BOSTON — Access by “transitioning” men to women’s bathrooms and locker rooms is a fundamental human right, transgender advocates argued this week at a State House hearing on expanded transgender legislation – the “bathroom bill,” as it is called.
The leader of a group calling itself the Mass. Transgender Political Coalition told a reporter that “advocates would not stand” for any attempts to deny men full access to toilets and locker rooms that have always been restricted to females.
Transgenders are already protected by a 2011 state law against discrimination in housing, employment, public education and lending. Now they are pushing what is known as “the bathroom bill” – allowing males who at that moment claim to be female total access to areas traditionally reserved for females.
Maura Healey, the state’s new lesbian attorney general, dismissed concerns among legislators and witnesses that men asserting alleged female “feelings” could use such a law to barge in and ogle young women, or worse, without fear of legal consequence.
“We expect people to comport themselves,” she said, “with certain decorum and modesty.”
Ironically, just last week four members of a mobbed-up local union that supports Healey, Teamsters Local 25, were charged with making “racist and homophobic” threats at a suburban restaurant against members of a cable-TV film crew that refused to hire them. According to the indictment, the Teamsters, at least one of whom has organized-crime ties, told the star of “Top Chef,” a woman named Padma Lakshmi, that they would “bash in her pretty face.” They also called her a “bleepin’ whore,” and some members of her crew had their tires slashed.
Under the legislation championed by Healey, her indicted Teamster benefactors could have followed the woman into the restaurant’s ladies room – if the thugs claimed to be “transitioning” into women.
The fact that most people remain queasy about the prospect of men in women’s bathrooms is considered, if not exactly a micro-aggression, then at most a quibble unworthy of consideration by “advocates.” This bathroom bill is just the latest inevitable manifestation expansion of “full civil rights” for cross-dressers, as one Internet commenter in Boston put it yesterday.
“Why would being ‘uncomfortable’ trump civil rights?” he asked.
The crowd at the legislative hearing seemed evenly split between supporters and opponents of the bathroom bill. One of the opponents was Andrew Beckwith of the Mass. Family Institute.
“The legislature must understand,” he said, “that we are dealing with two conflicting rights here – the right of a grown man to fully ‘express himself’ as female vs. the right to privacy of my young daughter and millions like her.”
The problem for the so-called advocates appears to be the ever-changing, ambiguous new definitions of gender. As another poster to a Boston newspaper website lectured the bathroom-bill proponents, “Get rid of your male parts and then okay… otherwise you are a male.”
Even the cheerleaders for allowing men into women’s restrooms seem perplexed by the gender-bending. The rabidly pro-gay Boston Globe acknowledged “concern” that access to female locker rooms could be abused by “transgender women with male anatomy” – in other words, guys.
As always at such hearings, the testimony was described as “emotional.” But again, the reporters appeared confused by the gender of some of the witnesses. A 14-year-old from Framingham was described by the Globe as “a transgender boy.” The Associated Press, on the other hand, described the witness as “a 14-year-old female transitioning to boy.”
At school, the 14-year-old was apparently denied access to the boys’ rest room “where I felt safe.” The witness began drinking less water during the school day, and soon felt “dizzy and dehydrated.” No one at the hearing dared suggest that perhaps drinking more water would have solved that problem.
Attorney General Healey suggested that not allowing men access to women’s restrooms means that “we are sending a message that we, as a state, don’t fully accept them.”
The bill’s prospects for passage appear brighter than ever in the current session. In addition to the lesbian attorney general, the state has a new Senate president – Stanley Rosenberg, age 65. Rosenberg, of Amherst, has announced plans to “marry” one of his former State House interns, a 27-year-old male who has reportedly bragged about the influence he wields over the aged gentleman caller with whom he lives.
The House speaker, Robert DeLeo, has been more standoffish. After the convictions of his three most recent predecessors on federal corruption charges, DeLeo has spent $500,000 to fend off federal charges in an ongoing investigation of corruption in the state probation department. So far DeLeo has only been listed as an “unindicted coconspirator.” He’s refused to take a stand on the bathroom bill.
Gov. Charlie Baker in 2010 said he would veto what he described as “the bathroom bill.” Baker, a moderate Republican who has publicly expressed his great admiration for Jeb Bush, is now saying that although he doesn’t believe in discrimination, “the devil is in the details.” Obviously, the governor is hoping the bill does not reach his desk, especially considering that his hand-picked lieutenant governor has said she will perform the marriage ceremony for the gay Senate president and his boyfriend.
Massachusetts has been in the forefront of the LGBT movement. By a court order, it was the first state to legalize gay marriage. Homosexuals at the State House stopped a referendum question on gay marriage from going on to the statewide ballot, thanks to the efforts of a corrupt earlier House speaker who is now imprisoned for extortion. Judging from the postings to the Globe’s website, the non-heterosexual community in Massachusetts is confident they are backing another winner in the bathroom bill.
In his comments, Beckwith of the Mass. Family Institute raised the specter of his wife and 5-year-old daughter in the YWCA locker room suddenly being confronted by a man who would “disrobe and expose his very male genitalia.”
A Globe reader responded: “Start educating your 5-year-old.”
Another blamed the current impasse in Massachusetts on the absence of an amendment in the Bill of Rights guaranteeing the rights of cross-dressing males to loiter in female rest rooms.
“Too bad the Founding Fathers didn’t see this one coming,” the poster said, and he didn’t appear to be kidding.