by Eric Sandy
Here's a major problem with the tone of public debate: Most negative commenters — in person and online — invert the causal problem at hand and cast transgender men and women as the aggressors. (i.e. If we pass this ordinance, hordes of "men wearing dresses" will start attacking women in their restroom.) Data bears out the fact that if a crime involves a transgender person, that transgender person is usually the victim.
In fact, this legislation isn't even *about* public restrooms, entirely. Cimperman pointed that out, and council staff attorney Jennifer O'Leary said that concerns over restroom bedlam are wholly unfounded.
At one point in the committee discussion today, Councilman Zack Reed asked for the definitions of "sexual orientation," "gender identity or expression," and "expression." Councilman Jeff Johnson reiterated concerns over what he thought were some gray-area definitions. The answers were provided and doused in legal-speak, though. The ordinance was approved in committee, and yellow "Thank You" signs went up from the audience en masse.
(That was when some guy stormed out of the meeting after the ordinance was approved and yelled down the hallway: "It is a fearful day to fall into the hands of the living God!")