Who's Your Daddy

Just wash your hands

Back when I was a teenager, right-wing conservative activists like Phyllis Schlafly, the founder of the Eagle Forum, worked to stop the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment with a scary monster – unisex bathrooms. They argued that passage of the ERA would force public places to have single restrooms. That meant males and females would use the same facilities, and horrible crimes would be exacted against young girls.

Sound familiar? It’s basically the same argument made by proponents of HB257, the ridiculous bathroom bill recently passed overwhelmingly by the Utah legislature, with just two Republicans in each chamber joining all the Democrats in voting against it. In another display of his moderation, kindness, and empathy, Gov. Cox could barely wait for the ink to dry before signing the bill into law. Remember, this is a guy who keeps claiming he’s a friend and ally of the LGBTQ+ community.

The law requires — among other actions — that people use restrooms that correspond to the gender they were assigned at birth when they’re in government-owned or operated buildings. In a nutshell, transgender women need to start peeing in the men’s room and vice versa, all to protect “real” girls. I mean, to codify this, there must have been a rash of assaults, right? Well, when asked, even the bill’s sponsor couldn’t cite a single case.

But don’t worry, it’s always easy to invent monsters to vilify — even when there’s no proof.  And for millennia, queer people have made easy targets for vilification.

Now, the general premise has always been that LGBTQ+ people are sick monsters who prey on children. Perhaps that’s why when U.S. soldiers liberated Nazi concentration camps during World War II, the gay victims of the Holocaust were forced to remain and serve out their “criminal” sentences. Even the first commission charged with creating the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum originally failed to acknowledge that gay victims had even existed.

That’s why, even today, there are groups in our country advocating for an end to same-gender marriage and LGBTQ+ parental rights and adoptions. And it’s always in the name of protecting kids.

Beyond the television cameras and the self-righteous satisfaction of making Utah the latest state to discriminate against transgender people, deep down, those legislators have to know that it was all for show, right? There is absolutely no way that this law can be enforced. Who’s going to check birth certificates at the door, or — better yet — look at people’s junk to make sure?  The ACLU is already considering legal action. That means that, in their attempts to discriminate, the Utah Legislature will cost the taxpayers untold millions in legal fees.

Actually, I really hope a transgender person does insist on using the restroom corresponding to the mistaken gender that appears on their birth certificate. I want to see what goes down when a beefy, bearded, hairy-chested dude, who was assigned female at birth, walks into a women’s room at the capitol.

Phyllis Schlafly moved on from the ERA to join the fights against marriage equality, abortion rights, arms control, and many other issues. She opposed ObamaCare and suggested Congress should impeach former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy for his deciding vote to end the death penalty for juveniles.

She lived until 2016, well into a time when public unisex bathrooms were commonplace. Interestingly enough, in all of her post-ERA battles, she doesn’t seem to have mentioned those restrooms. Then again, it wasn’t ever really about bathrooms and invented boogeymen. It never was. It never is.

Personally, I don’t care which bathroom you use, just wash your hands for hell’s sake!

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