North Carolina Rep. Billy Richardson (D- 44th District) Now Says He Was Wrong To Vote For “The Bathroom Law”

[CORRECTION: The original version of this post erroneously identified Richardson as a Republican. He is a Democrat. Ethics Alarms apologizes for the error. As far as the assessment of the conduct goes, I do not believe it makes any difference, however.]

Billy Richardson’s rational-sounding, remorseful, full-throated endorsement of diversity and respect for LGBT Americans is the most disgusting and damning piece of political weaseldry I have ever seen, and, I desperately hope, ever will see. This man voted for the new North Carolina law that validates oppression against gays and transgender individuals, and now “upon prayer and reflection,’ suddenly sounds like Dan Savage on a polite day. The law is a travesty, he says. It undermines the right to be free of discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation, he says. I agree with him, but why did he vote for the bill in the first place, and why is he suddenly a passionate human rights advocate now?

I can answer both questions, because they have the same answer. Both his vote and his sudden reversal are the result of having no principles, not integrity, no core beliefs, no courage, no honesty, and no business holding high office. The law was not mysterious: it is blatant in its objective and philosophy. Voting for such a bill is signature significance: no one who has any respect of regard for LGBT citizens, their families, or the Constitution under which they live would consider voting for such a law, unless the official voting just casts his votes according to where he senses the winds are blowing, and regards politics as a game of profit, like playing the stock market. Once the law provoked violent opposition and the likelihood that the 1) the state would lose revenue and jobs and 2) the fools who voted for such a despicable measure would pay a dear price, Richardson was suddenly filled with contempt for those  “who would demonize a group of citizens to gain political advantage and to advance an unjust agenda.” You know, like him.

“Instead of recognizing the right to be free of discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation, HB2 gives green light to this discrimination in housing, employment and other areas,” he writes.  “To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, we must never make any group of citizens a stranger to the laws of their own state.”

Gee, who sent that quote to him, God? He does tell us he was praying about this, after all. Boy, Richardson is quite a walking advertisement for the power of prayor! Just like that, BOOM!, his entire political, sexual and civil rights philosophy changed, and his favorite songs became “Kumbaya,” “We Shall Overcome,” “This Land is Your Land,” and “YMCA.”

Richardson is insulting his state’s citizens by showing that he regards them as gullible fools, and perhaps they are. I know that the foes of the bill will be happy to use him now as a politician who, mirabili dictu, has seen the light, even though he has outed himself as a cowardly, principle-free liar.

Does one of his bigoted colleagues who will fight like a rat to defend this awful law deserve more respect than Richardson? Absolutely! Richardson is the soldier who will switch sides as soon as it is clear that his own side is losing. He is the epitome of what Donald Trump’s supporters believe all politicians are–soulless, untrustworthy, craven, glib and able to wrap themselves in any disguise for a single purpose: their personal profit and survival. Such politicians are useless to anyone, and the scourge of democracy.

It is Richardson’s nauseating piety and facility with diversity and minority rights rhetoric that is so damning. It is as if he just had the anti-discrimination costume on a different shelf in his closet from the religious liberty outfit, and swapped one out for the other.

Here is his whole, calculated, shamelessly expedient apologia. Notice that he references, in addition to God, his parents, his upbringing, diversity, his training as a lawyer and “doing the right thing.” Oddly, he couldn’t muster any of these heartfelt sentiments in a speech to the floor to persuade his  colleagues to vote against the bill before it was passed.

By enacting House Bill 2, the legislature did the wrong thing. I made the wrong vote and we must now make it right.

My parents raised me to avoid any rush to judgment and to consider the consequences of my decisions. They stressed to me that I will make mistakes but, when made, never, never compound a mistake by sitting silent and failing to own up to the error.

Upon prayer and reflection, I have come to realize that I need to take action now. I will not be silent and allow North Carolina’s values to be undermined by the travesty that is HB2.

