Hello lovely readers. In my writing, I like to focus on positivity and happiness, and I like to find the light in any situation and make it something I can smile about. However, with the recent uproar online and on the news about the transgender community, sexual assault, and the right to privacy; I felt compelled to weigh in. I do openly study and offer advice on human sexuality, how to accept it for yourself and others, safe ways to explore your thoughts and desires, and how to navigate this world where so many people are angry at others for simply wanting to be true to themselves. So I do feel that I have some knowledge on this topic.
In light of all of these things, I feel obligated to break down my thoughts on these issues. Brace yourselves, this may get long, but I will try to make navigating the points as easy as possible.
The two incidences that have sparked these debates are North Carolina’s new bathroom law stating that people must use the restroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate and Target’s new gender-inclusive policy that states that anyone may use the restroom that matches the gender they identify as.
I’ve seen a lot of negativity surrounding these two points and I want to weigh in on the underlying fears and emotions that are feeding them. The most prevalent point is that allowing anyone to use the restroom that matches their gender identity, rather than their birth-assigned gender role, allows room for pedophiles, rapists, and other “sick” individuals to enter the women’s rooms without question and assault women and little girls… I actually have a lot of issues with that argument, and I’m going to break them down piece by piece in hopes of really shedding light on the heart of the issue. Another argument I heard is the exact same one we heard when marriage equality was passed, and that is that if we allow people to legally dictate their own identity and accept them, then what’s to stop pedophiles from seeking legal recognition as well? Will we allow adults to have sexual relations with children because that’s just “who they identify as”? And after I explain my extensive issues with the first argument, I will provide the one simple answer needed for the second one. Yes, really… just one, because it honestly is really simple.
First, let’s define a few terms so that we are all on the same page to start off with, shall we? I’ll use the actual definition and then provide a short “real world” explanation of what that means in our day-to-day lives.
Transgender (or gender dysphoria) is defined simply as “when there is a persistent sense of mismatch between one’s experienced gender and assigned gender.” In real world terms this means that a person’s brain and a person’s body don’t match in terms of gender. It is actually a simple biological hiccup in our genetic coding. While we are still forming in the fetal stage, our genetic code tells the body whether to form into a female or a male… but many aspects of the body create these genders, not just the physical appearances on the outside or what is between our legs. Occasionally, two different codes get sent to different locations, causing the mind to believe it is female and the body to develop as male and vice versa. It’s really not complicated… or even scary… just something that happens. This goes beyond wanting to wear dresses or play football, too. Gender norms in society dictate certain actions as feminine or masculine, but on a biological level, we really feel the pull of our gender. It’s in our instincts. And if you are a person who’s biological instincts don’t match your physical body… and by extension the societal standards that often get blindly imposed on you, that can create a lot of confusion and stress.
Pedophile and pedophilia are two different, but closely related, terms. A person who suffers from pedophilia is defined as “a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children” whereas the term pedophile exclusively applies to a person that has acted on this disorder and actively pursued sexual relations with a prepubescent child. The difference in these terms is important in this argument as well because there is often a stigma against people that have this disorder. There are more people that have the disorder that never act on it because they understand the laws and morality behind age and consent. It’s also important to understand that pedophiles are often more inclined to target a victim they are close to and have extensive time with because they often share a trait of predatory actions called “grooming”.
Rapist/Molester is very shortly defined as a person, typically a man according to statistics, who either rapes another person or persistently assaults, abuses, and/or harasses another person in a sexual or sexually-implying way.
Are we all caught up? Good! Understanding these terms is an important part of understanding where we as a society draw the line on privacy, safety, and personal rights.
On to the arguments:
“This opens the door for pedophiles!”
My first issue with this statement is that it implies that pedophilic actions will somehow gain legal traction through this policy, which is honestly absurd. Regardless of where sexual assault takes place and who it takes place between, it is an illegal action punishable by law. There is no gray area there. It’s as simple as that. This means that a) it doesn’t open a door for anyone, and b) if they needed doors to be open, it wouldn’t be as prevalent as it is.
Second, as stated above, pedophiles have a disorder. What this means for you is that disorders are medically trackable. They share common traits, activities, and actions. The most common trait shared among pedophiles is that 95% percent of them know their victims through either family relation or close family friends, and only 5% are cases of “stranger danger” according to bravehearts.org.
