The Bathroom Bill

The news is all abuzz over the bathroom bill. What’s in question is whether or not Transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender of which they are, and not be forced to use the bathroom of the gender of which they were born.

Honestly it seems clear cut to me. If you live as a woman, the women’s bathroom is for you. If you live as a man, the men’s bathroom is for you. There is no need to complicate it, being born with a penis does not a man make. Likewise, being born with a vagina does not make a woman. And I dare anyone to argue against that logic.

Transgender people have their own experiences and hardships.  But they are no different than you and I in that they are also people, with feelings and needs. They are our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers. We need to stop and listen to what they are telling us. We can’t understand what it’s like to be stigmatized for doing what everyone else freely and safely does, using the bathroom.

Trans people are not in the bathroom to harass you. They are not child molesters. They are not dangerous. The only thing Trans people want to do is use the bathroom safely. Being Transgender is not new, there have always been Transgender people, but being Transgender has not readily been accepted in history. To my knowledge they have NEVER caused us any harm. They only want to be accepted as they are. THEY are the ones being harassed in the bathroom. THEY are the ones being assaulted and harmed because of who they are (they are not the only ones being harmed for who they are, but for the purposes of this post on Transgender people, I speak about them in this instance).

Many people might understand these things, that a Transgender person should be allowed to use the bathroom safely; but be frightened that sharing the bathroom in this way could lead to heterosexual men posing as Transgender women possibly putting women or children in danger. The thing is, nothing is stopping heterosexual men from doing this now. So why would we think they will then? Transgender people use the bathroom with us all the time, and nothing has happened to the women or children because of it.  No one can see chromosomes. We are not the chromosome police.

Women and men have separate bathrooms for safety. This is understandable, as sexual harassment and sexual assault sadly occur often enough for there to be a need for separate bathrooms. So if a Trans woman is at risk of harassment or assault in the men’s bathroom, why shouldn’t they be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender which they are, the women’s bathroom? And the same for Trans men being allowed to use the men’s bathroom if that is where they feel they should go.

Human beings are not always so clear cut. Some are born as male, some as female, some as male knowing they are female, some as female knowing they are male. Some are born with both male and female parts, so which bathroom should they use? And why do we lump everyone into one of two categories, male or female, when we are not all simply male or female as we define it today?

It’s time to get past our fears. Time to learn about things that we don’t understand or don’t know. This is 2016, the world is heading into uncharted territory. Never before in recorded history has there been a time where ALL people were able to be themselves. Still we are not there yet. We have a long way to go. But these are the beginnings, and if we learn to love and accept others for who they are, one day everyone will be loved and accepted. I have a right to be me, you have a right to be you. We all have a right to safety and acceptance. It is that simple.

One more thing. How many of us have ever had to use the bathroom so badly, only to encounter incredibly long lines, or a bathroom that is out of order? I sure have. In the case of a long line you can try to hold it while you stand in line, but you can only hold it so long. Do you stand in the long line and urinate on yourself? Do you go outside and try to find a place to relieve yourself? Or if the opposite sex bathroom has no line, do you run in there, do your business quickly, and leave? The same for an out of order bathroom, do you feel it’s ok to use the opposite sex bathroom if the one for your gender is not working? I have used the men’s bathroom before in these instances even though I am a woman. I have also seen men use the women’s bathroom when theirs was not working (I have rarely seen long lines for the men’s room), and I have taken no issue with this. Why should we take issue with which bathroom Transgender people use? If men and women can use the bathroom of the opposite sex in extenuating circumstances, shouldn’t we regard Transgender usage as necessary circumstances also? When you have to go, you have to go. Men DO use the ladies room, and women DO use the men’s room. Transgender men and women DO use either/or. None of this is new. Transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom they are most comfortable with and safest using. No one should be stigmatized for using the bathroom.

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