By MIKE VINSON
Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,
Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side
(From the song "Take a Walk on the Wild Side," lyrics written and sung by New York rocker Lou Reed, a founding member of cult rock band Velvet Underground, the band inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.)
If ever a column qualified as a "Lower 40" installment, this one certainly does. Before commencing the potentially treacherous journey down into "No man's land," though, it's crucial that we first define the abbreviation/acronym "LGBT."
L: Stands for "lesbian": a woman who is primarily attracted to other women.
G: Stands for "gay": a man who is primarily attracted to other men. (NOTE: In the case of the female gender, "gay" is interchangeable with "lesbian.")
B: Stands for "bisexual" or "bi": a person who is attracted to both people of their own gender and, also, another gender.
T: Stands for "transgender": an umbrella term referring to people who do not identify with their assigned gender at birth. This includes transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag kings, drag queens, and others. Some transgender people feel they exist not within one of the two standard gender categories, but rather somewhere between, beyond, or outside of those two genders. (NOTE: A transsexual is a person who, by a medical procedure called "sexual reassignment," has his/her external anatomy changed to resemble that of the opposite sex: He becomes a she, or she becomes a he.)
Spreading faster and burning hotter than a California wildfire is the ongoing "anti-LGBT bathroom bill" controversy, which if enacted into law would keep things as have been: Women have to continue using the women's restroom. Men have to continue using the men's restroom. However, if the bill is shot down, anyone could use any bathroom he/she desired, regardless his/her gender.
Some will argue celebrity transgender Caitlyn Jenner is the "spark" that ignited this social-political inferno. For those possibly unaware, Caitlyn Jenner is the former Bruce Jenner, winner of the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada. (NOTE: The decathlon consists of 10 events, and the winner is generally considered the "best all-around athlete in the world.") Also, before coming out as "Caitlyn," Bruce was married to TV reality show matriarch Kris Kardashian, of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" fame. It would be narrow-minded to label Caitlyn Jenner as the ambassadress of transgenderism; however, it could be argued her photo on the cover of the July 2015 edition of trendy "Vanity Fair" magazine shifted the movement into a higher gear.
Though it's difficult to pinpoint the true origin of this latest LGBT bathroom controversy, it's for certain our very own state of Tennessee and border neighbor North Carolina are at the epicenter. North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, Republican, recently signed a controversial bill blocking cities from allowing transgender individuals to use public bathrooms for the gender with which they identify--and great was the outcry!
Expectedly, North Carolina state legislators took issue with Governor McCrory, when "The General Assembly went into special session ... to push through the legislation a response to a nondiscrimination ordinance that the city of Charlotte enacted that, among other things, made it possible for transgender individuals to use the public bathroom of the sex they identify as" (source: CNN News).
Even New Jersey born-and-bred super rocker Bruce Springsteen ("Born in the U.S.A.," "Glory Days," etc.) cancelled a concert in Greensboro, North Carolina, which had been scheduled for Sunday, April 17, 2016. Springsteen was quoted as saying: "Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry -- which is happening as I write -- is one of them."
The LGBT bathroom controversy in Tennessee is similar to North Carolina: While there was a recent attempt to pass an anti-LGBT bathroom bill through state legislature, the bill has been "delayed" until next year. Butch Spyridon, CEO of Nashville's Convention & Visitors Corporation, stated that passage of the anti-LGBT bill in Tennessee would cost the state millions in revenue, as liberal-minded Hollywood filmmakers and top music acts would take their projects elsewhere.
To avoid responsibility, it appears many lawmakers and politicians, to coin an old adage, are attempting to "pass the buck" with this LGBT bathroom bill: federal wants to make it a state decision; state wants to make it a district-by-district decision; superintendent of schools wants to make it each school's decision. Thus, when a young, innocent, gender-confused boy or girl gets sexually assaulted or brutally stomped for utilizing the wrong restroom, well, "It wasn't my fault!"
What we have is a classic liberal vs. conservative issue that, indeed, has gone over to the "wild side." The question is: Just how "wild" will it get? As a minister stated to me, "If this LGBT bill passes, people will needlessly die. There simply is no way to police it."