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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