Sadly, there are crimes committed just about everywhere.
One place not at all notorious for criminal activity (such as fraud) are voting locations, those places that reflect democracy at its finest.
Another place not facing anything close to an ongoing crime spree: public restrooms, those places notorious for relieving one’s bladder or bowels.
Yet some of our state’s leaders claim to be deeply concerned about both.
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Last week, early voting got underway, the first time the state’s complicated, watered-down, currently under court review, ever-changing voter ID law is being applied.
There are those who apparently think fraud lurks behind every curtain at local precincts.
A few leading politicians also surmise that some number of crime-prone transgender individuals hover around public restrooms, poised and ready to go into the women’s or men’s room to hurt someone.
As if being transgender is not challenging enough. As if these folks aren’t victims of far more crime than they ever commit.
Charlotte has set off a mini-uproar over an adjusted nondiscrimination ordinance that allows transgender people to choose the bathroom where they feel most comfortable. It passed the city council and is slated to take effect April 1.
There’s been some serious huffing and puffing about it.
House Speaker Tim Moore says it’s a serious public safety issue and that the move is “absolutely ludicrous.” He reportedly wrote to colleagues, “We cannot put a pricetag on the safety of women and children.” He doesn’t seem worried about men.
Transgender bathroom choice has already become an issue in the race for governor. Gov. McCrory essentially claims to be darn worried, but he’s hemmed and hawed on what to do. Is he alarmed or isn’t he?
Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democratic candidate, says the state has better things to do.
No one I know shivers in fear when they use a public restroom, wondering whether the person who preceded or followed them is transgender and about to hurt them in some way.
And most adults are exceedingly careful about leaving younger children alone with strangers in any setting. Kids are at more risk riding their bikes in the neighborhood, riding a school bus, or playing a sport, than they are in a restroom.
Look, if someone with criminal intent wants to go into any public restroom and seek to injure or scare someone, there is basically nothing to stop them right now but their own conscience. Nothing’s changed about that.
What about our schools? Last year, change.org displayed a petition asking for gender neutral bathrooms at Jordan High School. The petition closed with 42 “supporters.”
At DPS, spokeswoman Chrissy Deal responded to my inquiries.
“School administrators,” she wrote, “work with the student and parent to arrive at a solution that respects the safety, dignity, and privacy of all students. Requests are handled on a case-by-case basis.”
General district policy says, “There shall be equal educational opportunity for all students regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, creed, disability, or national origin.”
More broadly in Durham, if or when this issue comes up on an individual basis or in a larger policy sense, I’d like to think most people who are not transgender don’t mind too much.
The city is pretty darn receptive to people of any gender going about their lives without disruption or interference because of who they are.
On this new front, the gender restroom wars, I can almost see a solid majority of Durham residents waving tiny flags, saying, “So what?”
But I can also envision some transgender individuals facing pushback or worse in rare instances.
I really hope it’s not often. It’s just not right. or reasonable To the people who object, I say, “This too shall pass.”
After all, if you gotta go, you gotta go somewhere.