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What’s old is new again

Commentary: Trans Progressive

This is the transcript of a radio spot that ran in a campaign against SB 200, a Colorado civil rights law that Gov. Ritter signed into law May 29, 2008. The spot began running Wednesday, May 21, 2008.

Girl 1: “Mom!”

Narrator: If the Colorado Legislature has its way a …

G1: “A man in a dress came into the girls’ restroom at school today.”

N: “We could all be dealing with a new type of predator.”

Adult woman (speaking in frantic voice): “Honey! There was a man in the woman’s showers at the gym today, and the management said it was, it was Colorado law!”

N: And instead of our kids worrying about classwork, they’ll be worrying about who might be in the restroom with them.

Girl 2: [SFX: School bell rings, ambient hall noise, lockers close] “No way I’m going in there. I’d rather wait all day if a guy’s in there.”

N: Our children must be protected from predators of any sex. Colorado’s Democrat controlled legislature has already passed this bill, but Gov. Ritter still has time to veto it. Call him now and ask him to protect our kids, and veto SB 200. Call 303-866-2471. 303-866-2471.

Dr. James Dobson: Brought to you by Focus On The Family Action and Colorado Family Action.

The radio spot is almost 8 years old, but the language sounds fresh to transgender people. What’s old is new again.

Tom Minnery, as the senior vice president of government and public policy for Focus on the Family Action, wrote a May 24, 2008 Denver Post op-ed about SB 200. “There are multiple problems with this legislation,” he stated, “but the problem of restrooms is the most breathtaking one.

“… Woe to the first women’s fitness facility or mall owner who objects to a man dressed as a woman who wants to enter previously forbidden territory,” Minnery continued. “And what an opportunity for sexual predators to use this law as ‘cover’ to enter intimate areas in search of a victim.”

Near that time there was also an LGBT civil rights referendum in Kalamazoo, Mich. – Ordinance 1856. Again, the arguments against the bill came in the form of bathroom and locker room arguments. Dr. Mary Ann Stark, an associate professor of nursing at Bronson School of Nursing, discovered that one of the patrons she used the facility with for six months was transgender.

“Under deceptive circumstances, he invaded the privacy of many women in that locker room,” Stark wrote in an Oct. 24, 2009 op-ed for the Kalamazoo Gazette, misgendering the trans woman. “I felt violated and worried about maintaining my dignity and privacy.”

“… This ordinance opens the door to voyeurs and pranksters,” Stark continued. “When relating my experience to men, I heard more than one say there are men who would enter a women’s locker room as a prank or for thrills if given the opportunity. As a woman and advocate for women’s health, I find this intolerable.”

When Theresa Rickman’s group Citizens for a Responsible Government needed an example of such a voyeur or prankster in their 2008 attempt to derail public accommodation protections for transgender people in Montgomery County, Md., they created their own. A “man in a dress” paraded through a Rio Sport and Health Club locker room, and one local television station took the bait and reported on the incident as if it were germane. Rickman pounced on the incident, stating “the problem is, the language is so vague [in the ordinance] that guys can still go in the ladies room.”

Rickman inadvertently admitted it was a stunt in a podcast with Martha Kleder of the Concerned Women for America; Rickman stated, “You know, essentially what uh, that [stunt] was meant to get some media attention.”

The language we see everywhere from South Dakota to Florida, from Poway to Texas. The stunt we saw in Washington weeks ago has the same feel as the one from Montgomery County.

So, what’s old is what’s new.

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=68651

Posted by on Mar 3, 2016. Filed under Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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