A few weeks ago, I was at the welcoming LGBT Community Center on west 13th Street in New York City.  I wanted to look at the space at the BGSQD (bookstore/event hall) within this well-known community center.

As you might expect, all their restrooms are LGBT-friendly.  I eventually had to use the facilities so I went into a stall in one of the restrooms.   There were, I think, judging from the shoe sizes, two men in the next two stalls.

It didn’t seem weird to me at all.  I wasn’t mugged, accosted. I minded my own business as I took care of business. My experience has me wondering why conservatives like actress Stacey Dash likes bathroom laws that are subject to court battles like in Mississippi and North Carolina that require transgender people to use the bathroom that aligns with their birth.  Dash’s rationale:  “why do I have to suffer because you can’t decide what you wanna’ be that day? I’m not gonna’ put my child’s life at risk because you want to change a law.”

Her remarks are understated compared to evangelist James Dobson’s comments in his latest piece for the Right Wing organization “Family Talk.”   Dobson called President Obama a tyrant , “warping our children” for legalizing unisex bathrooms for public school students.” Writes Dobson,  “would you remain passive after knowing that a strange-looking man, dressed like a woman, has been peeking over toilet cubicles to watch your wife in a private moment? What should be done to the perverts who was using mirrors to watch your children?

You have a greater chance of being harassed in a bathroom by a sex offender who is straight.  I am waxing philosophic here but I think people criticize what they don’t understand.  And transgendered people are misunderstood.  The statistics are alarming:

  • 41% of trans people have attempted suicide.
  • 58.7% of gender non-conforming students have experienced verbal harassment in the past year because of their gender expression compared to 29% of their peers.
  • 49% of transgenders reported physical abuse in a 2007 survey.
  • 50% of trans persons have been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner.•

Trans people of color are more likely to experience physical violence when interacting with police than white cisgender survivors of violence. 

  • 1 in 5 transgender people have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.
  • 1 in 8 have been evicted from their housing due to their transgender status.
  • 80% of trans students feel unsafe at school because of their gender expression. 

                                   Statistics from www.transstudent.org/tdov

Transgendered persons need to blend into mainstream society, as LGB people have done recently.   They need to be visible. Dobson’s rhetoric is apprehensible – akin to  the late Governor George Wallace’s remarks favoring segregation of blacks in the mid-1960’s.

Transgenders should not fear for their lives when they come out of the closet or, for that matter, use the water closet.

When Your Child is Gay

When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know

For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting as well as gay and lesbian content. For the past two years, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the lesbian and gay community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children on how to be better parents and raise happy, well-adjusted adults

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