LGBTQ and Feminist Activists Oppose “Bathroom Backlash”

By Heather McKee Hurwitz

The latest threats to feminist and LGBTQ movements are North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2) and a lawsuit by eleven states against the Obama administration’s guidelines to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice in school.

“Bathroom backlash,” such as HB2 and the lawsuit, oppose lesbian, gay, transgender, and contemporary feminist movements. Bathroom backlash attacks transgender persons’ rights, such as the widespread acceptance of transwomen Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner, among many others. The tactics seek to limit transgender persons’ hard won legal gender reclassifications. Also, bathroom backlash undercuts advocacy by parents of transgender children for a safe educational experience for their children. In addition, HB2 and the lawsuit are backlash against the legalization of marriage equality that allows marriage between two people of any gender identity, instead of strictly defining marriage as between man and woman.

In contrast, feminists and LGBTQ activists value people of diverse gender and sexual identities and embrace the idea that gender identities should not be determined by assigned sex at birth. The majority of feminist organizations today advocate gender equality including transgender rights and support a range of lesbian and gay causes. Continue reading “LGBTQ and Feminist Activists Oppose “Bathroom Backlash””

Bathroom Battlegrounds and Penis Panics

The Massachusetts Family Institute campaign against a
The Massachusetts Family Institute campaign against a “bathroom bill.”

By Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook

Originally posted at Contexts (here). Cross-posted with permission.

In January 2008, the city commission in Gainesville, Florida passed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of “gender identity and gender expression” in employment and public accommodations (such as public restrooms and locker rooms). Advocates argued that the legislation was a key step toward addressing discrimination against transgender and gender variant people. However, 14 months later voters were considering a ballot initiative to overturn the law.

Even though there had been no reported problems, those that were pushing for the repeal of the new ordinance suggested that such protections had unanticipated, dangerous consequences for women and children. Citizens for Good Public Policy ran a TV ad (below) that featured a young, white girl on a playground. She jumps off a merry-go-round, and, alone, enters a doorway clearly marked “Women’s Restroom.” A moment later, a White man with a scraggly beard, dark sunglasses, and baseball cap slung low on his forehead approaches the door, looks around furtively, and enters. As the door swings shut, the ad cuts to black and the message appears: “Your City Commission made this legal. Is this what you want for Gainesville?”

Continue reading “Bathroom Battlegrounds and Penis Panics”