07/30/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

James Dobson's Toilet Politics

How does a transvestite go to the toilet?

No joke. Can anybody tell me?

I don't mean anatomically. I mean location-ly, publicly. When a transvestite is out and about, and feels the call of nature, where does he/she go?

I never thought about it until James Dobson's Focus on the Family brought the issue up in a national campaign against Colorado's new anti-discrimination bill. Colorado's Gov. Bill Ritter received thousands of calls, emails and letters asking him to veto the bill. So I thought the governor's spokesman, Evan Dreyer, might know.

He didn't. And he didn't seem interested in speculating. I was.

Perhaps transvestites have been in women's restrooms all along. I never noticed. I never saw them going into men's restrooms either. So where do they go?

2008-07-22-otb_godscountry.jpgDreyer didn't know of anyone, anywhere ever being arrested for using a restroom meant for the opposite gender. Because, he said, it's not against the law. Anybody can use any restroom. Unlawful behavior inside a restroom is against the law, just as it is outside a restroom, he said. So relax, all you hussies who've sneaked yourself into the men's room after waiting too long in the women's line. You're safe.

Twelve other states have laws similar to Colorado's new anti-discrimination law, which covers age, race, disability, creed, religion and sexual orientation. None of those states have had restroom invasions, Dreyer said.

"The word restroom isn't even in the bill," he said.

No matter, wrote Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery in The Denver Post. The restroom problem is "breathtaking," he wrote.

"Until now, establishments open to the public have been allowed to restrict certain restrooms and locker rooms to one sex if it made sense to do so, as it almost always does. With SB 200, however, we no longer have two "sexes"; we enter a brave new world with a myriad of "sexual orientations" that must not be discriminated against, upon pain of the substantial civil and criminal penalties contained in the bill.

"Woe to the first women's fitness facility or mall owner who objects to a man dressed as a woman who wants to enter previously forbidden territory. And what an opportunity for sexual predators to use this law as "cover" to enter intimate areas in search of a victim."

A sexual predator dressed as a woman entering intimate areas in search of a victim.

Using the law as a cover.

That is really scary.

I remember the same type of arguments being used against equal rights for women. Opponents said women would be victimized, and men would be helpless to aid them. That was really was scary too.

Luckily, it didn't happen.

Focus on the Family didn't offer a single restroom example to back up its case but FOF spokesman did have some other examples. Minnery wrote, "In Albuquerque, which has a similar law, a Christian husband and wife who own and operate their own photography studio were recently hauled before that state's human rights commission and fined more than $6,600 for politely refusing, on religious grounds, to photograph a lesbian "commitment ceremony." We've seen similar charges brought by homosexuals against a video reproduction business in Virginia, a medical clinic in California, an adoption service in Arizona and a church in New Jersey."

Religious liberties of Christians, Muslims and Jews who operate businesses on faith-based principles are threatened by this law, Minnery wrote. True. And not just because of the gender orientation section. Curtailing the rights of women is a deeply religious, worldwide issue too. American businesses can't do that either.

Churches and other religious institutions can, of course. And do. Separation of church and state allows it.

Minnery also got it right when he said that such laws are designed to "forcibly normalize all varieties of sexual orientation." That normalization has already happened with women and race. It's happening with disabilities and age.

"What an opportunity for confusion," wrote Minnery of all these new variations on sexuality.

Homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality, trans-sexuality or "other people's perception thereof."


"Other people's perception thereof" could mean cross-dressers, men who identify as women, women who identify as men or people who are still deciding, Minnery explained helpfully.

Confusing is right.

Focus on the Family used its website, The Denver Post and James Dobson's radio broadcast to alert concerned people about the danger and to ask that they protest. How many responded with letters, cards, emails and phone calls?

"Hundreds. If you put them together, thousands," said Dreyer.

Gov. Bill Ritter signed the bill anyway.

"He felt the Focus on the Family campaign against Senate Bill 200 was based on inaccuracies and played on people's fears," said Dreyer.

And one more thing. Those thousands of emails, phone calls and letters? Lots of them came from out of state. So the governor didn't really care what they thought.

Focus on the Family is located in Colorado. Colorado is the home state for FOF founder James Dobson, long known as among the country's most powerful evangelical kingmakers. He was just inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in recognition of his influence over vast radio audiences.

Gay men might number 9 percent of the population. Tops. Lesbians might number as high as 5 percent. Tops.

Evangelicals are said to make up 25 percent of the population.

And James Dobson couldn't muster enough clout to defeat this scary, confusing, forcibly normalizing, faith-threatening law in his own home state. A law to benefit one of the most despised minorities in America.