The Left’s New Battleground: Co-ed Bathrooms

Once in my life, I inadvertently walked into a women’s bathroom. A young lady was standing at a sink, washing her hands. She heard the door open and looked up. Our eyes met. I think we both screamed; I know I did. I fled that bathroom so fast, I would have left Usain Bolt in the dust.

Now, Social Justice Warriors are telling us that the reaction which seemed so natural at the time was really a reflection of hatred and bigotry. Rather than screaming, the young lady at the sink should, apparently, have welcomed me as a fellow “woman.” Because in the brave new world of 2016, each of us is entitled to use whatever bathroom feels right, regardless of what our physical characteristics might be, and regardless of other people’s wishes.

The city fathers and mothers of Charlotte, North Carolina, dived into the fray, adopting an ordinance expanding the state’s anti-discrimination laws so as to permit men and women to use bathrooms at their discretion, depending on which gender they claim to identify with at the moment.

North Carolina’s legislators were not amused. Problems with the Charlotte ordinance were obvious. First, the supposedly intended beneficiaries were transgendered people, who are extremely rare. I have never met one; have you? It is bizarre to upset millenia of bathroom practice for the sake of a handful of people who are about as numerous as unicorns.

Second, no one proposed that transgenders who wanted to use the wrong bathroom had to have notes from their psychiatrists. In the absence of any means of verification, it seems certain that perverts, rapists and child molesters will camp out in women’s rest rooms roughly 15,000 times as often as transgenders. This represents a public safety hazard.

Third, how, exactly, was the brave new world of mixed bathrooms supposed to be of practical aid to transgenders? A transgender woman may sincerely believe that she is a man, but–absent surgery which is rare, and which already would entitle him/her to use a men’s room–she still can’t use a urinal. So what, exactly, is the point?


North Carolina’s legislature responded to Charlotte’s provocation by adopting a statute that bars cities from adopting anti-discrimination laws that are inconsistent with, or in addition to, the laws in effect at the state level, which already cover race, religion, national origin, color, age, biological sex and handicaps.

Sounds reasonable to me. But not to many on the left, including my state’s governor, Mark Dayton. Dayton promptly banned all non-essential travel to North Carolina by state employees.

“I have instructed employees in all state agencies to refrain from traveling to North Carolina for conferences or other official state business, until the North Carolina Governor and State Legislature repeal the discriminatory law they enacted last week,” Dayton said in a statement.

As I understand it, the “discrimination” consists of the fact that men can’t use women’s rest rooms, and vice versa. Dayton noted further that legislation similar to that in North Carolina has been proposed in Minnesota:

In his statement, Dayton also reiterated his commitment to veto any attempt at a similar law in Minnesota.

“Current proposals to enshrine such measures of discrimination in our state laws are appalling, and they are wrong,” he said. “I repeat my pledge to veto any similar legislation, if it reaches my desk.”

Co-ed bathrooms, now and forever! Did you ever imagine that this would be liberalism’s last redoubt? I didn’t.

Minnesota wasn’t the only state to ban travel to North Carolina, and Governor Dayton has now extended his state’s ban to Mississippi, which has adopted a law protecting religious freedom. Let’s just say that religious freedom is not high on the Democratic Party’s agenda these days.

There was a time when, if you had said that one of our major political parties would someday consider it a vital civil right that men be allowed to use women’s bathrooms, people would have thought you were nuts. They would have been right.