As a lawyer, I have stood with the defenseless because our Constitution says – actually demands – that all Americans have basic rights and, by protecting those rights, we can all truly share in the blessings of being an American.

Since our hasty vote on HB2, I have been haunted by the fact that in one rushed action, I undermined a lifetime of fighting against those who would demonize a group of citizens to gain political advantage and to advance an unjust agenda.

Instead of recognizing the right to be free of discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation, HB2 gives green light to this discrimination in housing, employment and other areas. To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, we must never make any group of citizens a stranger to the laws of their own state.

Closing courts

Because of HB2, we now live in a state that has closed our state courts to citizens who suffer discrimination for practicing their Christian faith or other religious beliefs, or because of their race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. HB2 prevents local governments from enacting laws that respond to the concerns of their constituents.

HB2 also costs our state and our citizens jobs – high-paying, life-enriching jobs – that may now to go South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia or other states that have not taken this divisive path.

I call on my fellow legislators, the speaker, the president pro tem and the governor to repeal this hurtful, overreaching and unnecessary law. When the legislature reconvenes, I will support legislation toward that end.

In America and in the Old North State, we celebrate diversity, we don’t condemn it. In North Carolina we defend people’s equal protection under our laws, we don’t diminish them. In North Carolina, we do the right thing, even when it is hard.

Let’s do what we North Carolinians do when we are at our best and choose restraint over raw emotion. Let’s choose local government and let it be truly accountable to its citizens. Let’s choose rational, deliberative action and enact a law that accomplishes only what we intended to do. Let’s not end North Carolina’s history of moderation. Let’s admit we were wrong and actually fix our real problems.

You can’t fix a wrong until you acknowledge a mistake. I was wrong and I will stand with all North Carolinians who dream of fulfilling the words of the official toast for our Old North State, “where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great.”

I’ve been trying to think of a movie character who displayed Richardson’s despicably flexible character. The closest I could come up with is Fred MacMurray’s Lt. Tom Keefer, the craven naval officer in “The Caine Mutiny” who incites the other officers to take command away from a battle fatigued captain (Humphrey Bogart), and when his comrades are tried for mutiny, testifies that he had no involvement in the episode.

I think I’d vote for Keefer over Richardson, though.

Yechhh.

47 thoughts on “North Carolina Rep. Billy Richardson (D- 44th District) Now Says He Was Wrong To Vote For “The Bathroom Law”

  1. The website you flagged, in which Richardson’s apology appeared, is rife with scornful remarks from Richardson’s fellow Tar Heels. It’s gonna be hard to top what they have said/are saying.

  2. Here’s an idea: take the gender designation off of the wall and end this stupidity.
    I don’t support Geezus Lovin’ nonsense laws. I also will not play make believe with trannies.

    • That idea has been suggested hear before, many times.
      I don’t think the idea of gender designated bathrooms is unreasonable. Unreasonable: making 99.9% of the population inconvenienced to accommodate a legitimate problem by a tiny minority. More unreasonable: demonizing that minority for raising the issue, having the issue, and trying to come up with a policy solution.

      • To be fair, the second part of the law, the non-bathroom section, echoes the religious freedom laws in forbidding legal protection against LGBT bias in the workplace and elsewhere. That is reasonably attributed to religious concerns

  3. “suddenly sounds like Dan Savage on a polite day”

    The master of pop culture references at work. Tremendous.

    I need to re-read “The Caine Mutiny.” I wonder whether Wouk was in fact Keefer. Also want to know more about Queeg. Knowing what we know about PTSD, ironically, Queeg may be Captain Ahab’s direct descendant.

  4. Because of HB2, we now live in a state that has closed our state courts to citizens who suffer discrimination for practicing their Christian faith or other religious beliefs, or because of their race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability.

    Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation too, but apparently it’s OK to do that.

    The Governor’s getting in on the act too, with a new Executive Order that stops Trans government employees from being automatically fired. They still can’t use the restrooms at work though, he doubled down on that bit.

