US "bathroom laws", on balance, are justified and beneficial to society.
Debate Rounds (5)
1. The scope of this debate should be limited to the contiguous United States along with Hawaii and Alaska.
2. Kritiks and purely semantic arguments are not allowed or tolerated. This is in place so that we can debate the issue at hand without becoming side-tracked by tangentially related technicalities. Ie, don't make a "nothing can ever *truly* be justified" argument.
3. Forfeits are unacceptable in all non-apocalyptic cases.
4. Burden of Proof is shared. The contender with the strongest argument(s) should win the debate.
5. Spelling/Grammar/Conduct points should only be granted if it is so bad as to impact the debate.
6. "Common sense" statements and facts do not need to be sourced unless their veracity is called into question.
Note that each round has a max character limit of 10,000 characters and the contenders have 48 hours, not 72 hours, to respond to their opponent.
I - Pro initiation, Con Acceptance OR Con Acceptance and opening arguments
II - Opening Arguments OR Pro opening argument and rebuttals.
III- Rebuttals (new arguments are acceptable)
IV - Rebuttals (no new arguments)
V - Closing rebuttals and statements (no new arguments)
Note that Con has the option to present his opening arguments now or wait until Round 2. The former options allows Con extra "space" to argue their point, while the latter is the more "traditional" format.
Lastly, note that you must have completed 5 debates to accept this challenge and you must have an ELO of at least 2,000 to vote. This is in place to insure that the integrity of the debaters and voters is maintained.
I look forward to debating this topic with whoever accepts the challenge.
First of all bathroom laws allowing transgenders to use bathrooms according to their gender identity are completely ridiculous. The men's restroom is called the "MENS restroom" for a reason, just as the women's restroom is called the "WOMENS restroom" for a reason, if the idea was to use whichever bathroom you felt like, they both would be called the "use this one if you want restroom," but they are obviously not. If one day I decide that I am Governor of California because that is my "real identity," should everyone have to play along with my delusions because otherwise its discrimination somehow? (Seriously I don't even think liberals know what the word 'discrimination' means) If a maniac decides that he's a woman even though he's obviously a man, he is entitled to his opinion, and if he's not a danger to himself or others I see no reason why he should be locked up, but that doesn't mean that I have to play along.
I'd like to thank the opponent for so quickly accepting to this debate and positing his opening arguments.
Before I begin with my case, I'd like to make something clear. This debate is 5 rounds long and the maximum character limit has been set as high as possible. Both of these are in place to encourage both debaters to create robust and complete arguments so that this debate is as fruitful as possible. While the opponent's "introductory arguments" are fine for Round 1, I fully expect that they will be threshed out in his following speech. Remember, if you can write your full argument in one paragraph, you probably should be discussing the issue in the forums instead of taking on debates on that issue.
With that said, I'll present my opening arguments and rebut the opponent's introductory case.
1. Transgenderism is not a mental illness, but rather a natural phenomenon.
According to the American Psychological Association, being transgender is not considered to be a mental disorder.  Furthermore, I state it as common knowledge that transgender people do actually exist.
Given these two facts, it can be logical concluded that transgender people actually experience a gender identity that is different than their biological gender. It is important to understand this as a natural phenomenon and not some odd mental illness, as it legitimizes the status of transgender people as citizens deserving of equal rights.
2. Laws that promote equality without doing harm are beneficial for society.
Premise: "Bathroom laws" are pieces of legislation that promote equality.
A person or group is considered "equal", in this context, if they both have access to the same priveleges and opportunities as other groups. Not too long ago, transgender people did not have access to the bathroom matching their gender identity, whereas other members of society did. Under that system, there was clearly a lack of equality present.
It should be mentioned that there is no actual necessity for having bathroom segragated by gender or gender identity, as a "man's" bathroom has all of the necessary facilities to accomodate both sexes. As such, it is not a valid argument to claim that a "mans" bathroom is not capable of supporting biological women, or the inverse.
