There is a debate in Texas. Whether transgender people should be allowed to use women’s bathroom is an issue being aggressively argued from both sides. The question is a complicated one, with an answer equally as difficult to ascertain. Those in favor of allowing transgender people to use women’s bathrooms point out that many people do not feel their biological gender correlates with their inner gender. They say that people should be allowed to live out their true identity, and not be restricted by their biology. People arguing against allowing transgender people to use women’s bathrooms appeal to concerns such as public safety; it may be well and good to allow people to live their inner identity, but it opens the door to predators. Detractors worry that could take advantage of such a law, and misuse it target potential victims in a place where they do not expect it. This is a sad but undeniable and unavoidable truth. This being the case, bathrooms should be segregated by biological gender.
Public safety is of paramount importance. While enabling people to live as they choose may be admirable as well as progressive, it does not compare to the importance of public safety. Allowing transgender people to use women’s bathrooms would put people at risk. The ordinance under question “requires Houston businesses to make all women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms available to all who are dressed in female attire, without regard to biological sex” (Walls). Were some safeguard possible which was able to tell whether someone had bad intentions or not, this law might be permissible. But as it is, a law such as this would endanger women and children.
In light of the security issue above, separating bathrooms by biological gender is the fairest solution. The Intersex Society of North America defines being transgender as “people who are born with typical male or female anatomies but feel as though they’ve been born into the “wrong body.”” The problem with this definition, and the entire transgender argument for using women’s bathrooms, is that there is no way to tell who is truly transgender and who is not. Separating bathrooms according to biological gender is unbiased and safe. No other identifying feature can claim this.
Supporters of allowing transgender people to use women’s bathrooms cite the inner gender of the subject. They argue that we should allow people to be who they truly are, who they feel they are. This is indeed a sentiment worthy of admiration. But this does not change the unfairness of the stance. While transgender people would benefit from the law, many people would not. Set aside the safety issue previously discussed, women have as important of rights as transgender people. As such, government should be as attune to their needs as everyone else’s.
This is a topic of great importance. While using a bathroom may seem trivial, there is a greater underlying topic: that of respect. Government needs to respect all people, as do all members of society. There is no easy answer to this question. But whatever the answer is, it will be as respectful to as many people as possible. But government also has the responsibility to protect its citizens from harm. In cases such as these, safety takes precedence over accommodation to personal identity. Whatever one’s views on sexual orientation, we can all realize and understand the need for safety. Once safety is ensured, then we can begin to think about more specialized issues. Helping people discover and live out who they are truly meant to be is a lifelong task we should all take up, only not at the expense of public safety.
- Intersex Society of North America. “What’s the difference between being transgender or transsexual and having an intersex condition?” 2008. Web
- Walls, David. “5 Things Every Houstonian Needs to Know About November “HERO” Vote.” 2015. Web.