannot father children. But they can have a normal sex life."

Let's upset all social conventions to deal with something that affects this number of people? Most of which suffer from few obvious symptoms.

They are still men in any event.

'They are still men in any event.'

Of course they are, but as noted above, they may have prominent breasts. Making them appear 'female' to the sort of people who are apparently concerned that women may use the men's room.

There is an objective measure and it's called skin color. The rest is just pathetic "civil rights."

+1, the only proper framing in this crazy thread.

So if I spray on dark skin tone and get my hair permed, I can be black?

Do you tell your Jewish friends their children's mitzvahs, where they are welcomed into membership in the nation of Israel, are just pointless expense, since we're all just "human?" Do you think people like Yanomami or Zulus or Lebanese or Irish believe that?

"Diversity" actually appears to want to make everybody an Occidental social democrat.

"So if I spray on dark skin tone and get my hair permed, I can be black?"

Is this gentleman "black"? Race -- especially the way Americans tend to define it -- is even more problematic to define precisely.

'So if I spray on dark skin tone and get my hair permed, I can be black?'

Well, you can ask the police about it - maybe just walk up to a police officer, and ask him if he thinks you are black, and see what his response would be. Repeat maybe 10 times, in a couple of different jurisdictions - the results from that experience would be interesting to hear.

There's only 2 types of chromosomes.

There's 985 types of gender, by my last count.

There goes your theory, you hateful bigoted racist transphobic cis-privilaged trying to shove your paternalistic biological hegemony in our faces!

One of the first times I really thought about these things was when I got married, and afterwards I was standing in line at the courthouse to register and tell the government that I was now married to my wife. As I was there waiting I kept rolling over in my head "why am I standing in line here, and why is this any of the government's business?" The only answer I've been able to arrive at is that it creates some type of status for me so that certain laws now apply. It really had nothing to do with the social ceremony that had just occurred, and it wasn't some validation of a religious practice. It was a legal status acknowledging some type of contract (for lack of better word) between me an my wife.

I have no good answer for the specific issue of the post, but I was uncomfortable with the need to register with the state when getting married as a young man- and this was at a time that I hadn't even thought much about the issue. It's similarly difficult for me to feel the state should get any more involved in this than they have to. I was unaware this topic was even an issue until a law was made, so in that regard it seems like a manufactured issue.

I will add, that I'd think it doesn't "seem" right for this transgender male to have to use the female restroom, but I'm not a woman so I'm not sure how they'd feel about that.

+1, I am a woman, and I a feel very strongly a transgender person should use the bathroom they identify with. Transgender people are already harassed, disrespected and ridiculed enough. North Carolina is literally bullying on the smallest kid on the playground, the one that was already punched by everyone else.
Transgender people are an extremely small proportion of the population, the probabilities that anyone in this thread will ever share a bathroom with one are pretty small, which goes to show how transphobic this whole conversation is.

As I was there waiting I kept rolling over in my head “why am I standing in line here, and why is this any of the government’s business?”
The marriage license is an amazingly powerful document. Not as powerful as a durable power of attorney, but pretty damned close. Especially if your spouse is hospitalized.

Marriage is a legally binding contract.

North Carolina made a mistake in signing the new law. Not just a practical mistake, because of the backlash, but a mistake outright. I’m not aware there was a problem needing to be solved, and yet new problems have been created.

To paraphrase Trotsky, you may not care about World War T but World War T cares about you. In this case North Carolina did not act for no reason. Their hand was forced. The blame here lies squarely with the activists who are forcing everyone else's hand. Bringing World War T home to each and every Americans.

It may not have solved the problem. But the problem is not going away. We might not have stood up when they came for J. Michael Bailey. We might not have stood up when they came for some Christian bakers. But the choice is what it always has been - knuckling under or taking a stand. If you won't fight to defend this hill which one will you defend?

Their hand was forced to introduce legislation to make state government take a more active role in public bathrooms? No. Charlotte passed (i.e. voted) on a city ordnance banning transgender discrimination in bathrooms. This is more big government meddling in a local issue, uninvited.

*passed an ordinance


What would your position have been if Charlotte's and the state government's position had been reversed? Which would have been the big government meddling in that case?

Why did Charlotte need to pass an ordinance? Was there a rash of people who looked like and identified as women who were being told to go to the men's room?

No one's hand was forced. There wasn't an actual problem. The status quo was fine, but the NC legislature needed to do some culture war signalling, so they past that dumb law.

The status quo was fine, but the Charlotte city council needed to do some culture war signalling.

Which side of the argument positions the issue as a culture war? One side is just trying to be nice and accommodating, the other sees this as a call to war.

In any case, it seems to me the question “how should the law deal with or define transgender individuals, if at all?” is more fruitful and fundamental than asking “how should North Carolina regulate bathroom admission policies?”

We tried this with Gay marriage. The only problem being that the activists were not willing to leave it for people to discuss. They were not willing to let the people speak. The people did speak. So they took it to the Courts and won there.

The question is why the rest of us should tolerate being bullied in this highly undemocratic way by a tiny handful of activists?

Because the goal of the majority should not be to bully small groups of people into making them conform to your worldview. Do you take pleasure in voting on other people's rights?

Bathrooms segregated by gender = bullying small groups of people into conforming to a worldview?

Yes! If someone completely identifies as, looks like and feels like a woman--and likely has had a pretty tortured existence because of that--why do we need to make them use the damn men's room?

The status quo worked pretty well. It seems to be the trans-rights people who pushed for a needless change to the status quo.

What if, by being more compassionate to the pains of people with gender dysphoria, you cause more confused and troubled people to go down that path and suffer the same pains?

Because they have a Y chromosome.

Identify is enough, looks are not necessary. This might make girls/women quite uncomfortable ( and unsafe) in women's restrooms, having men ( that identify as women) come in.

