When I was a lucky lass of roughly 25 or so, I had a friend from junior high who lived in Paris, and I went to see him for a couple weeks. We got along like we’d been besties since only yesterday, and had a marvelous visit. But bathrooms were a problem.
I don’t think I had an entirely comfortable elimination the whole time I was there. The bathroom in his apartment was tiny, the shower and toilet in the same enclosure — the toilet paper lived under a watertight plastic hood. But that was luxury compared to the repulsive facilities in the little cafes and so forth that we frequented. Some were literal holes in the floor over which you squatted. A crude seat was considered quite fancy.
When I returned home, everything looked gray and ugly and like a tire store, but at least the bathrooms were clean and roomy. So when you talk bathrooms, I always think of that time in Paris. Also, about how most of us use bathrooms.
Bathrooms were the undoing of the Houston equal rights ordinance, we’re told:
(What) was clear was that a monthslong effort by social conservatives to repeal the ordinance and reframe the issue had paid off, through tactics likely to be used again in similar battles around the country.
Through speeches, yard signs, T-shirts, banners and ads on TV, the radio and the Internet, they zeroed in on the measure’s gender-identity protections and focused the debate on a narrow issue whose very relevance was disputed by political rivals: bathrooms, and access to them.
This reframing cast the issue as a matter of public safety, with claims that the measure would allow men who were dressed as women or who identified as women to enter women’s bathrooms and attack or threaten girls and women inside. The measure’s critics called it the Bathroom Ordinance and simplified their message to five words: “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms.”
Women’s bathrooms aren’t like men’s — there are no urinals. We walk in, choose a stall, close the door and do our business. I suppose it’s possible to be assaulted in one, but a very unlikely place to inflame the lust of anyone, much less a man who’s living as a woman. Locker rooms? I’ll give you that one, but again, my experience with them was that hardly anyone used the showers, except maybe after swimming classes, and then we wore our suits. There’s a taboo against nudity in locker rooms among teenagers, and unless it’s changed, it’s quite strong. I’ve been naked in adult locker rooms about a million times, but in high school I was an expert at changing behind a tiny towel. I bet you were, too.
Why don’t any voters think of these things when they consider stuff like this? Transgender people have a way to go before they’re fully accepted, but when they walk into bathrooms, they’re the ones at risk, not the rest of us.
By all means, though, keep clutching your pearls, guys.
This week has seemed about a million days long, but it’s just about over. I hope you all have a great weekend.