April 26–Nature: The Bathroom

There is nothing more natural than the urge to go relieve oneself.  In more polite terms we call it the urge to go to the bathroom.  Most of us have the privilege of taking that urge and the immediate location for relieving it for granted.  We sense that we “need to go” and we head for the bathroom.  We have the privilege of not even noticing beyond a casual glance bathroom signswhether the door says “men” or “women”.  We dash in, relieve ourselves, and head back to life.

Not so for transgender people.  What if you are a human being born with a body that most people would all “male” but on the inside you feel and know yourself to be female?  What if you have been living with this dichotomy for some time, have taken measures to begin living in the world as the girl or woman that you know yourself to be?  You dress and deport yourself as a girl or woman.  People know you in this way.  People look at you and think “girl” or “woman.”  Then, the urge to relieve yourself strikes.  You are in any number of public places:  the grocery story, a big box shopping center, a mall, church, school, theater or entertainment venue.  You go, instinctively, toward the bathrooms.  There you encounter the signs like the rest of us do, but you pause:  “women” or “men.”  If you walk into the men’s room because your body underneath your clothing would be called “male” but publicly you appear to be female you will be called out as soon as you enter the men’s room.  If you enter the women’s room but the local or State law prohibits you from being there, you stand the risk of being accused by anyone who fears your presence there and arrested for breaking the law.

So, let’s talk about nature.  The nature of one’s own soul. The nature of the body to relieve itself.  The nature of the human heart to cherish what is most true.  The nature of human practice in society to elevate fear to the level of a god.

I don’t have a child who is transgender.  I know and care about people who do, and I know and care about young people and adults who are transgender.  I want them to have the basic natural privilege that I enjoy:  to go to the bathroom when they need to without having to hesitate, without having to wait, without adding this to the worries of their lives.

Human beings owe this to one another.  It is basic nature.

Bob Patrick

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