The status-quo works well for whom @Turkey? It's baffling just how close-minded you guys are. I hate having to say this, but reading this thread, I can definitely understand the growing disdain against straight white males. The inability for you to entertain the possibility that you're wrong is just something you have never computed.
In the past, im pretty sure you would have also thought the "status-quo" relegating Blacks to second-class individuals was "working"

Matt, what was the status quo? Pretty much everyone is arguing that NC changed the status quo, in which people had just gone to whichever bathrooms they wanted and it worked fine. So you're saying this didn't work?

Also pretty racist and sexist of you to attribute close-mindedness to people entirely on the basis of their gender, racial, and sexual identity. Not sure why Tyler allows such hate speech in the comments.

Again, the status-quo worked well for whom? Ofc you'd assume it worked well as you are standing outside taking such a stance, just like you would have probably argued that the second-classing of Blacks worked fine for everyone, My point? You are too removed from the issue to make such an assessment.

(Although it'd be very convenient for you to assume I was talking about straight white males as a whole, "you" was referring to Turkey Vulture alone.)

"I can definitely understand the growing disdain against straight white males."

That is not confined to a specific white male. That is generalized bigotry, not individualized hate. Sorry you are on the wrong side of history, and still need to hate on people based solely on their sexual orientation, race and gender. Some day your kind will die off and we will live in a more loving land. Or perhaps that great day will come when the Supreme Court recognizes that hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment, and you will be jailed.

But nice calling me a racist too.

Now, having settled that you are a hateful bigot, I can ask: what about the status quo was not working well? Prior to the Charlotte ordinance (and in bathrooms throughout the rest of the country to this day), are transgendered people being removed from bathrooms and being told they don't belong?

Matt - be reasonable. Most straight white males really don't care (very much) one way or the other about most of these issues. But there are some very outspoken ones who think that anyone different should have to pretend to be exactly like them.

"But there are some very outspoken ones who think that anyone different should have to pretend to be exactly like them. "
Whoever said you have to be like me? I cooked dinner for my Wife and a friend tonight. It's a jicama salad and a Mexican rice/bean dish. I don't give a damn if you don't like it. It's an entirely different story when the Loony Left attempts to foist another stupid liberal social experiment down our throats. According to the laws of North Carolina, which is a shared sovereign of the United States, civilized men will relieve themselves in a room designated for men. This is real simple, but morons on social media have to blow this out of proportion.
Being an Illinois resident, I am far more concerned about Illinois pension reform and our lack of a budget. But there's no point in having ANY laws when Progressives subvert all of them for their stupid Tumblr blog.

OK, people like you are "civilized" and others are "looney" and/or "morons".

But you dissociate yourself from those who think others should have to be like you. Because you're not actually like that.

"But there’s no point in having ANY laws when Progressives subvert all of them for their stupid Tumblr blog."

I can definitely understand the growing disdain against straight white males. The inability for you to entertain the possibility that you’re wrong is just something you have never computed.

And I can definitely understand the disdain against black males. The inability for you to hold jobs and stop shooting each other is just something you never have computed.

Oh wait that sounded racist, didn't it?

It doesn't even make sense. Of course we know we might be wrong. That's why we double- and triple-checked our calculations before we landed on the Moon.

"We"? When did *you* land on the moon again? Better yet--when was the last time *you* were involved in the team that coordinated the space travel?

Sorry you'll have to speak harder. Can't hear you through my privilege.

Except I'm not Black, or male!? (Username is bad indicator of one's identity.)
Try again.

Craig is pointing out the racism in your comment.

You do not even know the race/sex of the commentators (Username is bad indicator of one’s identity.) yet you dismiss views based solely on the group yo think they belong to.

And I'm actually a genderfluid, bi-animalistic bird of color.

Turkeys have elevated privilege. An entire holiday devoted to them! We should hail this proud underdog punching up at you.

Let's define an entire group for the actions of a very small minority.

It is wrong either way.

Don't forget chromosexual. I hump colors.

Tyler, I was reading article in our local newspaper where a feminist suggested that men and women could share bathrooms. An economist wrote a critique of that with regards to inefficiency. (Don't get too excited, this is a lot more boring subject than you might think). In our culture, nudity isn't something we are scared of.

I can see many problems with this thing but a lot of it comes from lack of ethics. No incentives are match for civic virtues. I have no solution for this TG problem just chiming in.

3rd option - group by sex, which is a meaningful category and predicts things we care about.

I guess I stopped reading after 2 :)

For conservatives, it's always about sex. Why the obsession with sex? In the ancient world, procreation was much more than recreation, as survival of the tribe depended on women having babies, lots of them because most babies and many mothers died in childbirth. Every women needed to have at least six pregnancies just to maintain the tribe's population. Under those circumstances, women were expected to be women, and men were expected to be men; the life of the tribe depended on it. Sex, birth, death, and decay. That's often used as the description of life for a young woman in the ancient world. If it was good enough for women in the ancient world, then it's good enough for the women in North Carolina.

All you armchair biologiats/therapists know there are trans men as well right? .

You can make all the uninformed decisions you like, it would be best to listen to an actual trans person.
Bathrooms and locker rooms weren't a problem for us or you until the antitrans people made it one. Now people are calling for their death.
What in the world is wrong with us?
Finally, transwomen are women and trans men are men.
Transpeople need protection from the same predators. Your children are in more danger in the men's room or with your preacher, schoolteacher or wrestling coach.

Your gender is your chromosomes--it expresses itself in every cell in your body. That's why "trans" people have to eviscerate healthy tissue and take artificial hormones to fit the delusion that's in their head.

You have a mental illness. I am sorry for you, but the rest of us should not be forced to live your delusion.

And some wonder why these people are fighting for decent treatment ...

If people were indifferent to their gender identity, they would fit in just fine. We're not talking down's syndrome or megalomania or something.

The status quo was broken by the Obama administration and activists. Go Google the hashtag #occupotty. Lovely hashtag - see how far back it goes. This wasn't something that the right-wing just decided to do in 2016.

BS. The activism to change the status quo started with trans activists, not with "anti-trans people."

But who put it into the national news?

Social conservatives, shooting themselves in the foot, again.

