I’ve reposted a lot on Facebook about the so-called “Bathroom Bills,” as of late. The whole thing disturbs me. In fact, the whole “us” against “them” in our nation regarding gay rights has always disturbed me. But now, what’s making it worse, is that the fear-mongering side has taken it to a whole new level — tossing all sorts of accusations of child endangerment, pedophilia and just all manner of sordid scariness into this picture that is not only reprehensible to any decent human, but is outright offensive to those who have lived nothing but the most upstanding of lives their entire lives — of all orientations.
I have gathered a rather eclectic group of friends through the many years — conservatives, liberal Christians, Hindus, atheists, people of just all stripes. I have met thousands of people in their homes through a 20-year journalism career, which gave me a different look into people’s lives. What I mean is that I got to see inside the very poor person’s home who kept it neat as a pin and then the very wealthy person’s home that looked like a proverbial junkyard who was cursing at her children meanwhile. I learned after 20 years that stereotypes were just not really very accurate many times. I learned that every story had multiple sides to it. The neighbors’ version of your family argument is quite different than your version.
For this reason, I have tried very, very hard to understand the views of those who have fear of gays or fear of God over gays or fear of a transgender person using the restroom or fear of a man faking being a transgender person using the restroom and molesting their child. I have read nearly all the arguments with as much understanding as I can. I really don’t intend on losing a friend over a bathroom or over politics of any sort, but the end, I have to say, the arguments don’t hold up and I find it sad when someone I otherwise like has taken such a drastically woeful position on this.
We have two things here: Gender and sexuality. A huge number of people totally confuse the two. That’s one problem. Many Christians’ entire frame of reference on the gay issue stems from a Biblical interpretation that gayness — i.e. same-sex relations — is wrong. So, right away, for this bathroom issue, it’s maybe important to try to distinguish “gender” from “sexual orientation”, which are very different things.
I work in a baby hospital, right when the baby is born. I put little pink or blue bands on a baby when they are born, setting up the idea of what “gender” they are based on what we see between the legs. The choices are vagina, penis and ambiguous. And how they should “act” based on that. Oftentimes, the parents or grandparents have a lot to say right then and there in the labor room about it. I have had parents declare that the boy couldn’t wear pink; a little boy looked “like a linebacker,” or was certainly going to have a “great arm for pitching.” Really? All 7 pounds of him? Many times the little girls are deemed “princesses” or other terms of endearment such as “beautiful,” and “gorgeous” while our boys are “strong” when they lift their heads.
This is all fine and good and I really say a silent prayer in many of those cases for the babies that they grow up to be all their parents hope for — conforming heterosexuals who fit exactly the gender norms of society. Because really, in some those more extreme cases, I fear for those children that what if the little linebacker likes dolls and baking more than footballs and wrestling? Woe to him. I feel sorry for that little boy. I feel sorry for that little boy if he grows up to be gay, particularly. What a terrible disappointment he must be going to be to those parents. They have expectations and ideas of what those blue and pink bands mean and how those children should be, behave, dress, act, and what they should like from the get-go. God forbid that the little princess like the dump trucks in the sandbox. It’s going to be a long road little warrior princess.
I was a princess who liked the dump trucks. I loved the Tonka trucks. And the Ken doll with his SCUBA gear. And football. And wrestling. I cried until I got my way in Kindergarten to be one of the three Wise “Men” in the Christmas pageant when they threatened me with paying an angel. I think I came bearing Frankinsense to Baby Jesus. I was happiest playing sports, where gender constructs were taken down and my abilities were judged on performance, not appearance. Today, I enjoy working in an environment where my “uniform” is unisex in nature (scrubs) and I have vowed you will never see me in a dress as long as I live. I do not conform to gender constructs anymore. I may behave masculine/I may behave feminine. I do not even know. I just behave.
This is not “sex.” Sexual orientation is who you enjoy sexual relations with – has nothing really to do with how you look or really whether you “feel” masculine or feminine or anything like that. It’s basically who attracts you? A lesbian may be incredibly feminine or not. A gay man may be very masculine and play football or could enjoy very feminine things. Either way, that isn’t dictating sexual orientation.
What we are talking about in the case of bathroom bills deals with gender identity and transgender individuals who have determined to live as the gender that is most suitable for them. I have never known one I have been afraid to be around my children. I wish that could be said for all the straight men that have been their teachers and coaches, because there was one coach that I told my daughter that if he ever came near the locker room, my daughter was instructed to leave immediately. There was another creepy coach who seemed to almost stalk our son, leaving tons of voicemails wanting him to come to the field on non-practice days and would hang at the fields for hours watching children. I thought the guy was a wierdo. What grown man with no kids of his own spends his entire day watching little kids and then calling random kids to come play with him? Not one who will play with mine.
The thing is: The fear of transgender people is unfounded. If you look at who commits crimes against children, it’s not this group. This group is a group on a journey of self-discovery that has often taken years; they have many times been through family rejection; and are honestly quite vulnerable to at the minimum bullying and at the extreme murder. The suicide rates are high out of being fed up with rejection.
If one looks at what is “wrong” out there, it’s not them preying on you, it’s them being preyed on.
As for school children, I spent more than a year in a middle school as a school nurse and had two bathrooms in my clinic labeled “faculty/staff and “students.” I had some students come in daily because they were too embarrassed to poop in the public bathroom. That was fine, use my toilet. I never had a problem with girls and boys alternating use of that one toilet. I DID have a creepy male teacher who insisted on going in the student restroom even when told not to. He was the same person who I told my daughter that if he EVER tried to get her to stay late for school to NEVER stay late with him. Guy was a weirdo.
