As I’ve been reading the news stories the last several weeks, I see lots of comments about the need to protect women and children from sexual predators. Okay…I understand that–and I agree.
However…there are some things I don’t understand.
First of all, what about our sons? Don’t they deserve protection as well? I don’t hear much talk about them in the current discussions.
And…where are all the statistics about transgender people attacking women in bathrooms? They just don’t exist. What does exist are statistics showing that transgender people are more likely than heterosexuals to be attacked–either verbally or physically–in the bathroom.
I understand that people are also afraid of predators (primarily male) dressing as women so that they can enter women’s bathrooms to prey on women and children. But there are already laws in existence that make that action a criminal one. And these individuals are not transgender.
A transgender person is not pretending to be the opposite sex of the gender they were assigned at birth. They have often struggled for years with a mismatch between what they have looked like on the outside and what they feel like on the inside. (I can’t imagine what this must feel like, since my inside and outside have matched my whole life.) Instead, a transgender person is seeking wholeness.
I also hear all of the religious arguments. I understand that…I really do. I just happen to interpret scripture differently.
But what bothers me is that those who are often the loudest in insisting “The Bible says…” in their sermons against members of the LGBTQ communities are far too often heterosexuals found guilty of crimes against children. Isn’t there something about practicing what you preach?
The same thing often seems to be happening politically, when those call most loudly for severe punishments against the presumed LGBTQ child molesters are too often found to be heterosexuals who have been guilty themselves of this crime.
Our fears of each other–fears that have culminated in the “bathroom laws” passed (or being proposed) in many areas have created new challenges for some who are vulnerable in ways we may not have considered–those with special needs. We have made it far more difficult for them and their caretakers because of our fears of those who are not “like us.”
I’m sure that in my lifetime I’ve been in the bathroom with someone who is transgender…but unless someone tells me so, the chances of me knowing that are slim. (And I’ve never been accosted or attacked by someone who is transgender.)
I do want to protect those who are vulnerable–but I also want to recognize that the vulnerable are not always who we think they are…and that’s something we will not understand until we are willing to truly listen to each other.
“Vulnerability really means to be strong and secure enough within yourself that you are able to walk outside without your armor on. You are able to show up in life as just you. That is genuine strength and courage. Armor may look tough, but all it does is mask insecurity and fear.”
― Alaric Hutchinson,