    As with (D) Representative Richardson’s aapologia, it calls for the repeal of those parts of HB2 that affect other groups apart from LGBT people, Blacks, Jews etc. It doesn’t actually do anything for them, but calls on the legislature to act.

    He signed the bill he now considers fatally flawed before the ink was dry. Just as he signed this Executive Order only a few days before strenuously denying that it affected other minorities.

    See https://ncgovernor.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/documents/files/McCrory%20EO%2093_0.pdf

    • The Governor’s getting in on the act too, with a new Executive Order that stops Trans government employees from being automatically fired.

      OOPS I got it wrong. The key is in the wording.

      “I hereby affirm that the State of North Carolina is committed to administering and implementing all State human resources policies, practices and programs fairly and equitably, without unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, genetic information, or disability.”

      Keyword: unlawful discrimination.

      HB2 made discrimination (at the state and city level) on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, genetic information, or disability perfectly legal, and to a limited extent, even mandatory when it comes to gender identity.

      Whether it’s legal at the Federal level is still before the 4th circuit.

    • Yes I know, easy enough mistake to make, given the unctious language. The other 10 (D) Reps who voted for HB2 speak the same way, in accordance witrh what their pastors tell them. Many have since admitted they didn’t read past the first paragraph of HB2. The Black ones in particular are feeling the heat from this, and are in full denial mode that it could possibly affect anyone other than those Icky Homos and Freaks. They’d never support any legislation like that.

      I think that’s even worse than the usual slippery-eel politician who trims his sail according to where the political wind blows. The incompetent, ignorant, bigoted and lazy incumbent, safe in his gerrymandered seat, who signs bills unread while collecting his salary.

      But enough about the Affordable Care Act (whose aims I support)

      • Zoe, in previous conversations you have seemed to be fairly balanced, and I now live in NC. This is a topic of great discussion around here. I would say it is fairly balanced. I think the determination should be legal designation, via government document or a medical professional. Someone going into a female restroom with a penis should have the burden to seek legal protection via professional determination gov/medical. If this person has taken this step I am less concerned as a father of a five year old daughter to let her go into the restroom alone. I trust that person is responsible enough to not go flashing their junk around. Someone who hasn’t taken this step maybe some predator taking advantage of a loophole or someone who has a mental health issue that needs to see a professional. Enforcement of such a thing is very difficult and is likely the why the law went to birth determination. Penis to the right, vagina to the left.

        Keep association out of it and just go with penis and vagina. I understand that clothing and appearance will cause issue but the line has to be somewhere and the law has cut out an exception for public exposure for public restrooms and at it has been based on like plumbing.

        So if my daughter is in a public “female” restroom and someone with a penis is in there and exposes said penis should they be subject to decency laws? Or reversed situation where it is my young son?

        This all seems like someone has to be acting like an asshole for them to ever be found out they are using a toilet for a sex they were not assigned.

        What is the correct answer?

        • In NC I’d be compelled to use a male restroom, despite my biologically female anatomy.

          Not everyone can get their birth certificates corrected.

          Enforcement of such a thing is very difficult and is likely the why the law went to birth determination. Penis to the right, vagina to the left.

          Nope. Factually incorrect. It goes by birth certificate (BC), actual “biological sex” is completely irrelevant.

          A Trans man born in CA can have his BC changed without surgery.
          A Trans man born in TN cannot have his birth certificate changed at all.
          Regarding the ability of NC Trans men to get their BC changed under NC law… after years (literally) of psychiatric assessment, they have to pay $130,000 over 5 years for a series of surgical procedures that have only got a 30% success rate. I know of no NC Trans men who have actually qualified for this.

          I was born in a jurisdiction where Trans people can get their BCs corrected without surgery, but Intersex people like myself cannot.

