Which Restroom Should I Use? (the transgendered debate)

There has been A LOT of controversy lately over which restroom a transgendered person should be using.  As with most of these kind of social debates, I feel like BOTH sides of the argument are getting it wrong (which is usually a good sign that I am on the right track).

I want to start by pointing out how interesting it is that until a few years ago, this issue was barely a blip on people’s radar and now it’s one of the most hot button topics in the country.  What makes it so interesting is the fact that being transgendered is NOT a new phenomenon.  Nor is it new for a transgendered person to use the restroom assigned for the gender they identify as.  The only thing that’s really changed is the general public’s awareness about it – and THAT is extremely telling.

It tells me that most people don’t have any problem using the restroom next to a transgendered person whose genitals don’t match the sign on the door – they have a problem with KNOWING about it.  (Let that really sink in.)

The honest truth in this situation is that it doesn’t matter what genitals you have OR what gender you identify as; because the rest of society can’t SEE either.  The only thing that matters is what others can see: your OUTWARD APPEARANCE.

I feel like this is a vital point that all of the people who are opposed to sharing the restrooms are completely overlooking.

If you are someone who feels uncomfortable with sharing the restroom with a person whose genitals are different from your own, are you REALLY going to feel comfortable with sharing the restroom with a person who in EVERY way that you can SEE looks and acts like the opposite gender?

What if that person was someone you found extremely attractive?  Maybe earlier that evening you were even checking them out and having a couple naughty fantasies?  Maybe you were even hoping to get their phone number… Until they walked into the same restroom as you and suddenly reality hit home.

Now I bet you are so disgusted you feel physically ill and you are furious with that person because they made you question your sexuality.  And now you have to SHARE the restroom with that person?!  GROSS!  (Never thought about that, did you?  Think that could never happen?  That’s probably because every time it would have, the person used the restroom assigned for the gender you thought they were born as.  Do you really want to open that can of worms?)

If you look like and are living as a woman, then EVERYONE will feel more comfortable if you use the women’s room.  If you look like and are living as a man, then EVERYONE will feel more comfortable if you use the men’s room.  Most of the time the average person won’t even think about it to question it… unless you TALK ABOUT IT!  Because despite what some people think, most trans people AREN’T “obvious”.

It would kind of defeat the point for most of them if they couldn’t fit in and successfully pass as the other gender.  A lot of money, effort, hormone therapy, and expensive surgeries go into transitioning – do you really think so many people would bother if it didn’t work?

Even if the trans person in question is one of the “obvious” ones, you have absolutely no way of knowing if they have surgically changed their genitals WITHOUT invading their privacy by peeking at them – i.e.  BEING A CRIMINAL!!  The VERY same kind of criminal that you are supposedly so worried that this trans person might be.

Not to mention that this so-called “obvious” trans person might not even be trans at all.  There are some naturally very masculine women and feminine men out there who you might really embarrass and hurt if you make an assumption like that.  (You’re that bad guy in that scenario too.)

So it’s obvious that I am PRO trans people using the restroom of the gender they identify with.  So what on Earth was I talking about when I said BOTH sides are getting it wrong?

The problem is OVER-response to “fixing” the situation.  Laws and policies excessively in favor of catering to the transgendered at the expense of the rest of the public.  Instead of making things fair for everyone, we are just changing WHO it’s unfair to.

First of all, in an effort to “avoid offending the transgendered community”, some of the new laws are written to be dangerously vague.  They don’t require that a person being LIVING as the gender of the restroom they wish to use, or even have to dress as that gender.  Whatever gender you feel like that day is the restroom you are welcome to use (as if gender identity was something that flip-flops from day to day – how insulting).

This creates a flawed system that makes it EXTREMELY easy for an individual who is NOT transgendered to have unrestricted access to the opposite gender’s restroom for any number of illicit purposes.  A temptation that some deviant individuals just won’t be able to pass up.  (Not that this is justification to deny law-abiding transgendered people the right to the bathroom they are most comfortable with, only the criminals should be held responsible for their criminal actions – but a lot of this could easily be avoided simply by using more deliberate word choices when writing these laws.)

But even more significant than these deviant individuals taking advantage of the poorly worded laws to invade people’s privacy (or worse) is the FEAR that people have of it happening.  This is a legitimate fear that is deserving of respect and consideration – yet anyone who expresses that fear is subject to being labeled as “transphobic” and becomes a target of ridicule and hate.  How is that fair?  It’s as if people who don’t belong to a minority group are suddenly be treated like they matter less, instead of everyone being treated as equals.

