Social Question

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

US parents with school-aged children: What are the kids asking/saying about the bathroom equality ruling?

Asked by Pied_Pfeffer (27407points) May 13th, 2016

This has to be an opportunity to have a discussion about different genders, respect, and discrimination.

What is being discussed in your home? Who brought it up first? If the subject hasn’t been broached yet, why not?

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158 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Gosh, I didn’t even think about this topic regarding school aged children. If my kids were under 12 I would hope they didn’t know anything about this debate. If I had daughters at any age I would tell them not to go into the bathroom if there is a man in there or if for any reason their antenna went up. Same goes for elevators and avoiding allies. The law to me is irrelevant.

I’m curious to see what answers you get on this Q. I’m curious what the kids are saying if anything.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

We’ve always talked gender with my kids. They’re currently 7, 10, and 13 – and all of them know the relevant issues. They’re aware of gender identity and how it differs from sex at birth, etc. They don’t have any issue at all with any of this.

rojo's avatar

well, my kid is not a kid anymore but her reaction can be summed up in what she said earlier this week: “My God! Why do they have to go around creating problems where none exist?”

GSLeader's avatar

I have a 4th grade daughter. If the school actually allows a bit to use the girls bathroom or lockerroom, she will be done with public school. There is a difference between boys and girls, and a boy simply saying he “feels” like a girl doesn’t make him a girl. As for discussion with my daughter, I’d tell her to NOT go into a bathroom if a boy is in there. It seems the world finally broke for good when so many don’t know the difference between boys and girls, and seem to think one could actually declare their gender.

Seek's avatar

My son is seven, and homeschooled, and as a boy with long hair has already been on the receiving end of ugliness on the part of adults who should know better manners, TWICE.

He sums it up as “People know their own gender and if someone else doesn’t know it then it’s none of their business and they should leave people alone.”

The entire situation is absurd and people get to get their heads out of their fucking asses and focus on a real problem for once in their pathetic, worthless lives.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

As many with kids know, it really does take some serious indoctrination for any racist or bigoted attitudes to take hold. A girl in the family was born “male”, but now fully identifies as a girl. She’s probably in 4th or 5th grade now, and has been identifying as a girl for years. My kids don’t give a sh*t whether Kim has a male genitalia or not. She’s a girl. It’s absolutely not a deal in any way. Same goes for same-sex marriage, which we’ve had here in MA since 2004. We have family who are married and same-sex, and it’s no different than any other flavor of family. My kids know that if they fall in love and choose to get married some day, it will be with the person they choose – regardless of gender.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@GSLeader – Would you be willing to elaborate on your concerns here, specifically? Do you feel that there is a risk of some kind to your daughter? Be as specific as possible.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek Twice in bathrooms?

canidmajor's avatar

@GSLeader: There is a difference between someone’s sex (as determined solely by genitalia) and gender, as determined by a boatload of other things. You would do well to educate yourself before making absolute declarations.

Seek's avatar

@JLeslie – Yes. A man followed Ian into a men’s restroom in a McDonalds and told him to go to the girls’ room. He barely escaped my husband’s wrath. Barely. And then a week later some woman stopped us on the way to the Walmart bathroom talking about the new laws and how scared she is and how creepy some guy was because he accidentally walked into the wrong bathroom the day before (this particular store doesn’t have very good signage and has the bathrooms on the “wrong” side, if you follow me, I’ve made the same mistake myself a few times).

The second time Ian got really frustrated and said “Mom, maybe I should just wait until we get home so people don’t see me and think I’m being bad again.”

Dude. If your bigotry is so strong it’s making small children feel like they’re being punished for having to pee, you are an asshole.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Seek: “A man followed Ian into a men’s restroom in a McDonalds and told him to go to the girls’ room. He barely escaped my husband’s wrath. Barely.”

Your husband has the patience and compassion of the Dalai Lama.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek If your son is confused for a girl I don’t see the big upset with a man saying he should go to the other bathroom. If my 8 year old daughter walked into the men’s room I wouldn’t be upset a man tried to help her to the right restroom. At the same time, I would think most men don’t bother to say anything, but I think a young girl would be uncomfortable if while in the bathroom 3 men walked in to pee in the urinals, or wash their hands while she was washing her hands. She would realize she was in the “wrong” restroom since we do have restrooms designated by gender.

I thought you meant he was told by women in the women’s room he shouldn’t be in there that it would find shocking. Young boys are in the women’s room all the time.

Seek's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch – I’m pretty sure the only reason the McDonald’s employees didn’t have to clean up blood is that there were two men in the bathroom with them, and since he was in the stall he didn’t know which one followed Ian in.

Seek's avatar

@JLeslie – I will simply not discuss justifying a strange man following what he thinks is an unattended small girl into a public restroom in order to protect the “small girl” from being alone in a restroom with strange men.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, if there’s going to be a problem, I think it will manifest at the Jr. High, High School level. We’ll have to wait and see. Oh, the legal battles it’s going to create!

The way I figure it, they’re going to end up with 3 separate bathrooms; Boys, Girls, Unisex.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Something I don’t understand..why is only the discomfort of trans people being taken into consideration? Why are they uncomfortable? And why is is it unacceptable for non-trans people to feel uncomfortable for the very same reasons?

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “Something I don’t understand..why is only the discomfort of trans people being taken into consideration? Why are they uncomfortable? And why is is it unacceptable for non-trans people to feel uncomfortable for the very same reasons?”

The same reason why we don’t take into consideration how uncomfortable racists are when they see “interracial” marriages or have to share a water fountain with people of different shades.

That isn’t sufficient reason to allow for discrimination.

Oh, and @Dutchess_III: “Why are they uncomfortable?”

Would you be comfortable being told that you – and only you – were going to have to use the men’s room from now on, but other women are fine with using the women’s room?

Seek's avatar

Here’s the thing:

The bathroom bill is about people using the toilet that corresponds with their genitals, regardless of their outward appearance.

So, why the hell should that guy have followed Ian, who has boy genitals but “girly” beautiful long blonde hair, into the bathroom to correct him?

Was he hoping Ian would display his genitals for him, thus removing all doubt?

What, exactly, was to be gained?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sure I’d be uncomfortable. It’‘s how I was raised. But isn’t the message supposed to be that discomfort is should be all a non-issue anyway?

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “Sure I’d be uncomfortable. It’‘s how I was raised. But isn’t the message supposed to be that discomfort is should be all a non-issue anyway?”

elaborate

Rarebear's avatar

It’s entirely a non-issue with my kid. She could give a crap where people take a crap.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t know how to elaborate without being beaten severely about the head and shoulders, but I’ll give it a try.

We are raised to believe that peeing and crapping are intensely personal things, like sex, and not to be done in public, and not to be done in front of other people. That’s the reason we even have stalls in the bathrooms.
In reality, that’s a social construct. I’m sure there are cultures who view it more naturally, like animals, who void their bowels where ever whenever, they have sex whenever. However, AS humans there would be pressure to do it away from common living areas for logical reasons-it stinks and attracts bugs. And today we also know it can spread disease, so it makes sense to keep it as sanitary as possible. But can’t we do that and ditch the male/female thing?

So why shouldn’t the focus be on changing that social construct of viewing it as something private, to something that everyone does, like eating? We don’t segregate eating by gender. Why not just have bathrooms?

