It’s been a few months since HB2 dominated the news cycle and sent “bathroom” trending on social media, but the concerns of the pro-HB2 side continue to be widely misunderstood. I have lost count of how many times I have seen serious, earnest explanations that transgender men (i.e. those who identify as women) are not interested in raping women in bathrooms, as if that prospect was the motivation behind the law. Since the Department of Justice just filed for an injunction that would suspend HB2 as part of their ongoing litigation against the North Carolina law, this seems like a good time to clarify what is at stake.
To begin with, we should be clear about what is not behind the law. I don’t know anyone who is seriously concerned about men who are actually transgender assaulting women in bathrooms. A man who genuinely identifies as a woman is not a likely rapist. The oft-repeated reassurance that transgenders will not be assaulting “other” women en masse is obvious and irrelevant.