Potty Police

The Federal government seems bent on forcing restrooms to be open to anybody of any sex based solely on some undefined concept of “self-identification”.  As I blogged several years back, legislation is being crafted without even an attempt to clarify what “self-identify” means.  What does self-identification mean?  How is it ascertained?  Who validates it?  If I wake up this morning and prefer to use the women’s restroom because I’ve decided to self-identify as a woman today (but dress as a man), is that valid?

Massachusetts is pondering a bill that would legitimize the use of restrooms by either sex based on self-identification, but is at least attempting to recognize that this opens the door for all kind of abuse.  This bill proposes that “improper purpose” in using a bathroom that doesn’t match your physical gender would be grounds for reference to the appropriate law enforcement agency.  It references pre-existing definitions for “self-identification”, but they are predictably vague:

Gender-related identity may be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity; provided, however, that gender-related identity shall not be asserted for any improper purpose.

I can only imagine the public relations nightmare that would ensue if someone complained that there was a man in the women’s bathroom, the man claimed to self-identify as a woman, and the police demanded evidence.  I’m pretty sure that the legally safer path would be to discount any charges of misconduct.  In other words, women that feel violated by the presence of a man in their bathroom will effectively be silenced. Allegations of “improper purpose” will not be investigated very aggressively.   Charges will not be pressed.  The attempt to include what appear to be protections in the law will effectively amount to nothing.

Nice try, though.  I wish everyone could just agree that allowing men and women to use each other’s restrooms and showers is not a good idea.  I wish that media coverage wouldn’t just focus on bathrooms.  I’ve heard supporters of equal access claiming that nobody should be worried because women’s bathrooms all have stalls to ensure privacy.  But the proposed laws don’t just cover bathrooms – they cover locker rooms and shower facilities.  It’s not an issue of a person of uncertain sexuality enclosed in a separate stall from everyone else, but the reality of girls and women being forced to shower with an anatomical man – regardless of how that man likes to think of himself.



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