Still blogging with my three co-bloggers! Each week, one of us chooses a topic and we all post a blog entry on that topic, usually on Thursdays. (Usually we are on time. Usually. Ok, mostly. Sometimes? Don’t judge me.)
Here are the links to the other fabulous blogs:
Merryland Girl chose this week, and she asked us to talk about the transgender bathroom controversy.
Sigh. I believe all of my Five Loyal Readers already know where I stand on this issue, given previous FB shares and memes and comments. I’ve been so vocal, I almost don’t see the point in elaborating here, especially since, as I sit down to write this, I am filled with anger that this is even an issue. However, it is, and I do have a lot to say, so I’ll sum up my perspective on this ridiculous “issue” in ten points:
(1) I do not give a single care about who is using the bathroom stall next to me.
(2) I would rather pee next to a transgendered person than a close-minded, uninformed bigot.
(3) I have walked this Earth for many decades, and in that time I have used many, many bathrooms. I’ve used bathrooms in some “edgier” places, like hole-in-the-wall clubs on Hollywood Boulevard and questionable truck stops across the U.S. Statistically, it seems more than possible that in the many years I’ve been alive, I have used a bathroom alongside a transgendered person. I have never ever, not once, not ever, been bothered by anyone in a bathroom (except with a request to share toilet paper).
(4) I do not need any lawmakers to protect me in any public bathroom. I can take care of myself, and I can take care of my daughters. I do not appreciate being victimized in this way. Ignorant lawmakers: do not blame this on me or my gender. Want to help us? Make sure we earn equal wages for equal work. Make insurance companies pay for our birth control. And stop telling us what to do with our bodies.
(5) I know of zero convictions of transgendered people who sexually preyed upon women or children in a public restroom. Zero. To the contrary, most sexual crimes against children involve people the children know and trust. This includes a subsection of the priests I regularly interacted with when I attended more than a decade of Catholic school (thankfully, none of the priests I encountered were ever implicated in this travesty).
(6) When I ask myself why, why, why anyone would fear a transgendered person using the restroom associated with the gender with which s/he identifies, I come up with only this: there exists in our country a group of people who associate homosexuality and transgendered with depravity. The logic is simple, really. If someone is gay, s/he is a pervert. A pervert will behave in a perverse way; i.e., s/he will go into a different sex bathroom just to inappropriately touch someone, especially a helpless child. Because, clearly, gay and/or transgendered equals pedophile.
(7) I have been fortunate enough to know a transgendered person. We shall call her Jenny. Jenny is an attorney. She is divorced and the parent of one child. When I met Jenny, she was in the process of transitioning from male to female. To do so included many, many steps, some physical, many more emotional and interpersonal. Jenny changed her name; she used to be David. She told her ex-spouse about her plans, but even more daunting, she told her then teen-aged daughter. (It did not go well, at least at first.) She called all of her clients to tell them of her transition. (She is fortunate; many of them remained clients.) She began the physical transformation. She started wearing clothes marketed for women. She bought a water bra and began wearing that. She had her teeth filed down (ever notice that men’s teeth are larger than those of women?) and her Adam’s apple shaved. She experimented with make-up and chose some heels. She started taking hormones and saving up for the surgery that would allow her “parts” to match the gender she had been, inside, her whole life.
Jenny told me that, even though the transition was emotionally difficult, it was never really a choice. She could no longer live what had for so long felt like a lie, no matter the consequences. I welcomed Jenny into my home; hell, she even used my bathroom, the same one used by my daughters. And we lived to talk about it!
(8) This issue seriously angers me. It also saddens and scares me. Because underlying this drive is the same feeling that underlies racism and other forms of hatred: fear. People fear what they don’t understand. It’s the true definition of ignorance. But instead of learning, of getting to know someone like Jenny and to maybe even like her, these people channel their fear into hate. And that hate leads to what we are seeing now: movements to ban transgendered people from using the damn bathroom. Much like back when the color of someone’s skin determined where s/he could sit on a bus, which bathroom s/he could use, which drinking fountain was available. I truly see no difference.
I have worked hard to raise my children to be tolerant and understanding, to avoid the easy out of fear and to accept people as they are. Perhaps being the mother of special kids has really brought this issue home; after all, there was a day not long ago that kids like mine were locked in insane asylums, their differences viewed as deficits, their actions misunderstood and thus feared. Again, I see no difference as to the fear and ignorance here.
(9) I’m ashamed to say that my now-home state came close to passing a law forcing transgendered people to use the bathroom matching the sex listed on their birth certificate (how they would enforce this, I neither know nor want to know). Progressive Nashville stepped in to save the day, with musicians and business owners and even the producers of the show Nashville warning that such a law might drive them away. I am sorry it took economics to change the state’s mind (for now; the law was merely tabled). I am also sorry that people have chosen to boycott Target for its position on this issue. More stuff for me, I guess, as I have happily used my RedCard several times since the Target announcement.
(10) Let me end my rant with a story. I know the attorney Jenny because she represented my ex in a child support dispute. I hired my own attorney, an extremely kind and competent man named John. Before the first hearing, I mentioned to John that Jenny was transgendered; I did so not to gossip, but to let him know Jenny’s previous name. I spoke to John after the first hearing, to see how things went. He laughed as he told me that he did not notice that Jenny was a transgendered person, that he completely forgot what I had told him until another attorney he knew pointed it out to him that day. My point is this: Jenny does not want to stand out. She works hard to not stand out. Jenny wants what we all want: to be accepted for who she is -- a parent, an attorney, a friend, someone who was born in a body that did not quite match who she knew herself to be.
I would gladly share a bathroom with Jenny. I would gladly allow my daughters to share a bathroom with Jenny. And I wouldn’t even think twice about sharing a square.