Do Liberals Misunderstand Conservatives' Feelings about the Bathroom Bill?

Today's post is an open question for readers and friends!

I have a chunk of liberal friends and a chunk of conservative friends, and for the most part, never the twain shall meet.

At a group dinner one day with the more liberal group, I heard something to the effect of, "conservatives think transgender people are perverts," and that this was at the root of the "bathroom bills" enforcing gender separation. 

That struck me as odd. 

(Note: this is not a topic on the virtues or vices of the bathroom bills themselves.)

I have always been under the impression that this was not the case. I know some concerned that their children will be made confused--unnecessarily questioning their own gender at an awkward age--by inflations of how many people are transgender. I have heard of--but do not know--people that think that some portion of transgender people are themselves simply confused, or odd.

But I hadn't known of anyone (though as Nat says, "there's one of everything in America--we have 330 million people") that thought that transgender people were fundamentally perverted. 

So I asked a few friends (conservative, men and women)! Here was the resounding response:

"No, no! If you allow anyone to decide whatever gender they are, and just wander into whatever bathroom they want, perverts will take advantage of this. It's not like we're going to have people carry around cards that say, 'I identify as such-and-such gender.' Perverted men can't be stopped from entering women's bathrooms and being creepy."

So how big a risk this is, I cannot know, and the quality of the solution is not what I want to discuss. But it seems that the aim of the conservative position is to protect women from predatory cis straight men.

If my conservative friends represent a large chunk of conservatives (again, not all people who identify as conservative, for we are not simply two tribes), it would suggest this: that there is a large scope of agreement on a value very important to both political groups--protecting women from predatory men--and, in this case, a conflict in the minds of some between that and another value--helping individuals be comfortable in the places they go.

So the open question: do you as a liberal or conservative feel substantially differently from my representation? (Less helpful would be, "no, liberals/conservatives feel this awful thing and I know it to be true.")


Erik Fogg

We do politics, but we don't do the thinking for you.