Children are dying and suffering all over the world and we are worried about who is using what bathroom?
Is this for real?
I should be sleeping, I’m exhausted and I have some stomach bug. BUT I must write. I cannot believe what I am reading on social media and it is driving me bonkers. Unlike many parents across the globe I am going to sleep tonight with both of my children in my bed. They are healthy, they have a roof over their head, they have food and an abundance of love. I am lucky and I know it. Are your kids safe, fed and do they have all the love one can garner? Probably.
The other day Avalon, Largo and I bought breakfast for 40 people, kids and adults. They are families of children critically injured from the earthquake here in Ecuador. Some of them have already lost children and others are clinging to hope that their other child will survive. They have very little money, very little food, but a whole bundle of faith. They are living in hostels provided by the hospital because they cannot afford hotels. They are exhausted and so incredibly grief-stricken. Even in my Spanglish I can hear it in their voice, see it in their body language and feel it in their eyes. All they want is for their child to LIVE.
All they want is for their child to LIVE.
Meanwhile in the US we are worried about who is using what bathroom.
I don’t even know where to begin with this post. Honestly folks! Are you with me?
Many years ago a traveling friend told me that travel would change me. It would make me angry, it would make me cry, it would make me get on my soap box, however it would also make me fearless, grateful and enlightened. I doubted her. Today I realize how right she was. I can sit back and worry about what my conservative readers will think. I can worry that I will lose readers. I can worry that there might be some ugly comments regarding this post, but I am not going to. I have to say something. I blog very intentionally. I choose to share with all of you what I see as we travel for a reason. I don’t edit it or candy coat it. I know many of you can’t travel or don’t want to, but you want to know what is going on in the world beyond what the media shows you and beyond your community. You want to know what I see where I am. I’m going to tell you today that there are bigger issues than who is using what bathroom. Much, much bigger. Kids are dying because of natural disasters, kids are drowning in order to escape war-torn countries and kids are starving. It is real! And it is much bigger than a bathroom issue.
Ready for this post? I cannot see both sides of the coin on this one and I am not going to pretend I can. Yes, this is a harsh statement to make, but when it comes to human beings and the treatment of them I take a very strong stance.
I would like to start by saying “Target you are my hero!” Thank you for standing up for equal rights and being the first large corporation to take a stand in the name of humanity. You are truly a pioneer. I have always been a fan, but this brings you to new levels in my eyes.
This whole Target situation has given me an opportunity to discuss transgenderism with my children, as well as how one company (or one person, think Rosa Parks) can set the path for change. I have discussed with AvaLar that someone has to be the pioneer, the one that makes the change even if they are initially standing alone. I have discussed with them that we are all special and our differences make us unique, not weird or wrong. Thank you Target for being a great role model for our youth (the future world changers) and giving my family a point of reference when we discuss large corporations taking an active stand in the name of equality.
I actually read today that there is a petition circulating to boycott Target. If each one of these individuals donated $1 towards children suffering around the world that would be $700,000 (and that number is still growing). This money could actually save and improve lives instead of creating hate and fear. Imagine what this lady could do if she received close to a million dollars. Instead we sit back and worry about who is using what bathroom. We sign petitions and pass fear down through the generations. Who is going to change this world as we age if we teach our youth to fear anything or anyone who is different from them?
Do you remember when Wal-Mart was caught using child labor? People talked about it, even signed petitions, but they still continued to shop there because at the end of the day it was someone else’s child that was affected in some country they had never hear of, not their own. They were saddened, but not enough to give up their beloved Wal-Mart.
Fast forward to present day and people are outraged because Target wants to give all individuals fair bathroom access. Now these same people are worried about the children? Right, because it directly affects their own children or so they think. We are in a sad state of affairs when we cannot have empathy for all the children (and adults) in the world and recognize that everyone is someone’s child, including transgender people.
But this is not about Target or bathrooms is it?