Seek's avatar

We don’t segregate port-a-pottys by gender either, and no one has a problem with that. Is it the fact that there’s a roof over the stalls that makes the bathroom inherently a super personal dirty sex dungeon waiting to happen?

canidmajor's avatar

@Seek: Did the man threaten Ian? Act in a menacing fashion? Or (at the risk of being roundly chastised for presenting another POV) could he simply have seen a young child whom he thought was confused?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie Let’s say that you did have a child and he/she was under 12. The child’s school is in compliance with the new law. Don’t you think that it would be appropriate to have a discussion about the different genders and why this law is so important?

@rojo Would you mind clarifying what your daughter meant? The reason for asking is that there is a problem.

@GSLeader It is understandable how you feel. Many others feel the same way. The percentage of transgender people is small, and many hide the fact from the public out of fear of ridicule or worse.

Fortunately, as more transgender people are willing to open up about their gender, only then can we learn to empathise about their situation.

Your daughter is 9–10 years old? Is there any harm in having a discussion with her about different genders? At that age, she should already know the basics about sex, which is a different topic.

Seek's avatar

I wasn’t in the bathroom, so I don’t know what exactly was said. I do know he made Ian feel very uncomfortable, having to defend his place in the bathroom against someone five times his age and size.

It would literally never occur to me to make a judgment about a child’s sex or gender based on their outward appearance, and go so far as to follow them to assure they conformed to my judgment. I cannot fathom why this person felt the urge to do so.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He felt the urge to do so because of all the media attention this particular issue is generating.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We don’t segregate port-a-potties, and it’s becoming increasingly common to desegregate single room toilets, with doors that lock, even here in the Bible belt. That isn’t where the problem is coming in. It’s the concern of others having easy access to someone who is partially clothed, and in the same room but out of view of the general public.

I know when I was young, and did the bar scene, it would totally freak me out to have some drunk guy, who’d been hitting on me relentlessly all night, or maybe someone who started obsessing on me without me realizing it, walk up into the women’s bathroom when I was in it.

Seek's avatar

It’s a solution in search of a problem, that is creating the problem it is seeking.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “So why shouldn’t the focus be on changing that social construct of viewing it as something private, to something that everyone does, like eating? We don’t segregate eating by gender. Why not just have bathrooms?”

Legal issues surrounding the bathroom stuff isn’t about changing attitudes. It’s about discrimination. You can’t treat some women and some men differently. Since we currently have bathrooms that are segregated by gender, singling out individuals based on genitalia (never mind the practical implications of how to enforce this) means that women may be forced to use the men’s room because they were born with male genitalia (and men forced to use women’s room due to their genitalia).

Seek's avatar

And, equally, men may be forced to use the womens’ room based on their genitalia. And androgynous children will be harassed no matter what they do.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch But changing discrimination begins with changing attitudes. And that’s what I’m saying….we need to accept that men and women are in the bathrooms doing the same things so why separate them? Why freak out? Treat everyone the same.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “But changing discrimination begins with changing attitudes.”

Nope. If discrimination is happening, we need to change how people act. Attitudes can change later. We didn’t wait until people were ok with desegregation.

@Dutchess_III: “And that’s what I’m saying….we need to accept that men and women are in the bathrooms doing the same things so why separate them? Treat everyone the same.”

Sure. We can push for this. But in the meantime, trans and non-trans men and women need to be treated equally.

Seek's avatar

@Dutchess_III

I am pretty sure There’s a book about it

Perhaps we should start a campaign to send a copy to every member of the NC legislature.

canidmajor's avatar

And maybe he was just a nice a nice guy who didn’t want a small child, whom he perceived to be a little girl, to be uncomfortable if/when “she” realized “her” mistake. Maybe he wasn’t ” making a judgement”. Maybe he he was just trying to be helpful.
geez

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Seek – A classic. My kids loved that book. Should come bundled with this.

Seek's avatar

@canidmajor – He succeeded in scaring and shaming a small child for daring to use a public bathroom. Congratu-fornicating-lations to him.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But wouldn’t it be easier to just change the law so that it encompassed all humans, rather than just some, a tiny bit at a time, and then having it all tied up in knots with “How are we going to enforce this?”

If a law was passed tomorrow that said “Any body can use any bathroom they want,” problem solved.

To me it’s like, “Well, gay marriage is now legal, but you have to PROVE you’re gay for it to actually be allowed.” How the hell do you prove something like that?

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “But wouldn’t it be easier to just change the law so that it encompassed all humans, rather than just some, a tiny bit at a time, and then having it all tied up in knots with “How are we going to enforce this?””

Right now, all over the country, most schools and businesses have separate bathrooms for men and women. The simplest solution is to allow all men/boys to enter the men’s room, and all women/girls to enter the women’s room. It changes nothing, and requires no action of any kind. Chances are, the last time you used a public restroom, the woman in the stall next to you had male genitalia.

To propose that we legally require all schools and businesses to change today to allow people of any gender to use any restroom means a significant change. It means that signs will have to be changed, and we’re now forcing a large change on the country for no reason. I don’t see how there would be the legal ability to do that. I could be wrong. But to argue that it’s easier seems absurd.

@Dutchess_III: “To me it’s like, “Well, gay marriage is now legal, but you have to PROVE you’re gay for it to actually be allowed.” How the hell do you prove something like that?”

I’m not following you.

What about convenience store bathrooms?

Dutchess_III's avatar

The most significant change would be in the back lash from men and woman who would oppose such a move. I can’t imagine it would be any worse than the backlash we’re facing now. Changing signs is no big deal. Slap a piece of paper over it with the new designation until you have the time or money or what ever to make a new $3.00 sign.

But would you, personally, oppose such a change @DoNotKnowMuch?

GSLeader's avatar

It seems to be a sad state of affairs when I am asked to explain, in detail, why I wouldn’t want my teenage daughter to be alone in a public bathroom with a 25 year old man. Hard to believe this is all real, to be honest.

Seek's avatar

But you want someone else’s daughter to be in a bathroom with a 25 year old man who may want to hurt her because she was born with a penis.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@GSLeader: “It seems to be a sad state of affairs when I am asked to explain, in detail, why I wouldn’t want my teenage daughter to be alone in a public bathroom with a 25 year old man.”

Nobody is asking you why you would or wouldn’t want your teenage daughter to be alone in a public bathroom with a 25 year old man (although we could discuss this). No 25 year-old man is going to be allowed in a women’s bathroom. Only women.

But since you’re here, why not explain what it is about this that concerns you?

Seek's avatar

Or you want someone’s daughter to be in a bathroom with a 25 year old man because her hair is cut short and she’s wearing jeans and flannel.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Come on you guys. That’s not fair.

@DoNotKnowMuch, would you, personally, be opposed to making a sweeping change that all bathrooms are open to all people?

janbb's avatar

this must be the stupidest country in the world, i swear to god.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “Come on you guys. That’s not fair.”

What’s not fair?

@Dutchess_III: “would you, personally, be opposed to making a sweeping change that all bathrooms are open to all people?”

I have no problem with this. But I wouldn’t want a law enacted right now that stated this because it’s important that we correct the wrong first. If we have gender-specific bathrooms, people of that gender should be allowed to use those bathrooms regardless of their genitalia. Once this is corrected, I’m all for people pushing for unisex bathrooms. Right now, you’re just confusing a very basic and easy issue of discrimination.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@itsubroso asked a good question, with some interesting links to a different style of stall. Here is my response.

Hell, why not just make bathrooms, then break it on down into upperclass, private porta potties!

As to why it isn’t fair: We’ve had a bazillion discussions on the dangers women face, just for being women. To run the risk of sending your 13 year old daughter to the bathroom where there may be an adult male, who may or may not see it as a chance to make a move on her, is an unacceptable risk, just like sending your 13 year old daughter across an unlit, deserted parking lot at night, by herself, is an unacceptable risk. And how do you prove someone is transgendered? Just because they say they are?

