I’ve mentioned before that the right-wing blogs seem mostly to be responding to Pete Donohue’s Daily News bathroom article, instead of Clemente Lisi’s more sensitive Post article or any of the others. This is a bad thing, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were intentional on the part of Drudge and FreeRepublic. I think I’m going to have to dissect the article to show just how badly it portrayed the issue:
The line for the girls’ room just got longer.
If it did at all, it probably wasn’t to the extent that anyone would notice. But it’s a cute lead-in, and was taken as a serious point by many bloggers, who were apparently unaware of the Bathroom Parity law passed last year.
Men who live as women can now legally use women’s rest rooms in New York’s transit system under an unprecedented deal revealed yesterday.
They already could. The deal just ensures that the MTA Police (who patrol Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road stations, not the subway) will commit to following the law.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority agreed to allow riders to use MTA rest rooms “consistent with their gender expression,” the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund announced yesterday.
The group filed a complaint against the MTA on behalf of a 70-year-old telephone repair technician who was arrested for using the women’s room at Grand Central Terminal.
The technician, who is assigned to the terminal by Verizon, was born Henry McGuinness but now goes by Helena Stone.
“I’m a 24-hour woman,” Stone declared proudly. “I just feel like a woman and I like to wear women’s clothes.”
The MTA would not comment on the settlement but Stone’s lawyer said it also includes mandatory transgender sensitivity training for MTA employees and a $2,000 payment to the technician for legal fees.
Just the mention of “sensitivity training” pissed off a lot of the right-wing bloggers. Note that Donohue didn’t mention the extent of the harassment Stone endured at the hands of the MTA Police, which was described by Lisi. Some of the bloggers might have understood the point of the training if they’d read about Stone being repeatedly arrested, insulted and searched.
Michael Sullivan, Stone’s lawyer, called the settlement of the complaint with the Human Rights Commission a “milestone” toward recognition of the city law that prohibits discrimination against transgender men and women.
Stone’s lawyer is named Michael Silverman. But a fake name may make it more difficult for vigilante Freepers to harass him.
But some Metro-North riders at Grand Central yesterday were stunned by the ruling.
“I would not like that,” said Gloria David, a retiree from Connecticut. “I have nothing against gay men or drag queens, but they can use the men’s room. I just don’t want to go to the bathroom next to a man.”
Presumably Donohue knows that most of the people using the women’s room under the new law are not gay men or drag queens, but he doesn’t use the opportunity to point out David’s misconception.
One rider feared predators might dress as women and lurk in the women’s room.
I addressed this point in detail in an earlier post.
But Rena Gantz, 23, a college student, shrugged off the settlement.
“It doesn’t bother me because it is a reality,” she said. “If they believe they are women, they should be treated as one.”
Interestingly, the one sensitive quote in the article was often left off of many of the reprintings by blogs.