Ben Carson proposes separate but equal bathrooms for trans people

Insisting that he is for equal rights, but not for “extra” rights, Ben Carson proposed earlier today that, if we’re really so insistent about accommodating trans people we should just give them separate bathrooms. You know, so they don’t make the rest of us “uncomfortable.”

Asked by Fusion’s Jorge Ramos how he felt about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance’s defeat at the polls on Tuesday, Carson flatly suggested that creating separate bathrooms just for transgender people to use would be preferable to letting trans people use bathrooms of the gender with which they identify. As he continued:

It’s one of the things that I don’t particularly like about the movement. I think everybody has equal rights, but I’m not sure that anybody should have extra rights — extra rights when it comes to redefining everything for everybody else and imposing your view on everybody else. The way that this country was designed, it was “live and let live,” and that’s the way I feel.

Ben Carson, screenshot via YouTube

Ben Carson, screenshot via YouTube

I’m not sure if Carson was being entirely serious, as his tone in answering the question was abrupt and dismissive. I’m also pretty sure that Carson doesn’t understand that all trans people wouldn’t want to use the same bathroom under one trans demarcation, meaning that for his proposal to work, it would require literally doubling the number of non-gender-neutral bathrooms in places of public accommodation.

Also, not for nothing, how is mandating the creation of separate bathrooms for trans people less of an “extra” right than letting them use regular bathrooms in the first place?

As ThinkProgress’s Zack Ford pointed out, the idea of creating a separate bathroom for trans people was the actual plot of a South Park episode last year, although I doubt that’s where Carson got the idea.

It’s also worth noting that Ramos interjected when Carson insisted that he has a “live and let live” attitude toward LGBT people by reminding him that he is opposed to same-sex marriage. As if he thought that someone else pointing out this rather obvious hypocrisy would get Carson to admit that he’s wrong.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • slidesix

    The easiest and least costly solution might be to keep the “men” and “women” bathrooms for those who are hetero just as we have them and then provide bathrooms marked “alternative” for everyone else. Problem solved.

  • 2karmanot

    Particularity when they look like children and TALK loudly because, you know, old.

  • 2karmanot

    In Ben think: technically, black is not a color. Problem solved.

  • 2karmanot

    True that, sometimes one needs a pogo stick just to navigate the distance.

  • 2karmanot

    GET OFF MY LAWN! Pee on my neighbor’s lawn.

  • DanInHouston

    I’m sure the republican business community would love to retrofit every public bathroom to provide for transgender use. Full employment for plumbers.

  • Transgender folks don’t choose their gender any more than you chose to be gay or straight.

  • B00Z

    This notion that trans people should be allowed to use the bathroom of whatever sex they choose to be is BS. Use the bathroom that matches the genitalia between your legs. It’s that simple. And the idea that separate bathrooms should be included for Trans people is bullshit. Just imagine how many bathrooms across the country will sit idle, never to be used. It’s not like trans folks make up any kind of significant percentage of humans.

    Or better yet, just do away with separate facilities for males and females and the problem is solved.

  • KCD8534

    yep

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  • Ben Carson changes his “I stabbed a kid and found God” story yet again, probably prompted by the fact CNN couldn’t find any classmates of his who remembered anything of the sort.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/11/05/carson-stabbing-was-of-close-relative.html

    Now he claims it was a close relative. After decades of lying about this particular event — which increasingly is looking like it never happened — he wants us to believe he’s basically an honest guy.

  • crazymonkeylady

    How about a separate but equal bathrooms for Republican Neurosurgeons of Color? What a buffoon.

  • Don Chandler

    Actually, don’t really know any! I did have a very hard time with one that insisted that I allow a nurse to put a tube up my nose and into my stomach. But that was NOT very sociable.

  • Don Chandler

    They had to plan ahead for the temperament of god and space was a commode[ity]

  • nicho

    Why not just separate bathrooms for everyone? If you’re going to have group bathrooms, you’re going to have all different types of people in there. Get over it. But I’ve been in places where they had individual WCs that any gender could use. Worked fine.

  • nicho

    Oh, yeah. They can be quite off-balanced, and the more specialized they are, the more off-balanced they seem to be. But that seems to be common in any profession.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    The ancient Egyptians built trans-only bathrooms as places to store grain.

  • nicho

    Already on my “skip” list

  • Don Chandler

    hehe, yeah, I also came up with a few more exceptions too.

  • mf_roe

    Might want to skip rustic areas in South East Asia.

  • Don Chandler

    Ben, the neurosurgeon, wants to redesign the bathroom even though it isn’t broke and can accomodate all. Yeah, his solution would definitely break it. He is clueless. He needs to read about transgenders and the brain. I think he’s also forgetting that we all used the same bathroom when we lived in a family. We’ve seen a lot of things, Ben. The only thing that makes me uncomfortable in a bathroom is when the stall door omitted…well, that and a french bathroom with a hole in the ground.

  • Bill_Perdue

    That’s as bigoted as the Democrats support for second class marriage – civil unions – at one time supported by BS, the Clinton’s, Obama, Biden and etc.

  • Doug105

    Ok, I’ve seen a few say they would find another doctor just for fox news in the waiting room, mine has this but its an office with a fair number of doctors, nurse, and older patients, so in till he goes anti-vaxx/organic-crazy I’ll stay with mine.

  • Indigo

    Oh, I’m not talking about my physician, I’m talking about social acquaintances. MDs are often surprisingly nuts when you get acquainted with them socially. It’s frankly alarming to me how under-informed several of them that I know personally are. Unbelievable ignorance outside their field.

  • mf_roe

    White Unisex and Colored Unisex? I’m 66, the signs usually just read restrooms the white was understood. This is actually a step forward, at least the Colored were provided facilities in this building. Some found this offense as in allowing draft animals equal status.

  • mf_roe

    Medicine is a religion, a closed religion unaccountable to outsiders. Try to get a critical appraisal of a medical professional out of another medical practitioner. I’m not talking about one Dr badmouthing a procedure that he is getting to redo. I’m talking about serious advice about avoiding Dr. X given to you as a referral. They constantly cover up each others mistakes and eventually they themselves don’t know how to be honest in their dealings. The kickbacks many accept for proscribing certain drugs, using certain tests, using certain facilities destroy their moral compasses. Many wander a wasteland devoid of values other than wealth and status.

  • Maybe Mental Ben thinks there was no problem at all with *THESE* signs, since they once existed to keep people from feeling ‘uncomfortable’:

    http://www.toadhaven.com/images/restrum2.jpg

  • Doug105

    How reality-challenged, and are you sure about not finding someone else?

  • Indigo

    Am I the only one here who has occasional interactions with a member of the medical profession who seems equally reality-challenged?

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