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Why the Transgender Bathroom Issue Really Matters

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Generally, I avoid controversial topics like the plague. I do not like to get involved in politically heated discussions, and I even recently stated on social media that I do not think that social media is the proper format to share any rants or frustrations with others.

However, as someone who has been taken advantage of in a sexual way, I simply cannot stay silent anymore.

I have a voice and a platform on which to share it, so, I guess I’m going to take the opportunity that I have to be one of the voices speaking up on what is really going on with the transgender bathroom issue.

transgender bathroom

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I am not here to debate the feelings or struggles of those who are transgender. I am sure they are real, and they are something that should not be taken lightly or dismissed.

I am not even here to say that I have an issue with using a restroom at the same time as a transgender person is using the restroom or even if one my kids is using the same restroom as a transgender person.

In all honesty, I can’t really even give this idea much thought because I can’t seem to get past the horrifying reality that if anyone is truly allowed to use whichever restroom they feel like using, sexual predators have just been given a much easier way to acquire their victims.

While I can’t speak for the realities, feelings, and struggles of a transgender person, I can speak to the realities, feelings, and struggles of someone who has been the victim of a sexual predator. Twice.

So in my opinion, this gives me just a bit of credibility to speak on this topic.

Being taken advantage of sexually is not just something that happens to someone, it is something that haunts someone. For the rest of their life. Can you overcome the fear, the haunting flashbacks, the feelings of helplessness, and so much more? Sure, to an extent.

However, it is something that never, ever goes away.

It never goes away.

I repeated that just so maybe my point could be heard just a bit more.

Can someone become a sexual victim in a restroom or locker room under the “old rules?” Yes they can. I’m not here to argue that point either.

Also, I am not here to argue that every time someone uses a restroom or locker room they will fall victim to a sexual crime if the laws are changed in the current way that is being proposed and even implemented. I honestly don’t believe this will be the reality either.

If these changes occur, I’m sure there will be plenty of times that I will use a restroom and not become a victim of a sexual crime. In fact, I could use countless public restrooms that are open to people of any gender and never become a sexual victim. But, what if there is one time that I am?

I just don’t see how people can argue that if anyone is able to enter any restroom or locker room of their choosing, becoming a sexual victim isn’t more of a possibility under these new laws.

I just don’t see how there will not be at least some incidences of a sexual predator taking advantage of someone of the opposite gender in a restroom or locker room simply because they were given easier access to that person of the opposite gender in this way.

Furthermore, it would seem that unless someone can say with 100% certainty that sexual crimes of any kind won’t occur more easily with restrooms being void of any rules as to who can use them and who can’t, they certainly can’t be in favor of gender separation in restrooms being optional.

Here’s the thing about optional.

When someone is being overpowered sexually, being able to escape from the predator isn’t generally an option for that victim. Ask me how I personally know about that.

If there are times that I or my girls could possibly be overpowered by a sexual predator who is in the same restroom under the guise of being transgender when he really is a sexual predator, where are our options? Where are any female’s options?

Self defense classes? Carrying weapons? Hiring a bodyguard? Are these options?

Sure, I suppose these are options. But seriously, are these really an option for all women, girls, and even little boys who are using the women’s restroom with their moms before they are old enough to use the men’s restroom? And should they be our responsibilities as women or loved ones of women and girls simply because we would like to use a public restroom or locker room?

Please hear me. Lean in close. 

I am not here to say that transgender people don’t have feelings, concerns, or rights. I believe that all people are a gift from God and that feelings are also God-given.

But, please hear my heart.

As a victim of two different sexual predators, this reality is beyond horrifying. I would be terrified for me, for my daughters, for your daughters, and for all women everywhere for what could result if this becomes our new reality.

And the reality is that sexual crimes could result more easily if there are no rules about gender and restroom use.

If sexual predators are given additional access to potential victims, some sexual predators will take it. This is reality, and this will not end well.

