A selfie-video appeared on my Facebook newsfeed recently. A rant about transgender people being allowed to use a bathroom based on the gender with which they identify versus the gender to which they were born.
He was concerned his daughter might find herself in a bathroom with “perverts.” He also discussed the need for the second amendment so that all fathers are able to protect their daughters from transgender pedophiles.
North Carolina agrees with him. They have a new law that does not allow transgender people to use a bathroom. Well, they get to use a bathroom, but not the bathroom designated for the gender with which they identify.
Not to be outdone, South Carolina lawmakers introduced a bill that would require transgender people to use public bathrooms but only bathrooms that match their gender at birth.
If the guy in the video is worried that a sexual predator could dress like a woman and infiltrate the women’s bathroom in search of victims to abuse – this bathroom law won’t change that.
Nothing works like fear mongering. I worry more about what this man is teaching his daughter.
Look, when I have to go to the bathroom, I really have to go. It’s a terrible habit, and hard on your bladder, to wait until the last minute, but the least of my worries when I finally get into a bathroom is who happens to be in the stall next to me.
Even further from my thoughts is whether or not the person in the next stall answering nature’s call is a female from birth or from identity.
And if a transgender individual who identifies as a woman uses a bathroom designated for women, I’m guessing that unless you’re looking really, really close, you aren’t likely to know. There are no standup urinals in the women’s bathroom. Although there is often a sofa – apparently some of us gals still swoon, but I digress.
If a transgender individual who identifies as male uses a bathroom designated for women, I’m guessing he will use a stall and not draw attention to himself. Most transgender don’t go out of their way to draw attention. And many who have, have suffered for it.
I understand that fear that parents have when they have to let children go into a public bathroom alone. I took my sons into women’s bathrooms for years. But when they were old enough to protest (about age 6 or 7) and they only had me alongside, it meant letting them go into the men’s bathroom alone.
Fathers of daughters and mothers of sons know that horrible feeling that comes when you let your child go without you. It’s frightening, but it is inevitable.
We had conversations about strangers and when I finally agreed to let them go alone, I stood outside the door and waited for (what I considered) a reasonable amount of time to pee, wash hands and get out (approximately 90 seconds). If they weren’t out, I opened the door and called their names and if I didn’t get an answer, I went in.
I only had to do that once, after that, they learned to move fast.
There is so much to worry about – clean water, jobs, a deteriorating infrastructure – I find it hard to believe some folks can get so cranked up about who gets to use which bathroom.
Go in, do your business and get out – but please, wash your hands. Other than that, leave everybody else alone.
Brenda’s column appears at noon every Monday.