Oh hi Internet! It appears that everyone’s lost their damn mind.. again. You’ve probably heard about HB-2 in North Carolina which requires that people use the bathroom that corresponds with their biological sex. And then, PayPal was like, “See ya! North Carolina, you suck!” Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, and a bunch of artists are like, “Yeah, sorry, no music for you.” Then Target joins the party, and they’re like, “We support trans people! Equality in our bathrooms! Also buy stuff.” And 8 ka-trillion people sign a boycott against Target for “letting boys in the girls’ bathroom! Think of the children!” And then the Department of Justice was like, “We ARE thinking of the children and that’s why we’re suing you, North Carolina. Title 7, Title 9, heard of it?” And then, y’all, that Duck Dynasty guy who, like, won’t go away, comes in and says, “I HAVE A RADICAL IDEA!” *scary music* “That bathroom is for whites on- uh, men only.” And the trans advocates are like, “Yeah, bruh. Trans men are men!” And well, basically, everything’s a mess. If aliens were watching us, they’d probably be so confused right now. On its surface, the bathroom debate is an idiotic argument to have. Fact: trans people have been using the stall next to us, since, uh, forever. The laws are there as a form of protection. This does not mean that bathrooms are a free-for-all! No, men can’t just waltz into the women’s bathroom, that’s still against the law. So, ‘Merica, what’s this really about? We are witnessing a truly fascinating modern debate about gender. And gender has been on America’s mind. Bathrooms are forcing Americans to ask themselves, who belongs in a box literally marked women? Who belongs in a room labelled men? And that is an anxiety inducing question for a lot of people, right? Because gender is a big part of how we see ourselves, it’s a big part of how we see the world. There are basically two ways that people are thinking about gender. In Camp 1, gender is the same as sex. Vagina=woman, penis=man. Done. In Camp 2, gender is different than sex. Gender is how an individual understands themselves and moves through society. It’s about identity, not genitals. So, what’s the truth? Well, at least in academia, amongst public health and medical experts, it’s widely accepted that gender and sex are two different things. Reduced to its most simple parts, gender is socially and culturally informed whereas sex is biologically informed. But that doesn’t mean Camp 1 is entirely wrong. In fact, if gender and sex are two different things, it doesn’t mean they’re completely unrelated. The way that we are socialized in the world is based on our sex. There are privileges that you can reap because of your sex. There are prejudices that people face because of their sex. I mean, yeah, this stuff is a little confusing. There are entire libraries of books written about it, right? What this means is that for some people who are in the bathroom police camp right now, it’s just a matter of education. A little myth busting, you know how it goes. But for others in the bathroom police camp, we’re up against something a little bit trickier. Uh….. prejudice. Prejudice is fear. Fear, is a helluva drug, y’all. Potent as fuck. So, what’s the big picture here? Some Americans are feeling threatened by the pace of social change that’s happening in America. They’re called “conservatives” because they want to conserve what is. They generally oppose change and they don’t want the government touching anything, whether it’s their free markets or social issues. And yet, in relatively quick succession, we’ve had the election of the first black president, same-sex marriage legalized, government health reform, America’s status quo is freaking out. There is an organized backlash that is growing under the banners of Fox News, the White Nationalist Party, the Tea Party, the Pro-Life Movement, the GOP, including a potential president Donald Trump. Would you recognize it if you were to live through a second Civil Rights movement? What would that look like in the 21st century? Take a look around, fam. This is about way more than bathrooms. *sings* Peace be with everyone. *sings* Except your mom, oh. What?