FROM THE EDITOR: The great bathroom debate
Her name was Jackie. She dressed like her namesake, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, in heels, pillbox hats and suits, despite being over six feet tall. She threw the best dinner parties in south London, planning and cooking several courses almost as carefully as she planned which guests to invite and where they should sit to inspire the best conversation.
Born a man, Jackie was one of the most elegant women I knew. She was also the only transgender person I’ve ever been friends with, and a large part of the reason I believe the whole debate about which bathroom a person is allowed to use is much ado about nothing.
If a person dresses like a woman and identifies as a woman, she should use the ladies room. It would be degrading to ask her to do anything but that.
And let’s be serious folks, there are stalls in bathrooms, so it really doesn’t matter. No one — unless they’re peeking underneath or trying to pass notes to strangers like one Idaho senator at the Minneapolis airport that I remember from a few years back — can see into the next stall.
On the flip side, while men have urinals, a female-born person who identifies as a man but lacks all the parts, has no choice but to head for a stall.
And since it’s impossible to tell the difference for any post-transition transgender bathroom users, that point is moot, unless you’re going to have bathroom police looking up birth certificates.
There are other solutions, of course. We could make all bathrooms co-ed -- yes, they exist in some places -- which would likely be a boon to women, who often have to stand in line for ages.
Really, why would anyone want to use the ladies when it’s so much quicker to use the men’s?
But they do. And having been in the same public restroom as Jackie, I can say that the experience was exactly the same for me, same toilet, same toilet paper, same business.
The people we really need to worry about are sexual predators, who come in every gender and sexual disposition and can’t be identified by the way they dress.
There are much better ways to spend government time and money than attempting to legislate bathrooms.
Politicians and special interest groups need to grow up and focus on the business of running the country, not running individual people’s lives.