A community in danger: Why bathrooms aren’t the issue in HB2

Ivy Hill, LGBT Rights Toolkit coordinator for the Campaign for Southern Equality

BY IVY HILL

House Bill 2 is about so much more than restrooms. We could talk about the other public accommodations it can deny folks access to, or how it gives businesses the right to discriminate, or how it takes away municipal power to protect local citizens, or how bad it is for business. But I think there’s a deeper issue to talk about here.

As a transgender person, I know how painful it is to have your identity up for debate in the public square. That feeling of shame is so hard to overcome when you turn on the news and hear personal attacks on your community and unfounded stoking of fear. But that’s exactly what’s happening right now with HB2, a dangerous and discriminatory new law that attacks the LGB — and especially transgender — community in North Carolina.

Gender is not only a deep piece of our personal identities; it’s also deeply ingrained in nearly everything we do both consciously and subconsciously. Think about what happens when someone says she’s pregnant — invariably, one of the first questions is, “Is it a boy or a girl?”

The answer shapes the way you think about that child. What toys should you buy? What careers will he or she be interested in? What will he or she wear on his/her wedding day?

We socialize folks to fit in these two neat little boxes of “male” and “female” from inception all the way through the end of life. Gender affects nearly every aspect of our lives. For many people, that works out just fine, and they may not even think about it very often. But for me and many other transgender folks, that’s not the case — we are constantly navigating a rigid gender binary many of us do not fit into.

It’s exhausting (think about having to explain the most basic parts of who you are many times a day), and it’s often scary (the real issue with bathrooms is the high rate at which trans folks are harassed and attacked in them). This is part of why transgender folks disproportionately experience disparity in so many areas from housing to employment to suicide rates to violence, to name a few.

Research shows that 41 percent of transgender people attempt suicide – a staggering rate compared to the national average of 4.6 percent, according to a January 2014 study by researchers with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. New research shows that invalidation of identity is one of the leading causes of suicidal ideation/attempts in the trans community.

Why does that matter so much right now? Because anti-trans bills and laws like HB2 have a teaching effect, and they sanction bias and even violence against trans people. That threat to people’s physical safety and their mental health grows exponentially when such laws are implemented. It’s no wonder that the Trans LifeLine, a suicide hotline, has seen double its typical call volume from North Carolina since HB2 was introduced.

Conversely, we also know that trans children who receive support and affirmation of their gender identity from their families experience significantly lower rates of depression and anxiety. A University of Washington study that was published in February shows that these children’s risk of suicide is comparable to their nontransgender peers.

Knowing all this, what can we do? What can you do?
 We can listen to trans folks and our stories about how HB2 affects our lives, and the danger it puts us in. We can listen to the stories of trans children and how this legislation targets them and puts them in jeopardy.

We can speak out. We’ve been trained not to talk about gender variance or trans folks’ existence. It’s easy to let the fear of saying something wrong paralyze us to a point where we remain silent, because it feels like the safer thing to do. But remaining silent is the furthest thing from safe.

Yes, these can be complex concepts. Yes, you’ll fumble over pronouns and make mistakes. Yes, it’s not always going to be comfortable. But we have a responsibility as a community to show up for each other and to speak up when someone is in danger. Our transgender community is in danger. As long as we center our words and actions on these principles, we don’t need to be afraid of saying the wrong thing. What we need to be afraid of is saying nothing, of doing nothing.

Ivy Hill commutes to Asheville from the Greenville, S.C., area to work as LGBT Rights Toolkit coordinator for the Campaign for Southern Equality. Hill also serves as program director of Gender Benders, based in the Upstate.

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72 thoughts on “A community in danger: Why bathrooms aren’t the issue in HB2

  1. “It’s no wonder that the Trans LifeLine, a suicide hotline, has seen double its typical call volume from North Carolina since HB2 was introduced.”

