My adopted state is an embarrassment

op HB2By Stephanie Wampler • Guest Columnist

As a North Carolina woman who may or may not have a vagina (NOYB), I have several concerns about our new law requiring transgender individuals to use bathrooms different than those of their gender identity.

First, I am concerned about basic respect and human dignity. Urination (such a formal word — how about peeing?) seems a somewhat private act, and any legislator or governor dictating where I can pee seems problematic.

Seriously? I am a decent, tax-paying person who has not yet spent time in jail. I don’t think it’s appropriate for our legislators and governor to tell me where I can relieve myself. The fact that they would want to get involved in that decision is more than a little creepy. Are they really that interested?

My next point of concern is about North Carolina itself. As a native Mississippian, I felt somewhat progressive when I moved here 20 years ago. It seemed a state that grown-ups lived in. But then I learned about this state’s role in the Civil Rights movement (didn’t hear much in Mississippi about the Civil Rights Movement, surprise, surprise). I learned about the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins that didn’t end until Greensboro businessmen finally called enough. 

Seriously, N.C.? It took the business community to do the right thing and call for an end to discrimination? OK, so it did. But that was in the past. More than 50 years ago. Surely N.C. has grown up since then. Surely our moral compass is more finely tuned now … or not. Maybe not.

I was just reading an article about this fiasco of a law in the British newspaper The Guardian. It was very gratifying. North Carolina has made international headlines for leading the way in hate. What a great way to lure in tourists: come to us, all who are white and have brought your birth certificates, and our state government will (maybe) allow you to eat lunch and pee (in gender-appropriate toilets, that is). 

But what about those of us who live and vacation in the mountains — a lot of outdoor urination goes on here. I wonder how this law applies to trees. Are there birth-certificate female-only trees around here? Because apparently those are the only trees that are safe for me to pee behind. I might be assaulted behind other trees.

The mention of birth certificates brings up my final concern. Paperwork. Do I really have to have paperwork in order to pee? Do I really have to find my birth certificate in order to go to the bathroom? What if it’s an emergency? What if I don’t have time to go to the safe deposit box to retrieve my birth certificate?

If it’s even in my safe deposit box, because actually I have no idea where it is. Will I have to send off to Mississippi to get a new copy of my birth certificate just to go to the bathroom? I don’t know if I can hold it that long … I drink a lot of water.   

Can I use a copy of my birth certificate or will I need the original? Will a notary public need to be involved in my figuring out where I can pee? 

And, how will they know that the person described on the birth certificate is even me? Will I have to bring my government-issued picture ID? (Thank goodness they’ve made me get one in order to vote.)

But my name on my picture ID is different than my name on my birth certificate. Will I need also to bring the paperwork I filed to change my name when I married? I think that that will be the case. Otherwise how will they know that person listed on the birth certificate is the same as the person on the ID? A paperwork trail is the only possible proof.

And even if all that gets resolved, what if I am one of the people born with the genitalia of both genders and I don’t remember and can’t find my birth certificate and when I do find it, it has both listed? Where should I pee? What should I do? What would McCrory do? OMG. I don’t want to end up in jail. Diapers are looking better and better. 

Apple, your handy-dandy flashlight saves me all the time when it’s dark and I can’t find my way to the bathroom. N.C. has gone dark again, civil rights-wise, and I’m hoping that you can help us N.C. women find our collective way to the bathroom. Help us, Obi-Wan Apple. You’re our only hope. (You and Dow Chemical and PayPal and American Airlines and Facebook and Starbucks and Lowes and Pepsi and Hewlett Packard and Bank of America and Wells Fargo and IBM and Microsoft and Duke University and on and on. Long live American businesses!)

(Stephanie Wampler lives in Haywood County. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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