A leading North Carolina newspaper issued an editorial last week telling girls to attempt “overcoming discomfort” at the sight of “male genitalia,” should transgender bathroom laws be enacted.
In a defense of President Obama’s order compelling schools to allow access to restrooms on the basis of gender identity, the Charlotte Observer editorial board compared the discomfort of school-aged girls seeing male genitalia in locker rooms to the discomfort of white people being around black people in post-segregation America.
“This is what the Obama administration nudged the rest of the country toward Friday,” the editorial said. “Yes, the thought of male genitalia in girls’ locker rooms — and vice versa — might be distressing to some. But the battle for equality has always been in part about overcoming discomfort — with blacks sharing facilities, with gays sharing marriage — then realizing it was not nearly so awful as some people imagined.”
While admitting that exposure to male genitalia is a possible outcome of transgender bathroom laws, the editorial said the notion that such laws constitute a threat to the privacy and safety of women and children is a “political fiction” pushed by Republicans.
“Those safety issues are political fiction — non-transgender men wouldn’t have been allowed in women’s bathrooms under the Charlotte ordinance that HB 2 killed, and the 200 or so cities with similar ordinances have had no incidents involving bathroom predators,” the editorial said.
President Obama issued a legally nonbinding order on Friday compelling schools to allow bathroom access on the basis of gender identity, or risk losing federal education funding. Several states have promised to oppose the decree.
The U.S. Department of Justice has sued the state of North Carolina over a law regulating public restroom access on the basis of biological sex.