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “To run the risk of sending your 13 year old daughter to the bathroom where there may be an adult male, who may or may not see it as a chance to make a move on her, is an unacceptable risk”

Time out. Who is proposing men be allowed into women’s restrooms?

Seek's avatar

@Dutchess_III – The same way you prove a cute 7 year old boy is a boy. He tells you he is.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Dutchess_III – I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.

Cruiser's avatar

At my son’s high school he says no one pays any attention to the TG’s or freak out over the transgender kids. I met one of the girls at parent night and she was beautiful model gorgeous. I would not have guessed her to be a guy and can’t imagine someone all dolled up having to go to the mens bathroom.

Seek's avatar

It’s the straw man argument of the “Cross-dressing sexual predator who sneaks into the now gender-fluid bathroom to cam upskirt photos of the girl in the next stall”

If you don’t discriminate against transgender people, it might as well be legal for people to disguise themselves as women to harass people who are trying to pee, don’tchaknow.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I am proposing it. And you said you, personally, had no problem with it.

Seek's avatar

Transwomen are not men. They are women.

Transmen are not women, they are men.

Some women are sufficiently masculine looking that they could pass for men. They are still women.

Some men are sufficiently feminine looking that they could pass for women. They are still men.

It’s none of anyone’s damned business to tell someone else they’re in the wrong bathroom.

Here’s a hint: if someone is harassing you, use that glowing box you’re staring at to call for help. The number is “911” in the US or “999” in the UK. Otherwise, don’t worry about what other people are doing.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “I am proposing it. And you said you, personally, had no problem with it.”

@DoNotKnowMuch: “I have no problem with this. But I wouldn’t want a law enacted right now… [clip]... Right now, you’re just confusing a very basic and easy issue of discrimination.”

Can we keep the conversation focused on the issue? Discuss the NC bill or other bills. Discuss the Obama administration’s plans to instruct public schools to allow students to use the bathrooms matching their gender identity. Discuss the issue of discrimination (or argue against it). But please don’t propose unrealistic theoretical proposals and then make wild assertions about sexual assault based on some scenario that you proposed and is unrelated to this issue.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I’m not technically a parent, but I’ve been helping raise my niece ever since my sister and I were fostering her, and she’s now adopted. I’ve been helping look after her for over five years now.

She’s 12, and she’s all for it. She goes to an outdoor camp weekly and one of her team leaders is currently transitioning , and she can’t understand why anyone would be mean to, hate, or discriminate against her team leader. She gets very upset when she hears about discriminatory things related to the subject, since she is so fond of her team leader. She recognizes the most important thing – which is that they’re all people – and she doesn’t understand why that isn’t the most important thing to everyone else.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Thank you. This is exactly why I asked this question. Some of us were brought up in a society where anything outside of being male or female based on body parts and not being heterosexual was considered deviant behaviour. Until we learn that this mindset is discrimatory, the battle for equal rights will continue.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was going to say, I’ll bet the kids are totally down with it, just like they’re totally OK with gay folks. My 21 year old, hetero grandson has a friend who is gay, and the subject came up. Actually, I brought it up. “Is Dom gay?”
“Duh Gramma. What rock have you been under! You’ve only known him for 10 years!” Yes, he’s gay, but my grandson said he just tells him he (my grandson) is not, so don’t be making any passes at him!
It was the same thing when they integrated the schools. It was just a passing blip on their radar, and the majority of them (unless they had rabidly racist parents) never thought of it again.

It’s the adults who create inequality issues, not the kids.

Darth_Algar's avatar

What bathroom should this dude use, the men’s or the woman’s, and why?

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

My daughter is twelve and has grown up with a gay uncle, Lesbian aunt and Lesbian great-aunt. She is much like @DrasticDreamer‘s niece. She doesn’t understand how people can be so cruel to someone based on who they are attracted to.

This whole bathroom thing is a non-issue for her. Her father and I never shy away from discussing any important life lesson.

GSLeader's avatar

@seek If somebody is born with a penis, that person is a he, not a she. Anybody who saw Kindergarten Cop knows that, as well as everybody else. It really is that simple.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@GSLeader Would you please watch the news video linked above? It might help in understanding the viewpoint of others, even if you don’t agree with it.

Seek's avatar

@gs – please revisit the photo of the attractive gentleman in @Darth_Algar‘s post a couple above this one, and tell me whether you want him in your daughter’s bathroom.

He has female genitalia.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@GSLeader – I am really interested in having a conversation. As someone with a point of view that is in the minority here, it would be valuable to have this conversation. If you are certain of your position, you must also feel that there is something we’re missing. Let’s have this conversation.

I am interested your thoughts about this guy that was linked above. Since he has female genitalia, you should likely feel most comfortable with him using the women’s room.

Some things that I’d be interested in hearing would be:

1. Are you aware that there are women that you see in the women’s room that have male genitalia? It’s not always apparent, as people don’t usually advertise.

2. What are your specific concerns about women who have or were born with male genitalia? What about men who have or were born with female genitalia? Stating that “it’s that simple” doesn’t help us understand your position. Spell out your concerns in detail.

3. If you feel that genitalia should be what allows entrance to restrooms, what method would you propose to confirm genitalia?

4. It appears that you are a Girl Scout leader. Are you aware of this organization’s transgender policy? ...

“Girl Scouts is proud to be the premiere leadership organization for girls in the country. Placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority. That said, if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.

Like I noted above, there is a girl in my family who was born with male genitalia. What would you do if she wanted to join your Girl Scout troop? How would you even know? How many girls in your troop have shown you proof of their birth sex or revealed their genitalia?

Do you think it might be worth having this discussion? Do you have a few minutes to entertain these questions? Thanks.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek The bathroom bill is idiotic. There I think we agree.

kritiper's avatar

“Why not have a third bathroom?”

Cruiser's avatar

@Darth_Algar He can hang from a tree outside

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie “The bathroom bill is idiotic. There I think we will agree.” I don’t. I think it’s very important.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@kritiper “Why not have a third bathroom?” Let’s talk through that idea as a possible solution. There are three factors to consider: Safety, cost, and discrimination.

Safety This is a big concern for many citizens. I have concerns about it as well, but not for the same reason. There is a far greater safety risk for a transgender person to use a public restroom that correlates to their gender than it is for a person who is comfortable with their birth sex. That is, until we get over this unfounded fear.

Cost Is the cost to businesses and tax-payers worth adding a separate set (keep in mind that “transgendered” applies to both males and females) of bathrooms when some of the .02% (yes, that is twentieth of 1%) already use the bathroom affiliated with their gender and not their birth sex? On cost alone, that solution seems like a non-starter.

Discrimination You may not old enough to remember this, but ~50 years ago, the US still had segregated bathrooms, drinking fountains, schools, etc., based upon skin colour. Fortunately, that has been resolved, and it’s because a law had to be passed and enforced in order for the majority of white people to come to their senses. This is just a repeat of that on a smaller scale.

kritiper's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer But it could solve the problem.
Safety is a problem you’ll have no matter what. Same with discrimination, which is in the mind. Cost isn’t that big of a deal since the building is being built anyway, it just has a few more fixtures.
Retro fit older buildings? Nah. Folks would just have to work something out.
One good solution would be for people to not think about it so much and let those who use the bathrooms decide which one to use.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@kritiper. What is the problem? That’s what this whole debate really boils down to.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser “He can hang from a tree outside”

Why? He’s harmed no one, so do you wish to see such harm brought upon him?