    This sounds misleading. TransLifeline operates a nationwide toll-free call center out of San Francisco. While one can make a rather weak case for correlation, there is no case made for causation. That seems dishonest, if not alarmist.

    http://www.translifeline.org/: TransLifeline, 2443 Fillmore St #380-9468, San Francisco, CA 94115, Contact: (415) 483-5361

    • bsummers

      I have to say, I think it’s pretty low to try to diminish the devastating emotional impact of HB2 on vulnerable peoples, just out of political spite. Yes, TransLifeline is based in California, but they track the calls they receive by state. So they know that calls from NC, especially, spiked in the wake of the passage of this attack on transgender rights. The cause, and the correlation is obvious. Besides,

      “It’s important to remember that just because it’s happening in North Carolina, doesn’t mean it only affects people in North Carolina,” Martela tells the INDY. “We’ve been watching states try to pass legislation like this for years…North Carolina has the dubious distinction of actually doing it.”
      http://www.indyweek.com/news/archives/2016/04/20/trans-crisis-lifelines-calls-have-doubled-since-hb-2-was-passed

        • bsummers

          Funny you obviously didn’t read the dang article.

          “Executive director Greta Martela of Trans Lifeline, a Chicago-based, California-registered non-profit staffed entirely by transpeople, also tells the INDY that according to records, the group has taken calls from 249 North Carolinians over the course of the organization’s history. Fifty-one of those calls from North Carolina have been in 2016 alone, with twenty-seven calls coming in since March 23, the day the law passed.”

          • bsummers

            27 people in North Carolina have called this lifeline possibly contemplating suicide (more than had called the previous three months combined), pretty obviously because of HB2, and Mr. Peck’s comment is “Whoopdie do.”

        • Peter Robbins

          What other variables to you see at work, Mr. Peck? It’s spring. Baseball season has started. People’s spirits should be soaring, not getting worse.

          • Peter Robbins

            That should be “do you see at work.”

      • Peter Robbins

        There’s another aspect of Mr. Peck’s comment that deserves attention, too. Even if he thought, in good faith, that the information about suicide-hotline calls was insufficient, standing alone, to warrant overly broad conclusions, notice that he immediately leaped to a prejudicial character flaw — dishonesty — to account for the putative deficiency. Kinda confirms the letter’s larger point, doncha think?

        • I think dishonest is the appropriate term in this case.

          “has seen double its typical call volume from North Carolina”

          “27” with no case for causation, nature of call or disposition.

          Somebody’s up to some mischief, it would seem. Too bad. I was willing to listen before.

          • bsummers

            There is absolutely no basis to accuse anyone of being dishonest about this. For someone to choose to try to create an atmosphere of “mischief” about a tragic uptick in calls to a suicide hotline…. for political spin? That’s despicable.

  2. bsummers

    Ignore the local haters, Ivy. Very good letter, and good points. Trans persons everywhere need to know there are a lot of good people in North Carolina who are outraged by this, and we will fight to set things right.

    • Peter Robbins

      Yes. Yes. Yes. This is one of the best letters the Xpress has ever printed. I admire your generosity of spirit, even if I don’t aspire to it myself.

      • bsummers

        You’re referring to the person sockpuppeting himself from Texas?

  3. Grant Milin

    It might make sense now to go ahead and inventory how many people in North Carolina are experiencing variously levels of danger, and yet who do not have the benefits, for example, of being a paid, relatively prepared and protected emergency worker. These may be kids in various high risk situations, the poor, and the disabled poor… and of course other low power minority groups like the LGBTQ poor.

    What is the collective solution versus the collective punishment for all those citizens?

  4. CabinLady

    I thought that for a person who cares about “equality” as much as you seem to, that it wouldn’t need to said, but you are completely wrong about gender… how important it is — we can all play with whatever toys we want, wear what we want, and act according to our thoughts… gender determines none of this.
    What does “equality” fight for if not to make gender a neutral factor – that it doesn’t effect your personality or the way others treat you? I wish I would stop seeing people going back and forth whether it is important or not in order to receive attention.

    Transgender people aren’t especially damaged or special (although it is a trend that mentally ill people are more readily willing to “identitify” with to gain power).

