Down here in South Carolina some folks in Berkeley County — not to be confused with Berkeley, California — are in a tizzy because the local school district announced it would follow the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals’ lead and defer to the US Department of Education’s position on transgender students, meaning … transgender students should have access to the bathroom that matches their gender identity, and not be restricted to ones that correspond to their biological sex.
Folks are saying the school board should have voted on this and by “voting on it” they mean “vote against it,” and they would like to see new Superintendent Brenda Blackburn reprimanded, punished or fired.
And yet a great many politicians in South Carolina — like state Superintendent Molly Spearman, Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt and Republican Governor Nikki Haley — have all said South Carolina doesn’t need a Bathroom Bill.
But there are two more reasons why so many politicians are wading into this Berkeley County school district mess: Google and Volvo. See, Google could go all North Carolina on our asses and take their business elsewhere, while Volvo might decide that the new automobile plant they’re building in the state should be built elsewhere.
Yes, it’s about dollars, and sometimes dollars are what spark folks, er, politicians, to do the right thing. Those state and local officials are hoping that Berkeley County doesn’t destroy one of its best economic development prospects in years over some 20 students out of 33,000.
Yes, the transgender students that everyone is up in arms about, add up to about 0.06% of all students on the county; one-half of one-percent.
And yet, because one-half of one-percent of students might be using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, some of the backwoods, rednecking, cousin-f**king good old folks of South Carolina want to put a stop to it:
“I want a stop to this insanity about boys using the girls [sic] bathrooms and vise [sic] versa.”
“If a boy, for example, were say [sic] that he was gay and wanted to use the girl’s restroom, what is to stop that student from rapping [sic] or harassing the girls?”
“There are preditors [sic] out there at every age (if a child is experimenting at a young age, intimadates [sic] another child, they are a preditor [sic].”
“If transgender students feel like they do not want to go to the bathroom of there [sic] real gender than [sic] build a special bathroom for them but do not put our children at risk.”
Seriously? These people don’t even know the difference between gay and transgender … much less a lick about spelling or grammar. All they care about are the “weirdos” in the bathroom except that they are forgetting that South Carolina has gotten along for years without a Bathroom Bill and that trans students have been using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity without incident forever.
So, it begs the question: why has something that’s never been an issue suddenly become one?
Elections. Fear-based voting. Choose the GOP and we’ll keep the weirdos outta the bathroom. Never mind that we haven’t said a word about employment, or the environment, or healthcare or big corporations — like Google and Volvo — leaving the county because we’re nothing but a bunch of backwoods illiterate rednecks who have a loose relationship with spelling and the English language.
This isn’t a big deal in Berkeley County where 20 students out of 33,000 want to use a bathroom that matches their gender identity. It’s just a big deal when a handful of politicians want your vote.
I say good on the school district in Berkeley County, no matter why they're doing so; stand strong against the hate and the illiteracy and ignorance.