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Speaking up for equality

I am really naïve when it comes to politics. First of all, it never crossed my mind that a transgender person would have to use the bathroom for the opposite sex. Why would a transgender female-- a female-- have to use a men's restroom? Have I just had my head buried in the sand? Is that really what it has been like for transgender people before now?

I feel like this whole topic of bathroom equality brings up a whole slew of issues that I can't even begin to delve into. I don't know the answer for all of this-- prisons paying for gender reassignment, school locker rooms, on and on. It is a huge subject, a lofty subject. My guess is that any transgender kid in high school is having a much harder day than I am though and, as a momma, that breaks my heart. This topic gets my gears turning.

First of all, I don't understand the anger regarding the bathroom debate. Do I suddenly feel public restrooms are a danger? Hell no. Public restrooms and locker rooms have been a danger from the beginning. I am the mother to 4 young boys. Our 7-year old 1st grader is 4'6" and weighs almost 80 pounds. He wears a boys' size 8-10 and a men's size 4.5 shoe. Whenever I take him with me into the women's restroom, I get glares and muttered remarks, "Too old to be in here..." Our oldest is not a leader. He is a trusting, naïve, sweet 7-year old boy. There is no way when I am at a fairground or a movie theater where the restrooms have more than one entrance that I would let him go into the men's room by himself-- where I cannot go. There is no way when I am road tripping alone with our 4 boys that I would let him go in the men's room by himself. I do not have a fear of transgender people. I have a fear of sexual predators. Wolves in sheep's clothing that look for those small opportunities when our guard is down for a moment. What scares me are cases like Adam Walsh's, where the toy department becomes a hunting ground. Or when walking home from school or running into car trouble become dangerous.

Second of all, in a lot of the articles, blog posts, and news stories on the subject, a common theme seems to be having someone sexually assaulted in a public restroom tell about what happened to them-- which somehow should prove bathroom equality is at fault. What about the people raped when leaving work later than usual? Or stopping at the gas station? Or going to a party? Or getting a ride from a family friend? Or a child staying the night at a friend's house? Or walking home from school? Or doing any number of trusted activities?! Every time I read these posts about how dangerous public bathrooms now are, my blood boils. Sexual assault should never be minimized or regulated to bathroom equality. This makes a mockery out of what is happening to sexual assault victims, past and present. No one will now be raped because "men" or "gays" or "transgender sexual deviants" suddenly have access to women's restrooms. No. People-- men and women-- will continue to be raped by sexual predators no matter what those predators' sexuality or genders may be. This is not new. This has nothing to do with the LGBT community. This has to do with sexual predators, who come in all forms.

Third, feminism. Ah, feminism. As a feminist, mothering 4 boys has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. From the daily "boys will be boys" comments to the expectations placed on each of their shoulders. Yes, it is still a Man's World-- pay, equality, on and on and on-- though this bathroom debate his given every mother to girls and every woman a soapbox-- keep those men out of our restrooms (which, in itself seems to shut out the entire population of male sexual assault victims). As a woman myself and a mother to boys-- ah-- it makes me pause. Why is there such a strong support system for the LGBT community? Because it is a hard road. Think of Matthew Shepard. It makes me sick. Feminism calls for equal rights. Knowing my struggles, it makes my heart ache thinking of their struggles. What if that was my boy? I can't even type that without tearing up. Equality. It matters.

Fourth, equality matter so much. I am vocal about my faith. It is included in my blog posts and my daily conversations and all my parenting choices. It is part of me, who I am. It is in every fiber of my being and it is how I identify and process the world. My life is my testimony. And it sounds so silly to say it out loud, but we live in America. Our ancestors came here for a reason-- freedom of religion-- for that one reason alone. I cannot imagine living in a country where my beliefs and my convictions and my way of life was wrong or illegal. I can't imagine having my basic human rights violated. I can't imagine feeling shamed over my day to day choices. I can't imagine telling people how they have to live or feel or love or any of that. My faith is a choice-- a choice I made. Equality is so important. It is important for us to protect that.

Finally, I start thinking about the bigger picture. What is making people so angry or uncomfortable over the bathroom situation? Do they truly believe that now suddenly they will be victims? Do people have a fear of the LGBT community? Do they feel it violates their own personal convictions? I also start questioning myself-- what am I missing here? I don't pretend to know a lot about politics. I find a lot of it confusing, unpleasant, and upsetting. It feels like there are so many problems in the world and what politician can fix them all? At the end of the debates, it feels like the solutions are all "making the best" type answers. I think sexual predators find a way to commit violent acts regardless of bathroom laws. I think people-- all people-- deserve equality. I think a lot of things in our country need to change-- laws, budgets, education, attitudes. I think there are bigger issues out there. I think if you are going to boycott Target, you need to include Disney.