Rules are flexible, 3 examples:

At what age children can go alone in public restrooms alone? 90% of time you see male children on women's restrooms but you can also see a dad taking his daughter to men's restrooms. The "solution" to this was family restrooms. Anyway, I'm not going to fight a dad who takes his 3 YO daughter into men's restroom. Another case is bars and similar places. There's an equivalent amount of male and female stalls and the outcome is well known: long lines in women's restroom. After a few drinks this is not optimal and you'll find the woman who says "sorry, line is too long and I MUST use men's one". Everyone on the restroom line understands and life goes on. The third situation is teenagers and adults with mental disability, sometimes the only support they have is someone from the opposite sex.

The point I'm trying to make is: beyond legislation, the social rule is "you can enter as long as the people inside are comfortable with you". Restrooms are places where people likes to be comfortable but you can accommodate to some special needs outside of the binary men/women division.

Once the social rule is acknowledged, the argument "I won't let a strange man share the restroom with my daughter" stops working. The people that needs to feel comfortable on who uses women's restrooms is......women. Thus, the right thing would ask women "are you comfortable sharing the space with transgender people?". Women can say NO, and no problem with that. But, as long as the conversation is monopolized by angry old guys, no advance. Any woman can give her perspective?

The high school girls mentioned above complained bitterly about having to share the locker room with a boy. Stop pretending that you care about their perspective.

the scary thing is that Axa thinks it shows how reasonable s/he is by letting a dad take his 3 YO daughter into the men's loo. classic lefty: when trying to understand someone with a different world view, just enters this magic mad world of craziness.

Woman here, speaking for myself only. Perfectly comfortable sharing a bathroom with a transgender woman. Perfectly comfortable sharing a family bathroom, which honestly is a lot more uncomfortable than sharing one with a man. This is a non issue. Most women will never share a bathroom with a transgender women since they are an extremely small percentage of the population. Gender is fluid, sex is fluid, people are fluid, get over it.

Gender is fluid, sex is fluid, people are fluid, get over it

Is this a picture of a dog or a lobster?

So you're going to speak to those high school girls who don't like having a boy in the locker room, and tell them to get over it? Because otherwise, you are a major league hypocrite. Let me know how that goes for you.

"Gender is fluid, sex is fluid"

First, gender is just a euphemism for sex, originally used because sex can also describe the sexual act. The idea that gender and sex are different is bizarre.

Second, no they are not. Chromosomes rule. Why do liberals hate science?

But women's restrooms ALWAYS have private stalls for every function. It's not at all like the men's restroom where you're standing side by side with someone with their genitals hanging out. I think men don't realize that and that's why men tend to get worked up about it and women generally don't.

"we could significantly increase the penalties for men who abuse women or young girls in or near women’s rooms"

So how harsh would the penalties be for a high school boy who makes a peephole into the girls room? Castration? Lifelong registration as a sex offender? Just how Beckerian is TC willing to be in his "significantly increased" penalites?

I'd be pretty nervous if I was a high-earning female athlete.

You should be, aren't you a guy?

There's already an MMA issue.

But, as you say, I'd be seriously worried if I was a biologically female Tennis Grand Slam player. The pot for Wimbledon alone is £2.15 Million. Any male ranking in the world top 1000 men would probably hammer the No1 Ladies seed.

Karsten Braasch v the Williams Sisters

During the 1998 Australian Open, sisters Serena and Venus Williams boasted that they could beat any man ranked outside the world's top 200. The challenge was accepted by Karsten Braasch, a German player ranked No 203 (his highest ranking was No 38). Before the matches, Braasch played a round of golf in the morning, drank a couple of beers, smoked a few cigarettes, and then played the Williams sisters for a set each, one after the other. He defeated Serena, 6-1, and Venus, 6-2. Serena said afterwards "I didn't know it would be that hard. I hit shots that would have been winners on the women's tour and he got to them easily."

In 1999 when Serena Williams was 18 and ranked 4th in the world, she re-opened the debate on whether women can compete with men in professional sport. The US Open champion believed she could take on and beat the best players in the men's game - she even applied for a wild card entry to take part in a men's singles event, the Eurocard Open, but this did not eventuate, mainly because she could not compete as she was not a man.

Thanks for this anecdote (I haven't heard of it before). I suspect the Williams sistes have, in the meantime, undertook some measures to 'even the playing field' ; -)

The logical solution is to let trans people use the the restroom or locker room of their choice.
Otherwise you start checking, everyone junk at the door. I don't want that, do you?
I've never had a problem in the woman's room or locker room with transwomen, if I even knew it.
Where is the problem? Who are we trying to protect women and children from? Who's the common enemy?
Predatory men and the people that give then excuses.
I can prove it in this thread even. Somebody above asked abt the boy who makes a hole in the girls room so he could peep. The person asked should we scar him for life by giving that rough of treatment.
Why are we still excusing this behavior? It starts when boys are you and you teach them they can sexually assault people because of malemess.
And yet we demonize the transpeople while ignoring the real problem.
Plus, trans women don't walk around with beards or stand to pee anywhere, especially a public bathroom.
Oh, and forcing trans men to use the woman's room is not a good idea either. People are going to get hurt and everyone is at risk then.
I don't want my underwear checked by anybody at the door. I could care less when in a stall.
My children are safer with a trans woman or man, than they will ever be with a uncle Joe or preacher Johnson and surely more than our former speaker, then wrestling coach, that raped boys for years and now has over 60 letters of support for leniency.
And you worry abt trans people.
Let me know when their are real problems.

Also, check out, it is your friend. Not as good as researching yourself, but it's a start.

If you are not allowed to ask for proof that a man in the women's locker room is trans, and therefore any man can come in if he feels like it (no longer a crime now), is that ok with you? How about a place removing Male and Female signs from the rest rooms? This is not about trans because there is no way to verify their status.