    The HB2 law prevents children who don’t understand gender from interacting with people hopping on the banwagon that film for perverted and selfish reasons..
    and why does it hurt the mental health of people to not be able to pee in a room marked with a certain sign? It has no effect on how that person truly is.

    No one can expect the validation you seem to expect and demand. Many people have no comfort or friend but themselves, and yet they can get by – each person is a single entity, and though it is great to be with others, you cannot rely on everyone else.
    Healthy humans are able to provide that validation (and stability) themselves.
    (It is not neccessary to explain yourself to others, so be glad to be rid of your self-induced exhaustion) Except for friends and family, there is no reason to bring up your gender or sexuality to most people.

    People should work on being confident in themselves enough to figure out that, especially in this era, it’s them who need to realize their fear, gain courage out of that, and see that the current society does not need to succumb to unneccessary fears.

    • bsummers

      the current society does not need to succumb to unneccessary fears

      Like the fear of transgendered people using the bathroom of the gender they identify with? There is no evidence that the many cities or counties that allow this have seen any increase of assault or other crimes over the years. It’s already a crime to do any of the things that hysterical proponents of HB2 are trying to make us afraid of, and HB2 will do nothing more to protect anyone. And yet it’s the invocation of this “unnecessary fear” that led to HB2, which may very well put transgendered people at risk, as they are forced to use a bathroom that doesn’t fit with their appearance.

      This is worse than creating a “solution in search of a problem”, as even a FOX News host called it. This is creating a problem for everyone, with NO solution, other than a complete repeal.

      http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/chris-wallace-destroys-myth-of-transgender-predators-this-is-a-solution-in-search-of-a-problem/

    • bsummers

      Clever? Guy’s a liar and a convicted felon who has had to pay tens of thousands of dollars to people who he has falsely maligned. I’m not going to watch his latest “creatively”-edited piece of propaganda. I’ll wait for the unedited version they show at his trial.

  5. Karl Denninger

    Oh please….

    Recently North Carolina became the first state to enact a law requiring transgender people to choose restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate rather than the one with which they identify.

    So what’s the problem with that?

    Oh, you think you should be able to alter your appearance and by doing so walk into the bathroom of the opposite sex?

    Let’s first start with what this law does and doesn’t do. First, it only applies to public restrooms. That’s right — as a private enterprise you may set whatever rules you wish, still, today, in North Carolina. The claim that this somehow impacts private business decisions on this matter is false.

    But, it might wind up leading to civil liability if a person making such a claim goes into a private business, uses the bathroom not matching their sex after the business permits such and instead of using the bathroom peaceably decides to commit voyeurism or even sexual assault.

    THAT could be a problem, and thus yes, there might indeed be a reason for private firms to be concerned. But it’s not over policy, it’s over liability if they decide they’re going to do things differently than public restrooms.

    Oh, and those who claim that there is “no risk” involved here? Uh huh. It’s not like a registered sex offender who happened to be convicted of an offense against an underage person wasn’t lobbying against this law, right? Oh wait…..You might want to read up on the past exploits of the Charlotte LGBT Chamber President…

    Trying to conflate this with Jim Crow laws that enforced bathroom segregation on race is an outrage.

    Ivy Hill may claim that she is a transgender male and nonbinary…

    No she is not; she is full of crap and that’s sad.

    The fact is that Ivy is a woman who is unhappy with the sex assigned to her by her chromosomal draw in the lottery at conception, an event she had no control over.

    Tough ****.

    There are a lot of things that all of us are unhappy about to lesser or greater degrees when it comes to our draw in same. Some of them are recognized as “disabilities”, but most are simply differences. A huge number of them wind up responsible for various conditions, such as asthma, allergies of various sorts (including potentially-lethal ones), many if not most forms of cancer, intelligence, eye, hair and skin color and more.

    Some of these you can choose to modify in terms of appearance but none of those changes to your appearance will actually change — ever — your genetic makeup.

