A couple of weeks ago I inadvertently got caught up in the toilet/gender furor that has been making the news. Sort of.
My friend, Pierre, was in town and it was a wonderful spring afternoon. We sat on a patio with a pitcher of beer and then decided to take a walk along the lakeshore. Soon I realized that the beer was making its way to my bladder and a stop would be necessary. Unfortunately, the washrooms by the park were closed.
“No matter,” I said, “There are washrooms in the hospital across the street. Let’s head there. Quickly.”
We bounded into the hallway behind the hospital lobby and there were some washroom doors ahead. I glanced at the sign above one of the open doors and thought that the hospital must be providing gender neutral or shared washrooms. Right with the times. No matter to me, I was in a hurry so I scooted into the toilet. Pierre, a few paces behind me, said he would use the washroom as well.
I went into one of the two stalls and quickly started to use the toilet. I heard (what I thought was) Pierre come in behind me and enter the adjacent stall.
“I was ready to explode,” I uttered over the washroom stall wall.
“Guess this is like a transgendered washroom. We are right up with the times.”
I started to think that something was wrong here. The person in the next stall was awfully quiet and I imaging cowering by that time.
I zipped up and went out into the hall to find Pierre standing there. “I used the Men’s washroom,” he said, pointing to the sign on the wall beside the door I had just emerged from.
In my hurry, I had bounded into the women’s washroom.
We left quickly.
Now this has amused me but also has made me think about all the furor over the laws to restrict use of washrooms in North Carolina (and some other states) for transgendered people. It astounds me that lawmakers can be so wrought up about this. It also points out just how ignorant these people are about who transgendered people are.
The guy on the left, 29-year-old Benjamin Meltzer is a transgendered man. With the new law in North Carolina he would be required to use a women’s washroom.
The woman on the right is 33-year-old married trans writer Janet Mock. Should she have to use a men’s washroom?
The lawmakers who are espousing this law argue that “little girls should not have to be exposed to men dressed up like women in their washrooms.” This arguement is nothing but stupid. Their daughters might be more traumatized by having someone like Benjamin Meltzer come into the washroom because the law says he must use the washroom that corresponds to his birth gender.
Once again, I am glad to be Canadian. In contrast to the narrow-minded approach of some US State politicians, this week our federal Canadian government introduced a bill to ensure rights of transgendered people. This is about human rights, not just gender. Hooray for our federal government for continuing to take a compassionate approach to minorities and people who might be vulnerable to intolerance. ( I must point out that President Obama is not one of these narrow-minded thinkers and he must be equally frustrated to hear the rhetoric being spouted by some other politicians.)
I am overdue to take a trip to visit friends who live in North Carolina – wonderful, intelligent, tolerant, understanding people. But I can not bring myself to drop one tourist dime in that state given their current law. I am starting to wonder what I might feel about visiting anywhere in the US if Donald Trump gets elected as president. I worry about the current political climate in the USA – obviously a lot more than I worry about going into the women’s washroom to relieve myself.