CNTRL + F and "Thailand" yields no hits, so this is the comment that points out in Thailand drivers licenses have "M", "F" or "T", due to the high proportion (true in general for all of SE Asia) of transgender individuals (whether willing transgender people like Deirdre McCloskey, or, the much rarer biologically transgender people, which, in theory though never documented in practice for the human species, can actually self-fertilize themselves and achieve a virgin birth)

Also there's an internet meme floating around that shows photos of very attractive (possibly Photoshopped but having lived in Asia I doubt it) Asian women, in two lists, and of course one of them comprises XX women and the other is ladyboys, with the generally acknowledged more attractive group being the latter.

'a willing transgender'? Impossible. There aren't any willing trans people. Do u think anybody would choose that? Try learning about trans people before you speak such nonsense.
There might be willing cross dressers, but willing transgender people? Not a chance.
How do I know? I've studied trans people for the 45 years. Not once have I met a willing trans person.
What I have seen is that trans people are some of the sincere, compassionate, caring and empathetic I've ever met. You would do good to have one as a friend. They do not deserve this.
Try to learn what this is about before you all kill somebody.

Nobody said anything about violence (except you, projection noted). And lern to spell 'u'. Having a sex change operation qualifies as 'willing' don't you think? Unless you don't believe in free will, which is absurd.

Cite? I'm fairly sure this is not correct. Ironically, Iran does allow citizens to change their gender on official documents due to a fatwa on the subject issued by Ayatollah Khomeini.

Maybe the virgin Mary was trans?

"Let’s create something to fight over."

You are swimming in the zeitgeist, sir.

There is something weird about American politics and the sexual identity of 0.3% of the population. I think on the Democratic side it is a fairly costless way to identify left. Just say "LGBT" and then get back to writing law to benefit Goldman Sachs. It is, if you will forgive the term, a beard.

On the Republican side, I don't get it, unless they are just sucked in. They don't need to lose another culture war, so why not just ignore it? Or is conflicted sexuality just too much a draw for the party of Hastert, and letter writers for Hastert?

My advice is to ignore it all, and as Tyler says in one choice, focus on who if anyone is commuting abuse.

I am more than happy to ignore the laws established by the great state of North Carolina. I am a resident of Illinois. However, the American Progressive Left continues to use executive fiat and judicial majorities to subvert the will of the people, which is a threat to our Republic.

I think the minutiae of bathroom habits involving a tiny, deviant minority can be left to local and private concerns as they see fit.

Past that point, I guess: "A conservative Christian activist group has gained more than half a million signatures and counting from people pledging to boycott Target over its transgender bathroom policy."

Why don't they just shop, and boycott the bathrooms?

I really am not concerned over the welfare of multi-billion dollar corporations that decide it makes better business sense to make 100 people uncomfortable so one autogynephiliac can indulge his sexual fantasies.

What Target really says is, we have boys and girls rooms, we trust you the customers to use them responsibly.

If you think age old boys and girls rooms and personal responsibility are "for" one autogynephiliac (whatever that is), you might have the problem.

An autogynephiliac is a man who fetishizes "being" a woman. They do not menstruate, have babies or have sex with men, unlike women. Caitlyn Jenner is an example of autogynephilia. The other group is effeminate men who are homosexuals trying to make themselves more attractive to masculine men. There is probably a third group: confused, impressionable people with some form of mania.

In all instances, we are talking about vanishingly small groups of people who previously managed to get along but now at this unique point in human history require the entire rest of us to validate their pathology.

I don't think "choose your own bathroom" actually validates any sexuality. It says poop and then go home.

Elderly lesbians also don't menstruate, have babies, or have sex with men. /pedant

In the age of cellphone cameras, would you really be comfortable with a heterosexual man walking into a bathroom and plopping down in the stall next to your wife or your daughter? Sure, I've hustled my toddler daughter in and out of a men's room, but it seems like we're extending opportunities for harmful conduct to, again, accomodate a tiny minority that does nothing for anybody but cause trouble and expense.

Elderly lesbians use the women's room. Because they're women, as they will tell you.

OK, what's my experience? I'm a conventional heterosexual male. I don't know who is gay in the bathroom with me, but I've never noticed anything sexual. I've had teenage girls walk in as a gag, which I ignored. I've seen dads bring in daughters, no big deal. All in all, in decades, nothing happened.

OK, one funny story. I was working on an engineering problem. I took a break to pee. I was standing at the urinal thinking about my solution when I realized "it doesn't work!" I washed my hands and left.

I got back to my desk and realized I had shouted "it doesn't work!" in a crowded men's room. Oh well.

This is only a problem for people who have the obsession to codify everything into all-encompassing laws and structures. From the practical point of view, this is a non-issue. If a transgender woman/man goes to a women's toilet and does her business and leaves, there is no problem. If a man dressed as a woman goes to women's toilet and starts harassing little girls, then there is a problem. This problem can be solved in case-to-case basis.

As a general rule of thumb: whenever someone starts harassing someone, whether it's a man in women's toilet or a woman in women's toilet, there is problem that can be solved in a very obvious way (by removing the harasser). What gender identity the harasser has chosen or what gender identity the society wants to assign him/her never needs to enter the consideration. I as a man couldn't care less if a woman entered men's toilet to piss, but I would care if she started harassing me somehow while doing it.

Agreed. Boys and girls rooms work for most of us, the rest of you do the best you can.

At a fundamental level, I don't see how somone can know they should be a different gender or that they will feel better with different genitals.

You can certainly feel uncomfortable in your own body. Many people do. But if you are biologically male you have never felt what it is like to be a woman. I don't know how having female parts feels, so how can I know those are what I need? I also have never had a different mind than my own - how can I say I have a female brain trapped in a male body? It must be based on my perception of how women think and feel, and on their roles and behavior in my culture.

There is a certain portion of the population that feels uncomfortable in its own skin. If you raise the status of those identifiying as transgender, won't you cause more people in that group to move towards the transgender explanation for their discomfort? If so, is that for the best?

I agree that some T's seem to be harming themselves, but from the standpoint of this "fear" the question is about who harms others.

Abuse is not correlated with this at all, is it? Were the priests, coaches, politicians who abused positions of trust T's?

