Friday, June 10, 2016

On the rancorous TONE of the Bathroom debates

For years, I absolutely could not use a public bathroom. I still hate it. It's such a vulnerable feeling, sitting there doing your business with a bunch of strangers walking in and out and commenting about the miasma created by the odious exudates of your bowels; matched only by the concussive forces generated as the noxious gasses, vented, as it were, through the bodies pressure release valve, bursting forth into the atmosphere, their sounds cruelly amplified by the porcelain echo chamber into which they are released.

For those of you who have followed along this far, what I just said, put another way, is that I'm a 280 lb man who's come out on top in physical contests ranging from pillow fights at camp to football games in school to unpleasant encounters in bars and back-alleys (sadly), and yet I find it a terribly VULNERABLE feeling to use the bathroom in the presence of other men. Other men, incidentally, who's only interest in me is to probably to reach minimum-safe-distance before detonation.

I say all of that to say that I truly cannot imagine what it would be like to be 105 lb women who is now afraid that she is going to be asked to share a public bathroom with the man l just described.

For my left-leaning friends, I get that you're angry because this whole issue manifests as Christians who have been more-or-less defeated on the homosexual front waging a scorched-earth retreat by socking it to trans-genders.

I want to validate that. On some level, I'm sure it's exactly that.

And I'm not saying you shouldn't be angry, or frustrated.

I'm not saying your wrong.

What I AM attempting to do is two-fold.

1) To point out that gender roles are fundamental to everything we do and think, as human beings, and we're tinkering with them. We're asking people leave behind pretty clearly-defined mores to accept, not a clearly defined change to these social codes; but what, to many, feels like a complete blurring or dismantling of these rules. They're not clearly defined and comfortable. They're wibbly-wobbly-potty-wotty. People are uncomfortable. I don't know that they're wrong to be.

2) To ask that we (on the left) be kind to those on the other side.

We're defending the rights of people to live their lives in the way they choose insofar as they're not hurting others. That's what we are all about. That's America, at it's best.

Let's not lose the moral high-ground, or alienate people we're trying to sway, by resorting to name-calling. In all of our interactions with others, let's strive to be kind, and understanding, and patient.

Let's be careful about calling people bigots. Maybe they are. Maybe they've just got a very different world-view. Maybe they're just genuinely frightened. Let's be kind.

Buddhists calls this high-road non-discriminating virtue. The Christians would say do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The atheists would say don't be a d*ck.  ;-)

I've finally made some time to read some of these laws in question, and I actually think that some of their concerns really might be quite legitimate, although clearly related more to predatory heterosexual men than to actual transgenders.

How do we engage them?

Let's try to patiently acknowledge that predatory male sexuality definitely exists, and we get that they're afraid of it, and furthermore they're quite correct to be afraid of it.

Let's talk to them about the trans-genders we know, and what wonderful people they are, and help them to see the "great other" as a person, rather than a concept or a bogeyman.

And, yes: Let's also look at well-intentioned laws that may have been crafted too hastily, that really very well may put women in some sort of vulnerable circumstance, and see if we can shore these laws up in such a way that the rights of trans-genders are protected, but the concerns of women are addressed.

I think it can be done. 

Ultimately: Rather than dividing into us and them, loving us, and hating them, let's be one big us. 

Let's practice the compassion on which we pride ourselves, for all involved.