Why Keeping Bad Guys Out of Girl’s Bathrooms, isn’t What’s Going on Here

unique-bathroom-stalls

“How did I become the bad guy because I don’t want guys in the bathroom with my daughters and their friends. Just pee in the damn bathroom your supposed to!”

This Facebook post showed up in my news feed this morning from a friend, who I absolutely do consider a good guy. It was liked and commented on favorably by many Christian folks I currently or once considered friends. I think it is indicative of sentiments I see shared frequently in the Church and by those sharing my faith these days. 

Here was my response to the folks on that thread and those reading this who have similar feelings:

1) No sane, decent, loving fathers want guys in the bathroom with their daughters. 

Making these claims is setting up battle lines that don’t exist and creating a false good vs. evil delineation to make ourselves feel better. It’s claiming some manufactured moral high ground that simply isn’t present.

2) We straight folk have all been using the public bathroom with LGBTQ people for our entire lives and most of us have never had an issue, (and definitely not one this bill addresses).

We will all continue to use the bathroom with LGBTQ people going forward. The idea that we now won’t, or that this will somehow keep our daughters safer is simply misinformation and fear-peddling to justify a conclusion. It’s a false victory based on a nonexistent threat, which the Church and politicians specialize in.

3) These pieces of legislation have nothing to do with keeping men out of women’s restroom facilities, and so much to do with businesses being allowed to discriminate based on gender identity and sexual orientation. 

The heart of these bills is about giving license to refuse service to individuals and to keep those individuals from legally disputing this refusal. Heterosexual men who disobey laws to assault women won’t have any more grounds to do so regardless whether or not these laws are passed.

4) If said straight men could be trusted not to do bad things to women, we wouldn’t be having any of these conversations.

As a Christian I’m disappointed that we aren’t talking about that in our churches and on campaign trails, or making bold public statements about that. I’m profoundly saddened that high-profile evangelists and pastors aren’t facing this real monster with the same sustained ferocity they attack an imagined one with.

Women are in exponentially higher danger of being sexually assaulted by a boyfriend, spouse, or a classmate, and children at home by a relative or family friend, than by a stranger in a bathroom—and it isn’t even close.

5) A cisgender white male saying to a Transgender person, “Just pee in the damn bathroom your supposed to”, is one of the least helpful and least compassionate responses one can utter, and exposes a startling lack of knowledge on that matter.

These individuals feel an internal brain disconnection with their physical anatomy. To be Transgender is to not feel accurately represented in the gender you were assigned at birth. It is about someone’s personal sense of being, so “peeing where they are supposed to” is exactly what they are trying to do here.

Google the phrase “white privilege” and you’ll see why this statement is an issue in itself.

6) Unless we’re all going to show our birth certificates at public restrooms, nothing about these bills has any relevance at all with regard to public safety in the bathroom—not to mention completely unenforceable. 

This is a non-issue. It’s Don Quixote’s windmills. It’s the worst kind of distraction because it pretends to solve nonexistent problems that it wouldn’t address even if they did exist.

7) I don’t want bad guys in the bathroom with my daughter either.

I’ve just researched enough to know that nothing about this legislation has any bearing on that desire. I’ve realized that the greatest danger to her isn’t the LGBTQ community or public restroom use, it’s cisgender-hetero guys who can’t control themselves wherever they are.

I know I can’t legislate the world so that she has no contact with these men at school, out shopping, at fraternities, at church, on band trips, at work, in relationships—those places where she is most in danger of being assaulted. All I can do is teach her, guide her, and try to create a less horrible world for her to walk into.

Like minded people on my friend’s thread shared a frustration that they are wrongly called “intolerant” by expressing the above views. It’s not intolerance that is the problem here, it’s education. It’s a lack of knowledge that we’re OK living with.

I think we’re always looking for a clear enemy and an easy solution. There just isn’t one here, and definitely not within these bills. HB2 is a bad decision made for the wrong reasons to solve a problem that didn’t exist. Too many people are all too willing to take the lazy hate bait because they’d rather not do the difficult work of reading and reflecting and wrestling with complex issues, and addressing matters if they become too complicated or time-consuming than is required to read a divisive meme. This is especially true when we believe our faith is somehow under attack.

If we want women to feel safe in the bathroom or anywhere else, we can’t legislate it so. We’ve got to ask more difficult questions and to face much more troublesome realities about who we are as a (predominantly heteronormative) society. 

This isn’t a battle for the safety of stalls for our young women, it’s a battle for the souls of our young men.