Is the "fear" about actual transpeople harming others by being in one or the other bathrooms/locker rooms, or is it about those who would abuse those positions of trust you mentioned having one more avenue by which to harm others, by claiming to identify as the other gender (presumably, 99% of the time it would be a man claiming to identify as a woman in order to have an easier route to abuse women)? I took it to be the latter.

Well, "choose your own bathroom" has been the rule for the last 100 years or so. There have been rare incidents, but aren't they often on the same-sex side? By that I mean men and boys, or women kidnapping girls?=

IOW, no I don't think Target's "choose your own bathroom" puts anyone in a new position of power or trust.

So Target (and Charlotte's) new policy/ordinance were completely pointless and had no impact? Maybe. But it seems like it would at least shift the default understanding in the direction of giving more leeway. If someone who looks like a man goes into the woman's bathroom while other women are in there, I would think that there was a higher probability of someone with authority being called or a big deal being made of it under the status quo than under the Target/Charlotte policy.

Target wants to sell stuff. I'm sure if they could do it without public restrooms they would. Having public restrooms though was good for business. For the last hundred years? (Founded: 1902, Minneapolis, MN)

I'm sure "choose your own" worked for them as well as it did for most, and hasn't actually been a problem.

They say that Target picked this battle, but what were they suppose to do, hire sex-checkers in this State?

Not sure what you're saying now. The NC law applies to public facilities (i.e., government-managed, not "public" in the sense of "the public can enter them." Not Target. If it did apply to Target, their "Choose your own bathroom" policy wouldn't be an attempt to follow the law.

Okay. But you know you made up your original narrative right? Now you're trying a different one.

Target had no need to announce any policy. There has been no change to the implicit rule. It tried to signal something, either because it thought it would be good for business, or because the principal-agent problem led its management to be willing to send a costly signal of their own virtue that would be largely borne by others.

A month or two ago I was using the restroom when I needed to poop or pee, and I was totally unaware that there was a problem.

I guess that's just "my narrative" and is the problem.

You aren't a militant feminist, are you?

You made up a story for why Target implemented a policy, based on a misunderstanding of the NC law at issue.

I'm sorry but it does come down to: do you trust law abiding adults to choose for themselves and their children, or do you need gender police?

I don't think we need gender police. I think most people just want to poop, wash hands, and get out of there.

Target (and Trump) put it out there that people can decide, and are now "culture warriors" because they AREN'T interfering.

You can't make this stuff up.

You think this line is wrong?

"They say that Target picked this battle, but what were they suppose to do, hire sex-checkers in this State?"

Isn't that what the protesters want?

Yes, that line is wrong, because Target is not at all impacted by the NC law.

Your story was (and apparently still is) that Target's hand was forced by the NC law, lest they be required to hire sex-checkers in NC (i.e., "this State").

That is absolutely wrong. The law does not apply to Target. Moreover, if it did, Target's policy would seem to contravene the NC law, so again, your story would make no sense.

No, I said "they say that Target picked this battle" and "Target’s mistake was in stating it in clear speech"

I understand what happened. You agree with me when you say "Target had no need to announce any policy."

Apparently you just want to hang on Target's decision to say what they think, rather than whether what they say is right or wrong.

I am saying Option 1 above is the only sane choice. It does not expand the state. It does not create bathroom police. It does not open the door to 50 genders.

I mean what are YOU saying? That it is best if NC legislates gender and private businesses keep their heads down?

Again, NC law does not apply to private businesses. You did not understand this, still possibly don't, and are refusing to admit error.

"Apparently you just want to hang on Target’s decision to say what they think, rather than whether what they say is right or wrong."

Why did Target need to say what it thinks? If the implicit status quo was exactly what they announced, why announce it? Do businesses usually just send out their thoughts about the status quo to everyone, to make sure we know?

Something can be implicitly accepted that, if publicly addressed, makes many people uncomfortable and, potentially, lead them to reevaluate what they had implicitly accepted.

I really don't care what bathrooms people use. It is not a reasonable subject for government intervention (by Charlotte in the first place or NC in the second). But you made stuff up to advance your preferred policy, and you are unwilling to acknowledge it.

An unsurprising perspective from the economist who decided the most noteworthy aspect of David Brat's election was that he didn't use McCloskey's preferred pronouns.

Also interesting to me is that many conservatives seem to be missing the extent to which the issue of transgendered people fits well into a fairly conservative framework of society - namely, one with traditional, well-defined gender roles. In my limited experience with transpeople, the predominant desire was to engage in behaviors that are stereotypically those performed by the other gender. As I understand it, the desire to physically transition is often primarily about the desire to better fit into this role (by looking the part).

Lol. It's already illegal for a man to dress up as a woman and enter women's restrooms/locker rooms for the purpose of peeping or worse. You would press charges under sexual harassment laws.

Let's wait to change the laws until we have problems with harassers claiming in court to really just be transgender, a trend which I am totally unaware of actually happening. TC is also offering a solution without a problem.

I do not think this whole share your woman's bathroom with a hairy man in a dress resonates with most Americans. I think most people are intimidated and won't speak up. Ask your self if it is against the law to offer a service but to refuse that service to someone or a group because of their beliefs or actions how is it legal for a rock & roll singer to do the same thing? I would guess that the venue owners and sponsors have a legitimate lawsuit against that bigot. The problem is we don't have equal rights and more we have special rights and a lynch mob that punishes anyone who wants and expects the equal rights that the constitution promises.

I would also suggest that any state/governor who tells his state employees that they cannot go to a particular state because of differences of opinion like this has stepped into a restraint of trade quagmire. I would love to see this action argued before a fair court. Sadly our courts have been tainted with this sickness as well.

I wasn't aware that you could tell if someone was hairy in the next stall over. Women's bathrooms are private stalls only.

