Looking back, the fight over transgender people’s right to use public restrooms has probably been going on for a while….among transgendered people. Honestly, I cant recall ever even seeing a trans person in or about to enter either public restroom but, somehow, here we are. In searching for landmark trans restroom cases and issues, I found that in November of 2014, a Maine student who transitioned from male to female was awarded 75K in a discrimination suit against the Orono school district. It turns out that the school had been allowing the student to use the staff restroom but the parents felt that singling the child out in that way was discriminatory. On April 1st, 2015, the EEOC ruled that the the Department of the Army discriminated against a male-to-female, transgendered employee by not allowing access to the women’s restroom used by other female employees. As you can see, the fight has been going on, quietly, behind the scenes with victories and successes counted amongst the court outcomes.
The most recent, nationwide flap, however, started when North Carolina decided to go against the grain and follow their own path, as it were. In response to a local Charlotte ordinance which forced businesses to allow trans persons to use the restroom or locker room of their choice, the state legislature passed HB2 which prohibits individuals from using restrooms which do not correspond to their biological sex. In addition, the bill bans local cities and municipalities from passing any law that would reverse, weaken or supersede the state’s position. In early May of 2016, the United States government sued the state of North Carolina over their law, saying it violated federal laws against discrimination on the basis of sex. North Carolina countersued, asking the Justice Department to prove, in federal court, that they had, in fact, violated U.S. law. On Friday, May 6th The Justice Department replied, via letter, telling the state they had until Monday to “remedy the situation”. Wow, chit got real, real fast.
I gave you the background before I went in to set the stage because although I strive to and hopefully do respect the rights of all individuals, I’m having a hard time overstanding, maybe accepting, how swiftly the government and President Obama can step in with some issues while seemingly dragging their feet or outright ignoring others. Mr. Squeaky Wheel is about to screech! Looking at the condition of Blacks in America, who knew a simple stroke of a pen and a hard deadline from the Justice Department to immediately cease and desist was even possible? The practices of redlining, “benign neglect”, removal of crucial city infrastructures (hospitals, schools etc.), sub-prime lending and others that have kick-started, enabled and sustained the mass, nationwide gentrification of formerly Black cities and parts of town could have all been abolished with stroke of a pen? The poorly funded, substandard, TFA-infested, school-to-prison pipeline of a public school system in Black parts of town, across this country, could be revised, renewed and redirected with the flick of a wrist? Who the fok knew? What could a flick of the wrist, a hard deadline and the threat of losing federal funding have done to police departments in Ferguson, Baltimore and Sanford, Fla (just to name a few) when chit came up shady? The Brown vs. The Board of Education decision was carried out on May 17th, 1954 and as recently as just the other day, schools were still segregated or fighting it. When speaking on racial economic equality and progress, which he is adverse to doing, and with good reason , one of Obama’s most widely used quotes among his followers and defenders is “a rising tide lifts all boats”. It’s apparent that he’s not one to rock the boat when it comes to us but, damn, why be afraid to touch the boat in Cleveland, Mississippi that was rocked 62 years ago and didn’t rise with the tide, at all? Wait, wasn’t there another whole restroom issue that lingered on and on and on without a quick summary letter, threat, done and ending? Zimzay? Can you imagine if General Electric decided they wouldnt sell their products to police departments with specious procedures and those that have displayed pattern and practice with racial discrimination and profiling? What if Deutsche Bank, Hewlett-Packard and Hyatt all did the same thing? Again, I’m for equality but where’s the Stand Up Balls from our politicians, entertainers and corporate America when it comes to our issues? Who among those listed threatened to not play in or do business in Cleveland, Ohio after the Tamir Rice murder?
Look at that, jeez, can one paragraph have more questions? Of course, because it’s mine and I have two more…
Where the hell have Pres. Obama and the DOJ been when we needed them?
Where the hell where the transgendered people pissing before all of this?