Thursday, January 12, 2017

History Repeats Itself

The battle over bathrooms is nothing new. It has been around for generations.

Back in the fifties and sixties the rallying cry of the conservatives was “Save Our Children!” and it was about trans people and bathrooms but blacks and bathrooms.
The Anti-Trans Bathroom Nightmare Has Its Roots in Racial Segregation
Slate
By Gillian Frank
November 10, 2015

The conservative idea that civil rights protections sexually endanger women and children in public bathrooms is not new. In fact, conservative sexual thought has been in the toilet since the 1940s. During the World War II era, conservatives began employing the idea that social equality for African-Americans would lead to sexual danger for white women in bathrooms. In the decades since, conservatives used this trope to negate the civil rights claims of women and sexual minorities. Placing Houston’s rejection of HERO within the history of discrimination against racial minorities, sexual minorities, and women reveals a broader pattern: When previously marginalized groups demanded access to public accommodations, conservatives responded with toilet talk to stall these groups’ aspirations for social equality.
An article in Politico said,
At the same time, public fears about a “homosexual menace” overtaking the nation stoked alarm that young boys faced sexual danger in public restrooms. A police crackdown on same-sex sexual activity in men’s restrooms in the 1950s and 1960s — this at the time when many Americans equated homosexuality with pedophilia — deepened these worries.

Public officials distributed pamphlets warning about “child attackers” who hid out in public restrooms to capture their prey. “Never wait or play around toilets. Always leave immediately,” a popular 1954 pamphlet used across the nation instructed. The 1961 public service film, “Boys Beware,” broadcasted those ideas to an even larger audience. “Public restrooms can often be a hangout for the homosexual,” a narrator ominously explained. “Bobby and his friends hadn’t noticed the man who had been in the restroom when they changed.” Bobby and his friends had erred in treating their restroom as a safe space — the very mistake predators relied on to carry out their crimes. School children understood the message: Boys had to be on guard when they entered public restrooms, vigilant against the violent, sexual dangers that lurked there.

And now it is our turn, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. later this month. The case is about,
Issues: (1) Whether courts should extend deference to an unpublished agency letter that, among other things, does not carry the force of law and was adopted in the context of the very dispute in which deference is sought; and (2) whether, with or without deference to the agency, the Department of Education's specific interpretation of Title IX and 34 C.F.R. § 106.33, which provides that a funding recipient providing sex-separated facilities must “generally treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity,” should be given effect.
And they are being flooded with “Friends of the Court” briefs and one of them is…
Restrooms unite conservative Family Policy Alliance and feminist activistsColorado Politics
By Joey Bunch,
January 10, 2017

Here’s a partnership you don’t see every day: The Colorado Springs-based Family Policy Alliance and the liberal activist group the Women’s Liberation Front, known as WoLF, over the restroom choice of transgender people.

The unlikely partners filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court over the request of a Virginia transgender student to use the boys’ restroom at school in Gloucester School Board v. G.G.
[…]
The Family Policy Alliance/WoLF brief argues that “allowing males who self-identify as women access to female-only spaces threatens the safety of women and girls and results in the effective erasure of women under Title IX – a civil rights law enacted specifically to benefit women, who have been excluded from and discriminated against in the educational arena for centuries,” the Family Policy Alliance said in a statement.
Then there is one filed by members of Congress,
INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE
Amici Curiae are 114 Members of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.

The Appendix to this Brief sets forth a complete list of amici curiae.

As Members of Congress, amici have a compelling interest in the proper resolution of this case. Under our tripartite system, Congress is tasked with writing the laws and the Executive has the responsibility to enforce them. This case arises from yet another instance of the Obama Administration effectively rewriting a federal law through an informal agency directive. In so doing, the Department of Education (“Department”) seized power that Article I vests in Congress and undermined the rule of law. In short, amici have a strong interest in ensuring that the Executive faithfully interprets and enforces the laws of the United States as written.
The case will be heard after the president–elect Trump takes office and the big question is will we have nine justices again or will there be only eight?

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