President Barack Obama has escalated the controversy, and culture clash, surrounding the North Carolina transgender bathroom law that requires people to use public restrooms based for their “gender at birth.” By issuing guidelines that require public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity, President Obama is responding to a law intended to bar transgendered individuals from using restrooms of the sex they associated with. In turn, North Carolina is responding to privacy concerns and ambiguity in the Law, which fails to address issues surrounding an increasingly assertive transgendered subculture.
For President Obama and other transgender advocates, transgender bathroom laws are an issue of civil rights and fairness. They see the actions of North Carolina as purely discriminator, because advocates frame all transgender legal and social issues in the same light as those faced by women and minorities. In other words, transgender advocates view their fight as a continuation of the Civil Rights movement. The Obama Administration’s threats to cut federal funding and financially overwhelm schools with lawsuits, unless they cater to transgender interests, is what has placed the White House in the middle of a culture clash.
Where transgender advocates view gender to be a state of mind and a spectrum of traits associated with the male or female “orientation,” others do not accept such hypotheses that seek to explain psychological disorders. Some transgender advocates even believe set genders are little more than social constructs propagated by the Judeo-Christian Western culture; whereas, critics point to the science of biology and recognize gender as a function of reproduction. If human civilization collapsed, males and females would still exist, thus biological law, which recognizes transgendered conditions as abnormalities, trumps psychological hypothesis.
Consequently, transgender advocates believe gender restrictions on multi-occupancy bathroom use are a form of discrimination against the transgendered; whereas, advocates of multi-occupancy bathroom segregation simply see a man entering the women’s restroom and a woman entering the men’s restroom. Advocates of segregated multi-occupancy bathrooms may empathize with the struggles of transgender individuals, but they do not accept that a transgendered man is really a woman and a transgendered woman is a man.
Transgender advocates, of course, consider dissent from their view to be an issue of ignorance or intolerance, but honest transgender education will only teach nonbelievers that the transgender truly think, act, and feel like they are members of the opposite sex. Transgender advocates believe the bodies of the transgendered are diseased; whereas, critics see the minds of the transgendered as diseased. The presence of transgender individuals in gender segregated bathrooms creates an unfortunate situation. Even though most people can sympathize with the struggles of the transgendered and do not want to hurt the transgendered, they simply cannot accept and tolerate the opposite sex in their restrooms, because it violates their privacy.
Transgender advocates have dismissed transgender bathroom bans, because they do not believe the transgendered create added safety risks to those using public bath rooms. Although open access to gender segregated multi-occupancy restrooms does create added ease for predators to intrude in the restrooms intended for the opposite sex, it also demonstrates a failure to recognize why people want gender segregated multi-occupancy restrooms in the first place. People need to feel safe and secure when in public places. Not only do restrooms provide some level of privacy, they offer security when people are in a vulnerable position.
The reason multi-occupancy public restrooms are not co-ed is that gender segregation shelters people from the opposite sex and any sexual improprieties. When it comes to women and children, who tend be more vulnerable to sexual predators, society is particularly sensitive to their safety in public restrooms. For young children and teens, who tend to be more insecure and inexperience when it comes to coping with abnormal situations, the presence of transgender individuals in shared restrooms is troublesome. Because hormone-driven teens tend to use situations to pursue their sexual desires, unabated access to multi-occupancy restrooms is an added concern.
President Obama has stoked outrage and social strife by demanding public restrooms be integrated to accommodate transgendered students against established standards of privacy, security, and decency. It one thing to offer transgendered the use of single occupancy restrooms in order to help them feel safe and secure, but it is quite another to make everyone else feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. The truth is that transgender individuals are different and their embrace of their own differences means they must learn to accept that they will be treated differently. The transgendered do deserve the same legal rights to privacy, security, and dignify as everyone else, but they do not have the right to deny others those same rights.
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