Just when you thought the homophobes pushing bathroom bans couldn’t get any worse, this comes along: according to Joseph Backholm, director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington state, anti-trans activists may be chasing women into bathrooms to scare them into signing petitions.
It’s a bizarre, convoluted situation. Basically, Washington state is gathering signatures for Initiative 1515, which would prohibit trans people from using the bathroom that matches their affirmed gender. Instead, they’d be forced into the bathroom that matches their birth certificate — as if it’s the piece of paper that’s going to be doing the peeing.
Backholm’s group has been responsible for much of the signature-gathering, and now someone has recorded him encouraging some truly lousy behavior:
“For gentlemen what I would encourage you to do, if you are so bold and you want to make the point, take your petitions and stand outside the women’s restroom at the mall, and if any of the women don’t want to sign it, just go ahead and follow ’em on in [laughter from crowd]. ‘Maybe this will be a better time to sign our little petition’, and we can make the point that way.”
Ugh gross. Of course, following someone into a bathroom to bother them about a petition is harassment, regardless of gender. It would be uncomfortable if someone did that in the men’s room, too.
And Backholm’s talking about male signature-gatherers walking into a women’s room, which is very different from trans women. To Backholm, trans women may be men in dresses, but that’s a cruel and old-fashioned way to looking at people — telling strangers that you know their gender better than they do.
At any rate, what Backholm is encouraging is just straight-up against the law, even in a state with inclusive bathroom policies.