The Transgender Person In The Stall Next To You

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“Bosom Buddies.” My intro to transgender issues…

I got unfriended on Facebook again. It used to happen a lot more… I think I have become a little less abrasive over the past few years. These days, I can usually see it coming. I’m aware that feeling like you can fix everyone on the internet makes you way crazier than any of the people you might encounter on the internet… So most of the time, if some ignorant article pops up in my feed, I just shake my head, roll my eyes, and move on to the next thing. But it still happens every now and then when someone will post something that is just CRAZY offensive, and I feel compelled to chime in. Usually, I will run it by my wife. I will say, “So-and-so just wrote ________… Should I write ________?” Almost all of the time, she will advise me against it. But there are times when I still just can’t help myself… And I think, “You know what? This is worth getting unfriended over.”

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It seems someone tore off half of Superman’s cape…

I’m sure I get unfriended all the time… I probably just don’t notice. This one I DID notice, because I spent some time before bed researching/writing a response, and when I woke up, I went to her page to see if anything was said. The article was posted by a woman from our old church–A lot of the attrition I see on my “friends list” comes from members of our old church… I suppose that’s probably not unique to my situation. I didn’t really “know” her, but I definitely liked her. She was always smiling, and I never witnessed a moment where she came off as anything but very kind. I used to love watching her worship… She sang with this wild abandon, waving her hands above her head like a person on a deserted island trying to get the attention of a passing plane. Anyway, she shared an article that was passionately against the idea of transgendered people using the restrooms of the gender with which they identify. The article she shared was written by a man who was a football coach for 35 years (who also happened to be sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams) named Coach Dave Daubenmire, and it was  titled “Have We Lost Our Stinkin’ Minds?”

A lot of the conversation that has centered around the issue of Which Restrooms Transgender People Use has been spurred on by attempts to pass some controversial non-discrimination legislation–most notably in Houston, TX and Charlotte, NC. In the battle for the “right” to be able to legally discriminate against people who are transgender, things have gotten pretty ugly. Franklin Graham (whose Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is headquartered in Charlotte) is quoted as saying:

“This law would allow pedophiles, perverts and predators into women’s bathrooms. This is wicked and it’s filthy. To think that my granddaughters could go into a restroom and a man be in there exposing himself … what are we setting our children and grandchildren up for? There’s not a public restroom in Charlotte that would be safe!”

The Charlotte ordinance making sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes ended up being voted down 6-5. And when Houston made a similar ordinance, the voters were treated to probably the most horribly inaccurate, blatantly trans-phobic pieces of propaganda this country has ever seen… Leading to yet another defeat for transgender folks in this nation. Behold, this steaming pile of excrement:

This kind of demonization of people who are “gender non-conforming” is so very sickening. These disgusting attempts to link people in the LGBT community to pedophilia and preying on kids needs to be called out for what it is: The same sort of evil and false propaganda that painted the Jews as Christian baby-murdereing vermin. About 4.6% of the U.S. population has reported attempting suicide, but that number climbs to 10-20% percent for lesbian, gay or bisexual people. By comparison, 41% of trans or gender non-conforming people surveyed have attempted suicide… And the false demonization and alienation of people (who are just looking for a safe and appropriate place to pee) is part of the reason why. Anyway, if sexual predators wanted to prey on kids by laying in wait to abuse them in public bathrooms, they could… Do you think someone planning a first degree felony is going to be dissuaded by a misdemeanor? Beyond the LIES, it doesn’t even make sense… as Matt Baume lays out here beautifully:

Before I explain to you why these laws (attempting to force people who are transgender into the opposite restrooms of the gender with which they identify) are COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE… A bit of my own journey: Like most kids who grew up going to church and a Christian school, I grew up believing that people weren’t “made” gay. I believed that LGBT people probably got that way because choice, or doing something wrong, or some sort of abuse. It didn’t make sense that God would make a person gay, and then have being gay be a sin… That wouldn’t be right. Then, at some point, I thought about intersex people (my word for it at the time was “hermaphrodites”) who were born with both male and female sex organs… And I thought, “If our hardware can be born mixed up/confused, why wouldn’t our software be able to be mixed up as well?” That seemed to make sense to me… but that was before I really knew ANYTHING about people who were actually intersex. Here’s an amazing video about what it’s like (three videos, I know… JUST WATCH!):

So there is a difference between someone’s sex and someone’s gender. Sex deals with biology and genetics and sexual organs… Gender is more about complex issues of identity, and refers to behaviors, expectations, activities, and roles within society. Sex deals with male and female, where gender deals with masculine and feminine. Many people–especially those who live in very black & white worlds–believe that gender is nothing more than (as “Coach Dave” wrote about ) a matter of “plumbing.”  Many people think, “It’s easy to figure out… grab the baby, look between its legs, and if there’s a penis there, that kid needs to go to the boy’s bathroom… forever. “ Not only does that binary way of looking at things refuse to take into account the intersex kids in the video above, but it also refuses to consider the amazing complexity of gender.