    If a business wishes to provide non-sex specific bathrooms that’s up to them. Many have and will, simply because they’re small enough to only need one restroom and obviously that has no differentiation. But others, especially those with concerns over carrying capacity choose sex-specific restrooms for the very valid and justified reason that men have a hose and the use of said hose is faster than sitting down to pee.

    It is both unfortunate and outrageous that we cater to this “trans”-gender (mental illness) crap at all. That you’re unhappy with your genetic lot in life does not give rise to an obligation that others respect your continual whining about that which you are unhappy about but cannot change.

    It is not a “disability” to feel differently than a fact presents. If you feel the earth is flat that does not make it so nor is anyone else obligated to do anything other than laugh at your idiocy.

    I have no quarrel with anyone’s decision to dress as they wish, but doing so does not and cannot change your sex.

    In short stop claiming the impossible and suck it up, bucko. You are who and what you are and nothing can change it, so either accept it and be happy or even nonchalant about it but go take your whining somewhere else.

    • Fishbone

      Different strokes I guess. I would certainly do my best to accommodate any issue absolutely fundamental to your sense of identity, especially in the case at hand since it costs me absolutely nothing to do so. Really, your only obligation is not being a dick

      • Karl Denninger

        Let’s face facts: You are not a victim of that which you voluntarily choose.

        Let’s play a little game Fishbone since you outlined the great lengths you would go to accommodate my fundamental sense of identity . Although you did give yourself an easy-out by stating that you would only do such if it doesn’t cost you anything to do so…typical of the laziness and cheap sacrifices of modern “progressive” thought and activism. Better you just stick to bumper sticker politics Fishbone…

        In any case, all of the following are things that I feel are absolutely fundamental to my identity and pursuit of happiness and I demand that you accommodate me else I declare you a hateful bigot. Got it? Consent happily to my demands or be labelled a hateful, backward bigot. Oh yeah, and in your own words, a “dick” too, though your use of that term shows your true colors, using such a sexist, gendered slur.

        Well, folks, if what Ivy Hill and those pushing the LGBT agenda have the moral high ground, then I should be able to get a discount based on the fact that I feel old, therefore I qualify for said senior discount — or, for that matter, I can enroll in Medicare — right now. Or maybe tomorrow I feel young, therefore I should get child pricing for my amusement park admission. Let’s say the next day I feel black, or female, and therefore if there is some “special program” for that group I can have that too? If I’m 17 but feel 23 then of course I can drink at the local bar since the physical fact of my birth date no longer matters and if I’m 15 but feel 19 I can drive a car — unrestricted.

        Or let’s do this the other way — I feel like I’m 16 (despite being over 50) and thus it magically becomes legal for me to sleep with all the 16 year old girls at the local high school!

        If you think the irrationality is limited to bathrooms you’re dead-flat wrong.

        Irrational thought has in fact infected every area of public policy.

        People feel the earth is getting warmer and thus we must enact taxes that confiscate what will be trillions of your money despite the physical fact being that no warming on a planetary basis has occurred, when one stops using “adjusted” (all one way too) data, in more than 10 years. People feel scared when they see someone with a gun despite the fact that where gun control is the most-restrictive violent criminal acts are most-prevalent and in virtually every case where gun laws have been relaxed violent crime rates have gone down instead of up. Never mind that all of those laws are blatantly unconstitutional; that someone feels something has been good for 50,000 unconstitutional laws, any one of which can and will imprison you and brand you for life as a felon!

        If physical facts don’t matter and the rule of law doesn’t matter then what you have left is Rule of Tyrants, which inevitably devolves into who’s got the biggest (and largest number) of guns and, at least as important, who is willing to shoot first.

        What’s going on here is nothing less than people taking physical facts and subjugating them to feelings that are to the contrary. The words men and women are not a statement of “identity” they are a statement of physical fact; you either have an XY or XX sex chromosome pair and as thus as a physical fact you are either a man or a woman.

