02749: Another Bathroom Debate

Most coffee shops and other smaller restaurants tend to have a single bathroom for everyone's use, regardless of gender. Technically these are already gender-neutral bathrooms and people don't seem to have any issues using them. But the moment you split them up along "traditional" male and female lines, then suddenly people become ultra-obsessed with everyone's genitalia and what that's supposed to mean.

We are more than our junk, people.

The biggest hurdle facing pro-LGBT measures like anti-discrimination laws is the fundamental problem many people have with accepting the validity of the various LGBT community identities. And thus we repeatedly fall into the trap about arguing about who gets to use which bathroom. And it's annoying that things always come back to the outlier case of straight men pretending to be transgender women in order to take advantage of more liberal bathroom rules.

But that's arguing against legislation that could benefit a greater number of people versus the sort of people who will go to any lengths to do bad things. It's like arguing that we should ban the sale of baseball bats and hammers because they can be used as lethal weapons. Or that we should close universities because they have a chance of producing radicals determined to bring down the government. Sure, these things can happen and actually do happen. But we don't limit ourselves based on those cases. We have existing laws that punish people for crimes of that nature. So we don't overly legislate all aspects of life as we know that the what-ifs will ultimately fall under the scope of existing laws and have clearly defined punishments.

I honestly feel bad that anyone had to go through the insult and humiliation that Gretchen Diez experienced. But at the same time, I recognize that events like this may end up acting as a springboard for making more significant strides towards genuinely advancing LGBT rights as it is more tangible proof that there are gaps that the law has yet to fully address and we need legal protections on the national level. It's a rather utilitarian view of a terrible incident, but that's how the civil rights struggle goes at times. But only time will tell if this will actually lead to more lasting change for the benefit of the community.