“In the United States and other countries, a bathroom bill is a bill that seeks to allow or ban transgender individuals from using public facilities (particularly bathrooms) that correspond to their gender identity (as opposed to the sex they were assigned at birth).” (Wikipedia)
In Second Life (SL), everyone’s gender identity is in question at least some of the time. Female avatars are often called out – and often correctly so – as being a male in so-called Real Life (RL)*. But I think that for serious residents of our virtual space, gender presentation is considered to be very fluid and variations are usually accepted. At least it is in my circles. So many people I know mismatch SL genders and body parts against RL ones on a recurring basis.
At one time, this bothered me but back then I was dealing with Androphobia (the fear of adult men) on the meatspace side of the keyboard. Lots of therapy in and out of Second Life has made this more tolerable and has helped shape my opinions of gender identity. Which makes me wonder about bathroom bills.
And it makes me wonder about the non-human bias that you’ll find in many places in SL, including the beach I’m sitting on while I write this post. “Be Human – Beachwear or Nude” is even in the land name. Yes, I like it here. Enough that I paid money for both my wife and I to have access to the property. This isn’t the first time I have paid, either. We belong to another beach that won’t let me be my preferred skin color (blue) or wear Neko bits, though that one is so sparsely populated I’m often the only one there.
Not that I’ve officially asked, but I’ve yet to hear an official answer from any place that discriminates on species choice. Any response would be based purely on un-reasoned bias, regardless of how they might word it. Sounds like I have a bias, huh?
Yes, I do. I’m a shape-shifter. I’m human, I’m blue human, I’m dragon, I’m kitty, and I’m WhatTheHeckIsThisAvatar, too. It seems a shame to not take advantage of what SL offers. Even many folks who I know are die-hard about their daily avatar have been known to dip into the fantastic now and then. But I’m also tolerant. If someone requires a certain appearance to enter property that they own and I really want to visit, I’ll oblige. And I love changing avatars to fit in when I visit more public spaces (Say Hello to my Tiny Friends) and the change is voluntary.
I sure hope, however, that public spaces in Second Life do NOT discriminate on gender appearance/actuality or on species or other criteria. Sure, there have to be some age restrictions. Heaven knows we don’t want the kids to see a woman’s breasts to distract them from the unrealistic portrayals of women in magazines and comic books or in movies or on TV.
Murder and blood and death bother me. Why is it so easy to regulate bathrooms but not guns? Why make a fuss over someone’s virtual appearance when they are simply expressing who they are inside their actual appearance. I mean, what is human?
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*Real Life being that world where the computers we use to access Second Life are located. It is merely a location reference and does not refer to an actual anything. Or does it?
** Why “human” in that picture? Well, the ears are kinda pointy, but I was trying a new skin from Lumae that I got for a bargain price and I was ready to head out to the beach mentioned above.
An NSFW version of this post’s image can be found here on Flickr.