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

There are two discussions here. There is the notion that schools should have bathrooms that are non-gender specific. I don’t have any problem with that at all.

Then there’s the idea of a child, male or female, being unsupervised in a men’s public bathroom. I wouldn’t have wanted my children to be in a men’s bathroom unsupervised at 7. I’ve heard too many scary stories. Some of which may be urban myths, nonetheless, Ian’s father was in a stall. The man presumably thought Ian was alone.

As to him asking Ian whether he should be in that bathroom, did he follow Ian in there or did he enter the gent’s bathroom and Ian was there on his own? How do we know which of these scenarios is correct? Either way, as I said on Facebook, there are so many nutjobs out there, I think we have to be very careful about demonising men who step up to try to protect a child they think might be at risk. Too many men these days are uncomfortable about speaking to children who are unsupervised and potentially at risk in case they are accused of being a danger to the child. From what has been said, the man simply suggested a child he possibly thought was a girl, should be in a different bathroom. Hardly crime of the century and his suggestion probably had absolutely nothing to do with bathrooms and gender and everything to do with child safety.

Frankly, and as I said on Facebook, I want men and women to be more caring and conscientious about ensuring our children are safe and cared for. I’m not going to belittle a man who may simply be trying to protect a child.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer To be clear, I don’t think your Q, or the discussion, or the topic is idiotic. I think having a law segregating people in bathrooms is idiotic. I think society can handle it like it always has without a law. If there needs to be a law, you would think it would be to protect a person’s right to go into the bathroom they identify with, civil rights and all that, not a law keeping transgender people out of the bathroom they identify with.

I don’t think we can ask every building to accommodate with an additional bathroom or adding bathrooms. It’s cost prohibitive. Regarding schools, having a single bathroom for kids also will be more expensive, but it’s an interesting topic. Aside from transgender children, kids who want more privacy, or who get harassed might want a single room option. Money is still a problem. Peer pressure and teasing risks are still a problem. Doing something different than the norm can be a real problem for children. Fitting in matters a lot in most cases. Matters too much, but it’s a reality.

@Earthbound_Misfit That’s just what I thought. We don’t know the man’s intention. My assumption is he wanted to help @Seek‘s child. I don’t know why people jump to the man had some sort of hate in his soul. Why would a grown man worry for himself about a girl walking into the men’s room? My assumption would be his worry is for the child. I doubt this man was reacting to some law. These laws are new and not in most states.

Cruiser's avatar

@Darth_Algar I am certain he can inflict all the harm he chooses upon anyone and why he deserves his very own tree to hang from.

JLeslie's avatar

By the way, last night I was watching a discussion on Chris Matthews on this topic and the guests were some right winger who supported the law and a transgender person who is now fully transitioned to being a woman. I don’t remember her name, but let’s call her Kate. Chris asked the guy supporting the bathroom laws, “which bathroom should Kate use?” He asked probably ten times. He never answered.

One time he tried to talk about Kate going to a single bathroom, but that’s ridiculous to me, because the question needs to be answers, because sometimes singles aren’t available. Is it possible that man on the side of the new law actually left that interview really thinking the laws are ok? I don’t see how.

They touched on schoolchildren too in the interview. He said boys will take advantage of going into girls bathrooms. I can see some boys doing it to be honest. Meaning going into girls bathrooms on dares, as a joke, to torment girls, try to get naked photos of girls. But, that’s a different topic than transgender, and boys harassing girls isn’t protected because transgender people should be protected. It’s two different things. The law has nothing to do with misbehaving boys.

Seek's avatar

What danger was Ian in, going into a bathroom at a McDonald’s, that justified a man following him in (yes, he followed him in. I watched him.) and harassing him about his biological sex?

And why are so many people afraid of bathrooms, that they would rather a child with a full bladder have to argue with a stranger about whether he is enough of a boy to use the toilet in the men’s room, than agree the dude should have just minded his own business? If he felt that strongly about a girl being in the men’s room, maybe he should have stayed out of the men’s room until the girl was out.

Seek's avatar

My kid has long hair. His father has long hair. His father’s friends, almost all of them, have long hair. Men with long hair is normal in our circle. He likes his long hair enough that he is willing to put up with ALMOST DAILY discussions from TOTAL STRANGERS about whether he is a boy, why he should get a hair cut, isn’t she pretty, blah blah blah.

Ian is my hero because he spends his entire life being called something he is not, and is never anything but polite when correcting people. No matter how incredibly rude adults can be when he does.

And there have been some doozies.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek I think the best course of action would have been to wait, and protect the door, until the child was out. I agree. But, you still don’t know what was in his mind; what his intention was.

I doubt he thought, oh shit a transgender child is going in the bathroom, and I hate that child for what he is, and I’m going to make sure he corrects himself and goes to “her” designated bathroom. Is that what you think his thought process was regarding a child?

My husband was mistaken for a girl sometimes as a child too, because of his long hair. He has had long hair as an adult also. Some people mistake long hair to be a girl at a glance.

Seek's avatar

Have you ever heard the expression “like giving a Nazi a flashlight”?

My stepfather used to say it all the time. It refers to people who take any tiny reason they can to flex some imagined authority on other people.

That man appointed himself Potty Monitor, because he had the dubious distinction of being There, being Male, and being Right.

He took his flashlight and stormed off to fight for God and country by making sure no long haired small children that fit his prejudice of ” girl ” crossed the sacred threshold of “Potty with urinals”.

But the child’s word that he was mistaken wasn’t enough. Oh no, man was on a mission. And he was RIGHT. The argument only stopped when my husband came out of the stall and called him ” son ” and Ian said “Hi, Dad!”.

Seek's avatar

For what it’s worth, Hubby told Ian if that ever happens again, he should pee on the person’s shoes and remove all doubt.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek Ok, I believe you that that guy was an idiot, but not all people who might think your son is a girl is a horrible person. That’s all I mean. Being a girl isn’t something awful. Being mistaken for one isn’t the kiss of death. It’s like if someone mistakes me for a lesbian, I’m not a lesbian, but I’m not insulted. Or, mistakes me for a Republican, or a theist, etc. That happened a lot in the south. They see white woman and don’t imagine you could be a democrat. They invited me to church. People go on assumptions, we get the opportunity to correct them.

jca's avatar

If my daughter were going into the men’s room by accident, I’d be grateful if someone (of any gender) said to her “I think you want the ladies room” or something to that effect. I wouldn’t automatically think of this person as being awful and malicious. I think in the case of what happened to your son, @Seek, that might be what happened. I don’t think the man necessarily had the worst intentions (shaming, hostility). I think it’s possible he just thought it was a girl child going into the men’s room. For me, I try not to assume there’s malice unless I see other signs of it (for example, the man making slurs about appearance or something like that).

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Seek, you can see it as people being afraid of bathrooms, but the reality is that kids are at risk of sexual assault if they go into public bathrooms alone. These news stories took a couple of minutes to find. Not to mention the many articles about how old should a child be to go to a public toilet alone.

Whether the man handled the situation well or not, there’s no evidence that he had anything but Ian’s best interest at heart. He didn’t know Ian’s Dad was in there with him. Since people often mistake Ian for a girl, can anyone really be too upset if this man made the same mistake?

