This may come as a surprise to you, but the truth is… we all pee. It is the other aspects of our lives where we differ. Our background, beliefs, experiences… they shape us all into the special, individual and very different people we are.
And one of those differences? Faith. It’s a precious and beautiful thing. A lot of you reading this may hold deeply religious values. Your religion is your guide and is entirely unique to you, as it should be. Personally, I don’t have faith in the traditional sense, but I will admit, there are times when I wish I did.
Though I’m not a religious person, please understand, I don’t begrudge you for yours. It helps mold you into the amazing and wonderful person you are, creating an experience that belongs entirely to you, and you alone. From what I understand, most believers’ greatest hope is that their family will share the same belief system and values. I can’t think of anything more pure than the desire to share that which is most important to you, with those you love, nor can I imagine the joy when you realize they share your faith.
However, my reservations kick in when we enter the public sector. You see, the moment you go into enterprise, those beautiful values cannot trump the laws in place on a Federal, or even a local, level. Those laws were established to protect your employees and your patrons. When you go into business, you understand that there will be taxes, labor laws, etc. that you will, however begrudgingly, have to adhere to. That is what the Federal Government was born to do; regulate and protect. So, why are we now having a public tug-of-war over bathroom access, or more simply, equality?
Equality. In 2016, in America, with an African-American President and a female poised to take that very seat in the coming election, you’d think equality wouldn’t be so hard to grasp. Yet, we can’t even agree that all people should be able to pee freely. Yes. I know the arguments on both sides, and I will do my darndest to address several of them here. So, please bear with me.
First, to the argument of religious morality, and the staunch claim that our lack of morality will unmoor our country and spin us into the depths of hell. Equality for all people in our country is not supposed to be optional, nor is it open to interpretation by your religious values. That is why we have a little thing called separation of Church and State. I mean, do you think polygamists should be able to marry their 7th wife, on the eve of her 14th birthday, without people batting an eye? Should we be able to sacrifice the obnoxious neighbor down the road under the guise of a religious sacrifice to keep the demons happy? Should we be able to shoot up with our drug of choice while operating a bus your children ride to school on without fear of repercussions because we believe in a freer God?
So despite the fact that the majority of our religions in this country are Christian-based, your religion does not get to dictate who our first and second class citizens are. Yes. I realize it was “Christians who built this country”, and though that sentiment is entirely broad, if not off base, I understand the intention behind that phrase, and I am grateful for our founding fathers’ ideals. However, I am also distinctly aware of not only the times those values were flawed, but the countless times they changed. I also recall that it was those very same Christian founding fathers who established a system of balance.
They institutionalized the justice system, a system entirely independent of religion to ensure those values did not blind the world to the truth. So it seems to me, these very Christians who “made this country what it is”, did in fact, make it what it is. And, what it is, is glorious and unfettered by religious law.
Second, though some individual states are trying to flex their muscles and implement their own laws regardless of the Federal rulings, this will not last forever. Yes. I ardently believe States should have rights, and you know what? They do. However, equality is not something they get to determine of their own free will. You may remember a certain war that made such attempts abundantly clear. To prevent another civil war, the Federal Government also has the power to correct such ill fated attempts. I am sure it is just a matter of time until the US Supreme Court rules and ensures that all law-abiding citizens are equally free to pee. In fact, the Federal Government has already implemented a civil suit against the first state in this very matter.
Third, I don’t know what business it is of any of us who identifies with what sexuality. Do I personally understand how it must be to feel you were born into the wrong body? No, and that’s coming from a girl who in high school was as tom-boy as tom-boy could be. I rocked my jinco jeans and thrift shop mechanic work-shirt emblazoned with the nametag “Bob” sewed onto the front, but I never, ever felt that I was meant to be a male. But, that does not mean those who have such an inclination are wrong. Their life, and their experience is as unique, as primal, and entirely intimate to them as your religion is to you. They aren’t denying you your religion or your beliefs. They are simply asking that you please stop demanding they live by yours. Now, most transgender people, when they complete the process… I hate to break it to you, but you can’t identify them as their former selves. So in those states that deny people the ability to use a restroom they identify with, we now in fact, have a problem. To you and me, and everyone else, it will now appear that a man is using the women’s restroom. And do you know why?
Because THEY ARE. A transgender man, who looks like, who acts like, who IS a man, is now required to use a women’s restroom. They now have to fear for their safety if somebody sees them and assumes they are a pervert or a pedophile, the very thing opponents claim to fear.
Fourth – the issue of perverts and pedophiles. Ok everyone. Deep breath. Do me a favor. Look up the statistics on how many sexual assaults have been committed in public restrooms. Not as high as you thought, huh? And now look up how many of those acts were committed by a transgender person…. crickets? That definitely isn’t what you thought, was it? Now, I’ve done some research on this, and there are conflicting numbers. However, the number I keep coming across is: 3%. 3% of sexual assaults committed by strangers take place in public restrooms. Of those, less than one percent are committed by transgender individuals…. And that brings me to my next question… why do people think, or rather, assume transgender individuals are perverts anyway? What do they base that on? I can think of a lot of straight, non-transgender people who truly are perverts. Yet, an individual who strives to be comfortable in their own skin, who want the world to see them as they see themselves is labeled sexually deviant? Why? On what basis? What is it about transgender individuals that makes people immediately assume there is something wrong with them? It’s not as if they run around committing sex acts. They go about their lives, just like you and I.
Here’s my bottom line:
You have to stop lying to yourself. This argument isn’t about bathrooms. It’s about what you deem wrong, and dare I say, a sin. Yep. At the end of the day, this is about your religion, and your belief that transgender individuals are wrong in making personal choices about their own bodies and experience that have absolutely no impact on your life.
The truth is this: If somebody is going to go into a restroom to rape or attack someone else, this law has absolutely zero impact on them anyway. Zip. Zilch. Nada. After all, a criminal is a criminal. They would do this regardless of laws, rules, and regulations. That is in fact, the classic definition of a criminal, isn’t it?
Also, isn’t that the very same argument many of you make when we discuss gun laws? That the bad guys don’t fret over troublesome things like laws, and certainly don’t worry about breaking them? So how is it then that those magical little laws restrict access to restrooms, guaranteeing the safety of all from perverts and pedophiles, but yet those same magical powers don’t transfer into the firearms and background check discussion? Just remember, that Bill of Rights you cling so ardently to when discussing the second Amendment right to bear arms, is part of the process that separates Church and State.
And one final note, to those who don’t know me, I want to be clear. I am pro-gun. This sentiment is expressed here only to show the hypocrisy in the discussion.
~ Jennifer L. Meacham