Premise: Allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their gender identity does not cause noteable harm.
There has never been a case in which a transgender person has used their status to molest someone in the bathroom opposite their biological gender. In other words, there is no empirical evidence that exists implying that this law would cause any increase in bathroom rape, molestation, or voyuerism.
Approaching this from a logical standpoint, it is easy to see why. Predators are often effective because their existence is unnoticed until they commit the crime. It is often fairly easy to tell when someone is transgender (though not always), meaning that they stand out to observers. This is the kind of attention that a sexual predator would never want to have. As such, sexual predators do not and likely will not claim to be "transgender" in order to attack someone.
3. "Bathroom laws" are consistent with the principles and ideals of the United States.
Both the Constitution and Declaration of Independence make it clear that "freedom" is central to the ideology of the United States. The Declaration of Independence loudly declares that "all men are created equal", and large swathes of the Constitution specifically deal with insuring that people's rights can never be taken away.
Our Founding Fathers understood that though people have many different and conflicting beliefs, it is critical that we ensure people's freedoms. Group A's freedoms are more important than Group B's resentment of said freedoms.
Considering this and my previous arguments, it is clear that these laws aren't just beneficial, they are also just. In fact, any law that removes a person's freedoms without due cause works against the ideals of this country and are greatly unjust. These laws do not take away from anyone's freedom, but only adds to those already existent. Laws demanding equality are the most just form of lawmaking in the United States, as they harken back to the ideals that thrust this country into existence so long ago.
The Opponent's Case
The opponent did not say much in his opening arguments, so this will not be a particularly long section. Additionally, there was no clear separation of arguments, so I'll just be following down his speech in order. While I usually to not employ the "quote and respond" rebuttal, the extra space allows me to do such, as it does make things a little more clear. Note that I will be paraphrasing, though I'll strive to retain meaning.
"Bathroom laws are ridiculous."
This statement is an opinion. While it is important that each person holds an opinion, they alone do not carry weight in a debate.
"The men's restroom is called the men's restroom for a reason. Same with women."
I don't contend this. However, it stands to reason that people who consider themselves men would use the men's restroom just as people who consider themselves women would use the women's restroom. The sign on the door does not say "biological men only", but merely says "men". Ask any transgender person who wants to use the men's restroom whether they are a man or woman; you'll find their answer is consistent with the gender displayed on the door.
"If one day I decide I am the Governor of California..."
This is not a parallel example, as a person who truly believed themselves the Governor when they are not would be labeled "delusional". As I proved ealier, being transgender is not considered a mental illness, whereas believing you are the Governor when you aren't would be considered a mental disorder.
"If a maniac decides he's a man ... but I don't see why I should have to play along."
Bathroom laws do not demand that you play along. In fact, unless you are transgender, bathroom laws do not apply to you. You are still welcome to use the bathroom you always have, in the same places you always have, in the same way you always have. Claiming that you should have the privelege to not share a bathroom with a transgender person is the same as a racist claiming he should not have to share a restaurant with a black person.
When you use a public bathroom, there is an understanding that you will be sharing said bathroom with the public. If you have problems with certain members, you have the right not to use the bathroom. You don't, however, have the right to dictate whether others can use the bathroom.
I have demonstrated that "bathroom laws" are just and beneficial to society. I have furthermore demonstrated that my opponent's bare-bones argument does not stand up to reason.
I leave the opponent with this: If there was legislation in Congress to force biological men to use the women's bathroom and vice-versa, you would be furious. This would be understandable -- as you consider yourself a man and, as such, you would like to be able to use the restroom that men use. The exact same issue is what is currently facing transgender people. You may not personally understand what it really means to be transgender and you may fundementally believe that the feeling is a choice or a rouse. Ultimately, though, their motivation for being transgender is none of your business. You don't have to agree with what they are, but you would be doing harm to the ideals of this country by claiming that they don't have the right to be who they are or that they don't have the right to the same priveleges as everyone else.
