Letter from the Publisher Opinion

Not Very Ladylike

Maura Mumball Lane

“That’s not very lady like.”

It could have been how I was sitting, the language I used or forgetting my tissue. My mother used this phrase quite often with me. She was a trooper and did her best to outfit me in the cutest little girl frilly dresses, patent leather shoes and dainty hats. She did this often on Sundays for mass, but as soon we got home, I dashed to my room to change into my jeans and a t-shirt.

I do love how I feel when I am well-coiffed and wearing a stunning outfit, but I think the last time I wore a skirt was for the office holiday party, and it was a Christmas tree skirt.

A stick figure wearing a skirt is the universal women’s bathroom symbol. I am old fashioned; I call it “The Ladies Room.”

A really good ladies room will have bright mirrors for applying your makeup, full length mirrors for adjusting your outfit, and tissue boxes for ladylike behavior.  In nightclubs, you might even find a host to sell you anything from a lighter to lipstick. We have our own stalls, and we are great at sparing a square when needed. The Ladies Room is a place where anyone who identifies with being a lady should be welcome.

I don’t think North Carolina is being very ladylike. House Bill 2(HB2) The Public Facility Privacy and Security Act which was hastily passed last week by Governor Pat McCory restricted cities’ abilities to pass antidiscrimination measures. The result? Transgender people who have not taken surgical and legal steps to change their gender on their birth certificates have no legal rights to use the bathroom of their choice.

According to McCory, “I have legislation passed by a bipartisan majority to stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette which was to go into effect April 1.”

Basic privacy and etiquette? What would Miss Manners say? Etiquette is the customary code of polite behavior among members of a particular group.

Is the particular group the “ladies in the room” or the legislature that thinks they understand the ladies in the room?

Governor McCory points to the threat of sexual predators storming into the girl’s bathroom in heels and dresses ready to attack. It’s a matter of public safety. Seriously? It seems to me that if a dangerous character wanted in, they could do so birth certificate or not.

According to WikiHow, #6 Rule for being ladylike is to be respectful of others. Being a lady isn’t just about looking or behaving properly on the outside. It involves being a good person on the inside. Offer your help to those in need. This can be as simple an act as helping an elderly person carry his groceries. What about opening the ladies room door for our transgender neighbor?

This mess worries me about North Carolina. This bill is a matter of hate and bigotry. I lived there as a little kid and one of my sisters lives in Raleigh. They have magical beaches, lip-smacking barbeque, champion golf courses, Wake Forest, the Research Triangle, white water rafting, fly fishing, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and High Point furniture shopping.

“Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning.’” Well they can kiss the gay tourism goodbye if they keep this up. We can elect to spend our hard earned vacation money someone else. We’ll skip the Outer Banks and Asheville.  Try holding on to the corporations who value diversity and tolerance when you blatantly disregard the emotions of a transgender person feeling regulated to an uncustomary code of behavior. It’s uncustomary to walk into a gents’ room when you identify as a lady.