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厕所竟被赋予如此重要的政治地位
Bathrooms have gained unprecedented political status in North America

配备坐便器和淋浴设施的厕所本是我们日常生活中最微不足道的东西,但是近年来它们在北美却被赋予前所未有的政治地位。LGBT(同性恋、双性恋及跨性别人士)群体曾一再利用厕所作为争取民事权利保障的武器,厕所问题也日渐成为政府和政党间的政治辩论焦点。在去年加拿大联邦大选中,某些候选人为争取族裔选票而利用厕所大造其势,煽动恐怖氛围。

Bathrooms with toilets and showers are the most trivial concerns in our daily life, but they have gained unprecedented political status in North America in recent years. They have been repeatedly used as weapons by the LGBT community to fight for its civil rights protections, and become a focal point of political contention between governments and political parties. In the last federal election in Canada, it was used as a fear mongering tool by campaign candidates to win voters from some ethnic communities. 


目前,北卡罗来纳州已经通过一项州法律,规定人们只能使用与出生性别相吻的厕所。但是LGBT群体认为,如果政府不通过立法确保他们有权按照其“认定性别”,而非出生性别入公厕的话,他们的权利就受到侵犯。LGBT群体不断高涨的呼声赢得了商界的广泛支持,并给当地经济造成巨大影响。美国一些大企业甚至威胁称,它们会将公司从那些无视LGBT群体诉求,或通过立法而强迫跨性别人士使用与出生性别相吻的厕所的州份。

In North Carolina, it has passed a state law mandating that people use bathroom that match their biological sex. But the LGBT community believes that their rights are infringed if the government doesn’t pass a law to ensure their rights to access public washrooms corresponding to their “gender identity”, as opposed to their sex at birth. The escalating demands of LGBT have gained widespread supports from the business community and had a huge economic impact on the economy. Several enterprises in the US have threatened to move their business out of the states that have ignored the LGBT’s demands or legislatively force transgender people to use bathrooms aligning with their sex at birth.

 
随着反对该项州立法的声浪愈演愈烈,利益相关者和权益倡导者纷纷开始采取行动。来自全国各地的近200名企业大亨们齐声敦促有关州份废除相关法律,称企业会因此更加难以招募人才,从而会影响业务发展。目前,支付巨头PayPal以及德意志银行都已经中止在北卡罗来纳州的扩张计划,据报道一些备受瞩目的会议也纷纷避开该州,还有些组织机构则取消了原定即将在北卡大城市举行的大型活动以示抗议。据估计,富有争议的厕所法案已经导致北卡损失逾$250万美元,这其中还不包括因一些会议和活动取消而造成的经济损失。

Opposing to the state legislation, stakeholders and activists have taken action. Nearly 200 corporate leaders from across the country have urged these states to have the law repealed, arguing it’s bad for business because it makes it more difficult to recruit talented employees.  In North Carolina, PayPal and Deutsche Bank have frozen their expansion plans, high-profile conferences are reportedly avoiding the states, and the upcoming events short listing the state’s largest cities have been cancelled by organizations in their protests. It is estimated the controversial law has already cost more than $2.5 million US along in lost spending from cancelled conferences and events.

 
随着抗议不断升级,有关州份亦陷入了政治和法律论战。美国司法部指控北卡罗来纳州厕所法案违反民权法案,并威胁称会将该州政府告上法庭并会取消联邦拨款。

The escalating fight also has turned these states into political and legal battlegrounds. The US Justice Department has accused the North Carolina state law of violating the civil rights legislation, threatening the government with lawsuits and withdrawal of federal funding.

 
在加拿大,厕所法案也曾引发激烈的政治辩论。2015年,新民主党提出厕所法案,力图将性别认同纳入禁止歧视的范围,但是保守党把持的参议院后来对该法案进行了大刀阔斧的修正,将监狱、应急中心和公共厕所等地都列入法案豁免范畴。该项修正案似将厕所法案置于死地,但是自由党政府最近已宣布推出新法案保护加拿大跨性别人士免受歧视和暴力侵害。

In Canada, the Bathroom Bill had also prompted fierce political debates. In 2015, the NDP proposed a bill that sought to include the definition of gender identity under prohibited grounds for discrimination, but the bill was later gutted by the Conservative Senate amendment, which exempts places like prisons, crisis centres, and public washrooms from the bill's provisions. The amendment seems to have flushed the bill down the toilet, but the Liberal government has announced a new legislation to protect transgender Canadians against discrimination and violence.

 
具有讽刺意味的是,厕所法案曾在华裔社区引发恐惧氛围,并因此产生了一些荒唐可笑的“副作用”。在去年联邦大选期间,一些候选人就曾利用厕所法案散播恐惧,以拉拢单纯幼稚的华裔选民。由于对解该法案的意图以及其背后的争议毫不知情,许多华裔选民都被某些卑劣的竞选手段击中而落入圈套,竟误认为一旦该法案通过将会不可避免地导致男女在公共厕所里将同厕同浴的结局。陡然间,厕所成了人们最关注的问题,并令很多人士心生恐惧。无论是在家庭餐桌上还是私人窃窃私语之际,厕所都成了不可避免的中心话题。 

Ironically, the bathroom bill had sparked fears and generated some bizarre and ridiculous side effects in the Chinese community.  During last year’s federal election campaign, some candidates used the bill as a fear mongering tool to target unsophisticated voters in the community. Ignorant on the purpose of the bill and the controversy behind it, many of them fell into a trap of dirty campaign tactics, believing that allowing the bill to pass will inevitably lead to an outcome that men and women will share the same toilets and showers in the public washrooms. Overnight, bathrooms became the most concerned issue and a source of fear among the many, and the topic of bathrooms had dominated the conversations at family dinner tables and private discussions. 

 
虽然在大选尘埃落定数月后,华裔社区内的厕所恐惧情绪已渐渐消退,但厕所法案所引发的争议以及围绕其展开的政治角逐却远远没有结束。

Months after the election, the bathroom fear has been subsided in the community, but the fight over bathroom bill and the political battles around it has been far from over.

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