Beyoncé Concert – Woman Punished For Using Men’s Room Because She Wasn’t Transgender
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 8, 2016): By law in New York City, transgender people are guaranteed the right to use whatever restrooms they claim to identify with in city-owned buildings, but last night a woman was temporarily arrested by police and then expelled from a Beyoncé concert because, when nature urgently called, she used the men’s restroom to avoid outrageously long lines for the women’s room.
Since by law no proof of sexual identity is required, she probably could have claimed that she was a transsexual man and gotten away with it, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who says he hopes women will begin doing exactly that to avoid endless waits for the women’s room.
Beyoncé concert – Banzhaf opines
Banzhaf has been called the “Father of Potty Parity” and has argued about the legality of laws purporting to mandate who can use which restroom in public places.
The irony, says Banzhaf, is that Beyoncé herself has been an outspoken opponent of HB2, North Carolina’s so-called “Bathroom Bill,” which requires people to use restrooms which correspond to their anatomical gender, and under which women would be prohibited from using male restrooms.
While she took this stand in large part out of concern from transgender people, it’s hard to believe that she would insist that people with penises must be permitted to use restrooms reserved for girls and women, but that people with vaginas can be kept of men’s rooms no matter how strong and pressing the call of nature, says Banzhaf.
Men are less concerned that their sexual privacy will be invaded if a person with a vagina enters their restroom, and certainly have little worry that they will be sexually molested or even raped by such an outsider, he notes.
Ironically, neither New York City’s new law, nor the Justice Department’s ruling – which would make it illegal to discriminate in hiring or in the use of restrooms or showers based upon even unsubstantiated claims of gender identity – would apply to transvestites, notes Banzhaf.
So a transvestite with a vagina who has a very strong compulsion to dress and act like a man but does not claim a male gender identity – just like a typical female with a vagina who wishes to use a male restroom because she cannot wait on a long line to use a female restroom – can be arrested for entering a men’s room, but a transgender person with a vagina cannot be denied the right to use that same male restroom, argues Banzhaf. As Dickens put it, “the law is a a$$.”
Permitting people of all genders to use restrooms, which previously had been labeled men’s rooms, seems to satisfy both women concerned about the denial of potty parity – also known as squatter’s rights or porcelain proportionality – as well as transsexuals, without causing much bother or concern for typical male restroom users, he argues.
Indeed, he notes, his university, George Washington University, is experimenting with just such a system; one which could be put into place virtually overnight without any new construction, simply by changing signs now reading “Men’s Restroom” to one reading “All Gender Restroom.”
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor