Man, I Need a Potty Break!

And the white lion roars!

Week-before-last we were paying a visit to my parents. As Mom finished warming up some leftovers, Dad, hubby, my youngest sister and I sat around the table and chatted about this and that. My husband brought up a story from an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Dad, who has dementia and all the anger and grumpiness to go with it, stopped him there. I knew that was going to happen because he had referred to her as Ellen “Degenerate” in my presence a few years before. Hubby had the bravery to ask, “Why don’t you like her? Is it because she’s gay?” Dad snarled his answer, “That’s part of it. I DO NOT like gays.”  Before anyone decide that he feels this way because he is a fundamentalist Baptist, which he is, it is important to remember the life-long impact some childhood experiences can have on adults. Until that day I didn’t know that he was accosted as a child by a man in a public restroom. Mom piped in that the same thing had happened to two of her cousins. Sister and I tried to remind them that a pedophile and a gay person are not the same thing, to no avail. Another family story of Mom’s is that when she was about seven (she was the youngest of nine children, and her older siblings were much older than she) her oldest brother was drunk and pulled a gun on her parents. Since that day she has an irrational fear of alcohol, and believes anyone who takes even one drink is on the road to debased and violent alcoholism. So I understand that these kinds of events live long in the memory. But just for the sake of discussion, can we have a rational discussion regarding the so-called “bathrooms bills” that have passed in three states, and have ninety-seven other bills pending. These bills basically say that a transgender person must use the public restroom that matches the sex they were born with, not with the sex they identify with. Here I must ask the obvious question, who’s going to do pee-pee duty? Will there be police officers checking the genitalia of people who don’t “look” like the traditional idea of which sex uses which bathroom? Have you seen some of the more famous transgender people? They are sexier and more beautiful than many of the people who were born with the sex they transitioned to. Who can really know by looking? There are people who look less feminine than traditional standards, or less masculine, but are one-hundred percent straight. When these bills insist that people must use the restroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate, are we going Sheriff Joe Arpaio (Maricopa County, AZ) forcing trans people to carry papers (i.e. birth certificates) into the restroom with them? I remember someone who was adopted by his stepfather, and when the court finalized the adoption  he was given a new birth certificate listing his stepfather as the father. I suppose this could lead the transgender people having their birth certificates changed legally when they transition. Of course, in “red states” this would be fought like the battle of Armageddon because of the extreme and hateful use of “religious freedom” laws. I’ve seen photos on social media of cowboy types posing with guns, insisting they will go into public restrooms armed to protect their wives, daughters, etc. I can’t help but wonder who the depraved one is. The faces in these photos  look as if this was the moment they’ve been waiting for-something to defend with their open carry weapons; or an excuse to hang out in the ladies restroom?

We must also separate pedophilia, a mental illness and a crime, from homosexuality and transgender?  They are not the same. They are not the same. They are not the same. Most pedophiles identify as heterosexual whether they prey on opposite or same sex victims.

There is also the question of “choice” and consequences. I’ve mentioned this before in a blog post years ago; for those who believe that homosexuality is a choice, why would anyone choose this? To be demonized, discriminated against-even in jobs and housing and unfortunately too many times, by parents and families of non-gender conforming children, for some people who are so insecure in their own sexuality they try and prove they are straight by beating up gay people (or perceived gay people.) Preachers and reality TV stars who probably don’t realize that they have ever known a gay person will make ridiculous statements about how gay people live their lives, and their ‘flocks’ will believe every word, pass it on and make everyone they know afraid of the gay person. Gay people are always at risk of being victimized or criminalized. For transgender people it is even worse. The percentage of the population estimated to be transgender is .03, less than one-half of one-percent. Think about that; out of three-hundred-million Americans, that is around only 290,000 human beings who are transgender. The vast majority of Americans have probably never met one. I guess I’m fortunate in that I’ve met several, and one of my lifelong friends has two trans children, so from her I’ve been blessed to gain some insight into their struggles. But I am clearly in the minority. It is very easy to be afraid of something one doesn’t know or understand.