Sexual crimes are real. Survivors of sexual predators are real. Sexual predators are real.

I pray that this not be thrown around as it pertains to feelings and rights because this is not really what is at the heart of the matter.

This is about safety. Plain and simple.

We live in a world where there is too much judgement, too much misplaced criticism, and too much poking around in each other’s business when it doesn’t belong. I do not want to take part in any of that.

If you are offended by anything I have said, then read what I said again. Carefully.

I am not passing judgement, hurling around any criticisms as it pertains to the ways others choose to live their lives, or poking around in other people’s business.

Using the restroom is my business.

And, rather than focusing on playing nice with one another, we need to be focused on putting the safety of all females first and foremost.

I really hope that some sort of solution can be found, however, this is not it because of the safety risk it poses.

This is why the transgender bathroom issue really matters to everyone who either is a female, loves a female, or wants to promote safety for all females.

If you agree, even just in part with what I’ve written, please share. It really is that important.

 

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19 Comments

  1. With all due respect to you and your experiences, the portrayal you’ve given of new bathroom laws is just not accurate. Allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom that matches their gender (if not their anatomy) is not the same as allowing everyone to use whatever bathroom they want. Non-discrimination policies are not laws that allow anyone to use any bathroom. Instead, they are policies that provide protection for a transgender person should they be questioned about their bathroom use. These sorts of policies are already on the books in twelve states, and those states have not had spikes in rates of sexual assault in public facilities.
    If you want to put the safety of ALL females first, you need also to address the fact that forcing a transgender woman to use the men’s room because she still has a penis puts HER safety at risk. And that’s not a hypothetical. 50% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at least once, the highest rate of any subpopulation, because of intolerance, fear, and good old-fashioned hate. Where is the concern for their safety? “All women” includes transgender women, even if they have a penis. I understand your concern for the safety of kids and women in a world where rape culture is very much prevalent. Transgender people need that safety and protection too.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. They do deserve that protection. That is why I stated that my hope is that a solution can be found, however, this is not it because the safety of women is at risk.

      If these laws are passed, biological females using the women’s bathroom are at risk as are women with a penis using the women’s bathroom. Just as transgender women with a penis are victims when using the men’s restroom under the law as it always has been are abused, women are abused by men in women’s restrooms even now under the law as it always has been.

      Sexual predators are preying on women in restrooms even prior to any laws being changed by disguising themselves as women. A few names you could look up are Jason Pomares, Norwood Smith Burnes, and Taylor Buehler. If these people are willing to risk being caught in women’s restrooms when it is illegal, why wouldn’t they and others like them take advantage of being able to perform these disgusting practices when they are allowed to do so without having to answer questions as to their motivations for using the women’s restroom?

      Then there is Christopher Hambrook, you can read about him as well. Here’s just one headline about him:

      “A biological man claiming to be ‘transgender’ so as to gain access to and prey on women at two Toronto shelters was jailed “indefinitely” last week after being declared by a judge a “dangerous offender.” This occurred in Toronto where they have already passed a “bathroom bill.” You can read the full article here.

      As I stated, is it happening everywhere? No. Will it become a widespread problem? No I really don’t believe it will. But there will be those who take advantage of the situation because there are always those who abuse opportunities for their own gain in ways that these opportunities were never intended.

      Nowhere in anything that I wrote was I spewing “intolerance, fear, and good old-fashioned hate.” To interject that platform in the context of what I was actually addressing is simply inappropriate. All people deserve protection from safety risks, and to expose ALL females to an increased safety risk when using a public restroom is not the solution that should be taken in an attempt to provide safety to the small minority of transgender women when compared to the entire female population at large.

      My point simply is, as I clearly stated, that a different solution needs to be found and that this issue isn’t about transgender people having rights. Their rights include protection just as everyone else has rights to the same thing. Including women who need to use a public restroom.

