Feeling Trapped – I Can Relate

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what my blog posts would even be about.  I thought that maybe it should be relevant to music, the industry, and maybe what I am doing in it.  The more I thought about confining the subject matter, the more I began to worry about creating content for those specific topics.  I wondered if I would even have enough to write about.

Today I was sitting passenger in a car and was asked about my opinions about transgender use of public bathrooms.  Let me stop and apologize now; I am sorry because clearly this is not a subject about the topics previously mentioned.  This subject doesn’t even run parallel to those topics or to music in general.  So decidedly this blog won’t be confined to those topics and will branch out much further than I may have initially intended.  Again, I apologize if you were expecting this post to be about something much different but I digress…

The person I was having this conversation with is a staunch religious conservative.  I myself would say that I am a non-religious/unaffiliated liberal.  I knew immediately this conversation would be combative and I wasn’t wrong in my assumption.  I often feel that I am hijacked into these types of conversation or held hostage in these situations.  That these individuals prey on their opposition and wait patiently for a situation that isn’t easy to escape before maneuvering into these discussions.  They repeatedly thrust their opinions on their victims denying opposing views while searching for validation or acceptance.  I would guess when your views are questionable, it is understandable to seek validation to feel at ease with those opinions (yeah, that statement might have been a jab — but conservatives have thick skins …right?).

The other party’s view was that the transgender should use the bathroom that matches their gender assigned at birth (or whatever gender their birth-certificate states is the corresponding bathroom they should use).  I countered with my belief that I, and others, are in the restroom to use the facilities for its intended purpose, and that gender is irrelevant.  My opposition maintained that anyone should be comfortable using the restroom of the gender that they were assigned at birth.  I challenged that much of the issue is that transgender people don’t feel comfortable with the body/gender they were assigned at birth, why would the restroom be any different?  I clarified that as I understood it, many trans-gender choose the gender they feel they identify the most with, not the gender that birth identified them as.  I don’t see this as sexual act, but as a choice of identity — like choosing to take a person’s surname when married.  Using the respective restroom that they identify with is simply making a choice to accept that identity and there is nothing sexual about that decision.  I asked the other party if they, or any one they knew, was using what they felt was the correct gender specific bathroom out of a sexual need or if they were doing so out of a need to identify?  Immediately they denied any sexual need or agenda.

The other party regurgitated the widely repeated concern about a man being in the same restroom with women; or specifically that a sex crime may occur if we allowed a male to occupy a restroom with women.  I countered that the greater concern is the person(s) entering a restroom fixated on the sexual organs of others and there is no concern for the people attempting to use the facilities for its intended purpose.  I asked my opposition to describe a situation in which they, or anyone else they met, ever felt sexually threatened or were assaulted by a transgender person.  They could not describe any such situation.  I pointed out that their concerns have no history to merit this cause for concern.

I asked, “Where do you think transgender people have been going to the restroom up until now?”  They shook shrugged unknowingly.  I added, “The transgender community is not asking for new bathroom privileges.  There isn’t a conspiracy for these individuals to use facilities they aren’t already accustomed to using — and to my knowledge, there isn’t any clear history of a credible cause for concern.”

The other party turned quickly shifted gears and asked, “What if we build separate bathrooms for transgender people?”

To which I asked, “Are you going to make separate bathrooms for priests, Speakers of the House, college football coaches, former Subway restaurant spokesmen, and all the pedophiles of the nation?  If you remember, a moment ago you weren’t able to recall one instance of any transgender person committing an act of sexual aggression, or sex crime, in any public restroom.  So you really want them to build all these new restrooms?”

They muttered, “I guess not.”

The conversation quickly ended after stating my objections.  The other party didn’t have anything further to add.  There was no validation to be had.

Again, I feel strongly that most people are using restroom facilities for their intended purposes and that is all anyone is really thinking about while they are in there — or at most random thoughts from their daily lives.  Concern about being targeted by a minority in a restroom is about as arbitrary as trying to imagine the same assault occurring at a landfill — it just isn’t a place people are thinking about that.  I think the real concern is with the people that are worried about the gender and sexual organs of other people in public facilities.  Truly that is a real disturbance and they are the real potential predators.  If we are going to fix bathroom problems then let us fix credible problems — like finding a clean public bathroom in an inner city.  I don’t support an affront to civil rights under the guise of public safety in a poor effort to mask religious moral objections and bigotry.  Furthermore, don’t trap me in a negative discussion in an effort to get my approval.  I rarely validate poor opinions or parking.

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