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Complex Solutions to Something That Never Was a Problem

Complex Solutions to Something That Never Was a Problem

Complex Solutions to Something that Never was a Problem

The GOP's concern with civil liberties begins at the Second Amendment and ends somewhere near a public restroom. 

Now that Republicans have managed to ensure the Second Amendment rights of terrorists on the no-fly list won't be infringed upon, they will once again be able to focus on the most critical issues in America today. Like transgender people in bathrooms. Because nothing is more important than keeping hot dogs out of the taco room.

This seems really simple. Just make people show their driver's licenses if they want to use the can. Except,a bunch of states let people change their driver's licenses with only a note from their doctor, while others require a birth certificate or passport to prove gender. So I guess that won't work at preventing tacos and hot dogs from occupying the same spaces.

So let's use passports! Oh, wait, same problem as driver's licenses: transgender people can get one with an amended gender marker if they get a letter from their doctor, even if they haven't had "the surgery." So that definitely won't prevent transgender people from using bathrooms.

But there's still birth certificates! Yeah, um, no. Because some states give new birth certificates without requiring surgery, and other states won't give out new birth certificates even if someone has obtained an after-market hot dog or taco. So there's still be mixing of hot dogs and tacos in bathrooms. Plus, who carries a birth certificate with them everywhere?

So what do you do if you don't believe someone's driver's license, passport, or birth certificate? There's always strip-searching people. But ... no. Eventually you'll do that to a cisgender person, then the media jumps in, there's lawsuits and discrimination cases, and then no one's happy. (Well, to be fair, trans people were never happy with any of this, but Republicans and the public never seemed too concerned with that.)

We could have guards at the doors inspecting people as they walk in, though. Except trans dudes are often very good-looking dudes. There are some really hot trans women too. Guards have been known to make mistakes as well. The last thing Republicans want is to do is infringe on cisgender people's right to go pee in peace, when they're not even willing to take away terrorists' right to own an assault weapon. Plus, having guards scoping out your daughter top to bottom, trying to figure out if they're trans, is uber-creepy.

Then there's the cost. Assuming there are about 10 million public toilets owned by the government in the U.S., and each one requires three guards on eight-hour shifts at $50,000 per year (includes benefits), that's $1.5 trillion per year to make sure there are no hot dogs on the taco tray.

So guards are out.

But there's those machines the Transportation Security Administration used to use! You know, the ones that take naked pictures of people through their clothes with x-rays. Except there's the whole "may cause cancer" thing, and guards looking at nude pictures of your 13-year-old daughter that they saved for later. Which is probably why the TSA got rid of them several years ago. Plus putting one of these machines would require a guard, plus a backscatter machine, with a total cost of $4 trillion.

So that's a no-go too. Or at least worse than transgender people in bathrooms.

There's always the option of DNA-testing everyone. You don't have to take any naked pictures. But that would catch a bunch of people with intersex conditions and not actually make a determination of who has a taco or a hot dog. I also don't think anyone could "hold" it for the several days that it takes to process a sample. Then there's the fact that most police departments don't have a budget for the $300 per sample to test everyone who looks "suspicious." Not to mention the whole invasion of privacy thing when the government is taking DNA samples from people willy-nilly.

So DNA testing's out as well.

But there's an almost foolproof way to detect transgender women! You strip-search them and then have a gynecologist give them an endoscopic full pelvic exam to ensure that even if they have a taco, it's not after-market equipment.

Except this is totally a government tying people to a metal table and raping them for using a bathroom. I'm pretty sure something about "gross violations of human rights" and "crimes against humanity" might kick in somewhere around here. But I'm no lawyer.

While some of the public might be OK with this at first, eventually they'd accidentally do it to a cisgender person, and then there'd really be hell to pay.

Of course, no analysis of alternatives would be complete without the null option of keep doing what we're already doing -- let people use the facility dictated by their gender identity and safety. It costs nothing, doesn't result in gross civil rights violations, and all the sane people can simply get on with their fucking lives.

BRYNN TANNEHILL graduated from the Naval Academy in 1997 before serving as a campaign analyst while deployed overseas. She later worked as a senior defense research scientist in private industry; she left the drilling reserves and began transitioning in 2010. Since then, she has written for OutServe, The New Civil Rights Movement, Salon, Everyday Feminism, The Good Men Project, Bilerico, and The Huffington Post.

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