Bathroom Battles

Having a six year old and a toddler in the house, we seem to find ourselves engaging in bathroom talk. A LOT.

But today, I don’t want to talk about which child is creating the smell in the family room. Instead, I want to talk about Bathroom Bills.

I remember the first time I saw Kris walk into a men’s public restroom.

My husband (his father) and I were visiting Kris at college.

I stared after Kris as he casually walked into a men’s room in the campus activity center. I entered the women’s room and stared at the shaken expression on my face in the mirror.

I will never forget the complete and utter terror I felt. What if there was someone in there that did know Kris was trans and took offense? I was worried for his safety more than any thoughts of discomfort.

Kris  is my middle child. We were told he was a girl at birth. At age 18,  Kris told us that he was actually a boy. And 2 months later,  he was using the men’s room.


At that time I was still trying to comprehend what being transgender meant. This was just one in a series of new things I would be encountering.

I did not realize that which bathroom my kid used would become such a major issue, even possibly illegal if he chose the bathroom matching his gender identity.

“The disturbing proliferation of anti-trans bills, including 23 that target children in schools and school sports, is part of a stunning surge of more than 175 anti-LGBT bills in 32 states this year.”

New HRC Report Reveals Unprecedented Onslaught of State Legislation Targeting Transgender Americans

Bathroom Bills. You’re hearing about them all over the place. As more awareness is being brought to the T in LGBT, the issue of which bathroom transgender people use appears to have grown legs and is running out of control. And in many cases, we aren’t talking about just any transgender people. No, we are referring to our smallest and most vulnerable population- children. The number of states trying to pass legislation that requires students to use restrooms and locker rooms based on their anatomy or sex assigned at birth are on the up-rise. The scary part is that legislators are not doing their homework and educating themselves on this matter and others are following their lead.

Just this week South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed such a bill. It is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately this battle won’t end here.

“On Thursday, the South Dakota House of Representatives failed to override the governor’s veto of a “bathroom bill” which would have required public school students to use facilities based on their “chromosomes and anatomy” at birth. The override vote in favor of the bill fell some ten votes short of the required two-thirds majority, with 36 yeas, 29 nays and five members not voting.”

– Vote to Override South Dakota ‘Bathroom Bill’ Veto Narrowly Fails

If you are not transgender or don’t have a transgender child, you might not understand what the big deal is. Take a few minutes to hear from Tyler, a transgender young man, who says it better than I could.

Kris is 23 years old now and he is an adult. But if things continue the direction they seem to be heading, it is only a matter of time before he will be at risk of losing his right to use the correct bathroom. It would be a violation of his civil rights, as these current bathroom bills are a violation of students’ rights.

Fear and ignorance are often the motivation for anti-transgender bills. As we head full swing into election mode, please keep in mind that just as the people writing these bills are sometimes ignorant on LGBT matters, it is equally important that we, as voters, make informed choices to ensure that the people holding public office represent ALL people.






5 thoughts on “Bathroom Battles

  1. It is a very complicated subject. I generally use the women’s room, but I get the evil eye from a lot of women, and have had security called on me more than once. It is unpleasant and I avoid using public restrooms, but school kids can’t avoid using school bathrooms (or locker rooms if gym is a requirement). They must be allowed to use the one that they “identify” with, and there needs to be a non-pathologizing way for the schools to recognize and respect a child who come to them who has socially transitioned and a child who choses to transition while attending their school.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since Kris has been expressing his gender more fluidly, he has caused some men to do a double take in the rest room. One man actually walked out and looked at the door, then waited for him to finish. He has been fortunate not to have any unpleasant encounters.

      It is an uphill battle to educate people on the importance of transgender students using their right bathroom.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you make a really good point about the ignorance of the real issues involved in LGBT matters. I’m a strong ally, and yet I recognize how little I know. I was struck by my own ignorance recently when my daughter related an experience with a transgender student who was new to her classroom. She’s savvy enough to know that she needed to ask which pronoun this student preferred. I had no idea that this was a question that can be asked without offense.

    Shortly after that incident, we had a new young person (5th or 6th grade) visit in the area of Sunday School I oversee. I didn’t actually see the kid, but my volunteer staff greeted “her” and tried to make “her” welcome (their choice of pronoun, based on “her” mom’s introduction, and they tried to draw “her” in but “she” refused to stay). My staff described the “girl” as a “real tomboy.” I saw the student the following week (unfortunately, from across a large room, so I couldn’t visit with the student or the parent). It was apparent to me immediately that this student is transgender. I’m in the process of working through, with other staff, how we work with our volunteers to recognize, welcome, and affirm in these situations – which is tricky because obviously I still have so much to learn, so I can hardly tell them how to handle things. My volunteers are beautifully welcoming and hospitable in every case, but most of them are not sensitive to (or in some cases even aware of) LGBT issues.

    It’s a big learning curve, and I’m not even sure where to turn to in order to learn what I need to know. And, of course, in a church there are much larger issues lurking…our congregation is just beginning the Reconciled In Christ process, which is extremely long, slow, and protracted. Sigh. Why can’t we just move along with the rest of the world?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand completely. 4-1/2 years later and I still feel like I’m learning new things about this. Since Kris came out, I have been more aware of other people and their gender expression and identity. People don’t realize how often we use a person’s pronouns in their presence. I’m more of a – don’t use any pronouns and wait and see what their pronouns are first. This is definitely a learning process!

      Liked by 1 person

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