      1. I didn’t say that you were spewing intolerance, fear, and good old-fashioned hate.
        I said that transgender people are sexually assaulted at such a high rate because of intolerance, fear, and good old-fashioned hate.

        1. Right, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you were, I worded that completely wrong. However, my point in writing this entire piece is exactly what you were doing. You were interjecting the argument about the mistreatment, rights, etc, of transgendered people, which is all true. I acknowledged that same argument by saying that they DO have rights and SHOULD be protected, however, that is the wrong argument to be bringing into what I was saying here, especially since I was not spewing any intolerance, fear, and good old-fashioned hate.

          You proved my point exactly by bringing this into the equation of what I was writing about…which is that everyone is getting so caught up in making this an issue about rights and so forth. This is not an argument that I, or many others, are trying to argue. I am not taking away from their mistreatment or rights by not supporting this solution.

          I am simply saying that while everyone is busy arguing about rights and so forth, the real problem is being ignored, which is that in an attempt to honor the rights and mistreatment etc. of transgender people a solution is being proposed that is simply the wrong one because the solution that is being proposed is going to bring a HUGE risk to a LARGE female population – including transgender women in the women’s restroom because they too can become the victim of a sexual predator who is using the women’s restroom legally under the proposed changes. Being the victim of a sexual predator is not something to take lightly.

          My point in writing this piece was to say: let’s stop arguing and making this an issue about rights because I, and others like me, are not making an issue of rights or taking that away from them (except for those who do spew hatred, intolerance etc. because those people DO exist as well), my point is simply, don’t miss the greater concern that IS a reality if the proposed solutions are implemented. There are solutions that don’t bring this element of risk onto females of all kinds everywhere.

          Hopefully that makes more sense.

  2. Hi there! I understand your point of view, and I too have been sexually assaulted by a man (when in college) and have dealt with that in and out of therapy since, so I admit I was quite uneasy at first when people started making a big deal about all of this on social media. But when I looked into it, I realized that many states, including my own (!!!) had already had laws on the books to allow bathroom usage based on gender identity rather than birth sex.

    After piecing some of this together on my own (you are so right that there’s way too much hate on both sides of this thing, and that helps no one!), and at least looking into my state’s laws, the law still doesn’t allow someone who identifies as a male into our restroom. Now I’ve seen maybe two trans people in the restroom ever, that I could tell, and I didn’t really pay them much mind. They seemed more nervous than anything, and I would assume that is par for the course for such a life altering change that they are going for. But I wouldn’t say I was threatened by them.

    Another (rather scary) realization I had was that criminals wouldn’t be swayed by some civil law, just as they are not swayed by the word “women” on the door. I am sure I am being a bit overly cautious at times, but like most of us, I rarely go to the bathroom by myself, and if I am in a bathroom and the only one there, I keep my mace within reach.

    I know this is a difficult one, and I hope it gets worked out. I do wish too, that more focus was made on the real criminals here, like the men who sexually assault women, and perhaps have harsher penalties for those criminals, rather than gloss over it as a “boys will be boys” mentality that it seems most people take on all of it.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this important piece and I enjoy reading your blog! 🙂

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment! I am sorry that you too have been victimized. I do think that it forever changes us. I totally agree. Those who want to commit a crime or bring harm to others will most likely find a way to do it. I do so wish that more attention was being paid to safety for everyone on this matter. There is an awful lot of focus on labeling others where it isn’t warranted and therefore spreading a message of hate rather than leaving labels and the unfounded judgement of others completely out of the equation.

  3. I want everyone to be safe in whatever bathroom they choose to use. I don’t understand why floor to ceiling stalls can’t be used for privacy and let everyone use the same bathroom. Most bathrooms share a wall and it seems to me that combining them would solve all the problems. Simply add floor to ceiling sralls and everyone could use the same bathrroms. Being a grandmother with grandsons I have had many nail bitting instances with my grandsons being in the Male restroom unattended. It seems I have to hunt down a male server to go check on them. I would love all the bathrooms to be non-gender.

