I struggle with the open bathroom policy war erupting across the country right now — because I see both sides of the argument, and I don’t have a good solution for the issue. What’s more, I don’t think anyone else really does, either.
Both sides are so full of vitriol that I think we’re losing out on a really important discussion here on the openness society should or should not possess and, more importantly, the role people have in shaping their society for themselves.
From one side, I see the role of parents wanting to protect their daughters from unscrupulous men who might want to use open environments to take advantage of women in a vulnerable location. I agree with them — I don’t want a shifty fellow justifying going into a women’s restroom so he can perv on women in there. While some may scoff at this idea as just a “conservative attempt at keeping transgenders from using the ‘wrong’ bathroom,” I think dismissing this concern is a mistake, at best. There is a form of security people enjoy and to strip them of this security for political correctness is a terrible way to help a people grow — you’re only serving to put up the backs of people you consider ignorant, making the situation much worse.
On the other hand, there are people out there who have or are in the process of scientifically changing their gender who have no unscrupulous intentions for anyone. Where do they go to the bathroom? They’re human beings. We can’t just say: You don’t get to have a bathroom because you’re a guy who feels he’s a woman. It’s easy for some to just want to chock up the LGBT community as an aberration of “healthy,” but this world isn’t clean and orderly. It’s messy and complicated and dramatic. We can best serve people by loving them and caring for them before attempting to force our opinion on how they should live their lives — as if that will suddenly solve anyone’s problem.
So, on one side, we have a majority of Americans crying out against opening the gender of bathrooms (and yes, they are the majority — you don’t get a million-signed petition against Target so quickly by a tiny minority), and on the other hand you have people legitimately fighting to protect the rights of people to use a bathroom in peace.
Here’s the kicker, both have a legitimate claim in this fight — both have a point worth considering. This makes it even harder to combat either side and I’m left over here thinking to myself: since when did transgender people lose their natural ability to think and fight for their own rights?
It feels gravely like every progressive I know is going to bat for transgenders (which is great that Americans want to help other Americans), but it has boiled down to some really nasty hatred and bullying. “Our culture should trump North Carolina! No one should be allowed to make their own democratic decisions! It’s our culture or else!”
It’s equally terrible that every conservative is crying out in ignorance of the years in which transgenders have already been openly using bathrooms without complaints on the matter. Why now? Why weren’t you complaining before, or are you just running after yet another passing car like an ignorant dog?
Progressives could spend more time respecting people’s fears and conservatives could spend more time finding a way to accommodate everyone. If you two just worked together, you might actually find a happy solution.
Living in a democratic republic, I also wonder: Don’t the people of North Carolina have the right to make their own decisions?
North Carolinians shouldn’t bully San Franciscans about their life choices.
San Franciscans shouldn’t bully North Carolinians about their life choices, either.
And believe you me, this isn’t about me fighting one for the other. Instead, I think North Carolina should make its own decisions and live by them. If a North Carolinian doesn’t like how everyone around them lives their lives, move somewhere you’ll be accepted!
If someone in San Francisco suddenly became a Southern Baptist, I’d say the same to them.
Instead, we’ve devolved into this culture war where we’re desperate for everyone else to validate our belief system, as if there needed to be a single decision for everyone. This is America. People should be free to live where they want and how, but it doesn’t mean they should have the ability to force everyone else to live as they think everyone else should live — conservative or progressive.
This applies most especially to people in one state telling people in another how they should or should not exercise their freedoms or write their laws.
For transgenders in North Carolina who don’t wish to move, fight from inside the state, proving you are a voting bloc who shouldn’t be ignored. Prove you’re an economic force worth serving.
For believers in Jesus getting caught up in the drama — you really only have one responsibility in all of this: Love your neighbor.
And, in case you forgot what that means …
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
If you live in a place with open bathrooms, go in with your little girl and let her use the stall while you wait. If you can’t (depending on how different places set up the bathroom rules), find the restaurants who cater to your lifestyle. Boycott Target or don’t. Target owes you no more than you owe Target, so stop getting your panties in a wad.
When all else fails, Starbucks has one-person-at-a-time bathrooms and those little coffee shops are everywhere. There’s more than one solution to this problem, the easiest of which? Let companies make their own decisions about bathrooms. You learn which caters to you and use them most! Boom! Economics! WalMart for conservatives, Target for progressives. Both businesses benefit, everybody gets happy. Or something like that. You two figure it out. I’m just gonna go behind that tree over there like my ancestors.
Whatever you do in all of this, remember to love people. Being a believer doesn’t give you license to hate others for what you perceive are poor decisions. Instead, you should feel that much more committed to loving people. If you truly believe Jesus is so good for people, stop screaming it and start living it.
A life of faith well lived is a better message than public outcry ever will be.