Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claims it will be "unbelievably expensive" to create gender-neutral bathrooms.
In an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Monday, Trump was asked about the "transgendered orders from the White House." O'Reilly was referring to the federal Department of Education's guidance that transgender students should not be discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity.
Incorrectly calling the federal guidance, which is not legally binding, a "directive," the Fox News host falsely claimed the policies "would basically put people who are transitioning from one sex to another, but haven't done it biologically yet in a locker room, so you would have little girls, 8 to 11 or 12, with a boy who wants to be a girl in the same shower, conceivably, that could happen."
Even though O'Reilly made negative implications about the policies, there is overwhelming evidence nationwide that there has never been a single verified report of a transgender person assaulting a cisgender (nontrans) person in a bathroom or locker room, nor has there ever been a confirmed instance of someone "pretending" to be transgender to gain access to sex-segregated spaces for nefarious purposes.
The talk show host referenced an editorial published by The Charlotte Observer on May 13 in support of trans inclusion. The editorial came after North Carolina passed House Bill 2, an anti-LGBT law, that prevents transgender people from using public restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. HB 2, introduced and signed into law in less than 12 hours during a special legislative session on March 23, also rescinds all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances, prohibits new ones, bars residents from suing for discrimination in state court, and bars cities from setting a minimum wage higher than the state's. The Observer editorial called arguments like the one O'Reilly presented "political fiction."
"I was a little perturbed by that editorial," O'Reilly said, before turning to Trump. "What say you?"
Trump told the Fox News host that he supports leaving the issue of transgender rights up to the states. "You know, Obama’s getting into a very tricky territory," he said, referencing the guidance issued by the Obama administration. "The amazing thing is so many people are talking about this now and we have to protect everybody even if it's one person … but this is such a tiny part of our population."
O'Reilly asked Trump if he provided gender-neutral facilities in his properties. “No, we don’t have that," replied Trump. "I hope not. Because frankly, it would be unbelievably expensive nationwide. It would be hundreds of billions of dollars."
Trump did not elaborate on how he arrived at this estimate, nor did he acknowlege that in many cases, gender-neutral bathrooms could be established simply by removing gender-specific signs from doors. Additionally, allowing transgender people access to the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, as Trump previously advocated, costs nothing.
Transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner recently demonstrated how easy it was for her to use the women's bathroom at Trump's New York hotel. She published a video on Facebook titled "Bathroom Break" in protest against former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who attacked transgender rights. At the time, Trump said transgender people should use whichever bathroom felt appropriate for them. He then walked back that comment, saying the matter should be up to state and local lawmakers.
By Monday, it seemed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee had backtracked even further. Trump said he wasn't sure about whether trans rights are "human rights," but providing gender-neutral restrooms would be "an unbelievably expensive thing to do," he told O'Reilly. Instead, the country should be "spending money on other things," said Trump. "Frankly, the number of people we’re talking about is really a small number. Again, protect them — but it's a very, very small number."
Watch Trump discuss transgender rights, begining at 4:09.