There is great kerfuffle around a bill filed last week by Sen. Lee Bright, mirroring North Carolina’s HB2, that would prohibit local governments from legislating on bathroom access for transgender  South Carolinians and would require that multiple-occupancy restrooms and changing rooms “shall be designated for and only used by a person based on his biological sex” defined by what is on the person’s birth certificate. It also requires schools to enforce the same limitations.
The bill was assigned to the General Committee because it was drawn to Chapter 9 (Equal Enjoyment and Privileges to Public Accommodations) of Title 45 (Hotels, Motels, Restaurants and Boardinghouses). It amends our laws intended to prohibit discrimination in public accommodations. It includes only two members, Bright, and Joel Lourie. Lourie was doubtless recruited because he is not running again and has demonstrated courage to say “No” to crap like this. If we assume that Lourie will vote “No”—call him anyway, where is the majority vote to get this out of committee?
I know that many of you turn to these pages for trenchant analysis laced with biting humor. You can find that on the Internet on this. You can find the Arial cartoon labeling Bright as a horse’s ass. You can follow @PeeWithLee and #PeeWithLee on Twitter. But, frankly, I find not one thing funny in this.
How long in this country will we put up with legislators who think that they can file and pass bills to put the agency of the state at work to deny other people’s humanity? As a cisgender male, I can’t imagine anything more terrifying than to realize as a young person that my gender identity and my sexual equipment were mismatched especially while trying to figure out who I am in the hostile environment of school and with the school required to enforce that mismatch. No wonder so many trans kids suicide.
Aside from the local ordinance preemption, the only enforceable part of this legislation, assuming that we will not station genitalia and birth certificate police outside public restrooms, is the portion affecting schools. In your name and mine, the state would bully children.
And then to stick it in the Code section that only in 1990 put South Carolina on record as outlawing “White” and “Colored” restrooms. It is too scary that if Bright had filed this earlier … which would have taken more imagination than he has demonstrated, it would have flown through this pack of cowards. I don’t think this bill will pass this year. Hopefully, Gov. Nikki Haley saying “I don’t believe it’s necessary” will give some of, to use Rep. Gilda Cobb Hunter’s phrase, “the spinally-challenged” members the cover not to feel compelled to once again deny someone’s humanity—to bully children—in order to ensure reelection.
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