          My BC says “boy”. I do hope to take advantage of a lacuna in the law, that allows those living overseas to have their BC corrected even if Intersex, but that requires a change in the law where I live. That change has been passed by the legislature, but not proclaimed by the Governor yet (a formality). So in a few months time I should be able to get the documentation to send to the UK, and a year or so after that, if all goes perfectly, my BC will be corrected.

          10 years of lobbying required.

          So if my daughter is in a public “female” restroom and someone with a penis is in there and exposes said penis should they be subject to decency laws?

          Yes, of course. Not even supporters of HB2 have contended that existing laws against indecent exposure and sexual assault have been repealed by Charlotte’s law, or any other.

          Same if your daughter is in a public “female” restroom and someone with a vagina is in there and exposes said vagina..

          Same if your daughter is in a public “female” restroom and someone with ambiguous genitalia is in there and exposes said ambiguous genitalia..

          The key poinbt that shows that HB2 is all political theatre is the complete lack of enforcement mechanisms. It relies on the “honor system”. The only people who will actually obey this law, and put themselves in danger of assault or worse, are law-abiding people like me. Perverts, Rapists and Pedophiles tend not to be law-abiding, do they? It’s pretty much a pre-condition.

          Think about it.

        • What is the correct answer?

          Good question.

          One formulation of law has been found to work in 17 states and 225 cities and counties without issues.

          That’s Charlotte’s. They spent (literally) years studying the issue.

          The various Fantastic interpretations of what the law means by explicitly anti-GLBTI groups are just that, fantasies. Or have been so far, it’s only been 40 years since some of these laws have been in place. No judicial decision on meaning, no matter how irrational, can be absolutely excluded. But that’s just as true for any law whatsoever.

    • That’s interesting…I shouldn’t have assumed. I also had a hard time finding out what party he was, and that should have been a clue: the news media usually fails to explicitly point out that a Democrat has soiled himself.

      • Sorry, Jack, the man’s affiliation very much matters, because you KNOW if he was in fact a GOP politician he’d become yet another magnet to slime the entire party. Here, he’s just a lazy Dimocrap who didn’t read past the first paragraph and voted for something he shouldn’t have, and everyone will start making excuses for him – he was overworked, his staff didn’t brief him thoroughly, etc., etc.

  5. ”The law is a travesty, he says. It undermines the right to be free of discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation”

    This might be a quibble, but this is one of those cases where the LGB experience is so different from the T it seems stupid to lump them together. No one was ever concerned with gay men in the men’s washroom or lesbians in the women’s. And transgender isn’t an orientation.

    • Yes and no. True, there was a lot less concern about same-sex-oriented folks in the washroom, I don’t know why, given that now looking for some action in the men’s room will force you out of Congress. For some reason, transgenderism, which is arguably a larger mental issue (gender dysphoria, etc.) rather than an orientation issue, has been fused with those who are same-sex-oriented and bisexual. As best I can understand the gay experience, it’s more that you “feel” who you are attracted to or you don’t, but otherwise your sense of who you are doesn’t change – gay John can still be John, but John is attracted to Joe, not Jill. Transgender John is going to feel or believe that he’s not John, he’s really Juliet, which is more that a question of who he’s going to be attracted to, it’s a question of wanting to be something he isn’t. I still have trouble wrapping my head around accepting this, especially as a role-player and fantasy writer. Yes, sometimes I will “play through” being one of my characters to aid in the writing process, but I’d never believe I actually was one. I’ve been to events where reenactors and cosplayers have been part of the event, and I get the concept of staying in character all day. But I also know that at the end of the day General Grant and Henry VIII and Twig the Fairy (yes, there really is such a character who plays the Renaissance Faire circuit) all hang up their costumes and go back to being who they really are. If any of them insisted they really were these characters you’d think they were insane and say they should get treatment. Why this particular disorder gets a pass is, I believe, pure politics.

