Monday, May 9, 2016

Sex offenders, transgender folk, and public toilets

I thought I was through writing about this transgender/bathroom issue when I wrote “Is Target’s bathroom policy an open door to sex offenders?” I’m really sick of the whole silly thing. The expression “tempest in a teapot” surely was penned for situations such as this. However, two recurring themes in pieces written on the issue are driving me to the keyboard again.

One is the identification of many who are protesting the loudest about the matter as “devout Christians” or “fundamentalist Christians.” I myself am a devout Christian, by some standards meeting the criteria for the fundamentalist label, and I am almost embarrassed to admit it in light of the ignorance, vitriol, and downright silliness displayed by these protesters.

My strongest ire, however, centers around statements such as this one from – what else – the Christian Post:

“…with one of the protesters, a mother of four, warning that there are as many as 209 registered sex offenders within a 5 mile radius of that particular [Target] store. ‘With Target's new policy, it's unverifiable. You cannot verify a person's intent, so these sexual predators will use these policies to gain access into the women's restroom, making it a dangerous place for women and children,’ said Carrie Peterson.”

Where do I begin? I guess first with this woman’s belief that all on the registry -- regardless of the offense committed, discounting that a few of them were wrongly accused and convicted, ignoring that the vast majority have been in the community, many for years, without committing a second sexual offense – are predators.

This is one of the most insidious dangers of the public registry. The mere presence of a name on it cries to the public, “Watch out; I am a menace; I will do you harm!” when very, very seldom is that accurate.

And as ignorant and as lacking in any evidence whatsoever is her assumption that registrants will put on dresses, wigs, lipstick, and heels and infiltrate women’s public toilets in order to molest those in there.

We all want to keep children safe, but there is no evidence whatsoever that trans people pose any sexual harm to children or that registered citizens dress up as the opposite sex in order to commit crimes in public bathrooms. Children are far, far more likely to be molested by those close to them in their everyday lives and in their own homes or other places they regularly frequent than by anyone they don’t know, regardless of their gender identity, in a public place.

So if you feel compelled by God to protest this or similar bathroom policies, please make it clear that you do not speak for all persons of faith, and for crying out loud, do a little research and learn a few facts.


  1. It's like a "9/11" effect, isn't it? Before that date, it was inconceivable that someone would be willing to fly an airplane into a skyscraper. Now, we assume anyone is capable of anything. If even one person (in a national population of well over 320 million) tries to commit a sexually violent act in a Target bathroom, the media will trumpet it to the point where people believe it's constantly happening everywhere.

    The trouble is, we want a 100 percent, iron-clad safety guarantee. As a devout Christian, Shelley, you are no doubt well aware of the only way that's going to happen. And it isn't going to happen in this world.

  2. Unfortunately, the fear was created by Christian radio "American Family Radio" stating during the Target petition drive that sex offenders would use the women's bathroom to seek out victims. I never thought the country would have bathroom wars and what we have seen is the sacrifice of a human for a particular cause. There are some individuals that will take advantage of any situation for their cause like the young man that IS NOT on the registry went into the changing room of Target in Frisco Texas and took pictures of a young girl. No matter how a person tries to better themselves the people, the Christian, the politicians seem to throw the registrant under the bus even when the registrant is following the laws.


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