 - http://www.apa.org...;
My opponent's lengthy response is welcomed, though I'd suggest he stick to posting his arguments to this actual site. When you're typing your argument, you can click the "rich text" button, which will allow you to use various fonts and formatting tools. Google Docs can be problematic for voters and it's generally useful to keep everything here so as to maintain permanence. (Ie, your Google Docs link will likely not last as long as the rest of this debate.)
As for the issue at hand, I will defend my case and rebut the opponent's arguments.
Point 1: Being transgender is not a mental illness.
To combat this point, truman references a single scientist who believes that being transgender is a mental illness. In most every field of science, it is easy to find at least one scientist who believes differently than the general consensus. For instance, it would not be difficult to find a handful of scientists who whole-heartedly believe that gravity is not a real or actual phenomenon. It is important that we look to the consensus of the general scientific community when attempting to talk about scientific ideas.
I have already pointed out that the American Psychiatric Association, the organization that is considered the "who's who" of psyichiatric medicine, recently recategorized "transgenderism" such that it is no longer considered a mental disorder. They further made this their official opinion by updating the de facto psychiatric manual, the DSM-5, to reflect said idea. 
It is critical that we understand that being transgender is not considered a mental disorder, as it invalidates many of the arguments that the opponent makes. In many places, he likens being transgender to "thinking one is the Governor of California" or "being a fish", while in actuality the latter would be considered a delusional mental disorder, while the former is not.
The opponent further claims that transgenders are "not a legitimate group of people". This is again falsified by the existence of the APA's manual changes which directly refer to transgender people as a legitimate group. Beyond that, from a categorical perspective, it cannot be said that transgender people do not define a group of people, as if that were the case we would not be able to specifically refer to them. This is clearly not the case.
Point 2: Laws that promote equality without doing harm are beneficial to society.
Premise: "Bathroom laws" promote equality.
The opponent continuosly references transgenders by their biological gender, while ignoring the reality of their gender identity.
To just claim that "transgender people should use the bathroom matching their gender" is a statement that is innacurate, as it has no actual meaning. "Gender" alone is not a specific enough term, as the APA recognizes that one's "gender" is not just a biological state, but also a mental disposition. By ignoring the scientific consensus that gender is both biology and a mental state, the opponent is effectively avoiding contending the point at hand by assuming a reality that is false, as opposed to addressing the actual situation at hand.
Whether a person can have a gender identity that differs from their biological gender is no longer a philosophical question. It is a scientific consensus reached by the psychiatric community as a whole and it must be considered as such.
Subpoint: Bathrooms are not configured such that one bathroom cannot be used by only one biological sex.
The opponent mentions two points here. First, he says that urinals are used by men, which is true. However, both bathrooms are equipped with stalls, something that can be used by either biological gender. As such, it can't be said that it is anymore difficult for a woman to use a men's bathroom than a woman's bathroom, and vice-versa. If we were to switch to a "single bathroom" (which I'm not suggesting), it would contain urinals and stalls and would not inconvenience either biological gender. The point of this was to state that a woman's bathroom is in no way "special", such that only a biological woman could easily use it, and vice-versa. This means claiming that a bathroom should only suit it's biological gender is unsupported and unfounded.
Truman's second point is unsourced and obviously incorrect. He begins by implying that a woman's bathroom is safer because women have a "near 0% chance of being a pedophile". This number is actually 3% for children over the age of 6 and 12% for children under that age.  The opponent further admits that transgender people are "rarely pedophiles".
Beyond that, this point is largely irrelevant. It is not the case that children only use women's restrooms, as men also take their children into the men's restroom. Not to mention that children are usually escorted by their parents when using the facilities, meaning that no pedophile would have access to that child. Furthermore, there has not been a single reported case in which a trans person used their gender identity to attack someone in the bathroom, as I have previously mentioned.
Premise: Allowing trans people to use the bathroom matching their gender identity does no harm.
The opponent seems to largely agree with this point.
