A week ago I was pulled rather willingly into online debates about a bathroom controversy in a neighboring town. What I didn't realize was that I knew the mother and that this week was going to change my life.
Everyday last week a self-proclaimed abortion activist and father stood out in front of the Troy City Schools board of education to protest the districts allowing a transgender boy being allowed to use the boys restroom. He claimed violation of his kids privacy and as it stands he will be back out there next week, though we will not and have instructed the amazing kids who stood with us to ignore him and let their lives get back to normal.
While he and I manage to keep civil I still question his motives as this has gained a fraction of national attention and he has started all manners of social media, a website, you name it. He has done everything from lie to parents, refuse to hear people and deeply invade the privacy of a young teenager.
Starting Tuesday a small but mighty group of counter-protesters, including myself joined him outside the district offices. We got honks and waves from parents; hugs, high-fives and thank yous from students passing by. When one amazing kid thanked us for coming to stand up for them and asked if we'd be back I said, you wanna come out cuz we'll be here.
And they did and so did we. We got to hear from high schoolers how they don't understand why parents feel they are the sum of their genitals (I've used that word more than ever before in my life-my phone now autocorrects for it) and how some of their parents don't support them but they know they are making the right decisions anyway. Those kids were so brave. To stand up to society and social norms, to stand for what they believe. They stood up for the kid who was different because they know that they are all different and that that's okay.
I found my inner activist this week. I wasn't aware she existed. I was advocating on the street, I was really advocating on FB (sorry friends! It was for a good cause!) and I was starting to feel really good until I got a little too cocky and started not being as gracious as Christ would have wanted me to be. Thursday before I left for work I got slayed, brutally on FB. I mean this guy didn't hold anything back and I just shrunk. I felt myself getting defensive, I felt myself getting depressed (which also is how most trans kids feel who read your smarmy ass comments anyways--think twice before you post!!) and that's not like me. I'm usually defiant, even when I'm wrong. I went to work and was wholly preoccupied and finally I just prayed, I can't figure out what I need to say back, what do I do. I hit a point where I felt God saying, what will your response say about me? That really threw me because I knew it but I hadn't really been checking myself. If you know me I speak as quick as possible, usually. Then the words to Toby Mac's Speak Life got plastered in my head, where they've been since then and I just can't. My rebuttal was inconsequential. My response was everything. I was humbled.
I can't sit back and be silent because something was awoken in me this week that has been sleeping for a very long time. My kids, my friends kids are going to grow up in a world where people are refusing to be informed. Where people don't want to understand where people come from and don't desire to make that effort simply because they hold their own beliefs. They're growing up into a place where miseducated or misinformed people believe that a 7 year old trans girl is only in the bathroom to look at your kids privates. Where every human on the face of the planet is reduced to what is in their pants and are demanding birth certificate checks or even genital (there it is again) checks at bathrooms or to play sports. How is ANY of this OK?????
Keep the tranny in the separate bathroom they've said.
(Circa 1960, thank you.)
If you have a penis you go in the boys room, if you have a vagina you go in the girls room.
(Even if you have breasts and look like the hottest girl I've ever seen.)
Make all them go outside in the porta potty and then charge them for it.
(Again with the Jim Crow laws...)
Send them outside and make them take a water bottle.
And then every other comment where they demanded that CPS investigate the parents calling THEM perverts and sickos and child abusers.
I don't need you to agree that I'm parenting my child properly. I'm certain that if I looked I could find ways I think you're raising your child improperly. I do need you to teach your kids to be gracious and merciful and to respect all people in spite of their differences, even if you don't understand it. To not teach your kids a spirit of fear because that can lead to misunderstanding which can lead to bullying and violence. I need you to teach your kids that bathrooms are places where we expel waste, wash our hands and then leave. I need you to teach your kids that they should NEVER ask someone what is in their pants. Wait, you thought that was understood? Tell that to the million comments I've read in 7 days about multiple bathroom issues from grown adults who still can't see people as anything other than man and woman. It is NOT ok to talk about someone's genitals!!! Unless they brought it up, then go for it! It's especially NOT ok to talk about a KID'S genitals. You can wonder, you can't ask. You can contemplate, you can't ask. You can think that the prospect of whatever is in their pants is off-putting for whatever weird belief you carry but again, YOU STILL CAN'T ASK?!
Hey Suzy! I haven't seen you in a while, how are you?
Fine Jack, it's good to run into you. By the way is that a dick in your pants or are you sporting a Va-jayjay?
Man: So you're a woman?
Man: No you aren't.
Woman: Yes I am.
Man: Prove it.
Totally normal, I know. You wouldn't ask anyone else in the world, you don't get to ask a trans person. It's offensive and none of your damn business.
Let's set that aside for a minute. For the parents who are afraid of the trans girl in the girls room because they don't want their daughter seeing a penis. I need you to stop and right now and think about where that fear comes from. Have you ever seen someone's genitals in the bathroom? Have you ever gone into said bathroom with the intention to see someone else's genitals. If so, you have bigger problems than your daughter seeing a kids penis through the crack in a stall. While I get that the threat to our kids, all of them, is real placing your fear of the unknown on an innocent kid who happens to be different is plain cruel and also, not the kids problem. Predators will not dress up like they're asking permission to get your kids.
Watch your words. Speak life, not just to your circle but to everyone (I'm working on this) and try to get to know someone before you decide what kind of parent or person they are, what kind of struggle they're going through and if they are an actual danger. You might just make a friend, you might just open your mind and you might just learn something about loving without conditions.
Handy helper for teaching your kids about transgender people (no disrespect to those that fall near the center of the spectrum, just trying to keep this simple):
One of the greatest things about the world we live in is that there are all different kinds of people in it. There are short people and tall people. There are thin people and larger people. There are people with all different color hair. There are people with white skin, black skin, brown skin. There are people who have disabilities and there are people without. Most boys are born with boy parts and most girls were born with girl parts. But sometimes things don't go as planned when they're growing in their mommy's belly. The important thing to remember is that different doesn't mean less. You aren't better than anyone and it's your job to love and help everyone no matter who they are.
If you're a Christian you can add or detract at will as long as at NO point you tell your child that being transgender is a sin. It isn't a sin anymore than autism is a sin and neither you nor your child are the judge. As long as you don't imply that they are sick people who need our prayers, that elevates your child above their peers and will incite bullying when she echos, You're sick in the head and my daddy told me to pray for you! Your kids are listening. Teach them love. Please. For my kid and so many like her.
For news and info follow @TransBathRmFact or #transbathroomfact on Twitter.