Opinion: Another HB2 Argument Bites the Dust
Judge: Transgender bathroom access endangers no one's safety
From voter ID to redistricting to House Bill 2, courts are slapping down the cornerstone achievements of the current North Carolina General Assembly. It’s gratifying to see, and aggravating, too. It was plain from minute the first that legislators were trying to keep black people from voting, and to gerrymander to an unprecedented degree, and that HB2 didn’t endanger anyone beyond their pre-HB2 endangerment. Judges shouldn’t have had to put it in writing, as in U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder’s ruling Friday that bars UNC Chapel Hill from enforcing the law’s bathroom provision for three transgender residents. Yet here we are, and listen closely (emphasis mine):
Defendants argue that separating facility users by biological sex serves prophylactically to avoid the opportunity for sexual predators to prey on persons in vulnerable places. However, the individual transgender Plaintiffs have used facilities corresponding with their gender identity for over a year without posing a safety threat to anyone … Moreover, on the current record, there is no evidence that transgender individuals overall are any more likely to engage in predatory behaviors than other segments of the population. In light of this, there is little reason to believe that allowing the individual transgender Plaintiffs to use partitioned, multiple occupancy bathrooms corresponding with their gender identities, as well as UNC to seek to accommodate use of similar showers and changing facilities, will pose any threat to public safety, which will continue to be protected by the sustained validity of peeping, indecent exposure, and trespass laws. And although Defendants argue that a preliminary injunction will thwart enforcement of such safety laws by allowing non-transgender predators to exploit the opportunity to cross-dress and prey on others …, the unrefuted evidence in the current record suggests that jurisdictions that have adopted accommodating bathroom access policies have not observed subsequent increases in crime …
Yes, we know. Time and again, defenders of HB2 from Pat McCrory on down have cast the law as a safety and privacy issue. Time and again, opponents have pointed out the absence of evidence that anyone has taken advantage of laws that allow transgender people to use the restrooms that correspond to their gender identities to commit sex crimes, and that laws against such crimes are on the books already. It’s bleedin’ obvious.
It’s also indisputable that people, especially children, have far more to fear from friends and relatives than anyone in a public restroom. A few months ago, the City Council in Jacksonville, Fla., explored an LGBT ordinance similar to the Charlotte one that induced North Carolina to pass HB2. The council eventually pulled it in the face of predictable criticism by the likes of one Kenneth Adkins, a local pastor and political consultant, who advanced the now-familiar argument that the ordinance would make it easier for sexual predators to drag bathrooms for victims. Adkins later tweeted, referring to the 49 people killed in the Orlando massacre in June: “I don’t see none of them as victims. I see them as getting what they deserve.”
I trust you know where this is going.
Adkins, 56, turned himself over to Glynn County authorities Friday morning on charges of aggravated child molestation and child molestation stemming from allegations made by a young male former member of his congregation.
“We are disappointed with what appears to be a rush to judgment by law enforcement authorities in this case,” said his wife, Charlotte Stormy Adkins. “We are confident that Kenneth Adkins will be found innocent of all charges.”
“Rush to judgment,” huh? Heaven forbid.