Update, 1/9/17: Anti-LGBT legislators in eight states are renewing their attacks on transgender rights, with new measures aimed at barring access to bathrooms and locker rooms.
From The Hill:
Legislators in Alabama, South Carolina and Washington filed so-called bathroom bills last year, before their respective sessions opened. Lawmakers in Kentucky, Missouri, Minnesota, Texas and Virginia filed similar bills in the opening days of their sessions this year.
Most of the measures are modeled on a law passed last year in North Carolina, when Republicans moved to preempt a Charlotte city ordinance that allowed people to use the public bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. The law sparked a backlash against the state, as hundreds of businesses and several sporting bodies decided against investing or holding events in North Carolina.
Original story below:
As GOP lawmakers push their draconian anti-LGBT legislation across the South, the transgender community is now assuming the role of religious conservatives’ new favorite target, namely through what the Internet is calling “bathroom laws,” a tactic used to keep trans people from using the bathroom they associate with their gender identities.
But as Dan Avery of NewNowNext pointed out in late March, in all the entire history of the earth, more Republican lawmakers have been arrested for lewd conduct in bathrooms than trans people. Republicans – 3, (that we know of off-hand) trans people – 0.
“Obviously we need laws against senators using bathrooms, not trans people!” Avery writes.
Here are the three he dug up:
Hinson, a Mississippi congressman, was arrested in 1981 for having oral sex in the House of Representatives’ bathroom with a government staffer. In 1976, he was also arrested for exposing himself to an undercover agent but still managed to get himself reelected in 1980 after saying the incident was a result of his alcoholism. After the bathroom incident in 1981, he resigned from office.
Hinson came out as gay shortly after and lived out the rest of his life as an LGBT activist. He passed away from AIDS in 1995.
Craig, an Idaho Republican senator, was arrested for lewd conduct in a men’s room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 2007. Craig’s claim that he simply had a “wide stance” after an undercover officer accused him of trying to initiate a sexual transaction between bathroom stalls was bandied about on headlines and late-night talk shows.
Craig pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct, but two months later tried to withdraw the plea. even reversing his decision to resign from the Senate. Craig finished out his term and did not run for re-election in 2008.
Around the same time as the Craig scandal, Florida state Representative Bob Allen was arrested for allegedly agreeing to pay $20 to perform a sex act an undercover cop in the bathroom at a public park. Although he resigned later that year, he maintained that the only reason he was in the bathroom was because he was hiding out from the scary African American men hanging around.
According to Avery, “It just goes to show that for Republican politicians, it’s better to be thought of as a racist than as wanting to suck another man’s d*ck.”
Another line of rationale that anti-LGBT politicians use to justify bathroom laws is the hypothetical notion that men might ‘pretend’ to be trans just to gain access to women’s bathrooms. A March 2014 piece from Media Matters shot that down handily, pointing out that no such cases exist.
“It’s a lie that is unsupported by even a shred of evidence and contradicted by years of experience in states that already have non-discrimination laws on the books.”