I spend way too much time on Facebook. The reasons I go there are to find things to laugh at, see pretty pictures, get world news (shake your finger at me if you must, but it’s where learn what’s going on), and get into arguments.
One of my most recent was over the gender bathroom issue. I’m talking about this here at the risk of sounding like I’m trying to validate my views. I’m not. I just really want to talk about it, because it’s been on my mind for weeks. Before I go any further, I want to go on record to state that I’m not against transgender people using the bathroom of their choice. I realize the chances of a transgender woman (male to female) getting beaten to death is much higher if she uses the men’s washroom than that she will abuse anyone in the women’s washroom. In fact chances are that she’s so self-conscious, it’s unlikely she’d even look anyone in the eye, let alone peek under a bathroom stall. I’m not here to debate whether it’s right or wrong for transgender people to choose a bathroom. If you are not of the same opinion as I, that is your right. If you comment just to state your opinion on which side you’re on, you’ll get a smile emoji and I’ll say nothing else. All I really ask is that you keep it civil.
The whole Facebook argument started when I came across a meme on a friend’s page concerning not only the bathroom issue, but whether or not transgender people should use change rooms in gyms. I wasn’t aware that this was an issue, so my comment was something like, You mean they’re allowed to use public change rooms too? Okay, yes I probably could have worded it better. I was called out for using both the word “they” and the word “allowed.” I had to explain that I didn’t mean I think transgender people are inhuman, but rather I was speaking in a broad sense the same way I would speak about men vs. women. I don’t consider men to be inhuman, even though I call them “them” when differentiating between my sex and the sex that isn’t mine. Also, I didn’t mean to say that they’re any less human by saying they’re not “allowed” to use the women’s washroom, any more than I’m saying cisgendered men are lesser beings because they’re not “allowed” to use the women’s washroom. They’re not. Right? I just love over-sensitivity.
So on with the actual discussion. I told the woman I was speaking to (we’ll call her Mary) that I wasn’t necessarily against transgender women using a change room where she could feel comfortable. I agreed it was important that she not have to change in front of men. But in all the gym change rooms I’ve been into, everyone gets naked and I wouldn’t be comfortable changing in front of a person who is, no matter how she identifies or feels deep inside to be, is still physically a man. And I wouldn’t want my daughter (if I had one) to be confronted with a grown man’s penis. Mary asked me what there was to be afraid of. It’s just a penis.
I tried to explain to her that the sex education of my children should be up to me, that I should be able to decide when the time, the place, and the mode of teaching is appropriate. I believe it is both my right and my responsibility as a parent to choose how and when my children learn certain things. No one should make this choice for me, whether it’s a person with the physical attributes of a male in a change room or a flasher on the street. She disagreed, telling me that it would be the perfect opportunity to teach a young daughter the difference between boys and girls. She said it was the same as when her daughter asked about her infant son. She then went on to tell me how much of a bigot I am, and how I’m part of the problem.
The next day I went to my government’s website to see how we deal with this situation in Ontario (Canada). I found out that my government does its best to accommodate transgender people. They state that it’s necessary for all businesses to have a safe place for everyone to go to the washroom, change, and shower. Most facilities already have family rooms that are well-partitioned and/or are for single-person use. This, to me, is the perfect solution and ensures that everyone is comfortable. Still, I’m seen as a bigot.
It seems there is a line between common sense and entitlement. Political correctness, not wanting to offend anyone and over-sensitivity overrun our society to the point that there is little logic left in the world. Society runs on emotion, and that is the case for Mary who, as I found out later in our discussion, is the mother of a transgender girl.
I believe until we, as a society, are able to think with our brains rather than our hearts we will always be in conflict. But hasn’t it always been that way?