Salisbury, NC — Since there have been transgender members of society, there have been transgender members of society using whatever bathroom they felt comfortable with, and, until recently, no one has ever worried about it. However, lawmakers, in particular, North Carolina lawmakers, have attached themselves to this previous non-issue and made it a brutally divisive topic.
Irrational fear has been shoved down the throats of children and adults alike about non-existent threats of bathroom rapes by members of the gay and transgendered communities.
However, the Advocate noted a glaring fact last year regarding these ridiculous bills: “There has never been a verifiable reported instance of a trans person harassing a cisgender person, nor have there been any confirmed reports of male predators ‘pretending’ to be transgender to gain access to women’s spaces and commit crimes against them.”
— Michael C. Hughes (@_michaelhughes1) March 11, 2015
Facts and statistics, however, have not prevented an onslaught of ill-informed and ridiculous laws making their way through state legislatures. The most recent absurdly justified piece of legislation to stem from the irrational fear of trans and gay people comes from the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education, who, on Monday, agreed to remove prohibitive language and amend its policy to allow high school students to carry pepper spray.
As the Salisbury Post reports, High school students will be allowed to carry mace in the 2016-2017 school year after the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education agreed to remove prohibitive language and amend its policy.
Of course, self-defense is a natural right and children possessing the means of defending themselves is entirely justified and should never be infringed. That being said, however, the reasoning behind removing the prohibitive language, which previously banned pepper spray, is what’s cause for concern.
Member of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education, Chuck Hughes held no punches when voicing his reasoning for rolling back the restrictive language on pepper spray, as reported by the Salisbury Post:
“Depending on how the courts rule on the bathroom issues, it may be a pretty valuable tool to have on the female students if they go to the bathroom, not knowing who may come in,” he said.
Hughes would do well to note the research on this issue, and understand that there hasn’t been a single verifiable case of his irrational fear ever coming to fruition.
Last year, spokespeople from the Transgender Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign, and the American Civil Liberties Union told Mic that no statistical evidence of violence exists to warrant this kind of legislation. Vincent Villano, the director of communications for the National Center for Transgender Equality, told Mic in an email that there isn’t any firm data to corroborate these lawmakers’ claims, and that NCTE has “not heard of a single instance of a transgender person harassing a non-transgender person in a public restroom. Those who claim otherwise have no evidence that this is true and use this notion to prey on the public’s stereotypes and fears about transgender people.”
The reality is these so-called ‘bathroom laws’ are nothing more than a distraction from real issues. These highly divisive yet entirely irrelevant arguments allow politicians to keep the masses infighting while thrusting themselves into the limelight as a champion of the people.
In the meantime, however, laws laying waste to our civil rights are passed with bipartisan support with almost no media coverage. Corporations are granted special privileges by these very lawmakers who claim to have your interests in mind. While in public, these elected officials pretend to be for the people, but, the second the doors close, it’s back to business as usual.
While politicians get rich off the backs’ of citizens, society becomes more divided — entirely unaware that this divide is deliberate. If the people ever realized their true power, the wars, the abuse, the corruption, all of it would cease, literally overnight. But until that point, people will hate and fear others for no other reason than they are told to do so by their rulers.
As the fearmongering and ignorance continues to be rammed down their throats, one can only imagine the horrid scenario that will unfold next school year as students become suspicious of other students in the bathroom and begin pepper spraying each other.