Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Free to choose your bathroom

In an effort to include transgenders, male and female bathroom signs no longer apply to students in California

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed a bill that allows transgender students to select which bathroom they feel more comfortable using. The law took effect Jan. 1, according to a Fox News article by Dr. Keith Ablow, one of America’s leading psychiatrists and a graduate of Brown University and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

NEUTRAL — Transgender restrooms allow children to choose their own preference. Google Images

NEUTRAL — Transgender restrooms allow children to choose their own preference. Google Images

This policy does not just affect bathrooms. Transgender students also have the option to play on sports teams of the opposite sex and consequently use the coinciding locker rooms.

As is the case with many of today’s policies, I think Brown’s new law creates more problems than it pretends to fix. The bill is meant to lessen the amount of bullying toward transgender students, according to a CBS news article, but its side effects are more devastating.

I cannot predict if the change in policy will decrease the amount of bullying toward transgender students, but I can imagine that it will make heterosexual students quite uncomfortable.

Opponents of the bill suggest that it violates heterosexual students’ privacy rights, and I agree. However, the CBS article points out that the Los Angeles Unified school district, which already had a similar policy, encountered no problems.

I think it is quite possible for some students to abuse this law. Take a conniving, hormone-drenched teenage male, and give him the option to enter the female locker room. The reverse could happen as well.

Yet the governor handed that student — who could claim to be transgender — a get-out-of-jail-free card. Think it would not happen? Take a serious look at America today, and you tell me.

Gender is not based on a person’s feelings or self-perception. It is not based on the mind.

I agree with Ablow, who wrote, “I am not convinced by any science I can find that people with definitively male DNA and definitively male anatomy can actually be locked in a cruel joke of nature because they are actually female.”

I frequently read people’s comments on news stories, and even individuals who support transgender rights are hesitant about the outcome of this law.

A few commenters discussed the possibility of a third bathroom as an alternative solution. This option has economic ramifications, but it better avoids the effects of Brown’s ill-conceived law. I dislike the idea of even needing a third bathroom, but it is a more palatable compromise.

The CBS article mentions the opinions of Ben Hudson, who works for the Gender Health Center. Hudson said transgender students must have the same opportunities all boys and girls have in order to succeed in school.

Excuse me? Opportunities have nothing to do with a student’s gender preference. If a transgender person is enrolled in school, then it seems to me that he or she has the same opportunities as everybody else.

But this Hudson fellow wants people to believe that if transgender students do not receive special treatment, they somehow lack opportunities to succeed.

Ablow summed up the issue quite nicely.

“A campaign in California called Privacy for All Students is now seeking to put the ‘choose your bathroom’ law to a public vote on the November ballot,” Ablow wrote. “I hope they succeed. And I hope it is repealed … And I believe to the core, unshakably, that Gov. Jerry Brown is a threat to children in California and a threat to children everywhere.”

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