Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bathroom Wars

I'm so distressed at the state of people's minds these days. I've spent weeks thinking about this because it's in the news more and more. If you're tired of reading about transgender issues, then this is the point where you just close out this entry. I have no choice, in my mind, in whether this comes out or not. To ME, the right thing to do is to discuss it. I can't just let it go because I can't believe I live in an area with such a density of ignorance and resistance to change, compassion, and doing the right thing.

Pascack Valley High School was trying to change their rules about bathroom and locker room use for transgender students. They wanted to make it easier for transgender kids to PEE. They were trying to just do their changes quietly, like other towns in the area had ALREADY DONE. But one crazy religious nut got a hold of the knowledge of such a vote to change. Then she contacted some cuckoo religious group out of Kentucky, and the boulder of insanity got rolling to stop the change.

The change went to a vote and went through. Luckily. The students get to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. Yay!

Except, no, not "yay!". I'm sitting at my desk at work and my husband just got me riled up again. He told me what was going on about this on the "You know you're from Emerson when..." Facebook page. He was bothered that people he knew his whole life were so close-minded and ignorant about the whole subject of transgender. They've all known people who are transgender, they grew up with, and they still have these archaic opinions on how they should be dealt with in this bathroom scenario. He said something that will resonate with me forever. Some of the opinions were based on religion and The Bible. B said- "How can they side with basically a character in a book written long before transgender was even a topic of public conversation over someone, a real person, real people, standing in front of them, who have been to the brink of suicide over who they are??!" That, friends, is the TRUTH. It's dumbfounding. SUICIDE. Attempted suicide. REAL PEOPLE. How do you turn a blind eye to that?

I'm sure if this is being discussed on the New Milford alumni page the responses are no better, so I'm not even going over to that one. I don't even have to go there- there were enough moronic comments under the north jersey media page on FB where the vote was shared. I stayed up until 2a counter-pointing every person who has something derogatory to stay. Then I wrote my own special letter to the guy spearheading the religious group who spoke at the Pascack Valley meeting, who hurled insults at the superintendent. Obviously it's more than one town filled with ignorant people, but that Emerson page was just a small slice of it in my face.

I'm not going to get into how awful for humanity I feel organized religion has become. I could, because I could write all day on that one. However, I don't have to write about that. The extremely under researched responses say it all. I don't know much about The Bible, except the part I have heard about my whole life- that only one person is supposed to do the judging. Yet, regular folk seem to think it's their job to carry out whatever interpretation they think is best. Putting a whole group of people in danger over a bathroom. With the comments I've seen, I don't know how anyone can make a case for religion when all it seems to do is discriminate and divide. It also seems to be clouding people's judgement to an amazing degree.

I'm female. I have a vagina. I use women's bathrooms, and occasionally, when the line is too long, men's bathrooms. I'm forty-one. I've never seen anyone else's vagina and no one else has seen mine in ALL THIS TIME of using public bathrooms. If there have been transgender people in the bathroom at the same time as me, which I'm going to assume there have been, I have NO IDEA. I don't want or need to know. No one needs to know.

Elementary, middle and high school are tough times for kids emotionally. Navigating popularity, social media, bullying, and just day to day stress of tests and workload are no joke. I can't BELIEVE that there are people who are using the argument that letting transgender kids use the bathroom they identify with is giving them a free pass to check out the opposite sex in a vulnerable state. Really? Because a boy is going to go through all the teasing, bullying, and ostracizing, the dressing, the living as a female, just to ogle...what exactly? If a tween/teen boy wants to see nakedness, there are PLENTY of easier ways than dressing as a woman to use a bath/locker room. A lot of internet porn is free and kids seem to have smart phones with very little restriction in fourth and fifth grade. A Facebook friend recently wrote on his page that his first grade son had a friend over who had a phone. FIRST GRADE. The logic of living as trans to spy is so flawed, I am annoyed I even have to write this.

Someone then asked me if someone transgender could also be a lesbian. I said they could, but I'm not sure what bearing that has on this issue. There could and ARE already lesbians in the bathroom and locker room and you can't do ANYTHING about that. Nor would you know unless they told you or your kid. You also can't police anyone's thoughts. I'm straight, and could be in a locker room, see the most amazing naked woman in there, and get hot over her. My first girl crush. Who knows? Or is it okay to be a lesbian, but only if you don't have a penis first? I'm so confused. Confused why that would matter.

Let me give a newsflash. Kids, most kids today, they DON'T CARE about this stuff. They, thankfully, are growing up in a time where gender roles are not that important, people are who they are, and it is what it is. If your kids are uncomfortable with the idea of a trans kid in their bathroom, guess where that came from? It didn't come from other kids. It starts in the home. Just like the Denis Leary meme that went around about racism- Hate, ignorance, religious beliefs, homophobia aren't born. It's all learned. Maybe you should think a little more about where you get your facts and what you're teaching your children. If Christ is supposed to be all peace and love then you should be teaching peace and love, and exhibiting peace and love to those in need of it most. If your kid is afraid of a trans person using the same locker room or bathroom then maybe it's your child that has the problem. Why would they be looking at someone's genitalia?

Finally, the argument I've seen most often against it is that it could be dangerous. Someone could dress as a woman to attack women in bathrooms. Really? Couldn't anyone do that regardless of law? Have there been cases of men dressing as women to assault women in bathrooms? Or do they just assault as men? I'm pretty sure any assaulting in women's bathrooms has been done as men dresses as men. Just because there is law to protect those who need it, doesn't give anyone a free pass to assault anyone. It's not like a trans person could assault someone in a bathroom and then use the "I was allowed by law to be in the bathroom" defense. If you assault someone, it's assault, no matter who does it and what bathroom you're allowed to use via what genitals you have or don't.

I just can't get over the sheer stupidity this whole fight. For those who are so up in arms, wouldn't it be more odd or uncomfortable to see someone who identifies as a women, in their full on woman mode- think, Laverne Cox- in the men's bathroom?? Don't you have any compassion for how scary it would have to be to look like that and try to use a men's bathroom. You have to pee, but you can't just pee. You have to hope against all hope there is no one else in there, and no one who would kick your ass upon arrival. If your deal is about the religious aspect- isn't compassion part of the whole rule set? So where is it? Only for those who believe the way you believe? A little hipocrazy in MY book.

When people on the Emerson FB page were shut down with logic, the main answer was- "No one can say who is wrong or right. These are our opinions". No. In this case, you don't get opinions. You're just flat out WRONG. And I'm not afraid to say it. Get out of your bubble and do some actual research. Research from credible, legitimate sources (that means, no Bible).

Helpful links:

*Please excuse any typos or misspellings. The spell check is broken and I'm so fired up, I just need this out- NOW.

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