I know you don't believe that and who in their right mind would. You just think it's a cute response. If what you say were true and it was something a majority of Americans agreed with than why would we ever spend twice as much money at every business and public restroom and install two? Why wouldn't we have seen the brilliance of your comment decades ago and had one restroom labeled Youall. After all as you brilliantly point out they are private stalls, well except for about a foot at ground level and three feet or so at the top, By golly I'm for it; one bathroom and everyone takes their chances.

No, I don't think it's a "cute response". Women's bathrooms actually only have private stalls. And no, you cannot tell how hairy the person in the next stall is. Some women are hairy too.

Now, if people are peeking under the bottom of the stall, this is a problem no matter whether it's in the men's bathroom, women's bathroom, or any bathroom.

I don't see what would be hard about unisex bathrooms. They exist in a great number of places and I'm not aware of any specific problems with them ever.

So you admit you are simply unaware of the problem.

I propose a compromise: If there need be changes to bathrooms and/or additional bathrooms built let all those in favor of these changes pay for them. Further let it be decided locally by a democratic vote. I.e. if NC votes no gender neutral bathrooms than the people decided and to disagree or boycott is a hate crime. If on the other hand NY decides to have gender neutral bathrooms and there as ANY who disagree than a third bathroom must be built and the group who stands up to demand gender neutral bathrooms ponies up the money to build them. See! Everyone is then happy.

Transgender bathrooms -- has anyone ever heard of AC/DC (bisexual)?

Transgender is a tragic condition — actually having the wrong sex body to go with your brain. 19 times the suicide rate according to a New York Times story. “Although transsexualism (defined as those who want to change or do change their body) is very rare — a recent meta-analysis estimated the prevalence at about 5 per 100,000 … ”

San Francisco school adopting gender-neutral bathrooms
By Jill Tucker Updated 7:11 am, Thursday, September 3, 2015
“The boys’ bathrooms and girls’ bathrooms will become just bathrooms at the first San Francisco school to go gender-neutral.”

“In schools across the country, though, bathrooms have become a battleground for transgender rights. On Monday, more than 100 high school students walked out of class in a small Missouri town to protest the use of the girls’ restrooms and locker room by a transgender teen.”

“So far, bathrooms in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms at Miraloma, as well as a centralized bathroom, are gender-neutral. The school will phase in the other restrooms used by older children over the next few years, including outside bathrooms with multiple stalls.”

“The school district’s responsibility is to create a safe environment for all students so they can learn and thrive, said Kevin Gogan, the district’s director of safety and wellness. That, he said, means accepting and accommodating the 1 percent of all middle and high school students who identify as transgender — who add up to more than 300 students.” [my emphasis]

“First grade twins Ari Braverman (left), and Ella Braverman (right), both 6 years old, show first grade gender neutral bathrooms at Miraloma Elementary school in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, September 2, 2015.” [caption for multi stall bathroom -- Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle (pic since changed)]

"The boys’ bathrooms and girls’ bathrooms will become just bathrooms at the first San Francisco school to go gender-neutral [for everybody -- that's what the story seems to say!?]."
* * * * * *
Anybody ever hear about AC/DC as in switch-hitter, as in bisexual? Bruce made a lot of kids before he became Caitlyn (nothing funny here — see above). Really want to allow males who may or may not be sexually attracted to females into the womens’ bathrooms.

“A transgender woman says she was raped in a unisex bathroom at the Stonewall Inn — and police are searching for the suspect who they say regularly frequents the landmark gay bar.”

One in 20,000 may be transgender (actually wrong body to go with brain) — a lot more than that identify with the opposite body gender. A lot more than one in 20,000 are willing to fake transgender for whatever nefarious or silly motive — maybe just some college frat boys drunk and mischievous.

What sex is attractive to a physical male with a female brain anyway (not to mention the 1% with gender dysphoria)? I have no idea.

I read a story the other day (can’t remember where) of a young guy (male brain — female body) who is now taking male hormones to grow a beard and muscle and hangs out with other guys in bars, etc. Who does he want to have sex with?

Who does a physical male with a female brain want to have sex with — depending on whether heterosexual or homosexual. This is where I totally lose track.

I had a gay teenage boy living with me in the Bronx back in the late 70s. I quickly picked up that he approached every older woman with a salute — careful not to brush her toes (“lest she lash out at him for no reason” — as I like to put this). Me, he wasn’t too afraid of — not bad to, but sort of like you are less afraid of your mother than you father (if you are hetero).

One of his little buddies, 16 years old, would come at me disrespectfully — I would back him off — he would be visibly intimidated — next time he would be right back at me; never caught on what he was up against in a male — I was just Hillary, a noisy girl.

You can’t be sexually dangerous to the dangerous sex — you can’t be sexually endangered except by the dangerous sex. Depending on who you think is the dangerous sex.

But, how does this understanding of homosexuality — and heterosexuality — translate into which sex a (truly rare) truly transgender person is attracted to? ??? Anybody care to clear this up for me?

Those of the apparently not so rare gender dysphoric (see above) are guaranteed to be all over the place.

The only good thing I can say for the not so rare dysphoric use is that it would have come in handy when I was a taxi driver (NYC, Chi, SF): if the mens' room was dirty or out of order I could have just tried the lady's room figuring they were used to seeing men dressed as men in there -- if not used to it -- and when you have to go you have to go.

(Some?) States already have something like a legal definition of trans in that there are rules around what you need to do to get your birth certificate or ID changed.

But regardless of what resonates with people, if there's something especially bad about sexual assaults in bathrooms, or by people wearing a particular kind of clothes, then add penalties for doing those things, neither of which have anything to do with where a trans person urinates.

the new laws make it ok for a man to just share the showers with the girls, as in the high school example above. It isn't about sexual assault.

The "new" laws seem to make it illegal for a trans woman to use the women's locker room, actually.

I recommend you read the chapter in Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simons," in which she checks into her freshman college dorm, and has the experience of sharing the restroom and shower room with the teenage boys. Not everybody is happy with co-ed bathrooms. And transgender ideology will conflict with religion.

If a Muslim woman objects to sharing a bathroom a man who claims to be a woman, would that make a progressive's head explode to resolve the dilemma?

