- - Wednesday, October 7, 2015


When nature calls, who answers? The answer is important in the current national obsession with bodily function. Who’s who and who’s got what determines who can use which public restroom. But the factory-installed sexual equipment, which should settle the argument, is no longer the determining factor. Some people are so confused about their sexual identity they can’t believe what their lyin’ eyes see in the mirror. Others no doubt understand their sexual ID very well, and save those lyin’ eyes for ogling when and where they know they shouldn’t.

Houston is the latest battleground in this curious war among the sexes, with a referendum coming in November on who should get to use the ladies.’ The city’s equal rights ordinance has set off a debate on how to define “men” and “women.” If a man calls himself a woman, or in the fashionable parlance, if he “identifies” as a woman, is he a she? Yes, for a few minutes, anyway, according to the current fashionable wisdom. Modern sexual politics thrives in a logic-free zone unknown in most other discussions. Biology, which once trumped everything, is now trumped by ideology.

Those of traditional — i.e., normal — sexual orientation, who according to estimates of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control make up more than 96 percent of all Americans, have a hard time understanding why the homecoming queen should be required to share a toilet with the fullback. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and current candidate for president of the United States, says most of them do understand why the fullback might wish he could. When he was a hot-blooded schoolboy in that famous Arkansas place called Hope, he says he would have been pleased to “find his feminine side” and share a shower with the girls.

Women may not be laughing if the referendum passes. The measure does not require a male visitor to dress as a woman, so there would be no way to distinguish between a man who believes he’s a woman and a poseur-voyeur looking for a thrill or worse, a woman to assault. Houston is one on a lengthening list of jurisdictions seeking to open public restrooms to those who have lost their sexual IDs. California decided two years ago to enable transgendered folk to choose their restroom, and a referendum is on the November ballot to reverse it. Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, Nevada and Kentucky have also wrestled with the issue. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the Justice Department has said that workplace nondiscrimination rules extend to the transgendered, both the fully “transed” and those still working on it. To be sure, gender confusion is no crime, and the U.S. Constitution grants one and all the right to be free from discrimination. Washington, Jefferson, Madison and the guys probably didn’t have bathroom etiquette in mind when they wrote the book. They didn’t even know about indoor plumbing.

Reality can be harsh, but wishful thinking doesn’t make it less so. If a man can learn not to leave the toilet seat up (speaking of bathroom etiquette), surely he can learn not to breeze into the ladies’ room simply because he feels like a woman. And vice versa, of course, although most homecoming queens do not yearn for a trip to the latrine with the guys. Once we were a serious nation, so this childish obsession with genitalia — and who’s got which one — will surely pass.

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