Perkins Stokes the Bathroom Fear

Over the last few years, every single anti-discrimination ordinance in the country has seen the same argument made (with the same picture used on the ads and flyers). It goes like this: ZOMG, if we protect LGBT people from discrimination, men will be raping your daughters in unisex bathrooms! Tony Perkins repeats this ridiculous lie:

If there’s one subject giving Massachusetts schools trouble, it’s anatomy! Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. In kindergarten classes, learning about genders won’t be the problem–but ignoring them might be! Under a new statewide directive, Massachusetts officials are rolling out the welcome mat to cross-dressing students by banning everything from gender-based sports teams to sex-specific bathrooms. And anyone who doesn’t like it had better keep quiet–or else. If a student so much as refers to a peer by their biological sex, it’s “grounds for discipline.” And people wonder why families are pulling their children out of public school! Maybe, you’ve fallen for the lie that same-sex marriage won’t affect you. Well, it may take teenage boys invading girls’ locker rooms to prove it. Redefining marriage is about a lot more than two people who love each other. This is about the fundamental altering of society. If you want to protect your kids from a fate like Massachusetts’s, it starts by defending marriage now.

Yes, I’m sure the first thing that every teenage boy will do is declare themselves publicly to be transgender so they can get into the girl’s locker room to see a little T&A that they could see in much more detail on their smartphones in 10 seconds. Straight 16 year old boys are just dying to wear dresses so they can get into the locker room. They do realize that Porky’s is not a documentary, right? We’ve had similar ordinances in place all over the country; there is not a single case of this ever happening.

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • The Lorax

    I think it’s a legitimate fear. I mean, there are wackos that will do this for that reason. Yes, they are the vast minority, and yes, they will do more outrageous things to get what they want, and finally yes, I think unisex bathrooms are, ultimately, a good thing.

    But I think people should keep in mind the culture we have… it might not be ready for unisex bathrooms, even though we all want it to be. Hell, look at what happened when a guy and a girl were in an elevator together. We’re still hearing about it.

    Then again, Massachusetts is really on the cutting edge of this whole thing (I’m proud to be a Masshole!) so maybe it’ll work out well. I sincerely hope it does.

  • jamessweet

    We’ve had similar ordinances in place all over the country; there is not a single case of this ever happening.

    This is the key takeaway here. I think that at one point, it was a reasonable fear — but we know now from real world experience that allowing transgender people to use the appropriate bathroom doesn’t actually cause any problems, ever. Case closed.

  • Nepenthe

    I think bathrooms should be separated into “people who urinate entirely into an appropriate receptacle” and “people who do not”. All the female hoverers and the males with poor aim can wallow in their own piss-stinking room.

  • bornagainatheist

    What is it about bathrooms? The conservatives said the same thing about the ERA amendment all those years ago – “If this passes, men and women will have to share bathrooms!” The horror.

  • John Pieret

    Hey! Why are we letting homosexuals and lesbians use gender specific bathrooms? Aren’t the lesbians just using the girls locker rooms and gays using the boys locker rooms for oglings? We need four different bathrooms everywhere!

  • ragingapathy

    “If a student so much as refers to a peer by their biological sex, it’s “grounds for discipline.”

    What? Gendered pronouns? What the raging heck is Perkins talking about?

  • Michael Heath

    jamessweet writes:

    I think that at one point, it was a reasonable fear — but we know now from real world experience that allowing transgender people to use the appropriate bathroom doesn’t actually cause any problems, ever. Case closed.

    I’m fairly confident the defect rate is above zero, contra Ed’s assertion. And if I’m right, that still does not justify discriminating against transgendered individuals.

    We still need to weigh the costs of protecting the right of transgendered individuals to use the public bathroom of their choice, in spite of others exploiting that protection to harm others, against the benefits of protecting the rights of transgender people. I’m also confident the argument for whose rights should be protected by government after such an analysis is presented will be transgendered people.

  • Modusoperandi

    I’m more worried about Perkins in the mens room than I am boys in the ladies room.(*1)


    ragingapathy “What? Gendered pronouns? What the raging heck is Perkins talking about?”

    Well, he’s…I mean…it’s…oh, too late! Run! It’s the PC police!


    *1. Not that he’s a closeted, conflicted, self-loathing homosexual(*2). It’s that he doesn’t wash his hands afterwards. After all the gaymansex, I mean. Sure, I don’t mind closeted, conflicted, self-loathing homosexuals, but unwashed closeted, conflicted, self-loathing homosexuals? That’s a bridge too far!

    *2. Cheap shot? Yes. On a side note, “Cheap Shot” is his truck stop nickname. True story. Mine is “Getoutofthisstall I’mtryingtopoop”.

  • ildi

    I totally read the title as “Penis Stokes the Bathroom Fear” and it turns out I was right!

  • Marcus Ranum

    It sounds like he’s offering us a little glimmer of his inner fantasy life…

  • Sastra

    From what I can tell Perkins is saying that if gay marriage passes then it won’t just be politically incorrect to be against men marrying men and women marrying women — it will become politically incorrect to make any distinctions between male and female at all. Teenage boys won’t have to claim to be transgendered in order to get into the girls’ locker rooms. There will no longer BE any such thing as a “girl” or “boy” locker room … or bathroom … because there will no longer be any “boys” or “girls.” Nor shall men be distinguished in any way from women. We are all one sex now. Officially.

