The Transgender Bathroom Controversy Is A Conservative Invention For Political Gain

The Transgender Bathroom Controversy Is A Conservative Invention For Political Gain

Republicans are going to lose Election 2016, and they know it. This is why conservatives are making such a big deal about trans individuals in public bathrooms.

Six months ago no one was talking about transgenders in bathrooms. Now it’s the wedge issue of Election 2016 because the GOP is way behind the Democratic Party in electoral votes. President Obama won two electoral landslides, and, as his approval ratings continue to rise, Democrats simply are not about to lose the presidency in 2016. With their ultra-toxic nominee in Donald Trump, Republicans have to do something to try and salvage their sinking ship of political party.

This is where transsexuals come in to the mix. Conservatives are taking a problem that does not exist—transgender men preying on women in public bathrooms—and scaring a bunch of people to get them to go vote. Keep in mind that trans people have been using public bathrooms for the entire existence of public bathrooms, and only now, in 2016 CE right before a big presidential election, is there suddenly a problem with transgenders using bathroom for the gender in which they identify. I sense some partisan opportunism here.

This is the exact same wedge issue formula used in 2004 when Republicans, attempting to reelect the unmitigated disaster that was the George W. Bush presidency, decided that they should frighten the country with claims that gay marriage would ruin every straight American’s marriage.

During Election 2004, only one state, Massachusetts, had legalized gay marriage, so gay marriage was a virtually nonexistent problem. In classic dirty politics fashion, enough people got riled up over the idea of gays getting married all across the US (even though they couldn’t) that Bush was elected despite having lied his way into the unnecessary Iraq War. The lesson was that good politics is rarely good governance.

Conservatives are trying to do the exact same thing now, and it’s a textbook case of the conservative strategy to hide economic inequality with social inequality. Republicans caused the Great Recession by deregulating the economy and cutting taxes for rich people (and, for the record, they caused the Great Depression with the same bad ideas), so they are inventing anti-trans controversies to get votes that their failed economic ideas cannot win them. Transgenders make up less than a single percent of the US population, so I suppose conservatives believe the trans community is an easy target to attack for short-term political gain. Shame on them.

It’s not likely that conservatives, who are disproportionately elected by low-population rural states, even know many—if any—transgender individuals or have had much experience with any letter of the LGBT community. They just know that the electoral map is not smiling at them, and that if they cannot inspire Americans to vote for them they may be able to fear monger for votes.

But the whole controversy is made up because the conservative argument that trans people should use the public bathroom for the gender in which they were born doesn’t make sense. Transgenders, definitionally, often look like the gender they identify as, and the confusion over trans rights is compounded by the reality that sex changes are possible. If a person was born male and had a sex change to physically become a female, isn’t it more confusing to make her use the male bathroom? And likewise for people born female, but transitioned into males?

And how could states possibly enforce these anti-transgender laws? Should the US keep police officers in every public bathroom across the country? The cost and intrusion of such efforts do not seem conservative at all. This “controversy” is proof that conservatives do not actually care much about “small government” as a coherent political philosophy. What is “small government” about a government that chooses which bathroom transgenders go into?

Contemporary conservatism in America is a straight up sham, and using trans people as a wedge issue is Republicans’ only hope for the presidential election. It’s very neo-fascist, but, then again, conservatives have effectively nominated fascist strongman wannabe Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. The transgender community is an easy one to smear, but American politics should be better than scapegoating less than a single percent segment of the population for political gain.

Levi Olson

Levi Olson

Senior political columnist here at Contemptor, and a political scientist proving that American conservatism is a sham. Follow me on Tumblr at or on Facebook & Twitter @theleviolson.