With both of these premises together, it can be concluded that this legislation is beneficial to society and therefore just, which satisfies the requirements of the resolution. In agreeing to this statement, the opponent agrees that no harm comes as a result of this bathroom laws, while I have demonstrated that an increase in equality is a direct result of this legislation. Anything that has benefits, but no harms, is considered to be "net beneficial".
Point 3: Bathroom laws are consistent with the ideals and principles of the US.
The opponent claims, without warrant, that transgender people do not have a lack of equality without bathroom laws. This statement stands in contention with my sourced and logically executed argument regarding gender identity. Before bathroom bills, transgender people were not able to use the bathroom matching their gender identity, whereas everyone else could. This demarkates a clear lack of equality, in every sense of the word.
Furthermore, I never claimed that transgender people can use "whatever bathroom they want", but instead that they can use the bathroom matching their gender identity. This means a trans woman would use the woman's bathroom exclusively, just as trans men would use the men's bathroom exclusively. I am not claiming, nor is it the will of trans folk, that people should simply be able to "go back and forth" as they see fit.
"The men's bathroom is the men's bathroom..."
The opponent here references the definition for "biological gender" without taking into account the general psychiatric consensus that gender identity can differ from biological gender. While it may be "easy" to disregard the rights of trans people by claiming that "gender identity" isn't real, is some choice or is a mental disorder, but that differs from the official psychiatric consensus on the issue, and thus is an unfounded opinion.
"If one day I decided I'm Governor..."
The opponent again disregards the scientific community's judgement on the issue by claiming that there "is no difference" in believing you are male while biological female and believing that you are the Governor of state in which you are not.
The difference is clear, from a psychiatric standpoint. One is considered a healthy mental state, while the other is considered a mental delusion, likely in need of psychiatric help. The same applies if someone believed they were a fish. To deny this distinction is to deny the opinion of the medical community. The opponent certainly cannot be considered an expert in the field, so his opinion of the issue cannot be valued more highly. Instead, we are left with valuing the community's conclusion.
"If a maniac decides he's a man... why do I have to play along?"
The opponent here claims that my racism-transgenderphobia comparison is not apt because "men are more likely to be pedophiles" and "black people and white people" do not share fundementally different genatalia.
This would be a valid argument if a "women's room" could only be used easily by women. As I've already discussed, this is not the case. The separation of bathrooms is largely arbitrary, in that there is no technical need for it. As such, a person's genatalia isn't a reason to discriminate. The claim that "men are more likely to be pedophiles", while true, is again irrelevant. The opponent already admitted trans people aren't likely to be pedophiles, I already explained why trans predators would not be successful and it's the fact that both trans women and trans men exist. Ie, any possible "increase" in pedophilia caused by biological men in women's rooms is offset by a "decrease" in pedophilia caused by biological women in men's rooms.
Given this, it is a fair comparison to claim that a cisgender person cannot ban trans people from sharing a bathroom with them anymore than a racist cannot ban black people from eating in the same restaurant as them. (Or using the same bathroom as them, to bring the metaphor closer.)
On this point, the opponent closes by claiming that "no one is trying to dictate" which bathrooms trans people use. This is an outright falsehood, as states like North Carolina (a place without a bathroom bill) are specifically dictating that a trans person cannot use the bathroom matching their gender identity.
I'm flat out of space. I'll conclude by stating the the opponent is choosing to ignore the opinion of the medical community, and is basing his arguments off such. Unless he can prove that the scientific community generally considers transgenderism to be a mental illness, from a reliable source, his arguments don't hold water.
I look forward to round 3.
 - http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com...;
 - http://abcnews.go.com...;
I want it to be absolutely clear that DDO's rich text feature fully supports a variety (~10) fonts and font sizes ranging from 8pt to 32pt. I again ask that the opponent keep the argument here as the generally accepted rules demand. It is unfair that I should be burdened by a 10,000 character argument while the opponent can provide a 10 page argument. (This argument included my argument, word-for-word. So in reality, the opponent provided a 13,000 character argument, according to Google Docs' word count feature.)
