by Christie Masters
Have you ever felt like you were still on the sea even after returning to land? My daughter and I recently arrived home from a four day cruise for her graduation trip and this is exactly what we are experiencing. Standing at the stove making breakfast, it felt as if the whole house was now the deck of a large cruise ship, slowly tilting from side to side with the waves. The feeling is especially pronounced when our eyes are closed, or when looking down; we’ve lost our point of reference and feel dizzy and disoriented.
The turbulence that our communities, and now our entire nation, have been experiencing over the transgender bathroom controversy has created something like this land/sea scenario. We can find articles written about both sides of the issue on the news, social media, and blogs- and after reading them I often feel the need to find my “land legs” again. Logical fallacies or shaming are tactics used regularly to quiet those who oppose allowing those confused about their gender to use the bathroom of their choice; and it can leave one uncertain of how to respond. But our response is critical, and we must gain or retain our point of reference and remain firm about the safety of our families.
“You’re a bigot” is a disturbing and ugly accusation, but don’t let it silence you. A bigot was, several hundred years ago, defined as someone “who is obstinately and unreasonably wedded to a particular religious creed, opinion, practice or ritual.”[i] This does not describe concerned parents and people who want to protect women and children from potential predators, it rather sounds like those who want to force us to unconditionally accept their agenda. Most of those who oppose the bathroom laws are looking at potential dangers and quite rationally saying that it is not worth the risk. Anyone who has been abused or attacked knows that predators will tenaciously watch for opportunities to access their victims. True bigotry refuses to acknowledge the irrationality of its position. You are not a bigot for desiring to protect women and children in facilities that are private and vulnerable.
“Haters” is another label that has been liberally thrown around to describe those who oppose the bathroom laws. Hate, like bigotry, is quite distinct. It is despising or detesting someone for who they are. I recently read a blog written by a young mother who was praising the kindness of a transgender man that picked up a diaper she had dropped at the bathroom changing table. She used this kind act as her “proof” that there is nothing to fear from the new bathroom laws, and that it’s wrong to be a “hater.” This argument is misleading and diverts attention from the real problem- opposition to open bathrooms is not about the personality of any given individual who claims to be transgender, it is about the danger of exposing our families to situations that place them at the mercy of those who are not kind, who do not have good intentions, and who wish to harm them. You are not a hater for opposing laws that increase the risk of sexual attacks by those who will take advantage of them.
Racism and the reference to the Jim Crow laws are also used as shaming techniques against those who are opposed to the new bathroom mandates. Jim Crow laws were used to segregate people in public facilities and were blatantly and purposefully based upon the color of one’s skin. It did not matter if a person was good or bad, it only mattered that they were black or white. To think of singling a human being out for the color of their skin is abhorrent to us now, and those with an extreme liberal agenda claim that not wanting men to have access to women’s bathrooms is akin to the evil of racism. But those who fought for civil rights were fighting for the most reasonable and basic of human rights; to be considered equal regardless of race. Race itself is a state of existence, i.e. we are the human race with all its variety of family lineage, and lineage has determined the color of our skin, though we are all descendants of Adam.
True racism, or hating someone for the color of their skin, is akin to hating oneself. It is so utterly unreasonable, and has no defense in the rational mind. Gender is also a state of being; one is either born male or female, and this is as inarguable as it is visible.
Bathrooms and locker rooms are separated because men and women have different anatomical parts, and the safety, dignity and privacy of both are protected by this separation, and does not compare to the ugliness of separating people based on color. To compare the efforts of the homosexual and transgender community to be treated exactly as they desire, to the very real evils of racism is misleading and insulting.
“Identifying” as a gender other than what one was born with, is a choice, not an original condition. It is wrong to attempt to rewrite laws or boundaries that protect others, so that one can attempt to fully realize the desire to be male or female. For the small percentage of the human population that have chosen to “identify” as a gender other than the one they were born with, a single use bathroom would be the most reasonable solution for them.
The labels of “hater,” “bigot” or “racist” are alarming and disconcerting. No one wants such an accusation applied to them. We must find our point of reference, which is truth, the safety of our loved ones, common sense and rationality- and remember that this position does not warrant such labels. Bigotry and racism are accusations that are used to divert the focus of those who oppose an agenda. It is a deceitful attempt to shame and silence us. Stand your ground, even the rhetoric is dizzying.