I wish I could say that was the worst of it and the debate ends here, with the adults.  But unfortunately this entire situation has been taken to a level that is downright obscene because children are being dragged into the middle of it – and this is where I start to get extremely heated.

I need to be clear that I do not believe there is ANYTHING morally wrong with being transgendered and I am 100% pro ADULTS who are LIVING as the opposite gender having the right to use the public restroom they are most comfortable with.  A person’s life choices and what is or isn’t inside of their pants isn’t anyone else’s business unless that person chooses to make it someone else’s business.

This is very important to distinguish because I am reading increasingly more disturbing articles involving UNDER AGE CHILDREN where PUBLIC SCHOOLS are taking grossly unfair measures to supposedly protect the rights of their transgendered students, that are really just obliterating the rights of everyone else and are even at times tantamount to sexual assault.  The obvious backlash from this is that it is INCREASING the controversy and hatred many people have towards the transgendered; which isn’t fair to ANYBODY.

Recently, I have read a lot of REAL news stories involving transgendered elementary school students wanting to use the restroom of the gender they identify with… and they all seem to go the same way. The school offers a very reasonable solution – in fact the very same solution I would have offered if I were in their position – the use of an individual gender neutral restroom.

But this is not considered acceptable, as it makes the student “feel like an outcast”. Then the lawyers and the protesters get involved and next thing you know – the child is granted the right to use the shared restroom of the gender they identify with.  Everyone else just has to deal with it or be labeled as some intolerant monster.

But what about all those other kids who are sharing that restroom?  What about how it makes them feel?  What about the lasting effects it has on them to be forced to deal with a situation that is far beyond their capacity to understand?  These are LITTLE KIDS we are talking about, they are having a hard enough time just learning how to share their TOYS!

And just like the laws I mentioned earlier in this blog, in an effort to “avoid offending” anybody, some of the schools have written their policies on the matter to be so open-ended that they are actually harmful.  It’s not just the transgendered student in question being granted these bathroom privileges, ALL of the students are be given the freedom to use the restroom they identify with that day.  With complete freedom to change their mind on any and all subsequent days. Because no little kid would EVER take advantage of that situation just to see what the other gender looks like under their clothes, right?  This is not “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”, because the other students aren’t being given a choice.

How could ANYONE think this was ok? How could anyone think this was the same situation as an adult living as the opposite gender? Why does your elementary school kid even KNOW what a transgendered person is when they haven’t even learned where babies come from yet?!

Any parent who would encourage their prepubescent child to come out as transgendered is doing that child HARM. It’s a form of child abuse.  Both because you are encouraging them to be an outcast and endure ridicule and because you might very well be encouraging them to be something that they AREN’T – which can create a lot of confusion and pain for them later in life when they figure out what they REALLY are.

Don’t get me wrong, when someone is transgendered it is NOT a decision that they make and they very well may have known when they were six that they were different and they almost certainly exhibited outward signs to suggest it or even directly say they want to be the other gender – but that is NOT the same as your six-year-old KNOWING that they are transgendered… because kids who AREN’T transgendered can feel different and show the exact same signs. Kids like to mimic things they see and dress up and play pretend – sometimes it means something, but USUALLY they grow out of it.

Just because your child says they want to be a firefighter when they grow up, doesn’t mean they will still feel that way when they ACTUALLY grow up.  You tell your child they can be anything they want to be when they grow up (and they very well might become a firefighter), but you don’t let them go fight fires now!  Just like you don’t let your young child drive cars or get tattoos or anything else they aren’t mature enough to decide for themselves, so why would you let them decide something as serious as this?!  BE THE ADULT!  (It’s not being closed-minded, it’s being responsible.)

Sadly, this still isn’t the worst of it.  How, right?  How can it possibly get worse?  With the true story about the transgendered teen who doesn’t simply want to use the restroom of the gender they identify with, they want to use the GYM CHANGING ROOM!

You know… I get it. I do. Imagine being that teen. High school is hard enough… and to be transgendered in high school… to be forced to change in front of your genetic gender…. I mean… beyond feeling uncomfortable and enduring teasing, you could even risk being ASSAULTED by the students who don’t want to change with a “freak” (one of the many reasons I would recommend waiting until graduation to come out – but that’s not excusing the violent behavior and a transgendered high school student should still have the RIGHT to come out if they want to – we are no longer talking about little kids).