I have no objections to co-ed facilities in groups that consent to such arrangements. I have objections to having such arrangements forced people who don't want them.

And those who want separate male and female facilities are not bigots, nor are they stupid.

I do not hate sexual deviants, but neither do I think the tail should wag the dog.

"deviants". Most people don't say that if they mean "they're just different".

HB2 not only introduced new regulations regarding bathrooms, it also took away the rights for people in NC to sue for discrimination in STATE courts.
"It took away the right of people who are fired for discriminatory reasons to sue in state court. It took away the right of people who are treated or refused service in a discriminatory way to sue in state court. It took away the right of cities to require subcontractors to follow rules about discrimination and wages, and it nullified some existing city policies."

So even if you hate LGBTQ people, this is a bad law. And it serves lawmakers' purposes that everyone argues over the bathroom part of the bill and not over the fact that someone suing over age discrimination in NC now has to sue in Federal court, which is more expensive, more difficult, and takes longer (just as one example).

Yeah of course it's a bad law if you assume that everybody agrees with you on those policy issues.

Turkey Vulture: Are you saying you are against any kind of anti-discriminatory state laws? Because then your comment makes sense.

My point is that, even if you are opposed to transgender people using the bathroom with you, this is still a bad law because it tears down huge swaths of law that protect EVERYONE in order to bar one group of people from protection.

Not sure of my own opinions. But it's possible to support anti-discrimination laws while opposing using private civil suits as a means of enforcing them. Or it's possible to believe that such suits don't need to have the option of both state and federal courts. Or to believe that some such laws are beneficial and that others are not. It is also possible to believe that those "huge swaths of law that protect EVERYONE" do not, in fact, protect everyone.

My point was you're casually dismissing a huge range of potential views by just saying, matter-of-factly, that this is a bad law for those reasons.

If private civil suits are not a means of enforcing the law, then what, prison?

Civil suits take enforcement largely out of the hands of the government and merely give people a tool to fight for themselves.

How about urinal rooms for anyone who wants to use them, and stalls with full doors and locks and hand washing rooms?

Give public building 10 years to change. Bathrooms depreciate anyway.

"Cruz’s argument centers on the idea that allowing transgender women to use the women’s restroom would lead to deviants dressing up as women and preying on young girls."

But...but...can we just discount this idea (and its underlying fear) as RIDICULOUS?

1) men can already do this, with enough skill with a makeup kit
2) only perverts do this. Perversity isn't gender specific. Ergo, plenty of adult WOMEN can prey on young girls right now as well.

All of this strikes me as being similar to arguments in prior ages around men coaching women's teams, women coaching men's teams, gay men/women coaching men/women's teams. You heard a lot of "Do you want these people sharing a locker room with your [son|daughter]?" with some underlying assumption that putting an adult in a room with children of the opposite sex somehow transforms everyone into sexual predators.

"Perversity isn’t gender specific."

Definitely. Men and women are equal in all ways, including their predispositions towards rape/sexual assault/child molestation. The huge disparity in male vs. female sexual offenders in our nations prisons is a sign of a deeply anti-male sexism in our predominately female society.

You miss the point that with the new laws a man in a women's facility cannot be told to leave. He doesn't have to be in a dress.

There really are people who are born physically ambiguous and there are people who externally look like women but have XY chromosomes. (For example, see

I'm sure nobody wants to go out of their way to make life worse for these people.

That being said (and I'm a gay male who's generally sympathetic to these things--up to a point), it's become fashionable for people who are just plain weird, especially on college campuses, to call themselves "genderqueer" or "genderfluid". Especially, IMHO, people who are simply angry that they're not generally considered attractive by society because they're fat, etc. And it's THESE people who have been whining the most about the right to use any bathroom they want.

Frankly, I don't see any danger of girls being molested because some fat loser wants to use the lady's room. But the conservatives have a point about "slippery slopes." Now every self-selected group is having temper-tantrums, creating problems where none existed, and demanding that everyone cater to their whim or identity-of-the-week.

re: "I’m sure nobody wants to go out of their way to make life worse for these people."

Don't be so sure.

Is this the most insensitive comment section in MR history?

Examples include writing about Transgender individuals as being simply deluded, having a mental illness or the flippant remark, "Trannies are mostly useful idiots."


Do you believe anything properly called a mental illness exists? Depression? Anxiety? Body dysphoria expressed as anorexia?

In a lot of ways, "mental illness" is just the majority demanding that other people be like them, with some men in white coats writing down notes and applying "medical" labels which will justify further costly appointments.

I'm not sure how it can possibly be constructive to group together people who (permanently or temporarily) suffer from depression and anxiety with people who will get violently angry at the most minor of frustrations or who get their jollies from psychologically, physically or sexually preying on people.

If you tell us you're really a tiger, or that you are receiving extra-terrestrial transmissions in your head, we diagnose a mental disorder. Similarly, if you have an XY or XX chromosome in every cell in your body, manifesting themselves in the typical ways, it's easier to diagnose some body/gender dysphoria than that your mind was somehow metaphysically deposited in the wrong place. Can anybody even explain that process? Is there any research being done on it? Or is this one of the secular faith's Sacred Mysteries, to be hedged off and protected from skepticism and critical inquiry?

Speaking of being in the wrong place, is there any child or adolescent who doesn't dream on some unhappy occasion that they're actually a foundling, that their "real" parents (not the current meanies who sent them to their room) are actually fantastic royalty, or that one or another circumstance of life was just somehow not meant to be in some mystical sense? We tell them that such feelings are part of growing up and coming to terms with the world as it is. By contrast, transsexualism is the only disorder where we scream at everybody else that they have to accommodate the individual's delusion.

Humans are not tigers. That, I grant you. If someone TRULY believes that they are a tiger trapped in the body of a human (as opposed to, say, believing they were a tiger in a former life and retain some characteristics), I'll grant you that they probably have some mental health issues.