      • I think it was because man dressed as a woman may be risking great bodily harm using the men’s room and feel safer and more comfortable using the woman’s. Which is fine with me, as a woman. I would just prefer we had one restroom for all users with truly private stalls, but then I don’t have the bathroom hang-ups that it seems so many anal retentive Americans have.

          • A man dressed as a woman who flashes his package next to someone’s 10yo daughter is risking major bodily harm as well. Oh, but it’s ok if he says he believes he’s a woman. Protective dads don’t make those fine distinctions, however, and I have zero sympathy if some creep playing dressup runs into some truck-driver dad with arms like tires and no neck, and ends up lying in an alley, having learned his lesson the hard way.

          • So now, an overwhelming majority’s simple preference that public restrooms be segregated between penis-havers and penis-non-havers is merely a pandemic “anal retentive bathroom hang-up.” Got it. Require vagina-havers to go into the public restrooms used overwhelmingly by penis-havers, then. And surely peace and mercy shall follow thee, all the days of thy lives. Hang-ups, my balls.

            • Personally, I wouldn’t care. Having been in charge of cleaning both for the old family business, I found the mens is usually cleaner. Women can be bad about properly disposing of sanitary supplies.

              • Lisa, you are obviously not in the overwhelming majority that I am talking about. Good for you (maybe…). I think the social implications of trying to disband any distinction between types of people and which public facilities they use in common are a lot greater than either of us think. The impacts extend beyond just peeing, pooping, grooming, dressing, and other tending to personal hygiene in a public restroom, and the tolerance of any particular mix of persons for each other in such a facility at any given time. I commented a little about that yesterday, or in recent days. I am sure that I do not want to be in a common room doing such things at the same time as a female other than my wife, no matter how “non-hung-up” that female might be. My “hangup” (it is not) is as much about self-respect as it is about respect for others. I am sure my wife does not want me to be there, either. Same goes for me, with respect (and I do mean respect) to my wife, about her presence in a public room with any other adult (or near-adult) male.

        • I just have this thing where I can’t help but think that no one really cares about bathrooms. Chances are if you need to pee, and you walk into the ladies loo, you’re in a stall, and no one cares. Chances are, if you need to pee, and you walk into the men’s loo, even if you don’t have the tackle to use a urinal, there are stalls, and chances are no one cares.

          Maybe I just can’t actually imagine a hang up over being in the same room, separated by a three-quarter wall as someone with different stuff peeing relatively close to you. I always assumed that this was about change rooms, where you’re actually naked. Am I wrong? I feel like I’m missing something.

          • I tried to explain a little to Lisa, above. I’m sure someone could explain better. But there are reasons – reasonable reasons – for segregation of people in publicly available toilet-and-sanitation-and-grooming facilities. It’s not about individual “hangups” as much as it is about respect for individuals’ relationships (or absence of same) with others.

  6. Obviously, there’s something more at stake here than bathrooms, because many public places abroad don’t have separate-gender facilities. (Think of all those cruise tourists who have to hold it in until they can get back aboard ship.) Can we get anyone to come clean, so to speak, about what REALLY bothers them?

  7. Perhaps those in favour of HB2’s restroom provisions could answer this – it’s too long to quote more than a small section, so here’s the URL:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2016/04/the-lie-behind-the-transgender-bathroom-predator-myth.html

    These men and other trans men like them (as well as those who don’t “pass” as well by traditional standards) are now required by law to use women’s public restrooms in North Carolina. Lawmakers should remember that barring trans bathroom access does not merely keep trans women out of women’s bathrooms, it also keeps trans men in them. If we were using conservatives’ own rhetoric and logic, we would be asking how long it will be before “peeping toms” realize they don’t have to put on any pretense at all to enter women’s restrooms, beyond claiming to be trans men.