To put it simply, a pedophile assaulting your child in a public restroom is far less likely than your child being assaulted by a relative, and is made even less likely by the fact that assault is still very illegal. There is no legal defense against those actions.
“If you look like a man and go into the women’s restroom behind my wife or daughter, we are going to have a problem!”
This comment seems obvious to me but my reaction to that is that the NC Law will actually force people that look very masculine, (because, shocker, transgender men look like men) into the women’s restroom because their birth certificate states that they were born with a vagina. On the flip side, this same law will force women into the men’s room because they were born with a penis. My questions are a) where do you want that man to pee? In the room he now identifies with or the one he was born as? Try not to struggle too hard. And b) what if that woman is assaulted in the men’s room? Are you going to protect her? Or if she goes to the men’s room because the law said she had to, are you going to request that she break the law and go to the other room for her own safety? The same law you feel is the correct response to allowing someone to go where they identify?
Also, again… sexual assault is illegal no matter where it occurs or who it occurs between. A predator is not going to walk into a women’s restroom with just the phrase “I feel like a woman” as his only legal defense.
Lastly, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, there’s never been anyone guarding them before and men have walked into women’s restrooms and assaulted people in the past. It is only now becoming an issue because it is attached to a “lifestyle” you believe to be “wrong” and also believe to be a plausible “excuse” for other wrong behavior.
“We have to protect our wives and daughters!”
Finally, my biggest issue with all of this is that every proposed scenario has been one where a man is assaulting a woman, and every case in point has been of another man feeling obligated to protect said women because they are daughters and mothers and sisters. All of these rub the feminist in me the wrong way for several reasons. The first is that sexual assault on women and children has been an issue for a very long time, and has been something women have been fighting for attention to be brought to for a very long time, with many men resisting along the way! Phrases like “not all men” are common in the debate. Now, suddenly that it’s an issue where a man could abuse the right to call himself a woman, men are speaking out. This implies that women can only be kept safe by other men providing them with a space where only other women can converge… which sounds a lot like control and segregation to me. However, when women have fought for the right to have their own spaces, men have rebelled saying that it wasn’t fair.
Not to mention the fact that this argument never points to the transgender women that are VERY MUCH WOMEN that could be put in danger by being forced to use the men’s room, but no one wants to talk about that, either.
This approach also does nothing to talk about the male assault victims that already exist or the fact that most males that have been sexually assaulted have been assaulted by OTHER MALES.
So, my question now is: are you really trying to protect anyone, or are you just looking for an excuse to force your perceived “protection” and “strength” upon someone else?
“If even one little girl is harmed by this, it will be too much.”
I recently saw a post that said “if even one little girl is harmed by this, it will be too much”, to which I provide these numbers:
12 percent of transgender youth report being sexually assaulted in K–12 settings by peers or educational staff;
13 percent of African-American transgender people surveyed were sexually assaulted in the workplace;
22 percent of homeless transgender individuals were assaulted while staying in shelters.
-more information on these numbers at www.ovc.gov-
That’s entirely more than one child.
“What’s next? Pedophiles seeking legal recognition?”
Now, as for the question of these laws leading to pedophiles seeking legal recognition… that will never happen. Why? Because of the laws of consent. If we ever bothered to teach people anything about proper sexual activity, then this question wouldn’t even come up. Consent has to be freely given for sexual activities to not be considered an assault of some variety. According to biology, children, especially prepubescent children (that pedophiles specifically target), are mentally incapable of giving free consent to sexual activities because they are not matured enough to discern between manipulated decisions and free ones. In the adult world, LGBTQ groups understand that sexual activity still relies on consent.
No, this does not mean that assault doesn’t happen… but it does mean that on a legal level there is a significant difference between adults of any gender combination choosing to have a relationship with one another, and an adult of any gender choosing to seek out a relationship with a child. And if you can’t understand that then I’m not sure how else to break it down.
I hope this was informative to some and I hope that I was able to provide some new information for anyone that may have a grab-and-go reaction to these issues. (By that I mean that you heard that ‘anyone could use any restroom’ and someone said ‘that’s a danger to my kids!’ and logic told you that was all you needed to know.)
I understand the desire to protect children and women from assault and harassment… but the Trans community isn’t the source of your fears. Turn you anger towards rape culture. And if you don’t know what rape culture is but these above fears I talked about are ones you have…. Then I highly suggest you start reading up on it.
As always, have a beautiful day, and please remember to really look at others as people, rather than as moral opponents. Shifting perspective can go a long way!