As Canada’s Bill C-389 — which would extend rights to employment, housing, access to services and protections from the excusing of violence for gender identity and gender expression — inches on toward Third Reading and a similar bill (ENDA) languishes in the US, the religious right south of the border is all a-panic over the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). And an oddly familiar argument is being thrust into the forefront.
They’re afraid that straight and gay soldiers might have to shower together. Openly gay congressman Barney Frank was confronted by CNS (which was formed to present a conservative bias in news) on the matter:
“What do you think happens in gyms all over America?” Frank said when asked by CNSNews.com about the working group’s recommendation that straights be required to shower with gays. “What do you think happens in the House of Representatives? Of course people shower with homosexuals. What a silly issue. What do you think goes wrong with showering with homosexuals? Do you think the spray makes it catching? I mean people shower with homosexuals in college dormitories, in gyms where people play sports; in gyms elsewhere. It is a complete non-issue.”
Of course, in Canada, we’ve been past all that, with no washroom or shower issues — even trans soldiers serve without this problem (trans people can’t serve in the US military regardless of the repeal of DADT), and without female soldiers being exposed to penises. Trans Canadians have already been using washrooms consistent with their presentation (and have done so for decades) without there being any epidemic of problems. Because apparently, trans Canadians have more respect for other humans and for the principle of privacy than religious right bigots do.
But the religious right isn’t interested in that, and keeps harping on shower fear. The shower argument was also previously presented in various places by FOX News, WingNutDaily et al, including this graphic screencapped by StopBeck (h/t Pam’s House Blend):
For those who know nothing about the issue and never gave it much thought — let alone research — the whole washroom thing sometimes seduces people into thinking that it has merit. Even Barney Frank has succumbed to trans panic with regard to washrooms, and said things which have been exploited by the religious right — things he probably now regrets (although a public refutation of those comments would be nice).
In the end, this argument was never about any actual dangers, but about the “squick” factor that homophobes and transphobes get when fixating on what we have in our pants and what we do in bed. Which, of course, is none of their business, however much they feel they should be able to control those things through legislation.
So if anyone had any doubts about what the potty panic debates were all about or thought that maybe they had some merit, now you know better.