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/07/boy-6-raped-in-pico-rivera-rapist-sought.html
http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2016/0/man_63_allegedly_sexually_assa.html
http://www.news4jax.com/news/man-arrested-in-mcdonalds-bathroom-assault_20151107012115973
http://conservativetribune.com/two-brothers-go-in-bathroom/
http://www.police.act.gov.au/crime-and-safety/abuse-and-family-violence/sexual-abuse-of-a-child
http://www.police.act.gov.au/crime-and-safety/abuse-and-family-violence/sexual-abuse-of-a-child

GSLeader's avatar

@seek That photo proves nothing. Think I’ll post that photo claiming that person to be the Captain Crunch Cereal Lovers President. One could post a picture and say anything they want about it in attempt to prove a point. However, I allow travelers to stay at my place to use my bed and for a morning breakfast. I would decline to allow the person in the photo to stay because I don’t allow people with visible tattoos to stay at my place. Same goes for my car ride sharing business.

GSLeader's avatar

Maybe we should fix this all simply by having outdoor bathrooms without walls so if you have to go, just squat on the toilet on the corner that replaced the phone booth and dump a load out in the open in front of everybody. If animals do it, so should humans, as many believe that animals are superior to man as man was a genetic accident and shouldn’t exist in the first place.

Seek's avatar

@gs – you didn’t answer the question. That man was born female. That is a fact.

kritiper's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer The problem is people think too much about it. They try to control the lives of kids too much, inevitably teaching kids to fear every single stranger as a pedophile, criminal and/or pervert. So much of it is so blown out of proportion. For example, why don’t more parents bitch about their sons and daughters having to get naked and shower with their classmates after PE class? Because this has been going on for many years, is accepted socially, and nobody thinks about it.

Seek's avatar

OK, now that I’m at a proper computer and not trying to make long arguments via phone screen:

My son’s experience is not singular, and is simply one symptom of this issue.

We no longer live in a world where gender is rigidly defined, and men and women do not have the “uniform” appearance they once did.

The Potty Monitor syndrome is not going to affect passing-trans people like Geena Rocero because the closed-minded bigots who care that a trans person is in their restroom are going to look at her and think “female” whether she was born that way or not.

Likewise, Adian Dowling and Laith Ashley will have little trouble in the average men’s room.

The issue is with people taking it upon themselves to judge others based on a “not passing” appearance. Women who identify as women but dress in a manner considered traditionally masculine or men who appear feminine in some way will be – and already are – harassed simply because they need to pee and are doing so within ranting distance of someone who has decided they have the right to judge someone based on their haircut and wardrobe.

Did the person who followed my son into a bathroom think he was doing the right thing? Almost certainly.

That’s not the question at hand.

The question is, why did this person think a child needed to be protected from a restroom?

I’m certain no one actually believes there’s a magical forcefield that protects girls in the women’s restroom and boys in the men’s restroom. So the argument that it somehow protects a child to usher them into the bathroom that matches their gender is rather silly. If someone is out to harm a child by hiding in a public toilet until an unsuspecting victim comes around, I hardly think the sign on the door is going to be a deterrent.

Is the gentleman afraid that the 45 seconds a “girl” might spend in the restroom is enough to drive some random man into a frenzy and turn him from a normal McDonald’s patron into a ravenous child predator? If so, what does that say about his own brain? I don’t want someone with that kind of mentality protecting my kid at all. In fact I want him as far away from my kid as possible, and preferably on a psychiatrist’s couch.

People who wish to profile others by apparent gender are going to be very disappointed when they finally realise that their pre-conceived notions of transgender people are terribly flawed. You’re going to have a lot of people that look like men (because they are men) in the women’s restroom and a lot of people who look like women (because they are) in the men’s room.

Perhaps, if it happens enough, people will realise that having people of the opposite gender (if not the opposite biological sex) in the toilet is not that goddamn big a deal, and we can all turn our focus to the real sexual predators:

Republican politicians.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why don’t we completely revamp our idea of a “bathroom.” Call them “relieving stations” or something.

What about having a line of doors on the back wall of whatever store. Behind each door is the toilet / urinal, just like a port-a-potty.

The biggest concern is the fact that bathrooms are private, out of the public eye. In one way that’s good, obviously, in another it can pose a danger to people if the wrong person walks in and there is no one else in there. I had a friend whose 6 year old daughter was sexually assaulted in the bathroom at the doctor’s office, in front of the 6 year old’s 4 year old brother. The person who assaulted the kids was the doctor’s 14 year old son. It was just one room, he slipped in and locked the door behind them. The thing is, there is so much actual room in a public bathroom, aside from the stalls. But I can only imagine it would be difficult to assault someone in the tiny confines of a port a potty.

The next problem is the sinks and mirrors. Having privacy to wash your hands and fix your make up is preferable, but not really not necessary.

SO, there could be a floor-to-ceiling wall in front of the line of doors to the individual toilet rooms, open at either end. The sinks and mirrors would be on the wall opposite of the toilet rooms. They would be visible to any one walking by, but it wouldn’t be intrusive.

I remember the first time I walked in to a woman’s bathroom that had no door….it was at an air port. There was a little Z formed by walls, so you couldn’t actually see in from outside, but there was no door. At first it was disconcerting, but then it made so much sense, from a safety POV. And most modern public bathrooms don’t have doors.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III Everybody agrees that it would be much easier if we had lots of single stall toilets everywhere. I was once at a place in France where that was exactly the case; a line of toilets outside a building with access to each from the outside. This is what you see at festivals with port-a-potties. But the truth is that we can’t even stop our roads and bridges from falling down, so who is going to fund the construction of an entirely new toileting system? It’s not useful to speculate on the what-ifs, what we need to deal with is the what ares and how to handle them equitably.

Jaxk's avatar

I think most of you are missing the point. Remember that this whole subject is not just about bathrooms but includes locker rooms and showers as well. I don’t want my 15 year old grand daughter having to shower with a 15 year old buy. You want to call me a bigot because the 15 year old boy might be trans. I don’t want him in there because he might not be trans. The whole issue is not about discrimination, it’s about definition. We’ve lost the ability to define gender. This didn’t start with the NC law, the NC law was in response to laws in places like Washington the said anyone could use either bathroom, locker room or shower. NC simply tried to say, no you can’t. Their problem was with how they defined it. Come up with a good definition and I doubt there would be an issue. Simply saying we should all be comfortable to shit on the sidewalk like dogs, won’t solve the problem.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The business have to fund them themselves, not the government, just like they do when they remodel their establishments. Obviously it wouldn’t happen overnight, and we have do deal with the problem based on what we have now, and I agree with that, but it’s a consideration for the future.

If we’ve been sharing bathrooms with trans people all of these years, why is this suddenly a problem now?

@Jaxk. That is a very, very good point about community showers.

Seek's avatar

Sorry, other than prison, where are there community showers?

The showers in my high school (I graduated in 2003) were literally never used. People showered where they normally did: AT HOME.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser “I am certain he can inflict all the harm he chooses upon anyone and why he deserves his very own tree to hang from.”

So could you. So could I. So could anyone. By that logic each one of us deserves to hang from a tree. I thought in this country we prosecuted people for crimes they’ve actually committed, not for hypothetical crimes we imagine they might commit someday.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@GSLeader

Whether you would allow that person to stay in your home or to enter your car is irrelevant. The question is which restroom should he use – the men’s or the women’s.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Seek, When I was in high school we had community showers in the girls locker room. We used them because they worked us till we sweated. Even if we didn’t use them, we were still stripping down in front of everyone to get in and out of our gym clothes, but that wasn’t so bad.

The last time I was at the YMCA (when I was about 13) they had community showers. That may very well have changed now. ♫“It’s fun to go to the…...”♫

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek Why did she need protection? Because men pee in urinals. That’s my main reason. I don’t want my daughter seeing other men peeing. The other reason, a not very likely reason in that situation, because men are more likely to commit crimes.

Seek's avatar

HE.

