I’ll admit, I’ve always been a staunchly opposed to men entering the women’s restroom and vice versa. To some extent, it was because of weirdos and perverts (though not entirely). I’ve always been very against people having sex changes and to a point, I still am. However, there comes a point where we must face the realities of the situations and accept them no matter how unpleasant they may be. I’ve always said that one does not have the right to not have their feelings/sensibilities hurt and this applies to everyone, including myself. I now agree that transgender people should be allowed to use the restroom of their choice. Please note, I do not feel that the law should require that they be allowed to use what restroom they associate with, that should be left up to the establishment they are visiting. My feelings on government interfering with businesses is a blog for another time, however.
A friend of mine who is transgender has opened my eyes to this issue, though perhaps not in the way that he expected. The problem with our current treatment of the transgender crowd is also the problem with how we treat two other groups of people; namely gun owners and sex offenders. Woah, did I just compare transgender people to gun owners and sex offenders? No, go back and read what I said if you think I did. I compared our treatment of transgender folk with how we treat gun owners and sex offenders.
It seems to me the big hub-bub about transgender people using the bathroom is fear of perverts and confusing the children. Now, if this were a locker room, I’d say you’ve got a pretty reasonable argument. Locker rooms happen to have a habit of being full of naked people. Sorry, transfolk, but if you still got your junk as you were born with, you need to be in the appropriate locker room. You may not be a pervert, but society just isn’t ready for parents to be answering questions like, “Why does that lady have a penis?” Children ask awkward enough questions without having to go into complicated subject material such as this. Plus, think of the inevitable cat calls.
“I’ll give you a penis.”
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress LC-DIG-pga-00084
But the focus hasn’t been on locker rooms, has it? No, it’s been on public restrooms. Now, I haven’t visited every toilet in America, but it’s of my general experience in men’s restrooms that penises aren’t just swinging to and fro all willy-nilly like. In fact, there’s an unspoken and agreed upon etiquette that is to be strictly obeyed if there is no divider between the toilets. I have been to communal urinal troths where ten penises are out, all side by side, mere inches from each other and I can guarantee you not one dick was seen.
Not even in Detroit, and most of them didn’t even use their hands.
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress LC-USW3- 008704-C
So what does this have to do with how we treat gun owners and sex offenders?
People today seem all up in arms about people with guns, and yes, violent horrible crimes happen with guns. They also happen with knives, gasoline, hands, and a myriad of other instruments. The fact of the matter is, if someone wants to kill a bunch of people, you telling them that they can’t have a gun isn’t going to stop them. They will either find a way to get a gun illegally or they will find some other way to achieve their goal. I personally have never once been afraid of someone with a gun. I have been approached and/or been around many people in my life that have had some sort of firearm on them. Often times I didn’t even know the person. Why should I fear someone with a gun? Unless they take it out and point it at me, it’s generally safe to assume that they are a good law abiding citizen. And yet somehow there are people who feel we need to ban guns under the false assumption that it will stop a few assholes from being assholes. It might slow them down a little, but do you really think anyone who really wants to kill someone is worried about whether or not guns are legal?
What about sex offenders? Well, first of all, we have a sex offender registry that is a complete joke. It’s a device that stops almost zero crime and ruins the lives of people who made stupid mistakes. You want proof that it doesn’t stop any crime? I’m going to let cracked.com explain the problem.
So you take a guy who’s committed a crime. Now you put him on a registry that may keep him from getting a job, or making friends, generally just totally isolating him for the rest of his life and giving him lots of free time. Do you think that makes him less likely to commit another crime?
And how does knowing there’s a sex offender in your neighborhood help? Unless he’s wearing some kind of clanging Sex Offender bell around his neck to let you and your child know he’s approaching, it doesn’t protect you from a guy looking to do it again. And then you’ve got the fact that 95 percent of sexual assault victims are victimized by somebody they already know anyway.
So what’s the point? Deterrence? As it turns out, someone who is willing to abduct, rape and murder a child often isn’t stopped by the fact that he’ll get put on a “registry” if he’s caught.
Well, I guess there’s that. Then there are places that have laws that say a sex offender can’t live near a school. That sounds good on paper until you realize that the law actually makes the situation worse.
The law that suddenly forced sex offenders to move out of their homes if they lived within 1,000 feet of a school. While maybe that SOUNDED protective, the evidence shows residency restrictions have no effect — zero! none! — on child safety. In fact, they can actually backfire: Guys who’d been living peacefully in the same place for years are suddenly uprooted. Inevitably, some become homeless, destabilizing the people who need stability most.
And here we have a small group of people who just want to take a piss. Comfortably. In private. As a society, we’re treating them like some sort of violent criminal or vicious pervert. And yet when we look at the laws restricting gun use and the laws on sex offenders, we often find that they do little to no good. In fact, they sometimes make the problem worse. Allow me to put this simply: You can’t stop crazy. A killer is going to kill, regardless of what laws you pass. A pervert is going to be a pervert regardless of what laws you pass. And the dude who feels comfortable as a woman just wants to take a shit without an awkward conversation.