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Transgender Restrooms: Wiggle or Jiggle
4/13/2016 4:28:18 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

There is a fight brewing on the horizon regarding transgender people and “which restroom he or she” should use. Public restrooms are a part of life and we need to make them as comfortable as possible for everyone. However, considering who wins this fight, let’s not leave out the most vulnerable of all and that is our children.

Transgender for those of you who may not quite understand the term is associated with people who seem to be mismatched. According to their assigned sex at birth, transgender people are the opposite of their assigned sex. Did I get this right?

I decided to take on this issue because folks tend to miss the obvious when deciding these delicate, legal and even human rights issues. I am sure I will get a lot of feedback on this one but feel free to jump in at any point. This is a very touchy subject for me and I am sure it is for parents with children and grandchildren.

Recently, my sister had the experience of using a public restroom. As she was entering a bathroom stall in the ladies restroom of course, she noticed that the feet in the adjacent stall were facing the toilet. So, her first thought was ‘could that possibly be a man in the ladies restroom?” So, as she was exiting her stall, the person was at the sink. It was indeed a man or transgender. As my sister was standing there openmouthed trying to understand her jaw dropping experience, another lady glanced in her direction and nodded her head in the affirmative confirming that she was indeed seeing what she thought she was seeing.

Now, make no mistake: my sister can handle herself if approached in the wrong manner. She looks like a lady but acts like a man. Her designation on her birth certificate is “girl”. She is known to rival her husband when it comes to fixing things around the house. One day we were out shopping and her husband bought a drill. I thought the drill was for him. Isn’t that the most obvious conclusion? My sister’s face lit up and she said “now I can go home and fix my chairs”. You would think her husband had just bought her a piece of jewelry. I know she is going to kill me for this one but it’s all in adding some humor to a touchy subject. This brings me to the point that not all ladies or children can handle themselves when placed in fearful and even worst dangerous situations.

Restrooms are places where you can run into some really seedy characters and even perverts that sometimes hang out there to prey on the innocent. I am always leery when using public restrooms along my travel route. I look for newer, well-lit facilities. The days for obtaining a key and going out back are over but outdoor restrooms still exist. I don’t know about y’all, but having grandparents living in the country when I grew up, outhouses were commonplace. I swore off never ever using anything outdoors ever again and I never did. The point is I think people, regardless of their persuasion, like to feel safe using public restrooms. And, as parents, we don’t want to enter restrooms with our children and there are folks using the restroom who do not look like us.

The problem is it’s not all about transgender grown-ups or even transgender children. It’s also a conflict between what Christians believe and what human rights advocates believe. It’s a moral issue. This is a problem that addresses equal rights for all sexes concerned. Is it necessary to come up with a third sex and a third restroom? No, I don’t think the third sex would work. Maybe a third restroom would work like the ones I see springing up in hospitals with just “restroom” while still having predetermined ones for “Men” and “Ladies”. While I am a little concern for myself, I am even more concerned for children entering these restrooms. Generally, parents accompany their children into their designated restroom. Mothers will take their girls and even small boys into a ladies restroom. Fathers take their sons into the men’s restroom but fathers will not take their girls into a men’s restroom. Somethings are just common sense issues.

So, how do we correct this problem? How do we satisfy both sides of this issue? I say if a transgender has to “jiggle” when you use the restroom, then you need to use the male restroom. If you are facing forward when you “jiggle” and not backwards then you need to use the male restroom. Now, here is where the problem comes in. Legally, transgender persons that have had this reassignment changed on their birth certificate and driver’s license should be able to use their new assignment when using a restroom.

Along with that new assignment, they must face away from the toilet. If I happen upon feet facing the toilet, I am screaming bloody murder for security or my six foot two husband outside the door if he happens to be along on the trip. And, I can’t even imagine what my sister with the drill will do. I know one thing, y’all had better be careful “jiggling” in a restroom alongside her. She is five foot two and carries her tools in her purse. She has one of those purses that looks like a carpenter’s belt with an assortment of tools. You just might end up missing your “jiggler”.

In the end, I trust that states will make the right decision regarding this sensitive issue. A decision that will protect the most vulnerable among us and that is our children. The fight is already turning ugly in some states and even at the polls. Where do we draw the line? Which restroom will “crossdressers” use? If this issue is not handled right, it’s going to be the fight of the century.

In the meantime, while legislators are trying to figure this restroom issue out, workplaces need to provide a restroom for ladies, one for men and one that simply says “restroom”. The choice is yours. Problem solved. Can y’all live with that?

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