    Slippery slope, people. Take away the ability to discriminate and you lose the ability to discriminate. Buy your daughter a dress and you have to get one for your son … and make him wear it whether he wants to or not. In fact, call your daughter a “daughter” instead of “offspring” or something else neutral and nondiscriminatory and social services and/or the police will be at your door, pronto. That is where THEY are headed, you know. It’s what THEY really want.

    Except that THEY are us — and we’re not buying it.

  • Bronze Dog

    Stuff like this makes me wonder if wingnuts have panic attacks whenever they see a man with long hair or a woman wearing pants.

    And if they’re worried about daughters being raped, they should take a stand against rape culture as it currently exists, not the genderless alien rape culture they claim is coming.

  • twincats

    I’m all for transgendered folk using the restroom they prefer.

    I cannot, however, be included in the set that thinks unisex restrooms are a good idea. I mean, if there are males out there that can’t be arsed to not make females uncomfortable in elevators, I certainly don’t want them in a place where people actually take their pants down!

  • shouldbeworking

    I teach in a Canadian high school. That hasn’t happened here for the last 27 years. Guess our teenage males are somehow different than your teenage males.

  • andrewjohnston

    This whole thing dates back to some old stereotypes that appeared in a lot of smutty comics. The jokes were actually at the expense of transvestites, but Perkins and his followers don’t draw those distinctions. The man in the comics was always the same – a fat, hirsute man with a stubbly biker beard, wearing a floral-print dress, a wig and pumps. I’ve seen plenty of old cartoons featuring this stereotype walking into a ladies’ bathroom, and others in which he interacts with children in an inappropriate manner.

    That grotesque image is what enters the social conservative mind upon hearing the word “transgender.” It’s a truism in that set. And that, in turn, ties into the stereotypes they hold about gay men. A lot of the anti-gay crowd seems to put gay and MtF on a spectrum, and anyone on that line is treated as a predator.

  • howard

    Um, guys, when he says ‘you can get in trouble for calling them their biological sex,’ he means he’s afraid they’ll get in trouble for calling transgender children the wrong pronoun.

    That is, he wants them to be able to bully kids. He wants them to be able deny a person’s gender to their face.

  • baal

    @ John Pieret “gays using the boys locker rooms for oglings? We need four different bathrooms everywhere!”

    Well, at least 5 then or just solo bathrooms (on noes the masturbateurs!). Some of us are bi and happily oogle anyone worth a second look*.

    On a more serious note, I’ve been surprised by a number of otherwise decent folks asserting the bathroom thing is a legit problem. They say things like, “would you really be ok if a man is in the stall next to your wife?” As irrational as Perkins is, the argument gets resonance from a wide audience.

    RL is better than porn but point well taken -“more detail on their smartphones in 10 seconds”.

    *Junior high gym class aside, I’ve been going to changing rooms (men’s side) my entire life and have yet to see hardly a raised voice let alone anyone getting targeted with unwanted attention. The claimed potential harm simply never actually happens.

  • billdaniels

    “If a student so much as refers to a peer by their biological sex, it’s “grounds for discipline.” ”

    On one hand I can see disciplining a child bullying a transgendered child by refusing to recognize the change in gender. This is harrassment.

    On the other hand, an occasional slip of a tongue can be excused. in 1970 I met a transexual. For two years she dressed as a man and was called Mark. After her operation she was called Marcia. I was completely supportive of her decision, but for a few years after the change I would still slip and call her Mark. It was unintentional and she knew it.

    If a boy starts first grade as Phillip and then comes back in third grade as Phyllis, it probably will take a while to adjust to the change.

  • Homo Straminus

    I for one am completely baffled by Perkins’ switch from recognizing gender appropriately to same-sex marriage. Those things are not immediately correlated, only in the sense that they both are attempts at our society’s recognition of basic truth.

    It’s shocking, shocking I tell you, to hear a politician conflating two issues to make an emotional appeal to his constituents.

  • dingojack

    Heh I read the headline as: ‘Perkins strokes bathroom fear’. Not too far off then!

    ” Well, it may take teenage boys invading girls’ locker rooms to prove it. ”

    ‘Panty raid!!!’ (Sheesh, just how dumb is he? It’s not like certain teenaged males need excuses to act like sexist jackasses).


  • lofgren

    I think a person should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they appear because what’s the alternative? Random package checks? Mirrored floors? Bathroom attendants who run a background check before they hand you a mint?

    The only reason I don’t unisex bathrooms are a good idea is because a lot of people feel particularly uncomfortable removing their clothes or going to the bathroom in front of members of the opposite sex. Rational or irrational, it’s so pervasive that we have to acknowledge it, even if you are not willing to respect it.

  • cottonnero

    Howard #16: Thank you. I was having a hard time analyzing Perkins’ sentence and having it make any damned sense.