        We live in a world where this denial of facts is increasingly a problem, and refusing to address it head-on will prevent us from fixing a lot of other issues, including those that will consume this nation both fiscally and politically if we don’t cut that crap out right now. As I said before we are living at the end of the Empire and we are tragically likely to live to see the final collapse and ugliness that will ensue…

    • All of these men were born female. Per NC HB2 they must use the ladies restroom and women’s lockeroom unless they have had their birth certificates changed. All states do not allow you to change the gender on your birth certificate, even after full transition.
      Coming soon to a ladies room in NC due to HB2. http://imgur.com/YJMtvFP
      Or does this make more sense? http://imgur.com/Ax4MYsj

  6. The Real World

    Get ready, Karl – the knee-jerk reactionary types are going to jump all over your commentary; facts and reason be damned.

    Yes, it is a more nuanced issue than they and the mainstream media will acknowledge. And so, yet again, we spin in stupid circles rather than sitting down like adults and reaching adequate resolutions for ALL involved.

    I won’t even take the time now to go into how well the media plays their audience like a fiddle. (Shaking head)….it’s visible weekly but flies right over the heads of “mature” adults. You try to offer a heads-up about the manipulation? They won’t have it! Nope, from the tolerant, inclusive, diversity crowd — it’s their way or the highway. No hypocrisy there.

    • Peter Robbins

      Sit down like adults? Did the special session last long enough for anyone to sit down?

    • bsummers

      I won’t even take the time now to go into how well the media plays their audience like a fiddle. (Shaking head)

      Talking about James O’Keefe? Yeah, he plays the chumps like a master. Hope he has his attorney on extra retainer for this one.

    • Peter Robbins

      Also, I got the nuance in phrases like “full of crap” and “mental illness.” But “tough ****”? What do all those stars stand for? Kanoogies? Toenails? Tater Tots? How can we start a meaningful dialog with so many interpretations up in the air?

      • Karl Denninger

        First, despite the “trans”-gender claims to the impossible, nobody can ever truly “transition” from one sex to the other in any kind of scientific or biological way. In the psychiatric world I believe the textbook term is magical thinking. Therapeutic milieu generally seeks to reorient the ill person back toward a functional state of reality. So the LGBT “community” has presented and advanced a false narrative — that a “trans”-gender person is something that they are not, which has persisted and is actively promoted in the media to this day.

        As I wrote before, there is nothing wrong, incidentally, with being unhappy with one’s lot in life — including your draw in the genetic lottery. But being unhappy with something doesn’t mean it’s not real. It simply means you refuse to accept physical facts.

        This refusal, by the way, has an awful lot to do with many things, including many other destructive personal health issues (obesity, the ridiculous rise in diabetes, etc.) That it manifests here as well in our end of the American Empire stage of history and culture is not a surprise at all.

        A man could change his name from Bruce to Caitlyn, but he is still a man. However, if his bathroom experience is as private as the LGBT community claims, and if he dresses as a woman such that he’s indistinguishable from one in the restroom, nobody will know he’s actually a man….right?

        Therefore, law or no law it doesn’t matter because nobody is the wiser.

        The real problem is that we know damn well that a huge percentage of such people in denial aren’t indistinguishable from the sex the bathroom door claims is appropriate for use. It’s blatant, it’s obvious to anyone on casual, clothed observance and thus there is utterly no reason whatsoever for such a person to use any other than the restroom that corresponds with their sex.

        The real issue on the table is that certain people think their choice should be beyond public view or comment while they’re in public. That’s nuts. If I wish to stuff a bra and tape down my dick, grow my hair out and appear to be a woman that’s fine, but when someone notices my Adam’s apple or 5 o’clock shadow and thus knows I’m a man the comments or odd looks I garner are not something I have a right to censor.

        That is what this is really about — trying to criminalize other’s right to free speech because “it might hurt your poor feelings.”

        In a word, no.

        Dress as you wish, deny facts if you want, but others are free to consider such a refusal to handle physical reality as odd or even worthy of comment should they so choose.

        That’s what freedom of expression is; it applies to everyone or nobody, not just our LGBT “special snowflakes.”

