Legislating the potty: Why where we wee matters



Restrooms are notoriously awkward places.

We go to them in urgent times of need and make ourselves vulnerable in very obvious ways. What we do in restrooms is very personal and sometimes a little messy. Some people take it upon themselves to make it even messier than it ought to be, but that’s a subject for another time. Today we are focusing on the debate over who can use what public restroom, especially in our schools.

Rules governing restrooms have been largely unspoken but generally understood. Males of the species go to the men’s room and the females to the women’s room. The exceptions to that rule are usually toddlers with their parent of the opposite sex. Sometimes that’s necessary and we get that.

The problem now is our President and the Department of Education have become confused as to what makes a man a man and what makes a woman a woman.

The Department of Education and the Obama administration recently issued new guidelines that require schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with. On top of that, they have erroneously invoked the Title IX sex discrimination law that carries the threat of federal enforcement and could cost non-complying schools their federal education funds. Consider that a direct threat by Big Brother.

In a recent news interview, Obama said the action had to do with the affirming the dignity of all people, especially the transgendered.

“They are vulnerable, and I think it’s part of our obligation as a society to make sure everybody is treated fairly, and our kids are all loved and protected, and that their dignity is affirmed,” he said.

Let’s analyze this because it’s wrong on so many levels. Re-read Obama’s quote above, only this time instead of thinking of transgendered people, think about little girls.

“(School girls) are vulnerable, and I think it’s part of our obligation as a society to make sure everybody is treated fairly, and our kids are all loved and protected, and that their dignity is affirmed.”

(It’s not just the girls who are vulnerable. How often do we see stories of female teachers arrested for having sex with their male students?)

Instead of “protecting” and “affirming” the dignity of a very small minority of sexually disoriented (re-oriented?) people, how about protecting and affirming the dignity of the vast majority of people whose right to privacy and safety are grossly threatened by this action?

It is not the place of the government to force “protection” of an extreme minority group at the risk of the general population and women and children in particular. Yes, as citizens of this country the transgendered have the right to their beliefs. Yes, they should be protected from bullying and harassment. No, they should not be allowed to make most of the population feel uncomfortable or unsafe in public restrooms. The needs of the many outweigh the desires of a few.

If you think you’re a man trapped in a woman’s body or a woman trapped in a man’s body, that’s your problem. Don’t push your problems on everyone else. Figure out which restroom to use by yourself; don’t make the government figure it out for you.

As far as the threat of withholding federal dollars based on Title IX, that’s nothing more than malignant saber rattling. The original intent behind Title IX was to ensure that girls programs received equal funding with the boys and that girls were not being denied opportunities allotted to boys. Title IX is about adequately funding programs, not forcing socio-political agendas. Restrooms are not programs, they’re conveniences and everyone already has equal access to them.

Yet under this threat, the government would withhold vital money needed to educate all of our children if a school were to deny one boy the opportunity to pee in the girl’s restroom. Does anyone else see the folly in this?

There are other ways to accommodate transgendered people than to make blanket laws that threaten the dignity, privacy and safety of most people, especially women and girls. Most schools have private, one-person restrooms they can use. If not, a protocol could be put in place where a transgendered person can be given access to a restroom when others are not there. That assures the safety and modesty of both the public and the transgendered person.

I don’t know how much of the population in the United States considers itself transgendered but the most reliable studies online say it’s .3 percent (one-third of 1 percent). Yet this small but increasingly visible and vocal minority has allied itself with their gay and lesbian cohorts to push their agenda to the forefront of public consciousness. To that degree they have succeeded.

Up until the last couple of years there has been almost no public discourse about which restroom transgendered people should use. Transgender people have been around a long time and I suspect that they very quietly resolved that issue themselves. Don’t ask, don’t tell. There was no need to make a fuss about it or force us to legislate the potty.

Unfortunately the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community isn’t content to leave well enough alone. They want to make sure their rights are equal to or greater than the majority. If that means making a big stink about restroom access, so be it.

So, here we are debating whether or not it is appropriate for men dressed as women to use the ladies room. If’s it’s OK for them to do it, why shouldn’t other men be allowed in and vice versa for the women?

I’ll tell you why it isn’t OK. The words that come to mind are modesty, decency, integrity and safety. We all have a reasonable right to privacy and that right extends to the restroom. Like I said before, restrooms are awkward places. I’m not entirely comfortable using stalls or urinals next to other guys. I’d be more than a little unnerved if a woman came up and started urinating next to me.

I certainly do not want my wife, daughter or any other woman exposed to someone exhibiting sexually deviant behavior no matter what gender they are or think they are, straight or otherwise. This is especially troublesome in the age of cell phone technology and wireless Internet access. There are too many people out there who would abuse or violate any privacy that might exist in gender-neutral restrooms. It’s bad enough as it is in gender-specific ones.

I think the heart of the issue here is voyeurism and sexual perversion. That doesn’t belong in any public place, especially restrooms. Anyone in any restroom for those purposes ought to be treated criminally. Having gender-neutral restrooms just creates more opportunity for abhorrent behavior.

This begs the question what should a transgendered person do? I don’t know the answer. I suspect that it should be handled on an individual basis. I do not think men should be using the women’s room and vice versa. At the same time, I don’t think a man who is in the transitional phase and more closely resembles a woman would make anyone feel comfortable walking into a men’s room. I think where they go should be a choice made very discretely and without public display or outcry.

Please keep in mind that we are talking about a very small minority here. All of us should have the right to expect modesty and privacy in the restroom, including the transgendered.

Where we wee matters. Let’s not make a federal case out of this. It’s awkward enough already.

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