I think the bigger issue here is the fear of the unknown. Since transgender individuals only make up .3% of the population (although there is speculation the number may be higher) very few people actually know someone who is transgender. They are scared of what they don’t know. So lets play a little game. It’s called the game of statistics. I always find this type of education enlightens me in areas that once produced fear. Remember in Jerry Maguire when he said, “show me the money?” “Ok, show me the stats!”
- 41% of transgender people surveyed in Injustice at Every Turn said they had attempted suicide, compared with 1.6 percent of the general population. Risk increased for those who reported bullying, sexual assault and job loss.
- 78% of transgender respondents who had endured physical or sexual violence at school had attempted suicide. (source: Injustice at Every Turn)
- 25% of transgender recipients reported losing a job because they did not conform to gender norms. A staggering 90% said they faced some form of transgender-based discrimination. (source Injustice at Every Turn)
- Over the 35 year history of NDOs (Non-Discrimination Ordinances) protecting transgender people all over the world, only one case of a person abusing an NDO and committing sexual assault (in Canada) has ever been found, even by those most interested in demonizing transgender people. Every NDO, every person, every bathroom, every day, every trip to the loo, for 35 years, and it’s happened once in the entire world. (source: Huff Post 11/2015)
Transgender individuals are victims. Look at these stats. These are not people who are looking to go after your child in a restroom. They are just trying to take a pee in the restroom that feels most authentic to who they are. Transgender people need our support, not more people to beat them down or abuse them.
Lets continue this stats party with the details on pedophiles.
- An estimated 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family friends, babysitters, child care providers, neighbors.
- About 30% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are family members.
- Only about 10% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child. (Facts taken from the National Sex Offender Public Website)
It seems that we can conclude that the person who is worried about their daughter in the restroom should be more worried about a family member, a babysitter, a neighbor, a priest or a sport coach than someone who is transgender. Many people are more than wiling to hand their children off to “people they know” and these so called “family and friends” have the potential to be much more dangerous. If you are that person who is worried about your daughter sharing a sink (because they are not actually sharing a bathroom stall) with a transgender individual you might want to rethink sending her to practice with her basketball coach, or to religious study with the priest or to her favorite uncles house because the stats speak more in this area than in the bathrooms with transgender people. And what about the little boys? We have been sending them into bathrooms for years with the pedophiles. But, now a transgender individual wants to use the same bathroom and we are worried. Again, look at the stats!
And who is sending their young child into the bathroom alone anyway? My son recently started using the men’s room alone. I always made him come in the lady’s room with me. And let me tell you I am more comfortable with both of my kids being alone in the lady’s room with transgender individuals than I am with sending them into the mens room with pedophiles. Even when the stats show that the pedophiles are move likely to be someone they know and not someone lurking in a bathroom while mama or papa are standing outside the door.
In closing I want to throw some food for thought out there. Do you love your child? Would you let them be who they authentically feel they are? Or would you try to convince them otherwise? Think about it for a minute. What would you do for someone you love? Would you want them to be able to use the bathroom they felt most comfortable in or would you sit back and worry what people would think?
And if you were to ask the families who have children in the hospital struggling for life if they care who uses what bathroom I can guarantee they would laugh out loud. And then they would say, “I just want my child to live.”
I just want my child to live.
This bathroom debate is trivial stuff compared to what is happening in the world each day. However, I believe it is important because it is an equal rights issue and it should be discussed. And those of us who have a forum should utilize it to create awareness.
And for those of you who think this bathroom debate is just as ridiculous as I do please chat with your children (and grandchildren) about it. As parents we have a responsibility to teach our children about people and their differences. Go volunteer at a transgender facility, read books, watch documentaries and learn. We need to spread as much light, love and kindness as possible to combat all those folks who don’t really give a shit about other human beings. And yes, I said a bad word.
Updated: April 28th. Thank you all for your comments. If you have time take a look, some great points are made. And for the people using the argument that they are being stripped of their rights…what about the rights of the transgender individual? You still have the right to “choose” whether or not you use the restroom and so do they now. Also when you use the word “normal” versus not you have a lot to learn about humanity and treating every human being equally.