Bathroom debate: It’s my choice when I introduce sensitive topics to my kids

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In a sign of the times, bathroom access is the topic du jour. Never mind the more serious issues we face as a nation. Issues such as national security, education policy, oh and the fact Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump look like they’re going to be the best we’ve got for presidential contenders.

This debate should really be about two issues: one, public restrooms and two, places where people (namely children or families) are undressing. Thus I have two positions.

First, as far as public restrooms where people enter, do their business and leave this should be a states’ rights and private property issue. Pervs will be pervy regardless of laws. I don’t believe transitioning or transitioned transgendered individuals pose a threat. Maybe this discussion will make parents, business owners and security more vigilant about those who seek to enter the wrong bathroom for malicious reasons, but I don’t see much changing in the way of personal safety due to the current discussion.

That said, I do take issue with and would actively participate in opposing allowing locker rooms and public school bathrooms where my children would be to be open to transgender students or adults. I believe that parents at a local level or at the level of individual school or facility should have a say in this matter.

Life is complicated, and as a parent I have a responsibility to my children to teach them about the more delicate issues of sexuality and alternative lifestyles. Gender identification beyond girl and boy falls in the sensitive and complicated topics that should be explained on the basis of when children are developmentally ready. No one else should decide when it’s the time for my children to be presented with such complex situations.

I’ve seen stories of young children under the age of 10 being recognized as transgender. National outlets covered a story about a transgender first grader winning the right to use their identity-based bathroom instead of their birth designation. I believe we are doing those children, as well as those around them, a disservice by behaving as though the concept of gender identity is any more flexible than other genetically-determined factors such as race or ethnicity. If an adult wants to transition understanding the full consequences of their actions. that’s one thing, but to introduce such a conversation into young ages is irresponsible.

We as a society understand that children lack the maturity or rational judgment to make lifelong, life-altering decisions. This is why some of the strongest laws we have in the nation focus on child welfare. This is why first graders don’t choose their career paths, decide to tattoo their favorite cartoon character or band member on their bodies, or allow to get married.

Children lose their innocence too soon. Kids now are frequently exposed to adult topics such as violence and sexuality before they’re able to recognize their context. I understand that my love of my children is no greater than the love than that of the parent of a child who is experiencing gender identification questions feels.

I’m greatly sympathetic to the need for flexibility and accommodations for children with disabilities including severe allergies, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues, but those have a scientific and medically documented explanation that make sense even to children.

The accommodations required for standard special needs students also don’t have broader implications for social, religious and political perceptions. Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (GID) is still being debated by the medical community as a mental illness or not, with well respected medical professionals believing that it is in fact a mental health issue. Children who believe in the tooth fairy, play with dolls and have imaginary friends shouldn’t be facing discussions about this at a young age.

So my two cents: let adults, voters, businesses make accommodations and decisions about public bathrooms and let kids be kids in schools, public pools, at the gym and in sports. We can all acknowledge that regardless of what we think or feel about those living a transgender life, it’s their life and that’s between them, their God, and their loved ones.

Oh and for the pervs everyone seems to think will be creeping into all the bathrooms in wigs and dresses let’s change the dialogue of this debate and put a priority on finding them where they are — usually in positions of power or influence of children, lurking on the Internet, sitting beside you at your soccer game — and lock them up and throw away the key.

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