There’s a saying that goes, “every story has two sides.” I’m not sure who came up with that phrase but I do know that it is inaccurate. There are so many sides to each story. Sure, you start out with two sides but those two sides are skewed by our feelings and emotions and then there is the side of the viewer or the bystander. No matter how hard we try, our emotions will always guide the way we think about things. Bare with me as you read this, I will for sure contradict myself but there really isn’t any clear cut answer with the bathroom situation. At least in my mind there isn’t.
I was recently interviewed for a podcast. You can find the link for it below this post. I was very nervous about it. I’m a writer and not a speaker so there was a lot of anxiety that I went through until today (now it has aired). At any rate, I decided to be a part of the podcast because Peyton is very important to me and I think that people in the world need to hear the many sides to his story before they judge him or me or any transgender person out there. When I first listened to the podcast I wasn’t sure how I felt. Four different people were interviewed including myself. At first I thought that the point of the podcast was to be something positive for the transgender community. After hearing it I almost felt like it was aiming against the transgender community. I listened to it again and realized something else. The point of it is to offer different points of views about how the bathroom issue affects everyone. I want to thank Dr. Hallowell and his producers for giving me the opportunity to be on the show and allowing my voice to be heard.
Everyone is entitled to their own feelings, thoughts and opinions. And I am a firm believer that the world should be a just and fair place to live in. This is not the way the world currently is but, my hope is that it will get better as my children grow. As a parent I want my child to be able to grow safe and happy. I want that for all of my kids, my friends’ kids and kids out there in general. But my child’s safety and potentially the safety of other children comes into question when we are faced with the bathroom situation. I wish more then anything that we lived in a world where we could all be free to do whatever we want to do without having to be afraid for our own well being. The reality is that this is not the world that we live in and things seem to be progressing for the worse every day. I would love for Peyton to walk into whatever bathroom he chooses and feel comfortable but that will likely not happen for a while.
Come September, Peyton will be entering elementary school. With this come many situations that we have not had to face yet. In speaking with his future school, the plan is to have Peyton use a staff bathroom. I wasn’t sure how to feel about that at first. And remember I am speaking from a mother’s point of view here. I want Peyton to be happy and safe. So no, I don’t want him using the girls bathroom because he is a boy and not a girl. I don’t want him teased by the girls or pushed around by the girls because he doesn’t belong there. But at the same time I think about him going into the boys bathroom where fifth grade boys go into and I am terrified about what could happen. Fifth graders are so mean and Peyton is so small for his age. I honestly don’t want him in the boys bathroom. So the best solution is for him to use a staff bathroom, at least for now this is the best solution. This of course singles him out and lets all the other kids know that Peyton is different. Then everyone will talk, and eventually the whole school will know that Peyton was once a girl. This is something that I don’t want to happen because it in essence makes him a target.
In the podcast you will hear Dr. Hallowell mention that maybe what we need is a transgender male bathroom and a transgender female bathroom. While this is just a passing thought from him, I do not agree with it at all. That is like putting a paper on someone’s back that says “kick me.” It completely draws attention to transgender people and in a sense makes them a target for ridicule or worse. It sort of takes us back to the time when there were “white” and “coloured” bathrooms. Do we really want to go back in time to that unjust period of history? So what is the solution? I don’t have the answer to this question but I do know that places like Target and Kohl’s that have family bathrooms are doing something right. Anyone can essentially go into those bathrooms and use them. They are private and they allow you the freedom to take care of your business without worry.
In a perfect world, everyone would be honest and good. But we don’t live in that world. If I did not have a transgender child I would say that maybe trans people should have to go into the bathroom that they anatomically match. I think of my boys and my little girls and I fear for their safety when someone of the opposite sex could potentially be in that bathroom. Sadly the reality is that someone of the opposite sex is not the only one that could pose a problem. A man could expose himself to my boys in the men’s bathroom just the same as a woman could. The world we live in is tainted by those who have bad intentions. The problem is not transgender people, but those that would pose as transgender to take advantage of whomever is in the bathroom that they are after. So I get why some don’t agree with allowing trans people into the bathroom that they choose to go into.
In the podcast you will hear a lawyer and a child speak, both are adamantly against trans people using the bathroom they identify with. I don’t have any issue with their opinions. I do however have issue with the anger, disdain and disgust that you can hear in some of their words. We should all advocate for what we believe in but we also have to be somewhat open minded about things around us in the world. The world is a big place and instead of reaching an impasse we should work together to come to a resolution on how to make the world a better place for everyone. “Every story has two sides” does not fit here. There are the feelings of the trans person, the lawyer, the child and then myself the mother. We should all educate ourselves and learn from each other so that together we can figure our where we go from here without anger, without hate, and without hurt.