The "microwave auditory effect" is real: This has been experienced since WWII at radar stations, has been proven since 1962 (Frey AH. (1962). “Human auditory system response to modulated electromagnetic energy”. Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 17, No. 4, 689-692), and presumably has not remained in a purely undeveloped state over the last 50+ years.

Sometimes, "mental illness" is attributed in cases where we merely have poor understanding of reality. I think it is rather uncontroversial to say that many diagnoses are basically just saying "that's too different/weird and may have some socially undesirable consequences". There's a big difference between "weird" and people who have such fundamentally flawed cognitive processes that they cannot keep touch with reality or function in a civilized manner in basic social situations.

I believe that mental illness is diagnosed by a doctor. If a psychiatric doctor thinks that the individual is mentally ill, then they may diagnose them as such. I do not believe that all transgender individuals are mentally ill, but I'm not a doctor.

We'll be sure to coat our comments in sugar, sunshine, and small forest mammals next time, Nancy.

If Coase were alive, he would be asking a different question: "who pays?"
Inother words, why won't North Carolina just subsidize a third bathroom in every public bldg?

183 comments. I bet they are all gold.

We only have two bathrooms. We have many genders, apparently. Which gender goes to which bathroom?

And then there is the high school gym shower question.

Amazing what the level of ignorance is here. There are 23 chromosome pairs in "most" human somatic cells (about 25% of somatic cells are red blood cells which do not have any chromosomes). In simple terms, a cell having two X chromosomes would be expected to be "female", and a cell with one X and one Y would be expected to be "male". What the individual actually "is" depends on a lot of things - and I'm speaking only of the individual's biology and avoiding the psychological (and neuropsychological) aspects. Here are the main variables:1. Either of those sex chromosomes can be damaged and not work optimally. 2.There may be additional (sex) chromosomes or chromosome fragments present. 3. The individual may express more than a single set of sex chromosomes (either due to chimerism or due to, for example, transplants (including bone marrow)) 4. The hormone "bath" the individual is exposed to during gestation and during his/her growth to adulthood (as well as hormones present as an adult). This bath varies normally with time and the age of the individual, as well as due to environmental factors. It is important to note that if a person with healthy XX genes is exposed to the wrong hormones at the wrong time, she will NOT develop ovaries (same for male gonads and a healthy XY pair). So, sorry, the "science" in NOT able to define the biology of the individual based on one single "marker" (and so is obviously unable to specify "gender"). The thing about our "Rights", it seems to me, is that all men are created equal. By that I mean those arguing that it is "ok" to knowingly deprive some of their rights because they are a "small minority", is contrary to my understanding of what this country is founded on. The discussion is (at 290 comments) pretty much "off the rails", but neither side here seems to understand that the issues are: fear and enforcement. Fear that predators will abuse the system by declaring their "gender" is the "right" one for the area they are lurking in and the inability of law enforcement to arrest predatory conduct (because of ambiguous definitions allowing anyone to use any (single sex) area) BEFORE the predator rapes/abuses his/her next victim. (Being in the wrong restroom or shower room is sufficient to be arrested). Neither of these real issues have anything (necessarily) to do with whether a person is trans or not; but the side-effect is that regulating this disproportionately affects one group "unfairly". As far as a 11 year old seeing an nude individual of the opposite sex? LMFAO! get over it!

Li: "As far as a 11 year old seeing an nude individual of the opposite sex? LMFAO! get over it!"
and yet, if you expose yourself to an 11 yr old girl OUTSIDE a bathroom, it is years in jail and the sex offender registry...

This conversation boars me

Definition: Mentally Ill. The problem is not between their legs; it's between their ears.

Why is the North Carolina legislature held accountable for the blunder and not the Charlotte city council who forced their hand? Sometimes I think you trim your views and logic on social issues to get peace and quiet on a college campus. Quite prudent.

Isn't there a simple, pragmatic, liberal (in the classical sense) solution to all this? Let transgender people use the separate individual facilities provided for disabled people, which could be relabelled if necessary so no inferences are drawn from this. At least in Europe, such facilities almost always exist. This would provide freedom, privacy and comfort for transgender people and there would be no need to over-legalise and over-politicise this.

So, long thread, but this is just too cute - 'The city council in Oxford, Ala., voted Tuesday to adopt an ordinance that would make it a crime for transgender people to use a public bathroom or changing facility different from the one on their birth certificate. The new ordinance, posted online by the Anniston Star newspaper, also says that anyone violating the ordinance could face up to six months in jail or a $500 fine.'

Does this only apply to 'trans-gender people' a parent may ask? After all, if a father was to take his 2 year old daughter into the male changing facility at a pool (one assumes this remains conceivable in American public life, like it was in the 1980s), does this mean the daughter is subject to arrest and being jailed? Or do the lawmakers think that 'trans-gender' would not apply to small children? And if so, then it is OK for a 2 year old boy clutching a doll and with long curly hair to be in the female changing facility at a pool with his mother?

And as a final question - has anyone noticed just how many baby changing stations do not designate themselves male or female? Maybe some concerned citizens should be discussing this topic, in preparation to passing laws against the idea that changing diapers is an activity independent of gender.

There have already been reports of police dragging women out of bathroom areas because they don't look "female enough" and don't have ID.

This is going downhill, and rapidly.

Soon, there will be mandated genital checks to enjoy bathroom privileges.

Buzzfeed is not a reliable source.


Future public restrooms will often be separate unisex bathrooms with locks on the door, rather than communal bathrooms with several stalls with the locks on the stalls. This will address the extremely rare transgender people using the bathrooms, and also the (much more salient) discomfort of people who have just now realized that there are occasionally transgender people using the bathrooms. The added cost will just be absorbed into the building/remodeling budget, but there will be a lag for older buildings.

Along with the publicity w.r.t. the NC law, we've also seen several big companies overtly throw their economic weight around on social policy questions not at all related to their business. Because of the side they were on, very few of the folks who would normally express concern about that (broadly, people on the left) seem to have noticed any problems. That strikes me as one very much underreported, under-thought-about aspect of this whole story.

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