So the school actually does construction to BUILD the teen their own private changing area and shower. This seems like an amazingly enlightened and fair course of action by the school… but just like in the last story, it wasn’t good enough. It went to court, and they found in favor of the transgendered student and are now FORCING the rest of the students to OPENLY CHANGE CLOTHING AND SHOWER with a person who has the OPPOSITE GENDERS GENITALS.

Ok… just like I got that transgendered student’s plight… I understand the plight of all the other UNDER AGE TEENAGERS who are being FORCED to get naked in front of someone of the opposite biological gender… because you are required by law to go to school and take gym… and it’s a school rule that you have to change your clothing for gym class. This is awkward and uncomfortable enough on its own (such a form of stress than many kids have a tendency to “get sick” on the days that have to take gym just to avoid the experience) – what this school is now requiring of them sounds to me like a form of SEXUAL ASSAULT!  I could honestly see kids dropping out of school or even killing themselves to avoid this horror!

If one person’s “rights” come at the expense of someone else’s rights…. Then THEY AREN’T RIGHTS! EVERYONE disserves EQUAL protection under the law. WHY is this so hard for people to understand?!

It’s an outrage! And if someone like me who is FOR transgendered equality is this upset about it… How the fuck is the person who thinks the transgendered are “immoral freaks” supposed to react?  It only serves to make the divide WORSE.  But then again… that’s the real point, isn’t it?

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Who are you REALLY mad at?

It really blows my mind, the way that some people displace their anger and hate.  Someone they love does them horribly wrong… and they find someone else to be the scapegoat.  Someone else to direct all these wild, uncontrollable, and passionate negative emotions towards.

A perfect example of this phenomenon can often be seen in women who catch their significant other cheating.  More often than not, rather than take it out on their partner, the one who betrayed them and lied to them… they take it out on the other woman.  The woman, who in most cases didn’t even know that you existed.  The woman, who was most likely ALSO being lied to and betrayed by the worthless sack of shit that you are both in love with.

But there you are, grabbing her by her hair and screaming in her face that she’s a “ho”.  There you are, threatening her with bodily harm if she doesn’t stay away from YOUR significant other – when you should be BREAKING UP with your significant other.

And there she is, just finding out that YOU exist.  Just learning that HER significant other is a cheater.  HER heart just as ripped out of her chest and stomped on as yours.  And there she is, with all the proof she needs standing in front of her to convince herself that you are some deranged lunatic.  All the proof she needs to SYMPATHIZE with this asshole.  No wonder HER man is afraid to end it with you, that poor baby.

I know WHY this happens.  It happens out of weakness.  It hurts too much to blame the person you love.  It hurts too much to accept that they don’t love you back the same way.  You need SOMEONE to demonize so that you can give your partner a pass.  Because, if you don’t give them a pass you can’t justify to yourself why you are staying with them.  And you HAVE to stay with them, you’ve convinced yourself you could never have anything that good with anyone else.

Except it’s a fairytale.  It’s NOT that good with them, they are betraying you now and they will do it again.  It was all built on lies – but you want that fiction back.  “It’s all HER fault.  Once she’s gone, everything will be perfect.”

This isn’t love.  You think it is, but it’s actually very selfish.  It’s all about making yourself feel better in the present moment at any cost.  And part of that cost is your self-respect and any chance of having a healthy relationship.  And it WILL catch up to you.  But that doesn’t matter to you right now… that’s a problem for future you.  Present you’s needs are more pressing.

It’s not just women who catch their significant other cheating, that was just a convenient example that most people can relate to.  It happens every day, in all kinds of situations with friends and family members…. Even with OURSELVES.  The traits inside us that we hate… and the people who hold up a mirror to our faces to force us to see them.

Rather than try to change the things about ourselves that we don’t like, we want to tear down the people who showed us or brought out those things… Like that person we are jealous of who is just SO DAMN NICE that we want to punch them in the face!  Or the person that WE hurt, but because it’s too hard to deal with the guilt we find a way to make it THEIR FAULT!

Like I said… I know WHY this happens…. I just don’t know why we LET it happen (if that makes any sense).

I try very hard NOT to be that person, though I’m far from perfect so I have been guilty of it in my past and even now I am sure at times I fail.  The thing that concerns me, is that I don’t think most people can even say they try not to be that person.  I can’t help but feel like most people WANT to be that way, at least on a subconscious level.  Or maybe it’s not that they want to be, it’s just that they’ve never really even thought about it.  And so I ask you, who are you REALLY mad at?