  7. Craig Randolph

    About all I want to add is this…. we’d better be ready to the reaction some father has (who doesn’t keep up , or even make any attempt to keep up with the news and what’s going on locally, regionally, or even nationally…..and from what I’ve seen/heard/read, there are apparently a LOT more who don’t than previously thought) when he sees some man follow his little 8 yr. old daughter into the Ladies room at some Wal-Mart….

    • Fishbone

      Or, you know, when someone with a likeness akin to Buck Angel (Google at your own risk, potentially NSFW) follows his 8 yr. old daughter into the ladies room at some Wal-Mart. Because that wouldn’t be even more confusing. Pretty sure Mr. Angel is living life as a straight man as well, so your point is moot on protecting children from a sexual preference perspective also.

      • Craig Randolph

        My point is hardly moot, ..all I’m saying is that change, and in this case, a BIG change is going to take awhile to work itself smoothly out into our mainstream society. The threat of sexual impropriety , whether real or imagined,, (and I think in this case about 99% imagined) is such a hot button issue that, though laws may change , when folks perceive something as being a threat to their children, laws be damned, some people will resort to violence. Even with the facts and figures that prove no jump in the numbers of sexual assaults against children where unisex restrooms are the norm…there are a lot of places where it’s not the norm, and it’s gonna take some folks awhile to adjust they’re thinking (especially where their kids are concerned)and realize, hey, this whole who uses who’s restrooms isn’t going to be nearly as painful as we once thought it was going to be.

        • Peter Robbins

          Reasonable points, Craig. They suggest that the state should not interfere when local governments — which are in the best position to monitor public safety — experiment on a case-by-case basis with new approaches to old problems.

    • Clearly the moderator is asleep at the wheel. Funny how that happens.

      Peter Robbins
      24 hours ago
      What other variables to you see at work, Mr. Peck? It’s spring. Baseball season has started. People’s spirits should be soaring, not getting worse.

      bsummers
      21 hours ago
      You’re referring to the person sockpuppeting himself from Texas?

      • Peter Robbins

        I don’t take your meaning, Mr. Peck.

        As to my comment, you questioned whether there was a causal relationship between the passage of HB2 and a rise in calls to a suicide hotline. While causation may not be shown to the degree expected in an article that might appear in a social-science research publication, it does appear to be a reasonable working hypothesis in the circumstances. I was asking you to identify, if you could, other variables that might have been in play statewide to explain such an increase. Spring is not a time of the year normally associated with depression.

        As to Barry’s comment, I can’t tell who it is even talking about, so it’s hard to view the question as some sort of personal attack on anyone.

        • bsummers

          I don’t take your meaning, Mr. Peck.

          His meaning is that while anyone else clearly can see that your comment was on topic, his ruling is that wasn’t, and so he’s lashing out at XPress for not silencing the views of those who disagree with him, or expose holes in his reasoning.

          My comment? Yeah, I took a poke at him. Sorry. Guy makes me mad.

          • Peter Robbins

            That’s not so bad. As I recall, I took a poke at you once, too, and I’ve still got the shiner to show for it.

          • “Sorry. Guy makes me mad.”

            Isn’t that sad? You have no idea how that makes me feel.

            I know: you might try going somewhere else if you can’t follow the rules of cordiality and topical focus here. But then we would sorely miss your talent for digression. Your absence would be felt. And, frankly, you would probably be fairly roughed up no matter where you flee to.

          • Able Allen

            Please stop antagonizing one another overtly, stick to the passive version.

      • “I was asking you to identify, if you could, other variables”

        But the burden of proving a negative does not fall to me. The burden of proof falls to the party making a positive claim. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were honestly mistaken.

        • Peter Robbins

          I wasn’t demanding that you prove anything. I was asking if you had anything to contribute.

        • bsummers

          Says the person who had just previously tried to deny the fact altogether that the Trans Lifeline had broken out calls from North Carolina specifically. This fact is cited in the letter, and appears in news reports about the issue, yet Mr. Peck implied dishonesty on the part of this young person who was making a brave statement about a controversial issue.

          http://mountainx.com/opinion/a-community-in-danger-why-bathrooms-arent-the-issue-in-hb2/#comment-2550109

          Most of us try to play by the rules, but when one commentor is continually trying to smear others and misrepresent the facts in order to exert spin on a politically-sensitive issue, it’s difficult to remain polite.