He is a HE. He is a he with long hair, which is not even uncommon anymore. It was a he that the man was not related to, did not know, had never seen before, and was not responsible for. The man did not look for the child’s responsible party for confirmation or permission to act. He simply acted based on his own biases and incorrect judgement.

This is my point. The guy made a BUNCH of assumptions: One: that the person he was correcting was in need of correction. Two: That it was his place to correct them. Three: That the correction was needed because the person was in danger, which only means that Four: He assumed that one or more of his fellow restaurant patrons was a child molester.

We cannot foster an environment which encourages people to “correct” strangers because they do not conform to a person’s individual bias.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Jaxk “We’ve lost the ability to define gender.”

This is kind of the crux of the problem. People who are confounded by the way society is changing on this issue believe that we are losing sight of a truth that we knew. In fact, we never had it because it never existed. What is happening is that we are finally gaining the ability to recognize that gender is not a visible, quantifiable thing. We have been deluding ourselves about this forever.

Also, @Jaxk, you are worried about what might happen if your 15-year-old daughter sees a penis in the girls’ locker room. I seriously doubt that we are anywhere close to that happening for transgender kids. There is no reason to assume that if a rule is made for washrooms with stalls, that the same rule must apply in a public shower (which… why do we even have these, anyway? They are the worst idea ever.).

In any case, if you listen to 15-year-olds talk about these issues, what you will notice is that they are generally better at accepting the idea of a mismatch between body and gender than adults are. I see a lot of cheerleading among kids of that age for other kids who are different and struggling for acceptance. But obviously, the opposite is also true – transgender kids have to deal with bullying and violence. This is one reason they should be allowed to assess their own risk and use the washroom they feel comfortable in.

Regarding those who see danger in allowing a child with a penis to enter a girl’s washroom because he says he’s a girl, I have to scratch my head at that. No kid is going to come out as transgender to their friends and the school staff just to get a peek. That’s a crazy notion.

I think the idea of gender-neutral washrooms does solve the immediate issue by removing the question about where transgender kids should go. I disagree that this can’t be changed quickly (here’s an example in my city). However, I really don’t know whether I’m comfortable with it or not. High school washrooms are places that are both private (unpoliced) and public (anyone can enter), and so are ideal places for teenagers to be violent or sexual, as long as they’re quick about it. Does that matter more if boys and girls now have access to stalls in the same room? I don’t know. I guess gay kids have always been living with that anyway.

I don’t have kids myself, so am trying to take my cues from my friends who are parents, and from their kids, and they mostly seem to like the idea of all-gender washrooms, or not care one way or the other. I think good things are coming of this discussion, in general. I like the idea of breaking down gender stereotypes at a young age, and encouraging boys and girls to just relate with each other as equals, instead of pretending that they are different species who cannot be expected to understand each other. This will have a positive effect on how they deal with each other as adults.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek Yes, HE. I purposely used SHE, because I was stating why a man might be motivated to help a SHE, an elementary aged SHE, to the right rest room. The man thought he was talking to a young girl.

On another note I talked about the girl being asked for ID in the women’s bathroom on another Q, I can try to find it. It looked to me like she was possibly loitering and being combative. Her behavior was questionable in my opinion, more than whether she looked masculine.

Edit: Here is the Q about the girl in the bathroom being ID’d.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

When a person walks into a bathroom you will see the back of a clothed man standing at a urinal. You will not see skin. What are people so afraid of?

We’ve raised our children in one bathroom homes since 1992. My daughter and I have shared the bathroom with my husband and two sons. We’ve never seen a bare butt or penis.

JLeslie's avatar

^^That’s in your home with a dad and brothers. You can’t be saying that’s the same as an 8 year old girl possibly walking out of a bathroom stall and finding three men peeling in a urinal? And, another guy waiting for the stall she just used. I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong with a girl being near men or seeing a penis, but I think it could easily be uncomfortable for a girl to walk into that situation and feel a little shaken by it. If she felt she was in the “wrong” bathroom, it might make her embarrassed or worried she did something wrong. Of course, as adults we (here) would reassure her it’s no big deal, not to feel bad, it’s not a law or rule she broke (it wasn’t before) no need for her to have any worry about it. But, for her, it might be allowing her to be in an uncomfortable situation.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

“You can’t be saying that’s the same as an 8 year old girl possibly walking out of a bathroom stall and finding three men peeling in a urinal?”

Yes I can. It won’t traumatize a girl.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I’d just like to add that in more than three decades of using urinals in public restrooms I have yet to witness another man’s penis in all of that. The concerns about peni flapping around is a tad overblown.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

We should just change the names of restrooms to Irrational Fear and I don’t care, I just need to relieve myself.

JLeslie's avatar

Trauma is a strong word. At 16 (I might have told this story already in this Q, sorry if I’m repeating myself) I used to go into bathrooms that often had transvestite men. They were typically 18 inches taller than me from wig to floor. Three of them in a bathroom was a little intimidating even when I was already an adult size. I didn’t have any problems with trans people, or gay people or men. The club was a gay club and I loved going there. I go into men’s rooms if they are singles all the time. But, even as an adult woman I wouldn’t want to be in a men’s room with men peeing at the urinals.

Plus, I do think it’s a vulnerable situation for females and young children. I argued with canidmajor on another Q, she was annoyed I harped on the danger, and then she said later in the Q she personally knows two women who were raped in bathrooms. WTH?

If your daughter wouldn’t think twice about being in a men’s bathroom with men in there then great! I’m glad she’s so comfortable. I still wouldn’t send my daughter in a men’s room on purpose.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

What would solve this problem is making bathrooms integrated. If people are so worried about child molestation, just don’t allow children of a certain age into a bathroom unattended. It’s a simple fix. And no child is going to be screwed up or traumatized by seeing an ass, penis or vagina – unless they’ve been raised horribly to begin with.

With my niece, we’ve already shown her pictures of all kinds of breasts and vaginas, partially so she grows up not thinking there’s something wrong with her body, but also so she doesn’t judge anyone else. Next is going to be penises, because they also come in all different shapes and sizes. We are teaching her tolerance and acceptance like no other adult, even the good, well meaning ones in our lives, did before. It’s necessary so that she can love herself and others and hopefully pass it along to her peers or any children that she might choose to have someday.

Regarding some of the videos @Seek posted, the woman being harassed in the bathroom by the cop was even worse than some of the others, because pretty much every single female in the bathroom was telling the cop to leave her alone. The only person who had a problem with it was the male, who was in the woman’s restroom, surrounded by accepting females. Clearly, no women felt bothered or unsafe.

JLeslie's avatar

@DrasticDreamer The video I saw supposedly someone told the cops to go to the bathroom. Someone thought something wasn’t right. I don’t know if they thought she was a man or just thought she/he whoever was causing a stir.

I was raised to be very comfortable with naked bodies. My mom, and many of the women I knew were naked around each other without thought. A man’s body was not taboo in any way either. I wasn’t around naked men, but I was exposed to art and pictures and photos.

I do think girls who grow up with brothers probably are even more comfortable.

rojo's avatar

I think the problem stems from the inability, or downright refusal, of some people to separate the term transgender from the term pervert.

That and the idea that by passing some law that targets a specific subset of human beings and which has already caused more heartaches and problems than had ever occurred prior to its passing they can make all the imaginary problems go away is ludicrous. It is not like we have don’t have existing laws on the books that are specifically for every single problem that I have heard them use as an excuse for why these particular discriminatory laws are necessary.

