Caitlin Jenners have been going into women’s rooms since the time our society was far less tolerant, and it never caused problems. Why would it now?

If Caitlyn Jenner was not famous, you would not even notice her in the lady’s room. So let’s just let transgender people live their lives in peace, says Richard Wagner.

LGBT advocates and social conservatives are in a heated battle over transgender females using the bathroom with little girls.  In truth, opportunistic activists and politicians have made a mountain out of a molehill.

Caitlyn Jenners have been going into women’s rooms since the time our society was far less tolerant, and it never caused problems.  Did we ever read of transgender child molesters in the 1970s?  When social conservatives would have pounced on the opportunity to draw attention to such issues?

I am sympathetic to trans people.  It must be very difficult to be a woman trapped in a man’s body, or vice-a-versa.  While I can’t say for certain, I do consider it highly likely that this is a real thing.  By that, I mean that someone can be born physically a man, and truly be a woman on the inside.  Despite my metrosexuality, I’ve never bought into the notion that the only difference between men and women is what’s between our legs, and therefore if a woman is trapped in a man’s body, she cannot simply learn to be “a man”.  

The problem – North Carolina picked a fight

When thinking of the recent controversy over bathrooms and trans persons, my first instinct is to remember the simple wisdom of that adorable 5-year old boy from “Kindergarten Cop”, who loved to get the teacher to call on him so that he could share his timeless wisdom with the class, “Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina!”  Oh, if only it were that simple!

Until recently, most of us probably didn’t even consider a transgender female (male genetalia) entering a women’s bathroom. Pretend it’s the 1980s.  Imagine if Caitlyn Jenner (of our time) were not famous.  Imagine she walks into a women’s restroom, enters a stall, sits down, uses it, comes out, washes her hands, and leaves.  Will anybody notice?  Will anybody care?  Clearly not.  Caitlyn Jenner looks like a woman.  But Caitlyn Jenner still has a male sex organ.  But who is going to check for that?

But now that we are more aware of these things, North Carolina has gone to extreme lengths to keep the Caitlyn Jenners of the world from entering the women’s room, for fear that she is a danger to little girls, perhaps.  

A more legitimate concern is that a male pedophile might pretend to be transgender in order to gain easy access.  Even so, I fail to see how North Carolina could enforce such a law.  

Can’t a pedophile, willing to go to such extremes, put the effort into looking female?  It isn’t like they can install a penis detector at every women’s room entrance!

The Social Justice Warrior backlash – Obama’s edict

Sometimes I think the social justice warriors (SJWs) get off on creating these situations where even people who sympathize with an historically oppressed group, such as transgenders, can be painted as “transphobic”, “homophobic”, “racist”, “bigoted”, or whatever.  

Many who are favorable to transgender rights, myself included, will likely object to Obama’s decree on a variety of grounds.  For one thing, it’s massive overreach by the executive branch of the Federal Government.  This really should be decided by the states, if any government at all, and even if it is a Federal issue, Congress should be legislating accordingly.  This certainly shouldn’t be decided by the President!  

Aside from that, consider the issue of children and sexuality.  Most would agree that a child is incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse.  We call it “statutory rape” when a legal adult has sex with someone below a certain age (“age of consent” varies from state to state in the US).  

Following that same logic, can a child really know that “he” is actually “she”?  I’m not ruling it out entirely, but it’s a very difficult situation.  And I can imagine some curious middle school boys pretending to be transgender “girls” in order to see some things and satisfy their curiosity.  Again, I am not accusing any genuinely transgender person of such a thing.  

Complicated problem

I for one am sick of seeing transgender people used as political fodder by both the social conservatives on “the right” and the social justice warriors on “the left”.  While I’m disgusted by Obama’s reaction to this, I realize that he didn’t pick this fight.  It all started with a Republican governor and legislature in N. Carolina.  

Transgender people are nothing new.  If you want to gloss over the history of transgenderism in the US, Wikipedia does a decent job of it.  But even though we as a society have been becoming more accepting since the 1970s, only now in 2016, some 40 years later, are we all worked up over bathrooms!

Consider my aforementioned Caitlyn Jenner example.  If North Carolina had done nothing.  If Obama had remained focused on his duties as President. Would there be a problem? Caitlyn Jenners have been going into women’s rooms since the time our society was far less tolerant, and it never caused problems.  Did we ever read of transgender child molesters in the 1970s? When social conservatives would have pounced on the opportunity to draw attention to such issues?  

If someone does go into the girl’s room, and do something illegal, like take pictures, etc. we already have laws in place to deal with that.  

A transgender person, as I explained above, is if anything less likely than anyone else to do such a thing.  Therefore, we should simply enforce the laws we already have.

My solution – it’s so simple!

Solution?  Do nothing!  As Ronald Reagan so famously said long ago, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government IS the problem.”  Constitutionally, I agree that if any level of government should be dealing with this, it is the states.  But as far as good policy is concerned, I think the best policy is no policy.  

I have enough faith in my fellow Americans to believe that they have enough good judgment to deal with this.  If a harmless transgender female uses a women’s room, nobody will notice or care.  If anyone goes into a women’s room and takes pictures, or touches someone, etc. the police will be called and that criminal will be punished accordingly.  

So let’s just let transgender people live their lives in peace.  They don’t need anti-discrimination laws in bathrooms (maybe in other areas, but not bathrooms), and they don’t need to be discriminated against by the law either.

No law against transgender females entering a women’s room is going to protect your little girl.  But common sense and human decency certainly will.  

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Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He conducts independent study on the American conservative movement and foreign policy. When he is...

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