The Emperor’s New Clothes and the ‘Bathroom Bills’: Fundamental Human Philosophy and the Cost to the Corporate Boardroom


the_emperor__s_new_clothes_i_by_roweigArt credit to Robert Weigand,, downloaded 4/20/16 from Google Images

There is a fairy-tale told about the two slick salesmen in medieval times who presented themselves as tailors to the wealthy, and sold their wares so well that they created ‘the’ fashion trend of their time.  Soon enough, the King of the land hears of their skills and has them called for a command performance.  So cunning, so well placed their comments, they convince him that the clothing they have made for him is impeccable and no one dare comment negatively concerning what the King was wearing.  The King, or the Emperor as you may have guessed, had no clothes on save whatever an illustrator of the story would give him.  And not until a youth in the crowd hollered out “Look, the Emperor is naked” does anyone else have the courage to laugh at the King’s foolishness.

The same story has come to the company where I work.  Caught up in the question posed under the guise of diversity, a corporate letter was sent out across the country to reassure certain parties and reaffirm for all others that the company is fully behind its diversity program and all are welcome under the corporate umbrella.  Unfortunately for the CEO, he has stepped into a melee of national social and political argument over who can use which bathroom and shower.  Yes, the CEO’s letter was prompted, at least in part, by the Charlotte N.C. ordinance over the LGBT raised question of who can use which bathroom.

I have to wonder who is really thinking this through vs. those who are just letting it roll on as one more news story that ‘just-doesn’t-affect-me’.  Unfortunately, this is going to affect everyone, especially since a federal judge has overturned a school board policy in Virginia requiring a transgender student to use the female facilities.

Factories, few as they may be in this country any more, still have segregated facilities for the workers.  Women use the women’s showers and baths and men use the men’s shower’s and baths.  This is more than just a ‘bathroom bill’ as the lobbyists and media would have us believe in their promos.  The question affects a fundamental process of personal hygiene and privacy we have insisted on in this country for a couple of centuries now.  It will spread eventually to all public facilities, including public and private swimming pools, tennis clubs, construction plans and every other place where ‘bathrooms’ are required to be built and accessible to the public.

So, CEOs, managers, and sole proprietors, get ready for the next round of legal battles and policy rewrites to decide who will stand next to the rest of us in those showers, locker rooms, and toilets.  When will someone with some real power finally shout “The Emperor is naked”? because this argument will find us where we are all ‘exposed’.


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