Where Do Transwomen in Adidas Sweatshops Go to the Bathroom?; and Other Questions

• March 27, 2017 4:26 pm


As I write this, the top story on the website of the Washington Post appears—tellingly, I think—under the "Entertainment" tab: "How AP tallied the cost of North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill.'"

The un-bylined authors of the piece seem to believe that it is possible to determine the "cost"—a staggering $3.6 billion—of legislation decreeing that North Carolinian men use the men's rather than the women's room and vice versa. I love this kind of thing. Who wouldn't want to learn that the ludicrous behavior of the governor and legislature will cost The Economy* $52 million—not $53 or $51.667 million—on the basis of a decision by a company called Voxpro not to "bring hundreds of call-center jobs to the Raleigh area"?

Still, the piece left me with more questions than it answered. For example:

 1. Where do transwomen who work in Adidas sweatshops in China, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia go the bathroom?

I ask because according to the AP:

The AP used figures from North Carolina and Georgia to compute a value of about $67 million for the decision by Adidas not to choose North Carolina for a factory.

The shoe and apparel company was considering a High Point site and visited about a week before the law passed, according to state economic development emails. They show that soon after the law passed, a top Adidas executive sought a meeting with Commerce Secretary John Skvarla to discuss the law’s implications. By late June, North Carolina Economic Development Partnership recruiter Evan Stone bemoaned that the company’s "site location decision is imminent, and High Point was the preferred site but is being rejected solely on the basis of recent legislation."

The mainstream media has been less interested in this kind of thing in recent years, but there is still some scattered good reporting on the vile conditions in which people work to produce ugly-looking expensive athletic footwear marketed to the poor and middle classes in the United States. The British human rights organization Payfair found recently that Adidas workers in China are being forced to work from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. and that overtime is compulsory in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines in order to meet production quotas. Meanwhile, none of these countries recognizes same-sex nuptials. "Rights of citizens like going to school and getting an ID card are protected, but there is no room in Indonesia for the proliferation of the LGBT movement," a spokesman for President Joko Widoo recently told the AFP. Your average Sri Lankan transwoman, assuming she is allowed to use any bathroom, is probably sticking to the one meant for persons of her birth sex. Will the German-based company move sneaker production to Vermont any time soon?

2. Why doesn't Deutsche Bank pull out of Kazahkstan and more than half of their other locations?

I wonder because per the same AP report it has been "estimated that a Deutsche Bank project in Cary would pump about $47 million annually into the economy once fully staffed at 250 jobs in 2017. The September 2015 analysis predicted a total impact of about $543 million by the end of 2027. But the company announced it was halting plans because of the law."  I remember what the spokesman said at the time: "We take our commitment to building inclusive work environments seriously." Presumably the German financial corporation and well-known advocate of the marginalized and poor across the globe will be suspending its operations in Russia, Uganda, Bahrain, Cameroon, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and more than a score of other countries in which homosexual activity is proscribed—to say nothing of "marriage equality," "bathroom equality," and numerous other thus-far unrealized equalities in these less woke nation-states. After all, North Carolina has a new governor, and the Supreme Court could very well locate bathroom rights somewhere in the Constitution any day now. I am less optimistic about the prospects for non-cis elementary school boys to use the commode of their choice in countries in which coeducation is itself unheard of.

3. What the hell is VoxPro?

Is this a real company?

*I also have some questions about "The Economy," by the way. No one seems to have heard of it until partway through the last century. Was it hiding, like quasars or the bit about abortion in the Fourteenth Amendment—or did someone invent it? Email me if you have any info on this.