I had been mostly ignoring the transgender bathroom issue, believing in my core that it was simply a function of old, misinformed people running the show in the states where this has become an issue. I still think that’s true, but for some reason, likely triggered by a family member posting something on FaceBook about boycotting Target because of their bathroom policy (which may not even be their policy), this has come to the front of my brain, and this is where the front of my brain comes to the page.
On the surface, this whole thing seems silly to me. It seems to be somehow rooted in a fear of something happening that reportedly never happened before: a transgender person sexually assaulting a person (particularly a child) of the opposite sex, but same gender identification. Let me put this more plainly, people somehow recently became afraid that a man would dress like a woman in order to gain access to the women’s bathroom so he can watch women use the bathroom. I can appreciate that people want to be left alone while they use the bathroom, I’m a silent-while-peeing-in-public kind of guy myself, but I’m not sure the gender of the person talking to me makes a difference. I think Stephen Colbert’s view on this is funny, and I agree that the people who are spending time passing laws to protect us from something that seems to have never happened before are the “weirdos” in this situation.
It’s hard for me to imagine what they’re all upset about, but this seems a lot like the same mindset that said homosexuals shouldn’t adopt children because in some people’s (misinformed) heads, homosexuals and pedophiles were the same thing. A fundamental misunderstanding that gender identity and sexual preference are the same thing (we know that they aren’t), and perhaps some confusion between cross-dressing and transgender people. This helpful guide from GLAAD probably should have been required reading for any of the lawmakers dealing with these issues, and any of the people who are all up in arms about them.
I think that Curt Shilling illustrated how a lot of people feel about it with the meme he posted (that got him fired).
I think for some people, when they hear transgender, this is what they picture. The meme has so many problems that aren’t even worth addressing, but if we follow the main point of it, it might get us somewhere. If the law is about keeping people safe, or making them feel safe, in bathrooms, that’s admirable. I had a conversation with my wife this morning about this. She made it clear that a woman’s bathroom can be both a place for refuge, but also a fearful place. Being in a woman’s bathroom with other women can offer a sense of protection, an escape from leering eyes. At the same time, being alone in a woman’s room can be anxiety provoking. She said that if the bathroom is off the beaten path, far down a back hall, she might startle a bit if the door opens while she’s in there. I can appreciate that, and I can get behind laws that protect women in that situation. But laws forcing transgender people to use the bathroom of their birth sex actually works against that. I did a google image search for “female to male transgender” and the screenshot of the first results is here:
With these laws in place, these people, who identify as men, many of which are sexually attracted to women, are forced to use a woman’s bathroom, and prohibited from using a men’s room. That doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Probably doesn’t make sense to the people who support it either….