I told my friend that he’s not the bad guy and he’s not. The bad guys are straight guys who want to force their way upon women wherever they do this, those who stay silent in the face of them, and those who shut down efforts to call them out as the real problem—a problem a “bathroom bill” does absolutely nothing to address.

Unless we make this the main thing in these conversations, especially in the Church, I think we’re missing the point—and often times on purpose.

Trying really hard to be a good guy…

317 thoughts on “Why Keeping Bad Guys Out of Girl’s Bathrooms, isn’t What’s Going on Here

  1. If it were just bathrooms, it would be a little more simple. But even that is not all that straight forward. My assumption is that transgendered people have been using the bathrooms of their choice for quite some time. Short of having an inspector (which is stupid), there isn’t really anything to be done.

    Here is my problem(s):

    First, there are 25% of women who have experienced sexual assault as children. There are many more who have experienced it as adults. If in any facility (most likely a locker room), a physical male is exposing his genitals to women and girls, there is a huge price to pay for them. The shock and psychological assault is enormous.

    Take it from a male who was raped by four different perpetrators as a child and who has spent decades in male locker rooms. I still find it stressful to undress or observe others in that condition.

    Number two: in my neighborhood, there is a man who claims to be a transgendered woman. He is a registered sex offender. He dresses as a woman and has legally changed his name. His victims include both boys and girls and adult women. He is considered likely to re-offend. Under current law in my state, he is welcome in any facility, bathroom, locker room or anything else. There is also a registered sex offender in the west side of the state who is suing because the law now says he can go into the girls locker room and watch young girls undress.

    Neither of these men are under any supervision by the Department of Corrections.

    We simply can’t treat this issue so simply.

    • I just realized that I used “simply” twice in that last sentence. Maybe I’m losing it!

    • The solution that makes sense here, and protects women and young boys (who if you take bars out of the equation are the ones most likely to be attacked in a bathroom) is much longer sentencing, post release supervision, and banning offenders from public bathrooms and dressing rooms…in other words, punish those who actually do the crimes. Of course, the amount of politicians who have been in trouble for this may make it hard to get laws that could actually do something passed

    • Tedd,

      It is easy to float solutions that hurt people we don’t know, in ways we can’t understand. To think the world a better place after implementing such solutions is to bury my head in the sand while condemning people to death for being something unfamiliar, something I don’t care about. But we are all only still people. And we do still live and experience and feel.

      When we are seen as whole people, parts of the community due consideration as much as anyone else, “bathroom bills” of the kind we are seeing proposed these days vanish. Everyone understands “we need to ban a certain class of women from the women’s room” is discriminatory. The problem is not that we aren’t women. It’s that people don’t understand how we are women, and refuse to consider how it could be possible; thus they deny themselves the capacity to know what is real. The harm we do to each other in this way is in direct proportion to our distance from reality. This is why I am not angry at people who hurt me for being trans. I know they are not attacking me, but their idea of what I “must be.” I forgive them as they do it. I forgive them while I break.

      When people understand that trans women are women, they float solutions that are much more narrowly and specifically targeted to the actual source of the problem, like Monica did. In this case, prior offenders as a class, rather than trans women. Punishing a harmful action, rather than a mere state of being. This model would capture the prior offender you referred to, punishing her for HER actions, without criminalizing and denying my existence.

      It sounds like the only trans woman you know is pretty sketch, and also that you don’t know her as a whole person. I’m a trans woman. I hope you’ll consider coming to get to know me on my public figure Facebook page, at seranine.com. Being trans is like having a certain eye color. It’s just a facet of who someone is. That someone could be trans and also a sex offender does not surprise me in the slightest. But the suggestion that someone who is trans necessarily is also a sex offender is flatly untrue, and as absurd as suggesting that people with heterochromia are sex offenders, or that left-handed people can’t be trusted.

      Be safe,

      Sera

    • So because one man who’s a sex offender does what you claim he does, we should base our entire national transgender policy on that?

      OK, sure.

      Let’s also ban the driving of any vehicle of any kind. I mean, DUIs happen all the time so we must ban any and all use of cars.

      Same logic.

  2. This is boring. The question is whether there is any such thing as sexual morality or not, and where there is any such thing as sexual reality or not. Leftists deny both. For Leftists, there is no sexual morality and no sexual reality. There is really nothing else to discuss.