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What a beautiful spectrum.

There are many resources available for people who are actually interested in finding out more about the beautiful spectrum of human sexuality and gender (none better than actually TALKING to as trans or gender non-conforming person)… But as always, the people who allow for the possibility of a complex spectrum are probably the sort of folks who already get it. Whereas, the “Black & White,” “Adam & Eve, not Adam &Steve,” “Penis=Baseball/Vagina=Pink Dresses” thinkers are probably not interested in discussing “complexity.” But for those of you who made it this far, I have a few last points of common sense. Here is the first one:

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“Excuse me, Ma’am… Do you have a few squares of toilet paper? I’m out.”

This is a picture of a transgender man named Aydian Dowling. Aydian was born female, but transitioned to male later in his life. This guy is way more ripped than I have ever been, and if these laws pass making it illegal for people to use the restrooms with which trans people identify, Aydian might be standing next to you washing his hands as you check your makeup. To my female readers–When cities and states pass ordinances requiring people to use restrooms in accordance with their sex assigned at birth, you end up with situations like this:
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And this:

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And I am not very pee shy, but it still might get a little awkward using the urinal with her standing behind me, putting on her makeup:

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So, I get it… You’re at the stage of human consciousness where complexity and uncertainty are both very frightening. You’re thinking, “If I’m wrong about this, what else might I be wrong about?!?” And it’s a very scary thing to consider that the binary, “either male or female–THAT’S IT” way you’ve been taught to understand sex and gender might be incomplete. And you’re probably not ready to examine the possibility that people who are transgender and gender non-conforming might be part of God’s beautiful spectrum of this wonderful thing called “humanity.” But can you at least admit–after looking at these pictures–that these stupid laws would put people in WAY more awkward unsafe positions than just letting people use the stall of the restrooms they identify with?

There are people like Angela Drake who have decided to support me and this blog by becoming Patrons. It is a special sort of person who financially supports something she would still get for free, even if she didn’t give. I am so thankful for each one of you folks. If you’d like to give a couple bucks a month and BE A PATRON, you can. Otherwise, you can give on PayPal. Check out my Facebook and Twitter, too. And maybe share this… I think it needs to be shared.

 

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24 Responses to The Transgender Person In The Stall Next To You

  1. Sandra McQueen says:

    I live in Louisville Kentucky and am transgendered. And in the past have worked for UPS, Schneider National, Walmart and Golden corral..oh and Amazon..All have been perfectly fine with who and how I am. I have yet to encounter bathroom bias. But..having a child in need..we,my wife and I do have to go to court on occasion…they do try to make it as uncomfortable as they can with their use of what they call proper pronouns. I hate being called Mr. When I’m wearing a skirt, blouse and heels.

  2. Beth Caplin says:

    I agree it was worth getting de-friended over. Trans people are more likely to be assaulted than to do the assaulting because of fear-based rhetoric like this.

  3. Thank you for this. I will be honest, I get pretty down on and do not pull my punches with Christians, since it is from Christians that the greatest threat to my life is. I also hold the “good,” moderate, liberal, open-minded Christians accountable to speak out against the bigotry coming from co-religionist. So thank you for starting.

    • theboeskool says:

      I’m so sorry. It’s no consolation, but I believe most of these people who–with their words, their actions, and their inaction–continue to hurt you, honestly don’t know any better. That doesn’t excuse the hate coming from the Church… It just means they have been deceived. They have been herded into lines using cattle prods of fear, and they are living out of that fear. And it’s hard to think about others when you’re constantly afraid for your life (and soul).

      But yeah… I’m so sorry. Don’t ever pull punches–It’s your life people are effing with. Part of the reason I write is to separate those sorts of hateful actions from the truly loving person of Jesus… And if you’re ever in Nashville, I’ve got an amazing Church that has renewed my faith in humanity, and taught me so much about real love and real “Good news.”

      • Gwen says:

        I am a Christian and please don’t let those who claim the faith put you down, shame on that!!! Jesus, yeap Jesus, loves you just the way you are and we all have to deal with crap so each person needs to keep there tongues to themselves unless you asked them specifically. So on behalf of the ones who have offend you I am sorry

  4. Debora Ballard says:

    Bosom buddies was not about transgender girls, it was to boys who only dressed like girls to get the apartment.
    Transgender girls are designated boys at birth, but from a very young age don’t act like other boys. They are quieter, don’t fight unless cornered, and prefer activities that involve fine motor skills and imagination. Even if they never have a doll, they treat stuffed toys and pets very gently.