I saw a meme the other day that pretty well expresses what I believe to be the problem. It reads: Republican logic: Gun laws won’t prevent criminals from getting guns but bathroom laws will keep criminals out of bathrooms and I guess that goes for showers and changing rooms too.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo I’m feeling like some people can’t understand that many of us who are fine with transgender using the bathroom of their choice, still are aware of possible dangers in bathrooms for women and children. It’s two different things that the hateful right now squashed together, but not everyone squashes it together.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I couldn’t care less about shared bathroom spaces and I’m not worried about kids inadvertently seeing a penis. They are just part of a human body. I think if we did have shared utilities in schools, it would become business as usual in no time. I have no concerns about sharing a bathroom with trans people.

I do think kids should not be unsupervised in adult bathroom.
It’s just not safe.

Seek's avatar

I’d also note that my child wasn’t unsupervised – his father was in the bathroom. Another assumption made by the Potty Monitor.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@All. This question was posted in the hope of finding out how children are reacting to this new directive, and more importantly, how the parents are handling it. For those that have stayed on topic, I thank you.

For those who have strayed beyond the the topic of school bathrooms, it doesn’t answer my sincere question, but it’s still helpful in its own way.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@Seek, the man can’t see through toilet stall doors. And really, whether you like the fact that some people still use visual cues to determine whether someone is male or female, there is a strong possibility that the man discussed here saw what he thought was a young, female child in a men’s toilet on her (his) own, and acted on that assumption. Frankly, I can’t see why it is such a big deal that someone mistook Ian for a girl. So what.

And @Pied_Pfeffer, this isn’t a discussion that I’ve seen at all in Australia yet. I’m sure it will happen. We do have some unisex bathrooms in public spaces such as airports. Most shopping centres have parents rooms with a bathroom attached that can be used by mothers or fathers. As I’ve said further up, I think having non-gender specific bathrooms in schools would help to break down barriers and I don’t see why that can’t be carried forward to other public spaces. That way it really wouldn’t matter whether someone identifies as male, female or other. There would be no argument about which bathroom to use.

Seek's avatar

I believe I explained the “so what” bit, quite thoroughly and with citations.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I really like the idea of unisex bathrooms. It wouldn’t cost much to reconfigure the existing ones. Just put a stall around the urinals and mark them as such. Spend more money to turn some of the toilets in existing women’s rooms into urinals. The next step is to knock out part of a wall if the bathrooms are adjacent.

In schools, it might cut back on some of the bullying and gossip. It would help build a comfort level towards people of all genders.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

A Republican friend of mine just shared this on Facebook. :(

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Here’s another story about the high school gender-neutral washroom I mentioned earlier, which includes an interview with a trans student.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@dammitjanetfromvegas That’s part of the issue, isn’t it? While “The buck stops here” puts the blame on Obama, the declaration came from two separate government depts. The president isn’t the only one on board with addressing the issue.

@dappled_leaves Thank you for the link. It supports what I thought all along, even if it it is out of my personal comfort zone. I can’t help admiring Canada for some of their out-of-the-box thinking. Ontario’s solution for parents who refuse to have their child vaccinated is brilliant.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yes, I’m hoping more provinces follow suit on the vaccination thing.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

One other factor that we all need to be aware of is that there is a difference between transsexual and transgender.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Regarding schools I guess there is a budget issue to convert bathrooms over to unisex. I assume you mean unisex single bathrooms? Also, the Chris Matthews interview the transgender woman was annoyed at the idea she might be told to use a unisex bathroom. She wants it to be ok to use the women’s bathroom. She was answering assuming there would be women’s, men’s, and singletons. Basically limiting her only to the thirds choice.

For me, I don’t think it matters much if someone is transsexual, a transvestite, or transgender. They go to the bathroom they are most comfortable in.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thanks @JLeslie. To clarify, I didn’t mean a separate unisex bathroom, but making the existing male/female bathrooms unisex or even better, combining them if they are adjacent.

The bathroom of choice may not matter to you, but it did in the very first post on this thread when considering a child is involved. It also matters to others. My question is why?

JLeslie's avatar

Some children are very modest. I would think maybe being in the same bathroom with the opposite sex might be uncomfortable for some kids. Especially, teenagers. There are adults who worry about having to do a number two in the bathroom with their new boyfriend in the apartment, and they have even already had sex together!

My husband’s family are very prudish about bathroom and naked. My husband is the exception. I assume they are like that because they had bathrooms in there bedrooms as kids.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Making bathrooms unisex is just unnecessarily conflagrating the issue.

GSLeader's avatar

My ten year old daughter is saying the right thing in that if she’s in the bathroom and S boy classmate enters she would run out of there and turn the boy in. Boys use boys bathrooms, girls use girls bathrooms. It’s not complicated at all.

Mariah's avatar

^ Lovely then that nobody’s suggesting any boys use the girls’ room or vice versa. Case closed I guess.

Dutchess_III's avatar

A meme showed up on face book that said, “Bathroom bills punish transgender people who want to use the public restrooms because society doesn’t trust heterosexual men not to be predatory animals.”

This part: …society doesn’t trust heterosexual men not to be predatory animals.” got my attention more than anything. I don’t trust heterosexual man not to be predatory animals. So?

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

My daughter is now sharing memes that I share on facebook.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@GSLeader You have already said on this thread that you don’t think transgender people exist. You add nothing to the discussion by saying things like “boys should do this” or “girls should do that” when we cannot agree on what a boy or a girl even is.

If you’d like to start a question about how people can be transgendered, that would be an interesting, separate discussion.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@GSLeader does not appear to be a sincere participant in this conversation. All of the comments above – even the ones that specifically addressed @GSLeader and asked questions – have been ignored. I even reached out via pm. Nothing.

Disappointing.

Mariah's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’d say the point of the meme is that trans people shouldn’t be the ones punished for hetero men’s faults. Just as we don’t make laws preventing women from going outside at night because a hetero man might assault her.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know what the point is. It was just a thing that made me go “hmmmmm.”

dappled_leaves's avatar

I read this article today, and thought it might interest you, @Pied_Pfeffer, since it’s about the kids’ perspective. This issue is in our news, too, because of new legislation introduced last week to guarantee legal and human rights protection to transgender people across Canada.

rojo's avatar

I asked my two 10 year old grandchildren, one male, one female, about their thoughts on the North Carolina law. Neither one of them knew what I was talking about.

I asked them if they knew anyone who they though was a boy but said they were a girl or a girl who said she was a boy and them both said yes “X” in our school does. (they go to different school districts).

I asked if it bothered them, they both said no. My granddaughter added that she thought it was “funny”.

I asked them what bathroom they used the boys or the girls? Both of them looked at me like I had grown another head and basically said I don’t know.

I guess where you pee is not much of an issue for a 4th grader.

Evidently Texas is failing in their teaching of biblical morality.

Seek's avatar

Ian is still afraid to use public restrooms, fearing people will think he’s being bad. How long has it been now?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@dappled_leaves Thank you so much for taking the time to share both articles. The first one is especially interesting as it pertains to students’ opinions on the topic.

@rojo Thank you for having the discussion with the grandchildren and sharing their responses. Out of the mouths of babes.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo That’s just what I would guess! Young children are totally unaware of the law and wouldn’t know to be bothered by it unless someone told them to be. Like I said in my very first answer, under the age of 12 I would hope children know nothing about it.

Pied_Pfeffer Out of the mouths of babes is right.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie You would hope that children under the age of twelve know nothing about what? That transgendered people exist? If so, why is that?

rojo's avatar

They do know, they just don’t know the terminology. At least my grandkids do and theirs is beginning of the age where the opposite sex is becoming more interesting.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer No, I don’t care if they know transgendered people exist. I meant that I hope they know nothing about the stupid arguments about this law in NC. I hope the law disappears and most young children never know it existed except in a history book when they hit high school or college.

