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civil rights

Let Them Pee


Let Them Pee

If you've read my blog in the past, you know I try to steer clear of controversial topics on the internet because most people are bad at having good conversations on the internet. Avoiding heated issues doesn't get much traffic to my blog, but it saves me from the angst of having to deal with angry (or even just poorly-worded) comments and trolls. That said: please keep the comment section kind.

Let's get down the the nitty gritty. Some say that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their understanding of their gender identity will expose women and girls to sexual predators. This fear is largely unfounded. If a male predator wants to dress in women's clothing and enter a the ladies' bathroom, he can do so easily already. Given the right clothing (and let's add a wig and sunglasses for kicks), even a buff, stereotypically masculine man could easily enter a ladies' restroom without looking suspicious.

While sexual assaults do happen in public places, children are more often abused by someone in their immediate sphere of influence. It's easier to look for a sexual predator in the "otherness" of a stranger (be they a sexual predator or just a transgender person emptying their bladder), but the fact is that child abusers are more likely to be found in the people we think we know: a neighbor, a boyfriend, a soccer coach, a teacher.

It is probably also worth saying that requiring transgender men to use the ladies' restroom will likely be more confusing/shocking to others in the restroom than if they were simply allowed to use the men's bathroom. A transgender man will be dressed like, well, a man--and women and girls are more likely to be unnerved by this than by a transgender woman in the ladies' room.

I hope it goes without saying (though perhaps for some it doesn't) that non-trans women and girls will not be endangered by the presence of transgender women in their bathroom. They are there to pee like everyone else, not prey on children.

There is a simple solution for parents who are afraid that pedophiles will try to get into the ladies' restroom and assault little girls: let your daughter know that it is always okay to leave a bathroom or solicit help when she feels uncomfortable. 

When I was a child, my parents were very clear about how I was to deal with strangers. I was not to talk to strangers if a parent wasn't present, and if someone made me uncomfortable, I was to quit the scene immediately and find the nearest trusted adult. The only people allowed to see me in my underwear were my mother and my doctor (and only in the presence of my mother). Girls should know that if they feel uncomfortable in any circumstance, they are allowed to run, to cry out, to put up a stink. 

The burden doesn't have to be on a little girl to determine whether the person they see in the restroom is a legit transgender woman minding her own business or a predator in disguise. Your daughter is allowed to leave to restroom. If you feel uncomfortable, accompany her to the bathroom, or if you're a dad, enlist a female employee to go with her. Or use the family restroom (not always available, but often).

All this to say: I'm sure some people are concerned about the safety of their little girls (even if their fears are unfounded), but that's not primarily what this is about. This is about fear of transgender people. This kind of fear has no legitimate place in the life of a Christian.

I don't care if you're egalitarian, complementarian, LGBT-affirming or non-affirming (or somewhere on the spectrum). If you have issues (be they biblical, theological, or otherwise) with the way someone comes to terms with and expresses their sexuality, those are conversations to have when you are in a close personal relationship with them, not a pre-requisite for letting them pee.

You know what you do when you love someone? You invite them to the table. You share a meal. You feed them. You talk. You give them coffee. Lots of coffee. And maybe a glass of wine. And when they are so full of liquids that they can barely walk, you say, "Please, use the restroom. Be my guest." 

Sexuality and gender are complicated topics and I, for one, would prefer to discuss them with a full stomach and an empty bladder. Let's afford our LBGT+ neighbors the same courtesy.