What a trans woman and 7 other NJ-area folks say about bathroom rules
Should transgender people use the bathrooms that match their gender identity ... or their biological sex? And does it matter?
As North Carolina's controversial law requiring people use bathrooms that match their at-birth sex draws backlash from major members of the business community and large-scale entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, more New Jersey schools are moving entirely in the other direction — considering policies to let students use the bathrooms and locker rooms that confirm to their identities, regardless of their physical sex.
It's been a hot topic for New Jersey 101.5 callers and hosts — including Eric Scott, who Monday morning forcefully dismissed as bigotry a caller's contention trans identity shouldn't be accepted at all.
But Scott acknowledged the difficulties some parents have with the idea that their kids could be using private facilities alongside those of the same physical sex — though he said he thinks teens are a lot more accepting. And Monday afternoon, Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle acknowledged that same complexity — and why people have trouble coming to terms with it.
"To just say 'That's what you've got (anatomically), so that's the room you use, that's not going to be comfortable for them," Deminski said. "But it's also not going to be comfortable for the rest of the community. And that's the damn problem. Neither side can be happy here.
But what did you think? Here's some of what we heard:
Emily, from East Brunswick — a transgender woman
"I think it's ridiculous that it's even a question," Emily — a transgender woman, which is to say she was born physically male but identifies as female — told Scott Monday morning. "Yes, it sounds strange, and yes, some people may not understand it, but it's not really a problem."
"Myself for example, being a trans female, I do use the bathroom that my gender identity coincides with. Sometimes people won't even notice. Sometimes people won't even care. I've never had anyone say anything to me. I don't think people will mind, is what I'm saying."
But what about parents who are uncomfortable?
"It's not up to the parents. I should be able to use whatever bathroom I feel comfortable in. And — it's really not about the parents. It's about the kids. If the kids feel comfortable with sharing their bathroom with someone who is psychologically necessary that they do these things, I really don't see what the problem is."
Gene on Route 78
"When going to an airport, when going to a hospital, when going to public buildings, there are family bathrooms for a dad who likes to change a baby," Gene told Scott. "Why couldn't they have a bathroom for someone who doesn't feel comfortable (using the one for his or her biological sex)?"
"There's lots of bullying that goes on, there's lots of arguments here. (We should consider) the psychological benefit to the kids who don't feel comfortable with a transgender person (in the bathroom). It's almost like the revserse discrimination In some way."
Michelle in Freehold
"Parents don't have an obvjection to a gay boy or girl in a bathroom with their child," Michelle told Scott. "Why should they have a problem with a transgender (person)?"
Martha in Vineland
"I do have a problem — that the parents don't have the majority of the decision here. These children are underage, and they are very impressionable. And kids are often fine with a lot of things — which is why parents need to still be in charge of major decisions in their life," Martha told Scott.
She compared the situation to that of a teen having sex with an adult — but was quick to clarify that unlike in that situation, she wasn't describing a crime. It's about a teen's inability to know himself or herself, and to make mature choices, she said.
"I think taking the parent out of the equation is a dangerous precedent."
Susan in Bucks County
"From what I'm hearing, it's the parents that have the majority of the problem," Susan told Scott. "I think it comes down to basic education. I am a lesbian, having had two children. They've been educated, I've been educated, and the education needs to get passed on to the closed-minded parents. The kids today are more accepting than their parents are giving them credit for."
John in Upper Freehold
John told D&D Springsteen's decision to cancel a show in North Carolina was silly — he'd be better served by writing a protest song, John said.
"What he has to do is think back 35 years ago before the two wives, and the mansions, and the jet planes, when he would have given his left toenail to pack a stadium. And now he's getting up there in age, he has all the money, and he's just coming up with an excuse to cancel."
"Now think about it — Take the music from 'Born to Run.' Put in 'Transgenders must also have to pee.' ... Think about it."
Alison from Pennsylvania
"If I have a child who is in a bathroom with a male or a female or a locker room with a male or a female and it's the opposite sex of what they are, why should the 98 percent of children who are not confused feel uncomfortable because they have that situation?" she asked D&D.
"On top of that, we're talking about boys who believe they are female going into a female locker room. But what if they have a female child who thinks that they are a male child and they go into the male locker room, we're worried what those other male students will do to that female child, you're putting children definitely in a dangerous situation."