Just like I don’t want 7 year olds taught we used to buy and sell black people as slaves. Leave it for older ages in my opinion. Don’t destroy the innocence at such young ages.

They can be aware some boys like to wear dresses and call themselves girls and vice versa. Just like they can be aware some friends celebrate Christmas some don’t, some kids have two mommies, some kids are in a wheelchair, some kids can’t hear, and on and on about the way we all are individuals and unique. What I don’t want is them knowing some people think it’s ok to be prejudiced against any of those things and that people even argue about it.

Seek's avatar

My husband has a friend who is transitioning. Hubby slips up and calls him by the name he’s known for 40 years sometimes. So I’ve already had to explain this to Ian. He always asks if he’s confused about something.

I asked him how he knows he’s a boy. He obviously referred to his anatomy. I then asked him if he felt like a boy in his head, in the way he thinks. He agreed.

Then I told him that he’s lucky that his brain matches his body, because there are people who have to work extra hard to make their bodies match their brains. Sometimes it’s so hard to do that they wait until they are grownups. Sometimes they’re allowed to start when they’re kids.

If someone tells you they are a girl even though they don’t look like one, they are a girl. If they say they are a boy then they are a boy. They know their gender just like you know your own.”

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek I agree. People are who they are, how they identify themselves. Not just gender, but whatever they choose as their identifiers.

I find it interesting very young children can be so aware of their gender. I don’t remember being so aware. I knew I was a girl because I was told I was. I don’t think I would have even thought about gender at a really young age if I hadn’t been told.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie Thanks for sticking with this thread. I now realise that your stance isn’t about preventing a child from learning about people who are transgender, but about the current NC law battle.

Personally, I find the news a perfect time to discuss gender differences with school-aged children, if it hasn’t happened already. Wouldn’t it feel better to talk to them about before they risk hearing about it on the playground?

As for being told that you were a girl, that’s because you had the physiology of one. We are taught from a very early age that there are girls and boys. As we get older, we start to learn that it’s not just about two sexes, but a large spectrum of genders.

When I was about five, there were two kids that were part of of our neighbourhood group of about 25. They were different than their stereotypical sexes in many ways. At that age though, we children had no knowledge of more than two sexes by gender terms. All we knew was that Larry preferred to play gently with the girls and that Kelly preferred to do boy stuff, as well as look and act like a boy.

These children who know that they are transgendered at an early age just know it, just like you and I knew that we were female.

In a recent conversation with a friend, she said that she knew something was different about her son from a very early age. He started publicly sharing that he is gay when he was about 18. It made me wonder if she ever had a discussion with him about gender identity in general before he went to her about his. It seems that if she had, it might have made his life a little easier.

@Seek Thanks for sharing. That’s a really nice way to explain it to a child.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I should thank you. I’m glad you asked me to clarify. I think probably gender was “irrelevant” to me as a child because I did overall feel ok with the identity I was assigned. I understand why a child who feels to not fit their gender would have more thoughts and feelings about it.

When I was younger I was clueless about boys who were more feminine and girls who were more masculine or tomboys, or any of it. We were just kids who liked different things. My dad didn’t like sports, but he wasn’t what people would consider feminine. My grandma taught me to swim and played tennis with me, and this was a time when Mark Spitz was famous, and the whole country was excited to watch him.

I wanted to be a cheerleader, my dad told me to go out for the football team. This was in 3rd grade. I became a cheerleader.

We were just kids. Almost every photo of me as a little girl is in shorts, pants, or a bathing suit.

As an adult I have very strong gaydar regarding adult men, not so much regarding kids or women. My friends, my peers, who suspected one of their children were gay were all correct. Most of them said nothing to their kids about it, but often were verbal about accepting gay people. That wasn’t quite enough I guess. All the kids had trouble coming out to their parents, although they did do it in their late teens.

I had always regretted not asking my BIL if he was gay as soon as I thought I knew (almost immediately) feeling it might have freed him to just say a simple “yes” instead of telling over dinner one night years later. He was a nervous wreck. I asked him recently and he said if I had asked he would have lied.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I don’t have “gaydar”. I’m often caught off-guard upon finding out another person’s gender. In the cases where there is pause to wonder about it, the conclusion is that it just isn’t any of my business, nor does it matter whether I know or not.

What I do worry about is that gender differences aren’t discussed by parents with their children at an early enough age. If they did, it would surely cut back on the high percentage of bullying, murders and suicides.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I’m using gaydar only for identifying gay people not transgender people.

As far as discussion, I think it should be brought up casually, it’s not a sit down talk in my opinion. You probably agree.

I think the most important talk is being accepting of people who are not like yourself, to not be judgmental, and to not be fearful of people who are different. We can’t be sure to mention every type of difference and uniqueness possible, but we can be sure to be very aware we are all unique, and we should treat others as we would want to be treated, including if we were the different one in the room. Being kind is always the best path.

Parents don’t always know what is going on with their kids, but communicating that they are safe at home saying anything that worries them is key. Even when parents say it, a lot of kids don’t believe it. Then there are parents who say the opposite, basically sending a message of disapproval. Sometimes they don’t mean to sound disapproving, sometimes they do. It’s very hard for gay and transgendered kids when they feel strongly their parents will disapprove. I know more than one person who was extremely negatively affected by this sort of thing. Some of them had overall good parents, but the weight of disapproval regarding how you identify is really hard. Whether it be about gender, sexual orientation, religion, it’s a very big deal.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I don’t know @JLeslie.

There was a recent interview on NPR (National Public Radio). It was with a mother that suspected that her daughter might be heading down the path of becoming a bully. Here is the transcript of that conversation.. That, to me is a good parental way to have a conversation with a child that might start out casually and turn into a sit-down discussion.

Is it better to wait until until the child brings up the topic? What if they never do? A friend who is from India is living in the US. He’d like to move back, but every time he goes to visit his parents, the bulk of their conversations is about arranging a marriage for him. He doesn’t want that because he is gay. He has never told them this.

@Parents There are books for children about the difference between boys and girls. Is there anything written for children about differences in genders, cultures, disabilities, etc.? If so, that seems like a good place to start the “embracing diversity” educational process at an early age in a casual way.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Bullying is something else. That shit I would take care of tout de suite, as my mother would say. I was about 4 or 5 years old when my mom witnessed me joining in with older girls teasing a younger girl. You might remember this story. My mom interfered immediately verbally “scolded” us for doing such a thing and we walked the little girl home to her apartment. On the way back my mom explained how it wasn’t nice, and why I should not do it. I remember being upset my mom was disappointed in me. That stuck with me. She had not punished me, she just explained her disapproval. Never too young to stop bullying.

I don’t think parents should wait forever. I just think with very young kids sex is not in their minds. Dating is not yet a real thing. If they seem ahead of the curve age wise then parents adjust of course.

Remember, I’ve been talking about under 12 years old more or less.

janbb's avatar

Red by Michael Hall is a picture book that was read at my Unitarian service. It tells the story of a blue crayon who is mistakenly labeled red and has tons of problems until it recognizes its true nature of blueness. It would serve as a great introduction to young children of the idea of gender identity. I plan to send it to my grandsons.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb That book is genius. What a great idea. I like that so much better than the exercises we did when I was young. We did the blue eyed brown eyed scenario. Also, teachers talked about having different hair color. I love that the red crayon is so general and inclusive.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie Yeah – it’s a really cool book.

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