The bathroom debate: Such a big fuss over so few people | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 13, 2016

The bathroom debate: Such a big fuss over so few people

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 2:36 PM

NOT ARKANSAS: In Washington D.C., a government office issued a bulletin offering guidance on transgender rights. Arkansas Republicans find this sort of guidance offensive.
  • NOT ARKANSAS: In Washington D.C., a government office issued a bulletin offering guidance on transgender rights. Arkansas Republicans find this sort of guidance offensive.
Given the hullabaloo today, I looked for some guidance on how many people we might be talking about in the United States when we talk about transgender people.

The New York Times took a crack at this recently. One Census study came up with a number of 135,000 people who'd changed names in Social Security records. Other surveys, based on survey data, came up with estimates of from .1 to .3 percent, or 700,000, of the population.

So let's be generous. It's Arkansas, right?

Arkansas population is about 3 million. That would mean about 9,000 transgender adults live here.

Public school enrollment is about 476,000. So we're talking about perhaps 1,500 transgender students in Arkansas's 75 counties, more than 200 school districts and more than 1,000 public schools, roughly one or so per school.

We are talking about people with sometimes crushing burdens, beginning at home. We are talking about people who — to date — have been identified as no cause of danger to others (though rarely a day passes without news of an adult sexual crime by a non-trans person). 

Is the wholly imaginary threat posed by this tiny subset of the population — a subset that wishes to avoid being bullied, beaten, stigmatized or discriminated against on account of their gender identity — cause to use words like "intrusive," "offensive," "lacking in common sense," "ridiculous," "misguided," "abuse of power," "serious safety concerns," "bullying," "blackmail," "unconscionable."

All those words were invoked by Arkansas politicians because the president of the United States noted that the law and federal courts say plainly that a few hundred Arkansas school children who fall outside majority categories should be treated equally. Humanely would be nice, too.

Back at you, Republican politicians, with those words.. Including public safety. Because the demagogues are contributing to a poisonous atmosphere that holds peril for a tiny number of people who have problems enough already.

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