Saturday, April 10, 2010

Transgender-Only Bathrooms

My conviction that thealogy begins in experience means that I, like many other feminist scholars, can no longer write in an impersonal voice.
- Carol P. Christ, Rebirth of the Goddess

I was in an interesting theological debate for two days, just because I think transgender-only bathrooms are a bad idea. One of the people who are wielding the Bible as a weapon said they believed in the Gospels when quoting Romans.

I have two Baptist grandfathers who would also point this out. The Gospels are composed of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Romans belongs to the Pauline Epistles, the letters that were instructions on running the church while he was imprisoned waiting for his execution.

I believe the Gospels. Paul wrote some great stuff, but I have reasons not to believe everything that he wrote as being timeless.

This, of course, engendered an ad hominem attack:

"Of course sophie. If you accepted all of the Bible as being the word of God instead of picking a choosing then you couldn't be trans now could you?"

Belief that the Bible as the literal word of God as interpreted in the official manner will make me not trans? What a hoot. That totally ignores science, psychology, and spirituality. No, it will just make me want to hang myself. I thanked him for the positive vote and pointed out that the discussion was way off on a tangent and I didn't know why I was responding to him.

I told him I accept his beliefs, but couldn't join him in them:

Go ahead and let your life be run by what other people tell you the Bible means. Forget reading it, since supposedly unerring men wrote it, and unerring men can tell you what it means for your own life. And don't even think about questioning it later, because everyone knows it's perfect and you must be "mislead by Satan" to come to any other conclusion.

In denying alternate interpretations than their decided standard, the church apparently doesn't believe in spirituality, but in religiosity. To develop in spirit, one must question and explore and develop their own connection via their own empathic interpretations of scripture to the divine as it applies to their own lives.

I tried to accept the Bible as the interpretation that the church gave me. It didn't stop me from being "trans." Sorry. Doesn't work that way. Wish it did. I gradually found little consistent support in the official interpretations. But I did pray and read and seek meaning for myself. I explored each situation is as much of a context as I could. I read things besides the Bible to give me insight.

I accept that God is a passionate, embracing, loving spirit who works through imperfect people. There is much that is taught about the interpretation of the scriptures as they were determined by the Council of Nice, who elected to give the missionary Paul's epistles a prominent position in the accepted texts. It has always bothered me, that Paul's opinion, who never met Jesus in the flesh, supposedly is interpreted as the Word of God.

God's word is in the Bible. God's word (Logos) is also in the birds, the trees, the flowers of the field. In Jesus time, the religious elite took the Torah as God's word. But law without compassion is meaningless and imperfect. Germans in Nazi Germany were able to desensitize by suspending empathy for strict adherence to rules by an elite that supposedly knew more about what they needed.

After two days of debate, I finally struck pay dirt with the person who seemed at least willing to consider transgender people as people.

My last attempt to persuade:

I am saying that no human beings should have preferential rights over others based on their characteristics. I am also saying that a transgender bathroom doesn't work. I've spelled it out enough. I have provided an alternate proposal currently in use by Fortune 100 companies that does work and satisfies other needs.

It's pretty darn easy to address the predator problem. If he has a mustache or beard and walks into the ladies room, he's where he doesn't belong. Easy to enforce. If he walks into the bathroom taunting someone, he doesn't belong there. It's harassment. If he looks like a man, and he has a biological gender of male, he doesn't belong there. If a male part is deliberately exposed to a woman, that's an arrest.

I was just speaking with someone from Europe. They said they don't have that problem. Everyone goes where they will. So why do we have a predator problem in the U.S? Or is it an exaggeration to suggest predators have a desire to prey at the ladies at the restroom?

Besides dehumanizing others, there must be a way to ensure that predators are less likely to use the bathrooms as a hunting ground.

You were creative in coming up with the transgender room, maybe you can brainstorm something that only takes away the freedom of predators.

Resulted in the user named believer saying, surprisingly:

sophie, my desire is that any person using a public facility receives the respect, security, and comfortability they deserve and all that can be done to ensure this needs to be done. And if the Fortune 500 Plan can do that the best then let's move forward. But will local governments be willing to provide the funding to do that. And if they are not willing then I believe the separate transgender facilities is the next best option.
Which underscores my point made in an earlier blog that we are dealing with people whose bias is based on experiences quite unlike our own. By listening to their concerns and engaging in logical debate, we can come to understand one another and work toward peaceful agreement.

Hugs and God Bless,
- Sophie


  1. I won't go into the bible. But, your realization that organized religions tend to be more about "religion" than spirituality is right on target.

    As for bathrooms. The US is composed of a culture descended from prudish jerks. So, of course anything that has to do with the bathroom is dirty and must be about sex; Europeans tend to be more grown up than us.

  2. Posting on conservative Christian website, I had to hold my tongue about being personally connected to a *feminine* divine. ;)