In an effort to focus on a discussion of logic so faulty that it lands firmly in the realm of propaganda, this post is not going to engage in the sociopolitical debate over whether transgenderism is, in the very broad sense healthy. That is a valuable discussion to have, and one in which we might bring to bear any number of pieces of scientific, philosophical, and anecdotal evidence, but it is not what this post is about. I want to be very clear about that.

Instead, this post is about the logic in this Facebook post from the Family Research Council.

Family research council nc hb2

(Here’s a link to the post and to the article it shares.)

The short version of the news story is that a man was hiding in a public women’s restroom, watching porn, and using his phone camera to take pictures over the stall walls. A 10-year-old girl using the restroom reported him to her mother, who reported him to the police. So far he’s been charged with invasion of privacy, although I have to believe that list is going to grow.

So basically, dude goes into the public restroom to watch porn and engage in sexual harassment. He’s rightfully arrested and going to have to stand trial.

All of this is covered under existing law, entirely outside of North Carolina’s HB2 (the “bathroom law” that requires transgender people to use the bathroom for the gender on their birth certificate). If he had done it in any other state, the outcome would have been the same.

But the Family Research Council wants you to believe that’s not the case, that HB2 would have somehow prevented this from happening.

How exactly?

One of the things HB2 does is legally require transgender people, including those who have made a full medical transition, to use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. So first of all, can we agree that this law would not have stopped a guy going into a bathroom of either gender and trying to take pictures of people on the toilet while also viewing porn? Can we also agree he was always in the wrong because he was sexually harassing people, he didn’t accidentally walk through the wrong door while trying to take a piss?

So there is no legal purpose for HB2 in a case like this. HB2 just doesn’t apply. So what is its purpose? I suppose the law is somehow intended to create a better peace of mind, so that little girls don’t see people with beards in their restrooms. But if that’s the case, HB2 is a lousy way to do it because HB2 requires people who are, by all appearances, male to use the women’s bathroom and vice versa. And let’s be honest: No one’s getting uncomfortable when someone who looks female is in the women’s restroom, but they sure will when someone who looks male is. Public restrooms are no one’s favorite, and everyone is just trying to do their business quickly and in peace. Of course, “Men should not be going into young girls’ bathrooms.”

But here’s the long and short of it, and why this post is insidious and not just stupid. By saying, “This is why laws like North Carolina’s HB 2 are necessary,” the Family Research Council is equating transgenderism to sexual deviancy. HB2 will never stop someone who’s intent on sexually harassing people. It can’t. And to suggest that it can is to suggest that the people HB2 actually does affect – transgender people – are sexually harassing people left and right. If they were, they’d be arrested and charged. But it wouldn’t be because they’re transgender, it would be because sexual harassment is wrong.

So let’s have a real discussion about what transgenderism means for people and why it’s a good or bad thing, but let’s not put up with propaganda like this.

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