Equality, Liberty, and Safety: A Classical Liberal’s Thoughts

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As I begin to write this post, I can’t help but think,”well there goes any chance I ever had of getting an elected position.” So here’s your trigger warning. This is not a safe space. This is a post about a difficult issue in our society that evokes strong emotions on both sides. So, let’s check our emotions, and approach this like reasonable, open minded people who are capable of rational thought.

Let’s get to the point. There is currently a movement wherein “progressive” organizations are allowing transgender people to use bathrooms that were intended for the opposite sex.  This is being done in the name of equality for all people, in this case those who feel like they are born one gender but were born with the opposite sex (I’ll be writing another post giving my thoughts on transgenderedness in general). However, this is problematic (I can literally feel my future political career slipping away).

For the sake of argument in this article, let’s suppose it is perfectly legitimate to be something because you identify with it, and accordingly it is perfectly acceptable for a biological male to “feel like” a female thereby making him a female, and vice versa. Let’s also assume that this has nothing to do with volition, a person is simply “born that way” and is therefore transgender.

So how do we deal with public restrooms and locker rooms? The idea of separating these kinds of private areas by sex has been assailed by the morally progressive on the grounds that it is antiquated and unjust.

The argument usually has something to do with the idea that transgender people have the right to feel emotionally comfortable in the bathroom where they think they belong. The glaring issue with this argument is that it relies solely on the right to emotional comfort, one of the most volatile and subjective and meaningless “rights” that I can think of (that is probably the sentence that my future opponent in some election will use against me, but oh well).

Let me explain what I mean when I say that emotional comfort is meaningless as a foundation for rights. If I have a right to never feel emotionally uncomfortable, then the government will need to make sure the Lions win the super bowl, the Red Wings win the Stanley cup, the Tigers win the World Series, U of M wins the BCS title, abortion is made illegal, all suffering and wrong in the world is eradicated, nobody ever disagrees with me, and I always get my way. Also, I need to be allowed to use any bathroom I like at any time even if it is full of women, cuz when you gotta go, you gotta go. Oh, and nobody can ever do anything better than me, or be more successful than me, or have anything that I don’t have lest I feel inferior. After they have done those things, they need to give me the body of a Greek god so I don’t ever feel insecure in public, because that’s no fun either.

…See a problem here?  The government cannot, nor should it, ensure emotional well being. I have no right to emotional well-being, it is something that I must attain for myself despite the things going on around me that detract from my state of joy and contentment. That is why I say that the right to never feeling uncomfortable is meaningless… especially when we consider what happens if the right to never feeling uncomfortable makes someone uncomfortable, but I digress.

What I do have a right to, however, is physical safety. I have a right to my body. I have a right to decide who sees it, touches it, and in what context. So why should we  have sex-segregated multi-person bathrooms and locker rooms? Because a woman should not have to worry about being raped by a man in a public setting like that. Let me be clear. Transgender people are not the danger. The danger is any man sexually exploiting a woman in any way by pretending to be transgender. Right now, if a girl goes into a locker room and sees a penis, she can run out and have the man escorted out. If the morally progressive get their way, that girl will have to deal with the anxiety of wondering if that man is visually taking advantage of her the whole time she changes her clothes. That girl will have to wonder if that man has malicious intent. Rape victims will have to deal with men that are complete strangers watching them in facilities that should feel safe instead of vulnerable. The danger is already present even with men not being allowed in women’s facilities (and to a lesser degree vice versa). Why would we give potential predators a free pass in?

Now I can hear the bleeding hearts already crying out that I’m just fear mongering, and raising unnecessary concerns. However, recent history is already showing that my concerns are more than valid. Jason Pomares took hours of video of women in a public facility after dressing up as a woman. Norwood Smith Burnes decided to show off his women’s lingerie to children in a women’s restroom. (for sources go here and here) If we are already battling this disgusting behavior while biological men are not allowed in dressing rooms, why would we make it easier for men to get into restrooms by just putting a bra on? As it is right now, a man will be kicked out of a restroom no matter how he is dressed. If the bleeding hearts get their way, if a man wants to stay in a woman’s restroom he just needs to wear a bra and not get caught doing anything explicitly illegal (the key phrase is not get caught).

Of course someone could ask about how lgbt factors into this. Couldn’t I walk into an all male locker room and still be visually exploited by another male? Yeah, which is why people need to still be careful in those kinds of settings. Couldn’t a girl go into a female restroom and be watched by a lesbian? Sure. Could homosexual rape occur? Absolutely. Homosexual or straight, people have the same potential for evil. But the difference is that most women can defend themselves from another woman much more easily than they could a man (not everyone is Ronda Rousey). If I walk into a multi person bathroom where there are only males, I don’t have to worry about false rape allegations by a female. Sure, a guy could try making something up, but it wouldn’t be hard to convince a jury that I’m straight given that I have a gorgeous girlfriend. Even if a guy tries checking me out in a bathroom or a girl tries checking out another girl in a locker room, it’s going to be noticeable and it is going to be rare and therefore easily avoidable. I dare you to tell me with a straight face that letting men in a women’s locker room on an honor code system that they are transgender would not result in those females being lusted after in a place where they should have privacy. Then tell me that letting girls in the men’s locker will not result in the same problem.

So, what’s the solution? Despite my ranting, I really do have sympathy for people who do not feel comfortable in the restroom that has been designated to them based on their biological sex. So, in the perfect world I would like to see single person bathrooms and locker rooms to avoid the issue altogether. Until that becomes feasible, the solution is to prioritize physical safety above emotional comfort. Frankly, I’m not comfortable standing next to another dude at a trough. It’s just weird. But hey, I don’t expect the women to let me come use one of their stalls, so I suck it up (there’s the heartless young conservative in me).

Because I have a penis, I use the restroom for people who have a penis even when it would be more convenient/sanitary/comfortable to walk into the women’s restroom and use a stall. A person with a vagina should use the bathrooms and locker rooms for people with vaginas. It is as simple as that. Why should this be the case? Because the reproductive process requires vaginas and penises (I hope that did not come as a surprise to anyone). If you keep them separate in areas where they are exposed and utilized, you ensure that the area remains asexual in nature. Once you bring complementing organs of the reproductive process together, that area will be sexually charged by nature of our anatomy. Can that happen homosexually? Sure, in theory it could. But the reality is that we are biologically made for heterosexual intercourse, and keeping the two components of that process separate ensures safety and privacy from unwanted attention from the other sex. Just because our privacy is incomplete because someone of the same sex could still be a pervert in the same bathroom does not mean we should just abandon privacy altogether. It means we should further enhance our privacy by switching to personal facilities in the future, but until then doing the best we can with what we have. That means keeping public restrooms and locker rooms biologically separate.

 

Kyle Huitt
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Kyle Huitt

Part of the multitude that has lost their faith, but part of the few that has returned to it. This blog is my attempt to describe why I returned to the faith, and to maybe prevent somebody else from leaving it in the first place. Studying philosophy and history at Hillsdale College. Member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
Kyle Huitt
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