          • I only point out the apparent dishonesty in the claims. They are quite suspicious. But do you, dear reader, think it’s at all problematic to use the suffering of others, however grossly overstated, to gain sympathy for your boilerplate sob story?

          • Peter Robbins

            I was saddened to learn that there were no alternate explanations for the increase in suicide-hot line calls. I already had reason enough to be against the law. But that one was a show-stopper.

          • bsummers

            I only point out the apparent dishonesty in the claims. They are quite suspicious.

            “Apparent”? “Suspicious”? You mean you slandered this person by implying they were lying, with absolutely no evidence to back it up. And then when confronted with the proof that you were wrong, you pivoted to, “27. Whoopdie do.” ‘Even more troubled young people are contemplating suicide because of the atmosphere of hate engendered by HB2. Ho-hum.’

            I just hope this brave young person doesn’t think that this is at all representative of any large group of people in Asheville, or this state for that matter. Mr. Peck is a political operative trying to distort facts and intimidate people in order to do damage control for a party that is reeling with the consequences of this disastrous bill.

          • Peter Robbins

            “I think dishonest is the appropriate term in this case.” — Mr. Peck

          • Huhsure

            That’s some kind of horrible, right there.

      • Peter Robbins

        See, Mr. Peck, you’re wrong. You did still have something important to contribute.

        • Peter Robbins

          This comment (and the two that follow) should be removed, since they pertain to a comment by Mr. Peck that now has been deleted.

          • The Real World

            Peter and bsummers referring to the info I put forward? (Notice that I do you the courtesy of inquiring. But that only occurred in one direction. You think you could have posed a single question?)

            If you are, you both are so off base, you’re crazy. I have no idea what Peck said and never heard the word: shemale til 10 seconds ago, reading it above. Good grief! So much myopia from the all-encompassing crowd. You all have supremely lost it……. and now you want to censor too (part of the very familiar, “my way or the highway” and “let’s control what other people get to say or consider”.

            Able, don’t buy their inaccurate spin. It’s self-serving.

          • Peter Robbins

            No problem with you, Real World. The order of the comments apparently got scrambled after a comment by Mr. Peck (to which I regrettably responded when I probably shouldn’t have) got removed. Your stuff is fine.

          • bsummers

            Ditto to Peter’s comment. No intention to go after you, The Real World. It’s the screwed-up order of the comments.

          • Able Allen

            Peck’s comment was over the line to be allowed, but blockage or permanent moderation has to be earned by general patterns of behavior. Barry, I think you know, you and he both push the limits regularly. In the future, if you have a complaint about a comment or abuse of our rules, please email webmaster@mountainx.com and mods will look at it.

          • Wha

            Given the scary fountainhead-of-bigotry garbage being flung in these forums, you are a paragon of restraint, Barry.

          • Ken Hanke

            I like the use of the word “fountainhead” here.

          • Peter Robbins

            You shoulda seen what was spewing yesterday.

          • The Real World

            Ok thanks. I was rather expecting some people to freak out by Dr Pittman’s views and to misunderstand them. I think he’s largely right and that it’s all natural and a-okay.

            I’ve had A LOT of gay friends in my adult life, known a couple of bi’s and socially met a transgender or two but not known them well. I feel I have more of an understanding of the spectrum than the average person. So yeah, I agree with Pittman that we are all bi. But, to my observation anyhow, the world isn’t ready to accept that. Which is okay, all in due time (you have to admit, that if huge numbers of people decided to live that way, it would be wildly disruptive to families, social structure, etc).

            And, whereas, I realize that inquiring minds like to know the origin of the things (hence looking for biological differences between hetero, gay, trans) the ultimate day will be when it doesn’t matter if there is any physical difference or not; purely your decision of how you want to live your life will be respected.

