There has been a lot of discussion on Target's bathroom policy regarding transgender persons. I, myself, am baffled by why this is an issue that Target thought they needed to address. I think people can and have been deciding which bathroom is the right one for them without an official policy announcement.
Target is not the only company who has such a policy that basically says people can use the bathroom that best aligns with the gender they identify themselves as, but by making a formal announcement of this policy they have grabbed the attention of folks who, in the name of protecting Christian values and the sanctity of the family, choose to prey on people's fears of those who are different from themselves and create a culture of hate.
I am pretty sure that we have all been using public bathrooms alongside transgender persons for many, many years. Their use of the public restrooms has not created a danger for women and children (this is the group of people these "Christian Family" groups say they are worried about) any more than using public facilities with any strangers does.
Which brings me to something I have been thinking of lately regarding public bathrooms, having just returned from a weeklong trip to Washington D.C. with my two boys, ages 7 & 9 , and my mother. I, as a female with two boys, worry about bathroom situations every time we are out in public without my husband to go with the boys to the men's bathroom. My boys are getting too old to accompany me into the women's bathroom and yet I do worry about sending them into the men's bathroom alone, not knowing who is in there, the setup of the facilities, the condition of the facilities. When I do send them into a men's bathroom (always the two boys together) I stand VERY near the door and tell them to scream if ANYTHING happens that makes them feel uncomfortable and I'll be there immediately.
These days there is often a family/companion care bathroom available, which is always a relief to me. And I am sure this is also a relief to those who are transgender or don't in some way identify with their gender as we as a society identify such gender.
However, I will say that in certain settings or situations I do bring my boys into the women's bathroom with me. I do this prepared to tell anyone who dares challenge me to mind her own business. No one has ever said a word to me, but I'm always prepared.
Recently my 9 year old was feeling sick while we were out and the only bathroom options were men and women. I was not going to send my son into the men's room when he was sick where I couldn't get to him. We went into the women's bathroom together where I was able to be there with him and help him.
No matter what society says about what we should be doing and how we should be acting, I am a mother first, and I will do what is safest and best for my kids in any situation. However, the real or perceived dangers of a child using a public bathroom without a parent there have always been the same. This policy is not changing the possible threat involved.
So, when these "Christian Family" organizations say, "oh no, we can't let transgender people use the bathroom with US!" And then make people believe that on top of having to worry about transgender persons, this policy will also open the door, literally and figuratively, to people with evil intentions, red flags go up for me. These organizations are Christian in name only. Don't be fooled.
Christ did all things in love and embraced all people, regardless of whether they were sinners or saints, believers or nonbelievers, rich or poor, men or women. We, as Christians, are called to do the same. But these organizations, besides casting a false light on Christ Jesus, are breeding a culture of fear and hate and an Us v. Them attitude.
I would argue that people who intend to commit evil acts don't need a policy in place to perpetrate these crimes. There are bad people out there. Period. And we need to be alert, aware and careful in all situations. True. But I don't think that this policy announcement has increased that threat to women and children. It may, however, have increased the threat to those who are hated and feared because of their differences.
The argument addressed by the American Family Association reminds me of another time; one from not so long ago when in the south there were separate bathrooms for blacks and whites, in addition to separate restaurants, drinking fountains, seating, churches, schools, etc. The white "Christian" men made these rules and laws and drew these lines out of fear and hate, but said it would protect their families and was the right thing to do. Well, thankfully, those laws and rules and way of thinking (for the most part) have been struck down and we see how ridiculous and hate-filled these policies from the past were.
When I read about boycotts and policies and arguments brought forth from these "Christian Family" organizations I see hate and fear and narrow mindedness brought about by ignorance and reliance on people who call themselves good Christian family men and women. I come from Texas and I call myself Christian, and I know and love many people who unwittingly fall for these ruses promoting values and morality that in reality are truly hate and fear of difference and a need to force all people to conform to their views and beliefs.
So, I will continue to worry about the safety of my boys every time I send them into a public men's bathroom alone, but not because I am worried about transgender persons. I will continue to stand VERY close to the door in case I'm needed. And I will continue to work to embrace and pray for all people, even those whose beliefs are so different from mine, such as these people who align themselves with this American Family Association, because that is what Jesus Christ calls us to do. And I will continue to try to teach my boys that we can learn so much from looking at situations from other's points of view and then drawing our own conclusions and showing them how beautiful our world is filled with people with so many differences.
Over and out…