    As they enter school and are forced to play with boys, they are often physically assaulted by as many as a dozen boys at a time. They often cry, bruises in areas covered by skin are very common and frequent. They are regularly attacked in the boys bathroom.

    This abuse, similar to torture in prison camps, goes on for years.
    Many reach out for help, only to be rejected by friends, family, lovers, and even doctors and therapists.
    Many try to numb the pain with booze, drugs, and sex. Ironically, many are not well endowed and take a feminine role in sex, as a bottom in a gay relationship or in lesbian type relationship. Many get validation out of pleasing their partners.

    Roughly 40% after all transgender people will attempt suicide using methods they believe will be fatal. Some don’t even leave a note, they just wear a feminine item or clothing.

    Transgender girls who ask to transition and are rejected by friends, family, or lovers have an 80% or better suicide attempt rate.

    Police who investigate teen suicides often find the transgender nature on Web site history, email loaded with cyber bullying, and personal journals or diaries.

    Some estimate that as much as 1/2 of all male teen suicides are gay boys or transgender girls who were rejected by important people in their lives.

    Many suicides look like accidents. If those were also investigated, the transgender suicide rate might be even higher.

  5. Better a swift defriending then being preached to and shunned afterwards

  6. Heather F. says:

    If you want to help educate people about trans issues, leave out the “Bosom Buddies” picture. It gives the impression that you don’t take this seriously, and because of it, I almost didn’t read the rest of your post. (And that would have been unfortunate, because it’s otherwise a good article, and the kind of advocacy that transfolk like me could use more of.)

    • theboeskool says:

      I’m glad you kept reading. I always include silly pictures and humor. I was trying to poke fun of my own ignorance… the fact that BB was what a lot of people like me THOUGHT being trans was about.

  7. Brynn says:

    The Bosom Buddy picture thing has already been addressed, but I had another small problem with your article. Basically, you’re just using some outdated language. Instead of differentiating between gender and sex, it’s more common to distinguish between sex/gender identity and gender expression. It avoids people saying that a trans woman is physically male no matter what even if her gender is female.

    As you noted with intersex individuals, the idea of “physical sex” is quite complex, and usually isn’t even discussed when talking about trans individuals.

  8. Lucas says:

    So, if I see a man, who identifies as a woman, maybe for years, and has male anatomy, going into the bathroom after my wife or young daughter, I’m supposed to do nothing? No, I’m sorry but that isn’t acceptable to me. The liberals will not shove this down our throat while claiming the ‘moral high ground’.

    • Jenn Tousey says:

      I guess I don’t understand how you’ll know they have male anatomy. Or know that they were born male at all. And are you assuming that a “man who identifies as a woman” is going in the bathroom for the hopes of seeing something? I guess I’m just not understanding how you would even know, or what nefarious motives such a person might have, besides peeing while sitting, and behind a locked door at that.

  9. jikosenden says:

    “These disgusting attempts to link people in the LGBT community to pedophilia and preying on kids needs to be called out for what it is: The same sort of evil and false propaganda that painted the Jews as Christian baby-murdereing vermin.”

    Well, thank God. I had heard these terrible rumors about numerous gay Catholic priests molesting young boys, but now I know that the rumors aren’t true, since gays can’t be pedos. Thanks for clearing that up. /sarc/

    Your possible counter-arguments:

    1. “Those priests weren’t gay! They were just straight men abusing boys.” Sorry, but if you have sex with someone of the same sex, you’re gay. Unless you believe that straight men can choose to be gay? In which case, sexual orientation is a choice.

    2. “Some of those priests abused little girls.” Yes, the straight priests. The gay ones abused boys. Therefore, gays can be pedos.

    I’m fascinated to see how you will rationalize this one away, or if you’ll just respond with one of your trademark condescending dismissals.

    • “trademark condescending dismissals”

      Seems like this itself is condescending.

      The Boeskool isn’t a perfect man, but as far as I can tell, he’s trying to be an honest man.

      Why not give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s posting in good faith, even if he might be posting in ignorance or even in error?

      I always learn from listening to people whose opinions differ from mine. Maybe they have something to say I wouldn’t have considered.

      Try standing down, just a bit, from the immediate offense, and inquire honestly to Boeskool how he would respond to the allegations as well as the court-proven facts of molestation by the religious? He might never have considered your questions, or he might bring new information to you, and you both might grow in your knowledge.

    • bergmann620 says:

      What you quoted wasn’t him trying to say that the LGBT community is pure as the driven snow- every community will have criminals, predators, etc. All he’s saying is that it’s wrong to act like people are consistently claiming to be trans in order to get to their preferred pedo demographic.

