Monday, February 13, 2012

Baltimore Learns About Our Shower Nuts

Folks up in Baltimore have not yet had the pleasure of dealing with our Nutty Ones. But now that they are considering a bill to end gender-identity discrimination up there, our little band of bigots is making the drive and lecturing them on the dangers of treating people fairly.

We call them the Citizens for Responsible Whatever. They began in 2005 or so as the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, when they launched their initial attack on our school system, and a few years later the same cast of characters regrouped as the Citizens for Responsible Government, to fight to make it legal to discriminate against transgender people. They are also fondly known as the "shower-nuts," because of their dedication to the belief that if it became illegal to discriminate against transgender people, perverted sexual predators would start lurking in ladies rooms and womens showers, leering and molesting our wives and daughters.

Dan Rodricks at the Baltimore Sun had a pretty good summary of what it is like to encounter this band of nuts for the first time.
It sounds good, like something all of us would want to join: Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government. But my perusal of the organization's website reveals little more than obsessive concern with transgender people being in society — and having to use, as all of us must at times, public restrooms. The organization suggests that transgender people are just a bunch of perverted, cross-dressing men who want access to women's bathrooms and locker rooms.

Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government has been fighting state and local efforts to outlaw specific discrimination against the transgendered. Its latest fight is with the Baltimore County Council, which appears to be poised to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance. The organization calls Councilman Tom Quirk's bill "Baltimore County's Dangerous Peeping Tom Law." A handout says the new ordinance will "legally protect cross-dressers and transvestite behavior [and] allow cross-dressing men to enter women's bathrooms and dressing rooms even if they are sexually attracted to women."

The handout adds: "Cross-dressing is a mental illness, which can constitute a form of erotic fetish."

Psychiatrists, psychologists and other clinicians would disagree with that characterization. They might also be tempted to speculate about the hangups and prejudices of people who see the transgendered as sex offenders in female camouflage.

Let's keep this simple: Transgender people should be allowed to use the public restrooms according to their gender identity. If they do something wrong while in there, they should be reported to the police. Otherwise, everyone, here's some advice: Go in, do your business, and get out, no eye contact. Oh, and wash your hands. What's this obsession with transgender people and bathrooms?

Sometimes it is hard not to make fun of them, I know. But you have to take them seriously, because they make a lot of noise and can do a lot of damage.

There is no real issue with bathrooms. Montgomery County has not had a single case of anyone taking advantage of our nondiscrimination law to do anything in a ladies room in the years since our bill became law. It is a hypothetical possibility that simply never happens, a vivid distraction from the real purpose of the law, which is to see that people are treated fairly.


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