Joy Reid’s new show has a name now, and it isn’t either of my excellent suggestions, Reid: All About It or Joy, to the World. Still, she more than made up for that on Saturday morning’s edition of AM Joy by absolutely destroying Republican strategist Genevieve Wood on the issue of North Carolina’s anti-trans bathroom bill. It’s a stunning example of what a journalist can do simply by giving five or ten seconds of thought to the arguments these bigots are putting forth.
Joy completely stumps Wood by asking a simple question that never occurs to the dozens of mainstream journalists who let this play out on the bigots’ terms. As it turns out, Wood, like many Republicans, doesn’t actually understand what’s in the law, or that it actually forces women to go to the bathroom with men, and women to go into public bathrooms full of men:
See, people who transition to being trans-men are men, who look like men, and who will be forced to go into the restroom with your fine Republican wife, and when that happens, what is she supposed to do? What are the cops supposed to do? Right now, Chaz Bono can go to the men’s room in most states, and nobody gives a shit. But if some pervert who looks like a man and is a cis-man wants to go into a bathroom in North Carolina, now all he has to do is claim to be a trans-man like Chaz Bono, and there’s practically nothing anyone can do. I’d love to see that search warrant application. He can show the cops his ID, because it will say “male” just like a trans-man’s driver’s license will.
By the same token, a woman like Caroline “Tula” Cossey would be forced to go into public restrooms full of men, and if you don’t think that would make your Republican husband uncomfortable, ask yourself why that is. Think this through, people.
The arguments over accommodations in schools are somewhat less sure-footed because even people who are inclined to support trans rights haven’t wrapped their heads around the true nature of discrimination. Even open-minded parents have this morbid terror that their daughters might see a dick, as if the goal of young trans-women and trans-girls is to show other girls their private parts. That’s not the presumed goal of any other group of children or teenagers in shared facilities.
What these folks should wrap their heads around is this fact, as recounted in the DOE guidance that everyone’s freaking out about: “As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.”
There also seems to be anxiety around the mythical teen horndog who’s willing to change his professed gender identity in order to peep girls in the shower, Mike Huckabee. The DOE guidance does address that by suggesting ways that a school can confirm the student’s gender identity, but really, these objections are more about undermining the very concept of gender identity than any real concern.
That’s why every argument against trans rights relies on misgendering transpeople, by saying a trans-woman is “a man who thinks he’s a woman,” for example. Misgendering is an attack, plain and simple, and responsibile journalists should stop tolerating it, just as they wouldn’t tolerate a politician misgendering a cis opponent.