However, admitting that one may never have known an openly gay or transgender person, can we please look at facts instead of the fears that politicians love to play upon to get votes? The fact is that not one incident of a transgender person assaulting a child in a public restroom has ever been reported to law enforcement. Not ONE!!! Is it possible that a transgender person may also be a pedophile? Of course. Any anomaly is possible in any group, but it seems to me that these people, who are so often targets of the hate and ignorance stoked by by politicians hoping for votes, we would most likely would have heard of it by now. In face, like that one undocumented immigrant who raped and killed a woman gets shouted about over and over again, ignoring all the white citizens who do the same sort of thing in much greater numbers, if there were an incident in which a trans person committed such a crime, we would see that name and face all over Fox News and their numerous online presences until we are sick of it. Are there probably homosexuals who may also be pedophiles? Of course. Same as the previous story about the transgender citizens of this country. There can be criminals and predators in any group-any group at all. Including fundamentalists and republicans (as is evidenced by the targeting of several youths he coached in wrestling, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R, IL.) Mr. Hastert, by the way, identifies as a heterosexual male lthough his victims are all male.

Last year when former Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner announced his transition from male to female, with a new name, Kaitlyn, she was glammed up, featured on news stories and glossy magazine covers, and everywhere else, ad nauseum, and lauded for her bravery for months and months. She was offered new reality shows since she was no longer married to another famous reality star whose name I refuse to mention, and she would no longer be welcome on that particular program. I puzzled on Facebook what happened to transgender teens who weren’t worth millions, and didn’t have access to the best cosmetic surgeons, makeup artists, etc. Several people weighed in, until my very wise youngest sister, who is a retired educator, said, quite simply “That’s easy. They commit suicide.” It was such a simple answer, but so honest that it was like a slap in the face. “Wow,” I thought. That is absolutely true. People who do not conform to sexual norms commit suicide at a rate more than forty-percent higher than the rest of the population. If a young person identifies as transgender, or even gay in many cases, and their parent lack the resources or willingness to help and support them in accepting  themselves and their non-gender conforming identities, they are likely to be bullied, and even attacked for who they are. Sometimes the bullying and non-peer acceptance can be enough to make a young person believe there is no hope that things will ever get better. There was even a movement begun by journalist Dan Savage called “It Gets Better” to give hope to LGBTQ young people, to give them encouragement that the hopelessness and negativity they are experiencing will get better. The movement was designed for this purpose after several suicides of LGBTQ teens was reported; it gave a place for hope to young people who might even be contemplating suicide.

So, let’s get past the fear please! Let’s look at the reality of what is truly happening in public restrooms, even in red states like North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. In the article I cited from the Dallas Observer below, a man who is running for sheriff of Denton, TX (about 40 miles north east of Fort Worth) advocating violence against trans people in public restrooms. I am horrified by what I am reading and hearing on this issue. But please know, there are no transgender people in any restroom waiting to accost your children. What is more likely happening is that transgender people are hoping you are not armed;  you are not looking  to beat them up or commit other acts of violence against them. They just really want to go to the bathroom. In peace.

http://www.ellentv.com/, Ellen DeGeneres is an American comedian, television talk show host, gay rights advocate, philanthropist who came out as lesbian in 1997, and married actor Portia DeRossi in 2008.

http://mic.com/articles/114066/statistics-show-exactly-how-many-times-trans-people-have-attacked-you-in-bathrooms#.p6tFQbxt7

http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/03/20/15-experts-debunk-right-wing-transgender-bathro/198533

http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201510150001

http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/denton-county-gop-sheriff-candidate-tracy-murphree-calls-for-violence-against-transgender-people-needing-to-pee-8240131

http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/Paraphilic%20Disorders%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

In the case of pedophilic disorder, the notable detail is what wasn’t revised in the new manual. Although proposals were discussed throughout the DSM-5 development process, diagnostic criteria ultimately remained the same as in DSM-IV TR. Only the disorder name will be changed from pedophilia to pedophilic disorder to maintain consistency with the chapter’s other listings.

pedophilia is termed pedophilic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and the manual defines it as a paraphilia involving intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children that have either been acted upon or which cause the person with the attraction distress or interpersonal difficulty.[1] The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) defines it as a sexual preference for children of prepubertal or early pubertal a

http://www.vocativ.com/culture/lgbt/transgender-suicide/

http://www.itgetsbetter.org/  Started in 2010 by journalist, gay activist and sex columnist Dan Savage to give hope to LGBT young people.