In the latest conservative state pseudo “protect the kids” action, Arkansas has banned transgender people from using the bathrooms that align to their gender identity in public schools.
Regardless of that this action is another trope and another dog whistle to the fear mongers, it’s going to suffer the same fate as similar bans and restrictions in other states and in other public places.
Several years ago, in 2017, North Carolina enacted a similar ban in public places. Imagine how surprising it was to walk by a bathroom in the Charlotte, North Carolina airport in 2018 and see uniformed law enforcement officers (whose apparent gender matched that of the particular bathroom –but really no way to know).
That ban was subsequently lifted in the face of significant push, including massive economic boycotts.
The issue then and the issue now is who is going to check? People who walk into restrooms designated for women all go into stalls to relieve themselves. People who walk into restrooms designated for men have the option of using a urinal or using a stall.
How is anyone going to determine what genitalia people have? How is that going to work in schools? At the airport in North Carolina, the law enforcement officer just stood by the door. No one was stopped, no one was questioned.
And why? Because it would be an egregious violation of someone’s privacy to ask for an equipment check. It would be tantamount to sexual assault.
Arkansas’s new governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who slid to power on her father’s coattails, is attempting to make a statement with this legislation but it’s a lot of sound and fury.
The bill gives lip service to providing separate single-stall restrooms for transgender students, which serves only to ostracize them and discriminate against them.
Arkansas is likely to take this further with a pending bill that criminalizes transgender adults from using public changing facilities that match their gender identify.
Again, how is that going to work? Who is going to be checking whether the mom or dad at the changing table in an airport has genitals that match the room?