The One Place that Still Supports Trans Bathroom Rights: Trump Tower
The president's eponymous tower doesn't care who uses its bathrooms—if only its owner felt the same way about the country.
WARNING TO TRUMP SUPPORTERS VISITING HIS TOWER IN NEW YORK:
The portals to the public restrooms on the lower level are clearly marked MEN and WOMEN in big brass letters, but there is no guarantee that those who use the facilities will not encounter a transgender person.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly suggested that he would be supportive of transgender rights. He made his position explicitly clear on the Today Show in August.
"So if Caitlyn Jenner were to walk into Trump Tower and want to use the bathroom, you would be fine with her using any bathroom she chooses?" Matt Lauer asked.
"That is correct," Trump replied.
Six months later, Trump is now the president, and he has changed his stance to one more in keeping with his base—and with the prejudices of appointees in an administration that is beginning to give off the vibes of a regime. Trump issued an order on Wednesday voiding an Obama decree that schools must allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. Jenner described the decision with a word Trump often uses to describe Obama policies.
“This is a disaster,” she said in a Twitter video she termed “a message for President Trump, from, well, one Republican to another.”
She added: “And you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me."
Those who joined Jenner in expressing their shock at the decision came to include Jackie Evancho, the 16-year-old performer who sang the national anthem at Trump's inauguration. She tweeted, as someone with a transgender sister:"I am obviously disappointed in the @POTUS decision to send the #transgender bathroom issue to the states to decide. #sisterlove.”
But Trump has given no sign that he intends to change his position. He decreed that such matters as transgender rights are for the states to decide.
For Trump supporters who applaud his new stance, the problem with states’ rights is that some of the states are freethinking realms such as New York. And within New York State, there is no more free thinking place than the city that is so paradoxically the lifelong home of our president.
Just look at what Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday:
“We affirm the right of every New Yorker to use the bathroom that fits their identity. A new president will not change our values.”
A woman visitor to the tower on Friday afternoon stepped off the escalator that descends to the lower level and asked a plainclothes security man where she might find what she termed “ladies room.”
“Sure hon, straight back and to the right,” the security man replied.
She followed the directions and turned right at a Trump souvenir stand. She came to a marble clad passageway marked “RESTROOMS TELEPHONES.” She passed an alcove that has one of the last pay phones in evidence in midtown Manhattan.
A few steps past this artifact from the past, she came to twin entryways. She took the one to the left that marked WOMEN.
But, if she had chosen to turn right toward MEN, the cop who happened to be walking behind her would have been precluded from doing anything. As if he had better things to do than to police gender separation in a public restroom. Bad enough that NYPD policy precludes cops from assisting ICE in detaining noncriminal undocumented immigrants.
In fact, the officer could have encountered someone he knew to be a transgender undocumented immigrant and he would have been powerless. No doubt Trump would find this "SAD."
But what do you expect from a city that so little appreciates its native son Trump that he had to hold his “homecoming rally” during the campaign out on Long Island?
Back in 2015, Trump was booed by tens of thousands of people when he stepped onto the balcony of his own tower to see Pope Francis arrive at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
“Feo! Feo!” the largely Hispanic crowd chanted in Spanish, which translates to “Ugly! Ugly!”
At least a Trump supporter who visited the tower on Friday could delight in knowing that he was now president and down at the White House and putting the fear of the Donald if not God into all those boo-ers. No doubt some of those who cheered the Pope but chanted “Feo!” at Trump were now cowering at home, fearful that they would be deported.
And, if the MEN and WOMEN facilities in the tower do remain trans-friendly, a visiting Trump supporter could further delight on Friday in the knowledge that "Bathroom Bill" de Blasio was being grilled by federal prosecutors at his lawyer’s office just eight blocks from the tower.
The feds are seeking to determine if de Blasio took contributions in exchange for favored treatment by the city. That is nothing new for a politician. The difference in de Blasio’s case is that he does not seem to have pocketed so much as a penny.
What de Blasio seems to desire is not wealth, but prominence in keeping with his sense of himself. His Trumpian disparaging of the media is accompanied by a Trumpian desire to take a place on the national stage. He proceeded straight from his grilling by the feds to the airport for a flight to Atlanta, where the new head of the Democratic Party will be selected on Saturday.
In the days ahead, De Blasio stands a chance of becoming the first politician to get indicted for taking money with no intention of keeping any of it. But that is not likely to do much to change our president’s hometown.
Trump supporters who visit the restrooms at Trump Tower be warned. And consider this: Caitlyn Jenner remains free to use whichever restroom she wants at Trump Tower.
And Trump has nothing to say about it.