I have never entered a restroom with any thought other than:
I reeeeeally have to pee.
I reeeeeally wanna check my makeup and outfit (yes, women who wear outfits and makeup are that vain).
I reeeeeally need to get this spinach out my teeth.
I reeeeeally need a minute away from my screaming baby, so I’m just gonna pretend I’m peeing or checking my makeup and outfit or getting this spinach out my teeth.
I have never once entered a restroom, with or without my two children (one male and one female, both whom have come with me into the ladies room) with any concern or inquiry as to what everyone else had under their clothes. Not once. I have never been given the opportunity to see in between anyone’s legs in the ladies restroom, and I would say that’s standard.
It is true that women go to the bathroom in groups. That’s totally true. We like to go and talk (yep, we talk while peeing next to each other. And when it’s a one stall? We totally pee in front of each other. The unspoken rule is that, during one-stall-pee-chats, you keep your eyes up or you respectfully bounce them back and forth from the baby changing table to your own reflection in the mirror to fix your hair until they’re done.) We put on our makeup and check our outfits and get the spinach out side by side, because women tend to enjoy the company of other women.
And I can tell you right now, that even in the most intimate of ladies room settings, I would never know if one of my girlfriends had a penis or a vagina. Other than the fact that I hope, being their close friend, I would just know such a thing. But my point is that even one on one, in a small square space, it’s not something that would ever be seen, nor thought of.
When my sweet state of North Carolina, a state I have always been proud to be not only living in, but born in, voted to restrict transgender rights, I felt betrayed. I am a white, fairly privileged woman. I have never had to give a second thought as to what bathroom I go in when I have to pee, be vain, or remove tooth-spinach. But I was offended. And betrayed. And disappointed. And sad. Not my home! No way! I live here! I raise my family here! By choice! This can’t be! Our slogan, along with ‘First in Flight’, which is printed on our license plates, is ‘A Better Place To Be’. We cannot, in good conscious, currently stand behind that at this time.
I was actually in DC when I heard of the news. When asked where I was from, I didn’t want to say. For the first time in my life I was so very ashamed of where I came from. I grew up in a very small (southern) town, but one that was mostly liberal. I never saw hate crimes. And although I know my town was, and still is, predominantly white, we had and have diversity. It’s a town that welcomes walking and running and bike riding, leaving your dog tied to the bench, your bike without locks. It welcomes hello’s and how are you’s as you pass. I let my children (5 and 8) walk and run freely around me as I sit and enjoy a local beer with my husband and friends. It is a great town, inside a great state.
This law doesn’t line up with what I see. It doesn’t line up with what I feel. It doesn’t line up with what I teach, or think, or do.
It. Is. Wrong.
Not only does this law restrict transgenders from using the bathrooms labeled as the gender in which they identify, but it allows discrimination on a much broader basis, against…anyone. Gender, race, sexual orientation, those who are handicapped, those who have served our great nation in the military and returned home with PTSD… This law says that any boss can fire an employee because they do not agree with their life choices or skin color, among any and all other things.
Think about that. Think. About. That.
What I have found to be true in discriminatory cases such as this, is that thick lines are drawn not out of concern, but out of fear. The very people who support this ruling are the ones who have never thought of anything outside of their picket fence. Open that fence, and the world is a vast and colorful place filled with different sizes and shapes. It is not black and white. It is not white. It is pink and purple and blue and yellow and rainbow and glitter and round and bumpy and different and beautiful. People tend to be scared of what they don’t know. I understand that. I’m scared of a lot of things I’ve never done before. But I have never let that fear turn to hate. I have let that fear drive me to explore and discover and respect and allow.
We live in a world where we have had a black man on top for 8 years. I can remember staying up late those eight years ago, when my breastfeeding body desperately needed sleep, just to hear the news. I went to bed that night so very proud to be American. I whispered in my baby son’s ear, what had happened. I cried through smiles at the fact that I was raising a child in such a world. A black man is now the president. That is something our ancestors never thought they’d see in a million years. How wonderful is that?! How lovely that we, as a nation, could decide that the best human for the job just happened to be a man who didn’t look like the ones that came before him. And now, there may be a woman in that same position. Think about that for a moment, and I’m not endorsing any particular candidate here, but think about the fact that there may be, for the first time, a woman serve as President of the United States of America directly after a black man, for the first time, has done so. How far we have come as a nation to allow such beautiful colors to be painted.
Hearing that my sweet North Carolina decided that not everyone who breathes inside of it deserves the same rights, saddened me more than I can express. That is not my state! That is not my world! That is not what I am teaching my children! My children, to their knowledge, have never met a transgender male or female. Nor have they ever met ‘a gay man’ or ‘a gay woman’. Have they met men and women who happen to be homosexual? Men or women who were not born into the body with which they identify? Yes, plenty of times. But they have not met them with a label. My children have been taught, from the very moment they had life, that everyone deserves equal love and appreciation and opportunity.
That is what America is all about. It isn’t about the big, white man barking orders. It is about all the different colors and shapes and sizes that have helped make this nation one of the most powerful in the world. We are a nation built on freedom.
Land of the Free.
Home of the Brave.
We have finally come to a point in our society that humans are becoming brave enough to stand up for what they believe in and become who they have always thought they were. Let us continue to keep the space free for them to do so.