An Open Letter to ‘Mary From Martha’
via An Open Letter to Target: Regarding your New Restroom Policy
This is my own open letter to you. Please, understand this is not an attack. Nor is it a vilification or persecution of you as a Christian. As I have stated before on this blog, while I am not a Christian, my family is — and they are my standard for what makes a good, righteous Christian.
While your statistics are clear, both on the number of LGBTQ in the country and on the rape statistics. But I have answers for your questions to Target:
- How can you ensure that the people entering the restrooms of the opposite gender are, indeed, of the “gender persuasion” they are currently claiming to identify with?
Are you aware that there is absolutely nothing that keeps anyone of the opposite gender from entering the restrooms of the other gender? The only thing stopping most people is social pressure, cultural norming and courtesy.
Sadly, all rapists have a skewed view of all of those things. To them, social pressure means rape is perfectly fine, because they are somehow “ENTITLED” to the body of their preferred choice of victim, whether it be male, female or child. Cultural norming for them, again, teaches that they are “ENTITLED” to any body they wish to control. And I have yet to find any research that claims that rapists use courtesy as anything other than a way to control their chosen victim(s).
I believe you are also under a misunderstanding about transgendered people. It is, unfortunately, a misunderstanding that many people (not just some Christians, but many other groups of people) have about LGBTQ people in general. The misunderstanding is based on a fairly normal psychological behavior. Because of one’s own upbringing, particularly if one is raised in a group of like-minded people, each of us tend to equate others with the norms of the particular group or mindset we were raised in. It is very hard to step outside of one’s own mindset and look at someone else’s quite different experience in life and see how they may live their lives differently from ourselves.
For you, homosexuality or bisexuality or transgenderism would be a choice. It would be a choice you are unwilling to make, based on your own foundational mindset. For me, also raised Christian and in a fairly conservative, fundamentalist sect of Christianity; BUT also taught by my minister father to think independently and truly “hate the sin, but love the sinner” (as described by the Bible and how I was taught, it speaks that the PERSON is worthy of love by both humans and God, but the BEHAVIOR is not worthy of love). With that as my foundational principle, even though I am no longer a Christian, I still am required by my foundational principles to attempt to understand the differences between my own mindset and someone else’s.
With that principle in place, I am forced to see that a transgendered person is not “claiming” a gender, but truly feels deep in their soul that their body is not the correct gender. I have yet to meet an LGBTQ person (not just transgendered) who has NOT done soul-searching, praying and fighting with themselves when they finally realized what they really are, and why they have felt so isolated and confused with the mindset they were raised in (even with those who were raised to think that being gay or bisexual or transgendered is fine). It isn’t an easy transition to make. For many, it requires years of therapy to understand themselves.
- Are you willing to send your wives and daughters into a restroom that is occupied by another man and trust that he is who he says he is? How about your son with a woman?
Have you ever been in a gay bar at all? I have, back when I was in college in the late 1980s – and was still Christian. Back when transgendered people were still hiding, and drag queens were seen as degenerate scum. Well, guess what? I did go into bathrooms where there were drag queens (some of whom were even straight, just enjoyed being a drag queen). The ONLY interactions I had with those people who were physically gendered as male came down to: “Damn! You look better than I do as a woman!” I wouldn’t say that now, because most of the physically male but gendered female people I see in bathrooms now ARE transgendered women – so I would say, instead (just as I would with any other woman): “Honey, you are absolutely GORGEOUS!”
But I have seen, heard reports of, and experienced being attacked in a ladies’ bathroom by a male. Not a transgendered woman, a fully heterosexual male. The only interaction I have had with a transgendered woman in a bathroom has been the SAME interactions a heterosexual female would have with me. Things like:
- ‘Is my slip showing?’
- ‘How does the back of my hair look?’
- ‘Watch out for that stall. Someone didn’t flush.’
- ‘Can you pass me some toilet paper? This stall is out.’
- How should I handle an instance where my two and four year olds see a man’s private parts and I have to explain a) why she saw his genitals and b) why is in a women’s restroom long before they should ever have to consider such adult matters?
I don’t know how you were raised, and I’m not judging it. I, on the other hand, was raised to see the naked body as a gift from God, and therefore there was nothing sick, evil or wrong about seeing a naked body. Both of my parents were unconcerned if I saw them naked. It gave them an opportunity to talk to me about the differences between a man and a woman. It also taught me NOT to be ashamed of my own body. In fact, I am not ashamed to be seen naked by either males or females. The ONLY shame I feel when naked is the first night with lover, and THAT comes from years of abuse as a fat woman (from both people I know and the greater cultural abuse that says only ONE type of body of either male or female is at all desirable) being judged as “undesirable.”
I was also raised to believe that if I walked in on someone who was naked, that I should not stare (of course, I was ALSO taught that staring in general was rude).
How are your children going to see anyone’s naked body in the first place? When I use a bathroom to change clothing, I go into a stall. Now, if it is a locker room, like at a gym or a swimming pool, that is different. But, even then, staring is rude – why would I intentionally look around at someone else? Just because I am personally comfortable with my own non-sexual nudity doesn’t mean that the woman (transgendered or not) standing next to me is comfortable with their own nudity. I don’t look because I have compassion for someone else’s fears or insecurities.
Finally, my father took me to go to the bathroom in public just as often as my mother did when I was too young to go alone. He did NOT stand outside of the women’s bathroom and send me in alone. He took me into a stall in the men’s bathroom. But, again, I was taught to see nudity not as a sin, nor as shameful, simply a gift from God. And 9 times out of 10, I was more interested in peeing than in looking around to see the naked body parts of men standing at urinals.
- WHY are you willing to forego the physical safety of the many to appease the internal struggle of the few?
Women being raped by their husbands or boyfriends or other form of significant other were once a minority too. It was also once considered legal, and not just legal, but an act that the male significant other had a RIGHT to. The law changed to protect those few, putting the males now in a space where THEIR physical safety is in danger (please look into the rape statistics of male prisons).
Rape, like child molestation, is far more likely from a family member, family friend or any other known person than by a stranger. 82% of rapes or attempted rapes are committed by a known person, less than 18% by a stranger.
Secondarily, I don’t know about your experiences in women’s bathrooms, but I am rarely in one alone. There is often 1-5 different other women in there. Even if it were just me and this other person, and a rape was attempted – as I stated above, it is FAR more likely to be a heterosexual male. If you are truly afraid of being raped in a public bathroom, do what many women have done for decades – go to the bathroom in a group.
I do sympathize with your concerns. But I think they are misguided. The statistics just don’t support your conclusions.