What DID go on in the middle school bathrooms was smoking weed, smoking cigarettes, making out, oral sex and the unforgettable time the one kid was serving as a “lookout” while his friend was in the girls bathroom with his girlfiend having oral sex and the look out meanwhile was humping on the corner of the wall while he listened. All on videotape for the dean. No, I don’t make this up.
Another issue is that it was a ROUTINE REQUEST from middle school girls in my clinic to come ask me for pregnancy tests, thinking I could do those. I couldn’t but I did tell them that the Dollar Store sold them for a dollar. I figured if they were pregnant they needed to know quickly to get prenatal care. We also had one case of veneral disease. Middle school.
If a student is transgender, kids in the school know it. They already know it. THIS is the kid who needs to be protected. Not the bullies. The school is full of bullies and gay slurs are yelled down those hallways every class change. I was there. I am telling you, this is what goes on. “Faggot,” being yelled down the hallway is a routine, every class change occurrance.
I would HATE to be a gay kid in school today. It’s not safe. It’s dangerous. It’s scary. It would be lonely. And now, the Christians are saying YOU are the danger. Really??? What’s so so so sad, as a person who delayed my own coming out for YEARS as I worked through my own religious beliefs and understanding of the Bible, is that I know in my heart of hearts that the Jesus of the Bible would not carry on this way. I know that the Jesus I read in the Bible, the one who friended a Prostitute and scolded the religious zealots who chastised him for doing so, would walk the hallways of those schools with his arm around that bullied transgender kid and that bullied gay kid who hears “faggot” being yelled down the hallway and would be their loving friend, sharing his Lunchable, maybe as their only friend. HE would be scolding the religious zealots, saying, “Let He who is without sin cast the first stone.” That is the Jesus I know. And it makes my heart sad that this Jesus is lost and that the little gay and transgender kid — and adults — are believing that this hate represents that Jesus. Because it does not.
There seems to be forgotten that the same Bible says “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” That looks to me like gender, racial, and social constructs being tossed out the door, replaced by WHAT’S INSIDE OF YOU.
If you want to be afraid of a school bathroom, or any bathroom, be afraid of the heterosexual boys who are ready at any minute to brag to their friends about getting a blow job from your daughter and your daughter who doesn’t think that’s sex because she took a “virginity vow” at your church. This is real. Be afraid of the kids who jump the fence of the middle school and have sex in the bushes just off campus, laying on a jacket, on someone’s birthday as a “birthday present” for a boy (this happened). And the same girl, btw, was vehemently anti-gay, saying that was “unnatural.”
Be afraid of suicide in the bathrooms, committed by one kid in the Orlando area in one of the school bathrooms last year. (I do not know the child’s reasons and do not want it construed that it had to do with LGBT reasons.) I sealed the lock on the student bathroom in my clinic for fear a student might bolt it and harm themselves. Fear teen depression, which plagues children as young as can be, who hold things in — and god forbid one of these Christians kids be gay or gender-identifying “different” because I honestly can’t imagine how bad it would be growing up in that home in today’s world with all this on the news.
These are actual real things.
This week, I have assisted four teenage mothers with their births in three days. Two were high school freshmen. THIS is real. Heterosexual kids having sex. But the school nurse can’t discuss birth control AT ALL to any high school kids. Go figure.
The Bathroom Bills and those behind them have whipped an enormous amount of fear, mostly aimed at people who probably have never known LBGT people and certainly not transgender people, and created a huge phobia as if suddenly every pedophile is going to dress up in drag. This is all in direct response to gays getting the right to marry. Most of the bathroom bills have a lot more attached to them, attempting to undo basic gay rights that took years for the gay community to achieve. This is the really sinister part of these bills that people don’t realize. The legal group behind them, Orlando based, is on a mission to un-do the rights that gays have accomplished. They basically want us eradicated. Well, its not happening anymore than slavery is returning.
But, as for their fear-mongering about men-in-drag-molesting-young-people. First, nothing would still top that. Nothing is stopping that now. Newsflash: Pedophilia is illegal. There’s nothing stopping a man from going in the boys bathroom and getting your little boy. There’s nothing stopping a man from dressing in drag NOW and going in a women’s restroom and snatching a woman. There’s nothing stopping a man from dragging you out of a parking garage either. The last one is probably more likely to happen than any.
The things that people are so fearful of are already illegal. It’s illegal to assault people. There’s nothing stopping a pedophile right now from dressing up like Ronald McDonald and going to the park and luring kids. They already have become boy scout leaders and soccer coaches by the droves. That’s just not a reason to infringe on the dignity and basic rights of someone to use the restroom in what would be the safest place, and I’m sorry but Gina Duncan (look her up) to be in the women’s bathroom! Chaz Bono needs to go to the men’s room.
And finally, if you are uncomfortable in ANY situation. Get out of that situation. It’s that simple. If a creepy person starts talking to you in any public restroom, I don’t care what gender they are, that’s weird. Leave. Tell them to leave you alone and leave. People shouldn’t be talking to you in a public restroom. If your kid is that uncomfortable at their school, then they either should be more educated about transgender youth and maybe join a group with transgender kids so they can learn more and get to know each other.
This fear is based on ignorance and the best way to combat that is education of actual facts. Go meet some transgender people. Make a transgender friend. Join a group and get educated. Quit living in fear.