            Where I do have a problem is when only a sliver of people are considered while a giant portion of people are not. It’s wrong and irrational. Bound to create a problem, won’t it? THAT is what this issue is really all about. It didn’t have to be this way. What the city of Charlotte did was absurd (and perhaps was more political than altruistic, anyway). A much more considered and comprehensive look at this issue would have produced better results. And there is a strong argument to make that having a statewide standard makes sense rather than city by city piecemeal.

            So, why doesn’t everyone calm down, re-group, stop allowing the media to bait you with bias and BS, consider all involved and we’ll work this thing out?

            To Ivy: I appreciate reading your views but notice that you make no reference to everyone else impacted. You’ll find more success and willingness from others in anything you want to achieve in life if you operate from an inclusive framework. Why should people try to understand you/your needs when you don’t try to understand them/their needs? We’re all in this big boat together.

  8. The Real World

    Not specifically about HB2 but related in a broader sense. I thought people might enjoy reading some interesting commentary about sexual choices and genders, etc. At every given point in time we think we have it all figured out. Remember 15 years ago when the media and others were beating the table that gay people were born that way, they didn’t choose it? Don’t hear much about that anymore. Because it doesn’t explain bisexuals so neatly, does it?

    Frank Pittman was a nationally-renowned psychiatrist, therapist and author who had a column in Psychology Today for many years. He was very insightful, articulate and funny, to boot.

    Keep in mind that this was written in 1994! Here’s the first bit and you can click the link and scroll to that letter to read the rest: Dear Dr. Frank: A significant portion of our people seem to be homosexual. My work involves incarcerated women, where there is an 80
    percent same-sex experience rate. Why haven’t more studies been done in this area? Brain scans and hormone studies might indicate biological differences that are natural. I can find almost nothing on the study of bisexuals. Are there any recent studies done on this subject?

    Dear Curious In Prison: Of course women in a world without men would have whatever sex they have with women, just as men in a world without women would have whatever sex they have with men. Having same-sex experience does not make someone a “homosexual” any more than having other-sex experience makes one a “heterosexual.”

    There are only two genders, not four. The lines between straight and gay are not dear, and sexual preference is simply a matter of self-designation, like statements of religious preference, which can be persuasions of varying intensity and permanence…… Read on : https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199407/ask-dr-frank

    Another column from 1998 where someone asked about homosexuality (4th letter down in the link): DEAR DR. FRANK– I’ve been married for ten years and have two young children. Last week I realized I am gay, after falling in love with a woman at the school where I teach. I had one bisexual experience in college but dismissed it. I love my husband and don’t want to cheat on him. However, the feelings I have toward this woman are unlike anything ……….
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199805/frank-matters

  9. The Real World

    Meant to finish above with: in my view, Dr Pittman was way ahead of his time. Probably took a lot of grief in the 1990’s for his viewpoint and, probably, still would today.

    For those who didn’t have the time or interest to read the columns — his bottom line is that we’re all bisexual and it’s primarily a matter of social conditioning (and choice) that most people choose only the opposite gender to engage with.

    Don’t know if he ever expressed a view about trans-gender but I imagine he’d have said …. in the right set of circumstances, anyone might be willing and interesting in living as the gender opposite of what they were born.

    Just food for thought…….

  10. *Great Article Ivy*!!! :-) :-) :-)

    This whole HB2 fiasco has changed me from a (little-a) activist into a (big-A) Activist: I went through too much trouble to become my authentic self to let haters try to take my and my trans siblings’ dignity and rights away from us – rights cis people take for granted! BUT let us be the best people we can be, then the shame the haters try to impute to us will boomerang back to them.

    I encourage any of my fellow trans folk to be “out” if you can manage this and be safe. Activism, Legal & Social change are necessary, BUT people need to meet us so they can realize that we are decent human beings like most everyone else…

    …To that end, I live “simply open” where in casual encounters I am “just” a tall, boyish woman; but when people get to know me more better, the fact that I am a transgender woman becomes apparent in relaxed, natural even winsome ways. There is *no shame* in being transgender: *NONE*!!

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