    I would be asking that, but looking at these pictures, I can only come up with different questions. What happens to trans men in North Carolina? The men in the pictures above are faced with an impossible choice—either use the women’s restroom as required by law and very likely be questioned by police, or break the law and use the men’s restroom and hope no one who knows they’re transgender sees them—and that none of the men in the restroom are able to identify them as “actually” women. Trans women face a similar choice—use the women’s restroom and hope they’re not caught, or use the men’s restroom (as required by law) and risk being beat up or harassed or outed to their friends or worse. All of this is only harder for those who can’t (or choose not to) “pass” as unambiguously.

    Those who focus on predators taking advantage of trans bathroom access laws are forgetting why these laws have been proposed in the first place. Trans people need these laws. We can talk all we like about the hypotheticals of sexual predators using these laws as a cover (all evidence to the contrary), but any such conversation ignores the fact that trans people who need bathroom access are very much not hypotheticals. They’re standing right there, and you may not even realize it. It’s not like they wear signs. We have got to find a way to stop conservatives from derailing conversations about very and present real problems with hypotheticals and what ifs.

    That this issue has blown up in the way that it has is really weighing on me. I had thought we were behind this, but apparently we are not. I found out recently that my own daughter is sometimes questioned by other students in the bathrooms at school because she doesn’t look or dress femininely enough, and she’s not even trans. Have we really come to a place where policing other’s genders and gender expressions is that important? I am genuinely worried for my trans friends. I’ve watched laws like these affect their decisions about where to live, where to go, where they feel safe. And at the moment, we seem to be going backwards.

    • That’s not quite true…. though it requires $130,000 of surgery that only has a 30% success rate to qualify for a change to the birth certificate for trans men in NC. I know of no actual cases in NC that have managed this, but in theory, it could happen one day.

  8. Jack said, “…why did he vote for the bill in the first place, and why is he suddenly a passionate human rights advocate now?”, “Both his vote and his sudden reversal are the result of having no principles, no integrity, no core beliefs, no courage, no honesty, and no business holding high office.”

    Exactly! The phrase moral bankruptcy comes to mind.

    Now for an intentional deflection.

    It’s been my personal observation that there are predefined rules regarding the changing opinions of elected politicians. The changing opinions of Democrats are called progressive evolution and apologies are to be immediately accepted as being heart-felt and honest and the subject should be dropped; however, the changing opinions of Republicans are called flip-flopping and/or pandering and apologies are immediately considered to be intentionally deceitful and the subject should be used in endless smears.

    Jack is obviously not following the predefined rules.

    No replies needed for that intentional sarcastic deflection.

  9. You know, I might be too late to the game to really make a go of this and expect a response. But opponents of this: Bathrooms aside, because I’m almost certain that no one really cares about bathrooms (Or maybe that’s just me, unable to comprehend someone REALLY caring about bathrooms, exclusively.). Change rooms.

    People, in a room, often naked, maybe showering, perhaps wearing towels. Female opponents: How do you feel about you, your sisters and your daughters seeing, even accidentally, a penis or three on the way to the pool? And male proponents, I can tell you that change rooms have once or twice been a source of embarrassment to me, what’s your opinion on a person with a vagina and tits sharing a shower pole with you?

    “Uncomfortable” Isn’t an inappropriate answer. And that might seem to be a bad reason to push rules like this, and to be fair, it’s a poorly thought out law, possibly unconstitutional, and definitely not a lawmakers damn business… But let’s be honest: We’re talking about comfort. Trans people might be more comfortable in a certain bathroom, but at the price of making people around them uncomfortable. In a case like this, I don’t know if there’s a good answer. I think a utilitarian balance tends to favor the rule.

    • When I was in high school, and back when I used the gym (I think they had just invented iron), they had a private, change/shower area made for one person. It was supposed to be for those who were menstruating, or perhaps those who did not feel comfortable with nudity, period. I think one or two such private rooms, assuming they still do these, would handle that issue nicely. It could even be outside the female or male locker room so that the person did not need to even enter either one before going into the private use room. It need not be just for the trans, gender dysphoric people, it could be for parents with young children, handicapped, and the generally bashful.