The opponent's arguments all stem from a central misunderstanding or unwillingness to understand that I will clarify here.
There are two important terms that we need to know the difference between. The first is "biological gender", sometimes called "sex". It refers to the physical attributes that separate two members of the same species into distinct groups characterized by reproductive function. In other words, genitalia, chromosomes, and hormones all define someone's biological gender.
The next is "gender identity", which refers to a person's interpretation of their own feelings regarding which gender they feel like they should naturally express. As a relevant example, a transwoman has the gender identity of a woman, in that she feels as if she has all the characterstics of a female, including behaviors and mannerisms, but not that she is a biological woman. A transwoman is aware that she is a biological man.
One can get a sense of "gender identity" by imagining oneself as having been surrounded by men and women growing up, but without the knowledge of one's own sex. This includes no knowledge of one's own genitalia, chromosomes or hormones. Imagining this scenario, most people believe that they would know their own gender. This feeling of knowledge regarding one's gender is their "gender identity" and this identity does not always correspond with one's biological sex.
The opponent's arguments all make the assumption that "gender identity" does not exist in any meaningful way and that the conversation regarding bathrooms should be strictly relegated to the biological gender. This assumption by the opponent ignores the reality that many claim to have a gender identity, ignores the psychiatric consensus that gender identity is real, and blatantly disregards the fact that the term "gender identity" definitionally exists.
As such, the opponent is largely saying "obviously a man would use the man's bathroom, as a man has biological markers indicating male-ness, and this is all that matters". He completely disregards that I am not making my arguments based upon biological gender at all, but instead gender identity. Therefore, he is not actually clashing with my arguments in any meaningful way, but is instead maintaining a reality that does not hold true and arguing under the assumption of that reality.
Another important aspect of the opponent's assumption concerns whether transgenderism is a mental illness. If we can reasonably conclude that it is not (or is more likely to not be, given the shared burden of proof), then the opponent's arguments completely lose all validity.
As I mentioned, the American Psychiatric Association, which is considered the de facto psychiatric "source" in the United States, does not consider transgenderism to be a mental disorder. The opponent argues that "they are wrong and I am right" on the basis that he has an argument as to why it is a disorder, whereas I did not present the APA's actual logic on the matter. So at this point, I'll first discuss why the APA considers transgenderism not to be a mental illness, then show why the opponent's comparative argument is not a valid comparison and argument.
A mental illness is defined as "some mental state that brings about significant distress or disability". It was found that being transgender did not in and of itself bring about significant amounts of either of these two qualities.
It is a common misapplication of statistics when it is said that "transgenders are 40% more likely to commit suicide" or any similar statistic. This is not because it is technically false, but because it does not explain the whole situation. Allow me to elaborate:
Transgender people are no more likely to commit suicide than a "normal" person whenever they a) have the support of their family and b) have the support of their friends.  It is when they lose either or both of these support groups that their suicidality begins to increase. This largely makes sense, as being abandoned by those we consider our support system can cause an increase in anxiety and depression.
The important thing to note here is that society's reaction to a mental state cannot be considered as part of the mental state. A transgender person who has the support they require are not any more likely to hurt themselves or be distressed than anyone else.
As for "disability", this is where the opponent's argument comes into play. He essentially states that "a person who wishes to have a limb removed is clearly ill, so transgenderism is the same because transgender people wish to surgically alter their body". There is a key difference here, though -- that being that the former example clearly causes disability, while the latter does not.
Anytime someone loses a limb, they are considered to be disabled because they are no longer able to easily do what a fully limbed person can. The same cannot be said about transgender people, as a surgical sex change does not stop a person from doing what the normal person of the sex they've "switched to" can. Ie, the "average" transwoman and the average biological woman can both do the same things, equally as well. (Arguably, the transwoman would have some physical advantages due to their male hormones, but this cannot be called a disability.)
