‘Bathroom bills’ focus on the trans community but could affect another group more

Steven Petrow | Washington Post | April 25, 2016

The political storm around HB2, North Carolina’s sweeping “bathroom bill,” has focused on its implications for transgender individuals, but much less has been written about what it means for the “gender nonconforming.” By that I mean those women and men, girls and boys whose appearance doesn’t fit neatly into traditional male and female boxes — or restrooms. To be blunt: It has been cruel.

Gov. Pat McCrory (R) has been quick to blame outsiders, notably the “PC elite” and the media, for “smearing our state” over the HB2 debacle, which by some estimates could cost the state’s economy hundreds of millions of dollars. But that’s not all that concerns North Carolina native Jamie Lamkin, 50, a former librarian, who said the new law invites discrimination and harassment against women like herself and her daughter.

Steven Petrow, the author of “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners,” addresses questions about LGBT and straight etiquette in his column, Civilities. View Archive

Because of her height (5-foot-10), hair (short) and build (she calls it “square”), Jamie has been called “sir” more often than she can recall — even when she has worn a dress. “It’s happened to me my whole life,” she said with a sigh. Double down on that for her 15-year-old daughter, Sofie, who has short spiky hair and sports “fuzzy legs;” she’s often mistaken for a boy. Women like Jamie and Sofie are likely to be the most frequent victims of the law.

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