    1. This decision absolutely has to be made with safety as the concern over feelings of being accepted. In my opinion, safety should never be compromised in order to accomplish an equality agenda.

  4. My eight year old son is transgender and I can tell you that if he wasn’t allowed to use the boys’ restroom, girls would go crazy having him in the girls’. If we want to talk about safety, I think it’s fair to look at the safety of transgender individuals who would then be forced to use the bathroom that coincides with the sex assigned at birth. Because, during this waiting period of trying to find something to work, that’s what would have to happen, right? As a middle-schooler, can you imagine a boy using a girls bathroom? Can you imagine how his peers would react and treat him both verbally and physically? While you have been the victim of sexual assault, my son has been the victim of assault in other forms. This isn’t okay. No one should feel unsafe using the restroom. That goes for women and it goes for men. Believe it or not, men and boys are affected by this as well. Should my son be forced to use a separate bathroom because he’s unable to use either one (boy or girl) available to him at school? Separate isn’t equal. You have real concerns in this, and I do, too. I don’t dismiss yours at all, and it’s irresponsible to assume your argument is more valid than others. I fear for my son’s safety, just as you fear for your daughters’.

    1. I think it is important to keep the big picture as well as the numbers in mind. In the US, which is where I live, as of June 2016, the statistic that I found is that 0.6% of the adult population is reported to be transgender. I realize that your son is a minor, but I think it would be safe to assume that with the youth added into that statistic, the number would still be relatively small in terms of the overall population.

      Even if adding in the youth numbers brought the number of the transgender population to 1% of the overall population of the US, which I highly doubt, we would still be talking about 1% of the overall US population being transgender.

      While I firmly believe that every life matters and deserves to be safe, including the transgender population, my argument in this post is that to allow men into women’s restrooms, it opens the door to put roughly half of the US population at risk (assuming that population of men to women is about 50%) because there will be those who exploit the freedoms granted to accommodate the transgender population for their own benefit. Which includes pedophiles and rapists. Read any of the articles sited to see that this is, in fact, happening in countries where this policy has already been stated.

      Again, I understand your desire for your son’s safety, but to give him these rights at the possible expense of 50% of the US population makes it not a responsible solution.

      My argument is that to put 50% of the American population at risk to make accommodations to 1% of the population is irresponsible and not a logical solution.

      As stated, I am not sure what the solution is, but to put 50% of the population at risk is not the solution.

      1. Honestly, I have no issue with your son using the restroom with me or my daughters as long as he is there to use the restroom and not to exploit me or my daughters (which I understand he is not). The people I do have a concern with using the restroom with me or my daughters are those men or boys who are not transgender and there only to exploit.

        I hope this makes sense. I do appreciate your comment and concern. I just want to be clear in what my issue is…and that it is not with those who would use this right or freedom for the intended purpose (like your son).

  5. But you do realize that public bathrooms aren’t locked — anyone, at any time, whether transgender or not, can walk into any bathroom they please. There aren’t security officers standing there asking to see if they are truly male or female. If you see a woman walk into a women’s restroom and she happens to look a bit masculine, will you ask to see her genitalia to ensure she really is a female? This would be offensive and horribly discriminatory.

    You say that to give my son safety at the POSSIBLE expense of 50% of the population (I’m not sure about that %) is irresponsible is offensive to me. Have you wondered why the “I’ll go with you” movement started? You speak about your concern for your daughters. I’m speaking about my concern for my son. And any and all other transgender individuals. And this isn’t “letting men into women’s restrooms,” it is letting transgender women use the restroom they need to use in order to feel safe. Laws being put into place doesn’t make our lives crime-proof or free of the possibility of harm. I truly believe that taking care of those who need it the most, those whose voices are the quietest, yet need majority support, is how we should be. It’s not really caring about the minority that gets us in trouble.