So given that transgenderism does not fit the definition of "mental illness" and given that the opponent's argument is an incorrect comparison, we are left with the conclusion that trans people are indeed not mentally ill, simply due to their transgender state.
The Case, Rehashed
We will again go over the case with the previous arguments in mind and see why the opponent's arguments are all essentially the same thing, which I showed was invalid in the above to arguments.
Being Transgender is not a mental illness.
This is specifically addressed above. The mentioned BIID is not an apt comparison to transgenderism, as one promotes a disability where the other does not.
Laws that promote Equality without doing Harm are Beneficial to Society.
Premise 1: Bathroom laws promote equality.
The opponent's two arguments here are 1) people don't get to choose their biological sex and 2) experts do not define truth.
The latter argument was countered above in demonstrating the APA's logical conclusion on why transgenderism isn't a mental illness.
The first argument is irrelevant, as I have demonstrated that transgender people don't believe they are physically a different sex than they are, but that they instead have a different gender identity. Given the statistical prevalence of people displaying different gender identities than that which matches the biological sex, it cannot be said that gender identity does not exist. We've already concluded that it's not a mental illness, so with these two facts we know that transgender people are a legitimate group of people.
It is an increase in equality when transgender people are allowed the same liberty of using the bathroom matching their gender identity just like every other group can. To make this extra clear, I'd like to again say that everyone currently has the right to use the bathroom matching their biological sex. Only some people have the right to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.
Allowing transgender people to use the bathroom matching their gender identity does no harm.
The opponent here brings up a few examples of when this has not been the case. To be fair, 3/4 of these cases were documented (the third was not). It's important to note, however, that these all happened in areas where it was currently not legal to use the bathroom matching your gender identity.
I am by no means claiming that people will not break the law and abuse people in the bathroom. It is a fact that this type of behavior has happened since the dawn of public bathrooms and there is little way to effectively stop it. People will always commit crimes.
But this does bring up that the point that predators have no issue breaking the law to commit their crime. Regardless of whether bathroom laws exist, predators will still enter the "correct" and "incorrect" bathrooms to assault their victims. "Bathroom police" do not exist and regardless of whether these laws exist, the people who wish to commit a bathroom crime will.
It cannot be said that bathroom bills themselves will increase the frequency of bathroom crime. If some predator A wishes to assault women, he can just as easily dress up as a woman and illegally enter a woman's restroom as he could legally do it. There is no reason to believe that some predators who are unwillingly to illegally enter a bathroom and illegally rape someone is more likely to do so if they can legally enter the restroom, as the rape itself is illegal and punishable more harshly than using the "wrong" bathroom.
Given this, we can see that there is no reason to believe a significant increase in crime will result. (As a matter a fact, since the introduction of these bills, we haven't seen an increase in this type of assault.) So the contention that bathroom bills cause no harm remains true.
Because I am following the rules, I am about out of characters. I'll conclude by stating that I've shown my opponent's arguments to be illegitimate and that bathroom laws are justified and beneficial to society via the equality that they increase and they harm they do not do.
1 - http://www.huffingtonpost.com...;
My opponent continues to post arguments outside the confines of DDO, despite me asking multiple times for him to stop that behavior. Considering that this is a debate I began, it does not seem unreasonable to ask the opponent to respect my wishes on the matter. I urge voters to float the conduct point to me.
I'll be using a google doc to respond to the opponent's argument. My response may well be long and obtuse due to a lack of character restrictions, but my opponent has gone over multiple times so I am due to the same right.
Lastly, as an FYI:
Multiple fonts are supported in the rich text feature. These are located directly at the top under the "font family" button. Naturally, one has to switch to "rich text" to find these options, but rich text is pretty clearly marked directly above the text input field. My opponent would do well to familiarize himself with this mechanic, as it allows one to use whatever font suits your fancy. Not only are multiple font families available, but they come in a variety of different sizes depending upon how big you want your text.
I hope that clarifies things. Here is the Google Doc containing my closing argument and final remarks. I'd like to thank the voters in advance for their patience, their time and their vote.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.