There’s been a lot of talk in the media and on social networks about restrooms and locker rooms lately. In the interest of “pubic safety”, some lawmakers have decreed that you must use the restroom assigned to your birth gender, regardless of how you identify. This means that trans women will be required to use the men’s room, thus putting them at great risk of assault, and trans men will have to use the women’s facilities, which I am sure will cause some women to freak out when a bearded man comes in to go pee.
There’s lots of shouting from all corners on this issue and I’m not going to hash out all the minutia in this post. My personal feeling is let trans people pee where they feel most comfortable peeing, end of story.
However, there is one aspect of these anti-trans laws that I haven’t seen discussed very often. In fact, I just saw my first article on it today: How do the new bathroom laws affect kids with special needs?
I linked to the article on my FB and got a reply back that “There has always been an exception for children that are with a parent and have special needs.” To this I say 1) bullshit and 2) did you even read the article?
Please, please read the article.
My sons are both very young right now, 2 and 3, so taking them into a women’s restroom or locker room isn’t an issue.
But here’s the rub:
They don’t “look” disabled. (I cringed writing that, really.) To the casual observer, they don’t seem like special needs kids.
What happens if they’re still in diapers in five years? Where do I take an 8-year old boy who just crapped himself if I can’t take him into the ladies’ room?
What happens when they’re in their teens, six feet tall and with facial hair, with a tendency to run off unless they are supervised constantly, and we’re out together and I have to go pee? I can’t leave them alone. What do I do with them if I’m not allowed to take them with me to the restroom?
What happens when a son takes his mom, who has Alzheimer’s, out for the day and he has to go to the bathroom? She can’t be left unattended, but she’s not allowed in the men’s room (nor he in the women’s room), so what is he supposed to do?
What about the daughter out with her elderly father who soils himself? Where is she supposed to take him? The men’s room? The women’s room? In either situation, someone would be breaking the law, right?
Maybe all these people should just stay home all the time.
Do I need to have my sons wear a sign proclaiming their autism so I can get my “exception” from the genital police? Perhaps I should sew a patch on their clothes? Do I need to get them a permit to use opposite gender bathrooms if I can prove they’re disabled? Register for a database somewhere? How disabled do you have to be?
These laws don’t just affect the trans community, although that is who is being specifically targeted. These laws also affect the special needs community and the elderly.
I’m lucky to live in a state where these hate laws don’t exist (yet), but there may come a day when this becomes a real issue for my family. And woe to the person to tells me I can’t take my sons somewhere they need to go.