      • Sure! That’s reasonable. Makes great sense, and should probably be policy for everywhere those rooms exist. However, to temper that, we have to realize there are facilities that don’t have those rooms, and retrofitting every pool, school and gym in America that doesn’t have them for the comfort of about a third of a percent of America is, I think, unreasonably burdensome.

  10. Even as we speak, there naked people bathing in mixed-gender bathhouses in Japan. I don’t think the Japanese are too hung up about transgenders.

    Oh, I know, I know: not the same thing as bathrooms where you don’t expect to see someone of the opposite gender. But is there really a problem here or is it just a phobia against transgenders?

    • Not phobia, just cultural taboos and traditions. I had a Hawaiian room mate in college who couldn’t understand why “howlies” were hung up on bathrooms and toilet privacy, as well as wearing clothes and some other things too gross to mention. Our mainland culture drove him crazy.

      Literally, as it turned out.

  11. Ignoring the cost of possibly remodeling the infrastructure, the real issue here is as follows: People want an infrastructure that inhibits people whom they don’t trust from doing things they fear. In a culture with less fear and more trust, there might be less of a stir here. There is a cultural trust that groups of people have for similar people and certain other groups, an implicit assumption that they are safe to be around. Without this assumption, society effectively wouldn’t exist. (In societies such as Japan, that heavily emphasize honor, this trust is much more powerful and widespread, as Al Veerhoff notes, with the cost that people who don’t have the trust have a much more difficult time. Less homogeneous societies have less trust between groups, but it’s also less essential because people are used to having less of it.)

    People who are sufficiently different, be they merely outside the group, from a different group with a historically contentious relationship with the first, or a completely paradigm-shattering entity (such as transgender people), are afforded less of this trust. Whether or not this lack of trust is justified has nothing to do with the law; it is a matter of reputation, of impressions built up over time, which cannot be changed by fiat. Because this trust is necessary for a functioning society, each person and group should try to build it up for themselves as much as possible.

    However, while it is essential to our standard of living that we do not have to expend large amounts of effort protecting ourselves from others, it is still prudent to put in place some simple measures to make society more robust. In every group there will be people who are not to be trusted*, and there is no sense in making it easy for them to betray the trust we are forced by our standard of living to give them. With basic security, the small percentage of untrustworthy people will not break society. Such security is also helpful for giving people time to build trust. If there are measures in place so that people do not fear you, you have the opportunity to establish bonds with them.

    Transgender people have the right to wear what they want and modify their bodies, and not only that, but it’s not unethical for them to do so, either. They will need to use bathrooms like anyone else. Leaving aside the transgender people’s bathroom preferences for the sake of argument, cisgender people must ask themselves why they fear transgender people in bathrooms more than they fear anyone else in the bathroom, and whether they’d rather use the same bathroom as a transgender person who looks like the cisgender person’s own gender, or a transgender person who looks like a different gender, for levels of passing varying from “wrong side of androgynous and hasn’t started transitioning” to “be honest, you’d never even notice”, as with the person in zoebrain’s picture. If neither is preferable, they could spend some tax money and higher prices so that bathrooms everywhere can be redesigned. I’ll wait for an answer from the stakeholders.

    As for myself, to answer Al Veerhoff’s question, I could probably get used to the idea of a universal restroom after a while, but it would start out very uncomfortable, because there’s a cultural tendency to maintain higher standards of decorum for people not of one’s own gender (apart from that, I already put in a small effort to avoid going into a bathroom at the same time as people I know). Such a standard of decorum would make it awkward both for me and for others. It might be better in the long run, though: it could very well become easier for humans to stop putting people of a different gender on pedestals and thinking of them as an intimidating “other” when they experience the reality that everybody poops.

    *Like most other aspects of people, trustworthiness (an aspect of honor, or orderly eusocial behavior), is a dynamic multidimensional continuum and partially a function of people’s past and present environments, but let’s keep things simple here.

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