Archive - Apr 2013

April 29th

Penises And Psychological Damage

Memo to John Kavanagh and Ilk: YOU ARE DUMB.

One of the signs that a side is losing, and losing badly, is increasingly desperate irrationality. And so it is with the battle for heteronormativity.

It's been a rapidly accelerating series of defeats for the religious right. For decades and decades, homosexuals had to keep their lives a secret. Then, when being out publicly began to be accepted, it was still OK for a while to be shitty to them. Then they lost the fight to keep sodomy a criminal act, even if by that point it was rarely enforced.

And now, of course, they're losing the fight for marriage equality, to the point where, sooner than I would have ever expected it, one party actively supports it while the other opposes it, instead of the two-party opposition that's ruled since the days of Bill Clinton.

So there's a new line in the sand they've drawn, and it's a hilarious one. If they can't beat up all the gay people who hold hands in public, then by Gay-Hating Jesus, they'll decide which bathroom transgender people get to use!

Chief among the leaders of this fight is Arizona's John Kavanagh, who responded to the city of Phoenix passing a transgender anti-discrimination law by proposing, and moving through committee, a bill that would rescind that law and allow businesses to demand that transgender people use the bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers that the business decides is appropriate, rather than the one for the transgender person's identity. Why? ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"What we have here essentially is a balancing of rights. The right not to be exposed. I think there’s psychological harm to a young girl exposed to the genitalia of the opposite sex. I think there’s some trauma there for some young girls. I don’t think it’s appropriate in that environment.” - Arizona state legislator John Kavanagh.

Oh, where to begin? First, there's the very gender-specific, weird penis-threat thing going on. The very sight of a penis traumatizes young girls! How young? Whose genitalia? Doesn't matter. The sight of a penis will scar you for life, ladies! Apparently young boys don't need to fear a glimpse of muff, but whatever.

But beyond that, here's the thing. I have spent my entire life peeing in public men's rooms. Well, obviously not my ENTIRE life. That would be not only tedious, but also evidence of severe physical and mental problems. But over the course fo my life, I've used a lot of men's rooms. Rooms with stalls, rooms with urinals, rooms with troughs. You know how many other male genitalia I've seen during that time? A number that, over time, statistically approaches zero.

Given the design of ladies' restrooms, you could have all kinds of men using them openly, and the number of visible penii in them would still remain statistically insignificant. I don't know shit about modern-day locker room etiquette because I'm a middle-aged nerd, but I'm pretty sure they're not the genital free-for-alls Kavanagh is obsessed with either.

And it's not just Kavanagh. There's a store in Idaho that banned a trans woman for using the ladies' room. A Michigan lawmaker wants warning signs posted on trans-friendly restrooms - I assume a silhouette of a penis or something like that. It's petty and ridiculous and weird and obsessive and ultimately futile, which is what makes it ultimately hilarious. THE PENISES ARE COMING! So to speak.