    1. I think we’re both passionate mothers, which is good. I will say we will just have to agree to disagree. The numbers simply are not on your side of the argument. No society can or should pass laws that protect the very small minority at the expense of the vast majority. I think you would find few who would agree with your statement, “It’s not really caring about the minority that gets us into trouble.” Again, there are no numbers that would support that, and nothing in history would either.

      And I would also argue that the discrimination that transgender people experience doesn’t only happen in the restroom. I would imagine that they are harassed or made to feel unsafe in plenty of other places other than the restroom. Transgender people are discriminated against, ridiculed, maybe even physically assaulted everywhere, not just the restroom. For this reason, passing legislation dealing with restrooms does little to protect their safety, in reality. But, it puts a huge population of women at risk.

  6. I will agree to disagree with you on this. When you choose to create an unsafe environment for a group of people (in this case, transgendered children and adults) who are the minority, it says a lot about the society you live in. I think it’s dangerous to say that transgender people will be in trouble regardless of where they are, so why would we try to make them safe with one step forward? As if it will do no good?

    I really think your statement “in reality it puts a huge population of women at risk” just isn’t fact. I really doubt you could find actual, real life statistics to back that up. That this “Transgender Bathroom Issue” is really dangerous to women.

    I’m wondering what you suggest my son do? He looks and acts just like a boy, yet what’s between his legs will tell you otherwise. Do you think he should go into the girls bathroom? Do you think it’d be comfortable and safe and healthy for him to have girls ‘telling’ on him for being in there, USING THE RESTROOM, going home and telling their parents that a boy was in the girls restroom, the girls locker room, etc? Or do you think it’d be safer for him and healthier and better for him to use the boys bathroom? Where no one would think twice at a boy going into a stall to use the bathroom? Where he can pee in peace, wash his hands next to other boys, and not one would blink or think things were off? What should he do? Should he use the bathroom that is the nurse’s bathroom so that everyone knows he’s different’ and ‘weird’ and becomes a target?

    1. As I stated in the original post, I do not know what the solution is for your son. I am simply saying that this is not the solution because it is dangerous. And there absolutely are facts. Read the articles I cited. Google on your own. You will find plenty of facts that these rights are being exploited by those who intend and inflict harm.

      Also, I didn’t say that transgender people will be in trouble regardless of where they are. I am saying that they could face harm in places other than the restroom.

      I am not choosing to create an unsafe environment for your son to say that women’s restrooms should be for women with that genitalia and that DNA. It’s the environment that has been in place since the beginning of time. There is a reason that restrooms have been separated as men and women restrooms. It is because it is largely agreed that it is what is safest. Men and women shouldn’t be put in a position where they have to expose themselves to one another in order to use the restroom.

      Our arguments are the same. Your son and my daughters have a right to be safe in a restroom. But the reality is that your son is part of a population that is 0.6%. My daughters are part of a population that is much larger than that, close to 50%. 0.6% being a target versus 50% being a target. There is simply no comparison from a numbers standpoint.

      I’m guessing that long before this became an issue with all this legislation on the table, your son could use the boys restroom in a public place without anyone batting an eye if he looks and acts as you say. I’m guessing that the same is true if this legislation is in place. Your son’s life, again if he looks and acts as you say, is relatively the same in either scenario because no one would know that he isn’t a boy in his DNA.

      The difference is, that prior to this legislation, if a man who looks like my husband were to walk into the women’s restroom, his time in there wouldn’t last very long before someone “official” would remove him…or a bunch of dads whose daughters were using the restroom would remove him on their own.

      But with this legislation in place, a man who looks like my husband and who is not in any way shape or form even pretending to be transgender is simply allowed to walk into a women’s restroom and remain there for as long as he would like…24 hours a day, 7 days a week without question, exploiting as many women and girls as he chooses, simply because it is now his right.

      The reality of these two scenarios produces safety outcomes that are vastly different for myself, my daughters, and the 50% of the population that is female.

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