Creighton shouldn’t let emotion sway his vote
Published 9:07 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017
I’m glad State Sen. Bradon Creighton made time last week to meet with local voters before the special session later this month. I’ve written in the past how Congressman Randy Weber seems to be M.I.A. from these parts, so it’s great to see an elected official who will listen to the voters.
Or, will appear to listen anyway.
Because, the thing is, Creighton said he will vote in favor of a bathroom bill that, so far as I can tell, isn’t a priority for anyone except the governor and some special interest groups. The bill in question would require all transgendered Texans to use the bathrooms at public schools and state offices that correspond to their birth sex.
Creighton says it’s for safety.
So, if it passes, a 12-year-old transgendered girl would be forced into the men’s room. In middle school.
Sounds safe, right?
In addition, the law would prohibit a city or local government from passing legislation to protect transgendered individuals in these spaces.
I talked to about a half-dozen people at Creighton’s open house and not a one of them said this is a priority. In fact, two people opposed the bill.
These big-government solutions for problems that do not exist need to stop.
First, neither Creighton nor anyone else can point to any instance of a transgendered person “preying” on someone in a bathroom. In fact, zero trans people have been arrested for sexual misconduct in a bathroom. Ever.
Meanwhile, there have been at least three Republican Congressmen who have been arrested for sexual misconduct in bathrooms.
But who’s counting?
Finally, if the bill does pass it will certainly do little more than make our state look bigoted and backward. Little else will come of this.
There will be no bathroom police; a transgendered person will still use whatever bathroom they feel most comfortable in.
If the bill is not supported by facts or public support and if it won’t change anything, what, then, drives this bill forward?
Simple. The ick factor.
Or, to put it another way: the “it’s not normal” factor.
These days most people don’t bat an eye at mixed-race couples. Heck, most people don’t think same-sex couples are all that weird. But, even so, both unions were illegal not so long ago. When Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian in 1997 on her hit TV series, it prompted ABC to place a parental warning on the show and a year later it was cancelled after public backlash.
Of course, back in the ‘90s we still debated whether homosexuality was a choice or not.
I did not understand the controversy. I do not understand the question. What is it to me what sort of a person someone else may love? Why should I care?
Who am I to say what’s good for someone else?
On the issue of homosexuality, the mainstream consensus is: I shouldn’t care. Nobody should care.
The sun has risen in the east for some four-and-a-half billion years now. It will rise again tomorrow.
And so it is with the issue of transgendered people.
We may not understand what compels someone to feel, deep in her bones, a gender different from her biological sex, but this is OK. We may not understand what compels a person to love someone of the same sex and this, too, is OK.
There is much in the world and in the minds of others that will remain unknown and unknowable.
But mystery and uncertainty is not the same as danger. It does not rise to the level of public crisis.
It is clear that Sen. Creighton—and anyone else who supports this legislation—is not acting for the public good. He is not acting in the best interests of his voters. He is not acting to right any wrong or in response to any public duress.
Rather, he is reacting to fear, to a personal feeling of ickiness he cannot or will not name. Maybe his feeling is natural, much as some have an irrational fear of snakes or spiders. Maybe he can’t do much about that.
But he can do something about his vote and I hope he does.
Because, at the end of the day, an irrational fear of something is a poor substitute for facts.
Jesse Wright is the editor of the Port Arthur News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org