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  4. Absolute equality demands that there be no standards of any kind. If one defines himself as a straight man who wants to hang out in the women’s restroom, he has an absolute right to do so. If you disagree, you’re a BIGOT!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Dear John,
    I became involved in this discussion when, a transgender ‘woman’ with male genitalia was allowed to shower with women and girls at the local YMCA.
    The real problem with this conversation is the naive assumption that a “one size fits all” legislation is the appropriate solution. Telling women and girls that males in transition or with male genitalia in their safe spaces is something they need to accept and get over is abusive. Worse still, they are told they are bigoted. This shows a lack of understanding and compassion for victims of abuse.
    As a parent, I want my daughter’s first exposure to male genitals to be on HER terms. Not forced upon her by someone who demands it regardless of the circumstances.
    We are a complex culture and we CAN come up with solutions that benefit ALL.

    • SueAnne,

      It sounds like you’re concerned about your daughter’s safety. I understand that. I have kids, too, and I have also suffered sexual assault at the hands of a man. Not only am I no threat to you or your daughter (or anyone else, really; I cry when I realize I’ve killed a bug), but I, too, want everyone to be as safe as possible.

      I’m not a male or a male in transition. I’m female and always have been. Your phrasing suggests to me that you know few or no trans women personally, as whole people. I’m not a right-wing shock demonstrator brodude who forces himself into the YMCA women’s locker room and says “this is legal now,” who ironically and probably unintentionally proves the point that men are the danger, not trans women. Our problem is not that I am a monster or a danger to anyone, but that you cannot distinguish me from those cisgender men who are both.

      I invite you to get to know me at seranine.com, my public figure Facebook page. I hope you’ll consider seeing what a trans woman’s life is really like. If you’re right and I am awful, you will know exactly how awful. If I’m right and I am kindness, it may help relieve some of your worry.

      Be safe,

      Sera

  6. I am so sick of this topic. Honestly unless you are looking you won’t even realize there is a Transgender person peeing next to you! Seriously, they don’t care what is between your legs, so WHY do you care what is between yours? Also, Transgender friends have a MUCH HIGHER instance of being harassed, threatened, or assaulted, in a bathroom they do not identify with, then us straight folks. Also, as a WHITE PRIVLIAGED FEMALE, I can with a certain degree of knowledge, testify that MY rapist was a straight male. End of story.

  7. One commenter said that straight men are the real safety issue. Well most transwomen are really gender non-conforming straight men…so there’s that.

  8. If there is any man in the bathroom past the age of puberty I am going to call 911 and then leave the rest room. Sorry no man tools in the ladies room.

  9. Normally bathrooms have individual stalls. Do your business in there and as long as no one is peaking under the door, it will be your secret what junk is in your trunk. Seriously people, get over this already. Transgender/gay does not equal pedophile.

    • You are not, many of us do not see how this can be a safe thing. Not everyone is honest and this opens this door for men in drag to use this as a way to get into women’s rest rooms and prey on women and young girls who are vulnerable.

      • Beth,

        Nondiscrimination ordinances protecting trans women already provably and observably harm no one in localities where such protections have been in place for years. To speak of this as some sort of crazy theory that we should never even try to test makes no sense while it is already working, and we can observe and discuss whatever ACTUAL problems have arisen from this, if any. To my knowledge, in my experience, there are none.

        For you to call 911 and leave the restroom when I enter, because you are afraid, though I have done nothing but enter the restroom, is not inappropriate. But to create a law that ignores reality, denies science, criminalizes my body, and weaponizes police against me for existing is grossly unkind.

        For you to call my existence a threat does not make it so. Get to know me. I am not hard to find. If you are right, and I am a terrible thing, you will know exactly how terrible. You can look me in the eye, and destroy me in good conscience.

        If you are wrong, I am shut out of public life, more than I already have been, based on the lie that says I am a monster, to people who will never even see me; this makes it that much more difficult for people who don’t know me to ever have a chance. The well has been poisoned.

        Is it not worth a few moments making sure that the human you condemn is really worthy of condemnation before you condemn her?

        Be safe,

        Sera

  10. John, I love everything you said here. However, there is one extremely important thing you omitted.

    About half of all transgender people are transMALE. They look like, and act like MEN. Some are very butch and some are out and out scary looking. They were born with vaginas. These people are mandating that these MEN use the ladies’ room.

  11. Wow, I had know idea you were so plugged in to what my community was going through, and probably forever. It has seemed like a recent thing, but the discrimination is something that kept me from coming out for years. I was working and out of my parent’s house for ten years before I told them I was Gay. As Southern Baptists, I was scared they would never speak to me again. That’s the kind off thing I want to stop.

  12. Wow, I had know idea you were so plugged in to what my community was going through, and probably forever. It has seemed like a recent thing, but the discrimination is something that kept me from coming out for years. I was working and out of my parent’s house for ten years before I told them I was Gay. As Southern Baptists, I was scared they would never speak to me again. That’s the kind off thing I want to stop.

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