      Besides- say they ARE pedophiles… How does sending them into the opposite bathroom stop them from preying on children?

      1) We must have a ‘gay’ epidemic in prison, too. Sorry, but ‘having sex’ and ‘raping’ are not the same thing, and often don’t have the same motivations. Most of it is the idea of ‘any port in a storm’- they looked for victims that combined both availability and controllability. That’s not to say that gay pedophiles don’t exist- just that the priest raping thing isn’t necessarily a prime example.

      I’m not the author, but it must be tough not consistently responding with condescension to such third-rate arguments.

      • jikosenden says:

        You and Stephen should hook up.

      • What a weird reply.

        You: Here is my post with my opinions and feelings about a barely related topic, along with my bad-faith assumptions.
        Us: Interesting, but presume the OP posted in good faith.
        You: I’m going to avoid the reply and change the subject.

        The mark of an intelligent person is that when they get new information that contradicts their opinion, they consider it and change their opinion as necessary, not simply change the subject.

        I used to be persuaded that the only place non-straight people had was in repentance. It was through the education by people like Boeskool and others, and through meeting actual people unlike me, that I learned my opinion was uneducated and wrong. Factual information refuted my opinions, and I changed them.

        Why would you waste the mind God gave you by holding prejudice and avoiding connection with people? If Boeskool is wrong, show him why. Don’t change the subject and avoid the hard conversations. If Boeskool wrong in saying that everyone deserves a place at the table of Christ? Go with that, and stop trying to change the subject to what you want. It’s bad manner and bad faith.

  10. mharvey72 says:

    Little late to the party, just found your site and I love it.

    I agree completely with your article. However, I think we can all agree with one thing – nobody should take pictures in a public restroom. I don’t care who’s in there with me, what their genitalia look like, or how they self identify – just don’t photograph me when I’m peeing. (I understand the power of the images above and it’s unfortunate that some people are so small minded that my steadfast rule against public restroom photos needed to be violated.)

  11. DAVID says:

    I wish I could find a personal passion where this issue is concerned. Unfortunately, I find myself often shrugging at this issue as one I can’t feel strongly about, even though I feel very strongly about equality in general.

    I do worry that it makes me insensitive. And, I do hope that I will be forgiven for that. But, even when a friend of mine ‘came out’ as transgendered to me and other friends a while back, my primary reaction was to think, “okay…am I supposed to change how I react to you now?” I just didn’t get why I should care about another person’s gender identity so much.

    And, for the restroom ‘issue’ I feel mostly the same. Admittedly, I am not generally a fan of public, multi-person restrooms in the first place. I cringe at the idea of being talked to or payed attention to by anyone when I’m in any kind of restroom, even to the point that I won’t talk through the restroom door while I’m in there. But, I don’t see why having a transgender person peeing next to you is any creepier than a person who otherwise matches your ‘gender’ in the way those weird laws would be. Nor do I really understand why having a person of the purely opposite gender (in the binary worldview) is significantly weirder. Either way, I’d hope they’d be just as quiet, just as respectful of other people’s privacy, and just as capable of accomplishing their business.

    Seriously, though…who looks at a public restroom and thinks anything sexually-related at all?

  12. jtsternberg says:

    Love this post. Grew up in an extremely conservative church/home, and 30-some years later am still trying to separate the truth from the dogma. Posts like this really help, and I feel if there’s any principle in the new testament that is clearer than others, it’s the principle of empathy (2 greatest commands, love God with all your heart, and love others as yourself). So I respect anything that promotes empathy. (Note: I consider empathy to be entirely different, though not at odds with, sympathy/tolerance/endorsement)

    So, thank you for doing what you do.

    As a man with 3 small children, and who has struggled with sexual addiction (pornography, masturbation), and has seen more than his fair share of that perverted world, one notion that\ bothers me is the notion that no one will take advantage of these transgender laws. While it may not have happened (or been documented), it certainly will (it’s a messed up world). Those who have never struggled with a sexual addiction may laugh and call it ridiculous, but I assure you, it’s ridiculousness does not preclude it from happening.

    I agree that these bad things will happen regardless of the laws, but it’s important to consider the edge cases, and again, it’s important to have empathy for those who adamantly oppose this law for devastating personal reasons. This article is a great example of that: http://thefederalist.com/2015/11/23/a-rape-survivor-speaks-out-about-transgender-bathrooms/

    Whether you agree with her or not, if you support the transgender movement, then I hope you understand the importance of empathy here.

    I also recognize that this is a bit like asking the family of Michael Brown to have empathy for the difficulty of a law officer’s job… Tough ask.

  13. Pingback: Boycotting Target Is About The Least “Christian” Thing You Could Do | The Boeskool

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