I don't know why I wrote this blog post. I really try to stay out of politics and I really try to avoid these types of topics on my blog. I am surrounded by this topic right now. It is on all the blogs I read, it is posted on all my social media, it is on the news, in my magazines... It feels like so much is being said about it and it is hard to remain silent when it makes me so emotional. I can't support the idea that the transgender community are sexual predators. I can't support the idea that public bathrooms have overnight become a danger. I can't support the idea that rape is tied to bathroom equality. I can't support that this is only a women's issue. Staying silent feels like agreeing to those notions. I'm sure I will start getting comments about what I'm missing in this debate or emails about why I'm wrong. I have only walked in my shoes and lived my life. I think what this is missing is grace.

Comments

Andi said…
Agreed, I say this when asked about the subject...if you are afraid that a man dressed as a woman is going to go into the restroom and assault your young daughter...my question is...why is your daughter in the bathroom alone...which is a whole other issue in my world...
Spring said…
Thank you! People have been using the restroom next to transgendered people for decades & never even knew it! I don't understand the sudden 'hot topic' over it either but it does bother me that people or politics or whatever the entity is, seems to move from one discriminating move to another. I worry about the day my boys are 'too old' for the ladies room because they may just be grown before I am comfortable letting them go into the mens room alone. There's a reason we keep empty water bottles in the van, lol...
Kimber said…
I seriously hope they have. I personally can't imagine being forced to use the men's room. And ahhhh!!! Totally agree on boys and bathrooms. I have barreled into more than one men's restroom though! :P It is so hard. Our other boys are not nearly as tall as our oldest, but i do get raised eyebrows when I'm in the ladies room with FOUR BOYS ("Did you see that? That lady brought four boys in the WOMEN'S RESTROOM." Sure did.). I drag us all in family restrooms whenever I can, but I'm sure you have the same issue-- kids can't wait long!!! Have you ever seen the super nice family restrooms at Westfield malls?!
Kimber said…
Bathroom safety is so important!!! We have a lot of conversations regarding strangers and appropriate/inappropriate comments that could be made to them and how to properly respond. But with our oldest being 7, I never know how much of that actually sinks in! I do love that we at least have a "pack of boys," so that they can go in together at places I am comfortable and waiting outside.
Kimber said…
Bathroom safety is so important!!! We have a lot of conversations regarding strangers and appropriate/inappropriate comments that could be made to them and how to properly respond. But with our oldest being 7, I never know how much of that actually sinks in! I do love that we at least have a "pack of boys," so that they can go in together at places I am comfortable and waiting outside.
Krista E said…
Sorry I'm a bit late into this discussion, but more so than sexual assault, I would think that any inch you give to each gender choosing which bathroom they prefer, according to 'what they feel mostly associated with' will nearly create chaos & no order. With this in mind, I become more concerned about 'safety' as a whole, not just 'sexual assult' from the 'transgendered'. In turn this would allow more than an 'inch' to the so called 'wolves' in 'sheep's clothing'. If we are unable to keep bounderies or order in these simple manners, then the matter then becomes how far can we push the envelope until we can continue justifying? What then will be unjustifiable? I choose not to know the details, but Korey mentioned of a law that is now permitting bestiality, I believe in Canada? Here's what it all comes down to: We are all Sinners in need of a Savior. If we realize we're lost, need a Savior & seek Him as our Forefather's supposedly once have (under God, who has granted us a free country) then He can continue to bless us. If we don't submit unto Him, unfortunately we fall away from His umbrella, which is where we have come today. This scenario reminds me of the Israelites that were rescued from out of Egypt, over & over again. What was their folly? Why did they continue in the paths of destruction? They followed the patterns of their earthly desires. Sin is the same, no matter how big or small we may think. Even if my sin can appear to be something small & not as elaborate or outwardly displayed for the world to see, I still need to take it captive under the submission of the Lord who reveals what Truth is to us. The Truth is: His ways are better/ higher than ours, because He is our Creator. A Proverb reads, "The heart is deceitfully wicked, who can know it?" We aren't supposed to follow our hearts because they are deceitful. We are to deny those deceitful desires that go against His plan for us & follow the Creator of our hearts, because He designed us to thrive within His ultimate purpose, for us. So ultimately, I see that as the root of the issue. In His great love for us, He gave up His life, so we can live. The least we can do is surrender our selfish or evil desires, in exchange for obtaining His glory, forever. . Not too shabby of a deal, once you think about it. This is what I'm learning we need to point people towards, more than anything. And I am not exempt. Blessings

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