The swirl of fog thickens when public perceptions and misconceptions rear their ugly head. The issue of bathroom usage is one of those that perplexes and polarizes. Fortunately, the polarization is less than certain corners of society are willing to acknowledge and accept.
For some, the matter is simply addressing a biological need. For others, let’s call them the misinformed or the uninformed, the issue generates fear of the unknown, and maybe too much time in front of the television watching fictional accounts of life.
It’s time to lay out facts to enable understanding, allay fears and foster understanding.
Public restrooms are not meetup places. They are not places people go to hook up. When you use public facilities, watch the traffic flow. You may be surprised to find most people are there because of the calling of the excretory system. People are usually in and out quickly; not making eye contact, not striking up conversation and certainly not there for the sounds and odors of bodily function.
The uninformed and the fear mongers want birth certificates to be the passport to restroom use. Let’s presume they get their way. Will they install electronic access to restrooms? How long will the transition to electronic access take? What will be the phase in plan? Will there be warning signs posted outside each of the facilities? Will there be a separate portal on government websites? Will there be a Potty Czar? Will that position be elevated to Cabinet level? Will the government issue restroom access cards? Will the cards be administered by the keeper of birth records? Will this be a state or federal mandate? Will a government infrastructure be built to hire, train and enforce restroom compliance? Will we have another law enforcement group? Maybe call them the potty police? Will there be bathroom monitors? Who will vet them (background checks, federal child molestation checks, fingerprints, etc.). Who will pay for this added layer of security? Will there be another tax added to the bill for food, clothing, etc.? Who will police restaurants? Will non-public facilities require a PPA (you can figure out the acronym) similar to the FDA? Will there be surprise inspections? Will there be a hotline for reporting suspected abuses and violations? Will concerned citizens call 911 or will there be a new three-digit dialing sequence? Will alarms be installed in restrooms similar to fire alarms? Will video surveillance be installed? Will there be live video feeds viewed at central monitoring stations?
Then there’s the issue of enforcement, penalties, fines, imprisonment, etc. Will violators be arrested or will they be issued a written citation similar to traffic violations? Will there be citizens’ arrests? Will they be afforded hearings? Which courts will hear these cases? Who will deal with the backlash when people are mistaken for the wrong gender? Lawyers will have a field day with this one.
I lay out this Orwellian scenario to prove a point; transgenders have been using the restroom of their identified gender for many years; probably dating back to the first public restroom. Life has been uneventful in the restroom, except for the occasional odiferous release and the sounds that we gladly relegate to such venues. Suddenly someone awoke to the possibility that there may be nefarious events transpiring in public facilities. The faulty reasoning has been shrouded in the veil of protection for our women and female children.
Does anyone really believe men will dress as women, a hefty investment of time and energy, to commune with women in restrooms? If you do, let me point out obvious things you are missing. These people need to acquire a wardrobe, makeup, hair and accessories (an investment, storage and hiding places) in order to pass as female. This is no easy task; just ask anyone who cross dresses. These men masquerading as women, impostors, would need to dress up and venture out of their home or dressing area into the public eye. To gain access to a restroom they would then need to run the gauntlet of people in these public venues. They would risk being discovered by family, neighbors, friends, etc. all for the opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds of the ladies’ room!
Sounds farcical, right? Wouldn’t pornography sites provide a safer alternative for these imagined perps? Pornography is the most viewed subject matter on the Internet; and most likely not for its educational content. Could the overwrought concern for restroom safety emanate from those yelling the loudest having an axe to grind over something in their personal lives? They haven’t provided one scintilla of fact to support their worry; yet they drone on.
Keep in mind that a birth gender bathroom law will force transmen to use the ladies’ room. I’m sure there’s nothing more calming to women than seeing a bearded and balding transman entering the ladies’ room. Why would a cisgender need to dress as a woman? What would stop a cisgender man from using the ladies’ room and claiming to be a transman? If a transwoman wanders into the men’s room, won’t that raise suspicions that it’s really a woman seeking to curry favor with men?
We have important and vital issues to address in this country including, but not limited to: terrorism, racism, bullying, fiscal deficits, erosion of the family, unemployment, homelessness, murder, failing infrastructure, aging population with a faulty safety net, uninsured and uninsurable population, pollution, water shortages, etc. Is restroom usage really one of the top thirty priorities or is this attack on transgender a reaction to inevitable societal change? Unsure? Then I recommend you do some light reading on the evolution of slavery, the eventual passage of Title VII, the Civil Rights Act, Title IX, the disenfranchising of the mentally ill and the substance use disorder population as well as every nationality that has come to this country.
Change is not easy for some. Change is inevitable. No government law, statute or mandate is going to stop people from doing what they do. Don’t agree? Spend a few moments reviewing how traffic laws have stopped violators; how murder statutes have stopped violent crimes, how the commandments have stopped murder, adultery, jealousy, greed and avarice.
Fighting change for some secret insecurity or the need to control what you don’t or won’t understand will only get you trampled by the constant march of societal progress.
Nikki DiCaro is a freelance writer, advocate, speaker and trainer on unconditional equality, diversity and inclusion. Her organization, DiCaro Consulting LLC, works with individuals and organizations to support diversity and inclusion. You can find her on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.