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By Association of Mature Citizens

North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill” is causing quite a stir—pitting defenders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities against folks who think only ladies should be allowed in the Ladies’ Room and only men should be allowed in the Men’s Room.

The law supposedly violates the rights of individuals with alternative sexual preferences, particularly anatomically correct men who see themselves as women and women who wish they were men. But what about the rights of the rest of us? Americans overwhelmingly seek a modicum of privacy when we need to use the toilet or take a shower or use the locker room to change into gym clothes. The way a person thinks of himself or herself sexually is not an issue. Their thoughts are theirs alone—as are the thoughts of traditionalists who find it intrusive and offensive to be forced to use communal bathrooms, shower rooms and locker rooms.

It was sad to see the amusement with which the issue was greeted when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned state travel to North Carolina in protest of the bathroom bill. Challenging an individual’s right to privacy when using a bathroom, as Mr. Cuomo is doing, is no laughing matter.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory insists that the law is not discriminatory. It does not take away or infringe on anyone’s rights, he said. However, he added: “Would you want a man to walk into your daughter’s shower, and legally be able to do that? I happen to disagree with that.”

Meanwhile, McCrory’s office distributed a fact sheet pointing out, among other things, that the law does prohibit private sector companies from adopting their own bathroom rules. Nor does it leave the LGBT community without protections. In addition, private businesses have the right to allow mixed-use bathroom, shower and locker facilities.

“Them versus us” politics is behind the fuss. After all, why have the CEOs of major companies doing business in North Carolina banded together to challenge the law? In fact, 80 companies including Charlotte, NC-based Bank of America, Apple, Google, Facebook and PayPal signed a somewhat threatening letter hoping to put economic pressure on the state. Why would they take such a high-profile stance since the law does not impose any new rules on their businesses? They are free to set their own bathroom policies as they see fit.

So, why was the law passed in the first place? According to the governor’s fact sheet: “The bill was passed after the Charlotte City Council voted to impose a regulation requiring businesses to allow a man into a women’s restroom, shower, or locker room if they choose. This ordinance would have eliminated the basic expectations of privacy people have when using the restroom by allowing people to use the restroom of their choice. This new local regulation brought up serious privacy concerns by parents, businesses and others across the state, as well as safety concerns that this new local rule could be used by people who would take advantage of this to do harm to others.”

The Association of
Mature American Citizens

Washington, D.C.

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