-Mobile continuation from Xanga blog PinkyGuerrero
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-Personal blog for Janika Banks.
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Saturday, May 28, 2016

in case some of you need more context on the transgender public restroom debate

I didn't date in high school, which I brought up in asexual pan and seriously lacking gaydar or any other kind of dar, which turned out to be a pretty popular post. I am asexual, and the first thing most people do when they hear that is ask why in the world do I care about a gender debate if I'm not interested in sex in the first place?

I'll skip the entangled layers for a few seconds to tell you what actually happened.

There were 3 brothers in my high school who didn't look at all rough and tough but were the toughest, meanest boys you ever met in your life. They 'picked' so mercilessly on gay boys that one of them actually dropped out of school and fled the state. By pick, I mean bloodied the hell up within an inch of his life.

I had absolutely no problem being friends with gays (trans wasn't used much as a descriptive word back then, so everyone got lumped into 'gays', or 'homos', even if it wasn't technically correct). I had no problem whatsoever sitting by them in class or at lunch, being seen talking to them, and generally being a friendly part of a subgroup of people I didn't really fit into, but I didn't fit anywhere anyway.

Those 3 boys had a big problem with it. I didn't say much during high school, despite my family thinking back then I was a bit of a whiner. I never told on people to faculty, never whined to friends, and never started fights. I was one of those true loners who mostly never talked.

I stood on the front lines in high school for alt gender, probably not so obviously to most people around me, but very obviously to the gays. Because I didn't take hints or react to remarks and comments and showed no fear of notes and being hissed at in the hallways, I took full body contact in P.E.

The day I was plowed to the ground so hard in flag football that I was nearly knocked unconscious by the brother that was in my grade was the day they ended coed flag football in my school. I couldn't breathe for awhile and had to have help standing, and was dizzy the rest of the period, and later discovered I had some pretty spectacular bruising and scraping. But I didn't cry. That boy was sharply reprimanded, but nothing else was done, even though he obviously tackled me on purpose with full intent to harm me. I mean, who doesn't get flag football?

The day I was smashed in the face with a 90 mph ball and my glasses shattered and my nose exploded into blood everywhere, that same boy (who'd just thrown that ball only a few feet from my face) stood there laughing. That was the last day we had coed P.E. in my school, period. Again, he was barely reprimanded, and nothing was done. I went without glasses for several weeks until my parents could scrape up the money to get me another pair.

I was very popular with the alt kids that year. The ones having free period would sit on the bleachers and loudly cheer my name every time I walked into the gym. My parents never knew. I never told my siblings. I never once talked to one person about how someone attacked me. I didn't whine or blame or cry.

Now, let's untangle the "why in the world do I care about a gender debate if I'm not interested in sex in the first place?"

My own first thought is, I wanna ask all you people who are worried about trans in the wrong bathrooms something- Is it wrong for a man to intentionally beat up and bloody a woman in public just for not behaving correctly after being threatened? Because that's what happened to me. I'm a girl, and not even gay. I was not just bullied, I was beaten bloody for being friends with gays, not in secret, but wide out in the open in front of a lot of people.

If it's not ok for a man to hit a woman, is it ok for a man to behave that violently to another man just for walking into a bathroom? Because it happens. A LOT. Men have been beating up other men in men's bathrooms so badly for so long that many men actually fear for not only their safety, but sometimes their lives. Why are these men being beaten up? Because even if they don't present as female, sometimes they just 'look gay', and that prompts mean men to pummel the living bloody daylights out of them, just like it did in high school.

So, men use women's restrooms. Why? Because women don't tend to beat them up just for needing to pee.

I use men's public restrooms. I very openly walk into men's restrooms when women's restrooms are closed for cleaning, and no one bats an eye. No one beats me up. I can be wearing men's clothing and no makeup and look as 'dyke' as they come, and no one bothers me.

So why is it ok to make laws that allow men to be attacked even more in public restrooms? They already fear men's restrooms, now they have to fear women's restrooms, as well.

So, first of all, just because I'm asexual doesn't mean I don't care about sex, but SEX has nothing to do with using a public restroom to pee, does it? Gender ID and sexual preference are two completely different things anyway, so that is just really poorly worded. Second of all, I CARE because people are being BEATEN UP. By 'nice' people. By people who spout all kinds of stuff about 'Murican freedom and Christianity. By people who get worked up about the kind of nonsense that gets people hurt and killed.

The reason I'm writing this out is because I'm getting some comments on a facebook status I wrote- "First hand experience considerations that I think laws against Trans in public restrooms would inadvertently cause great difficulty for many people is single parents with opposite gendered disabled children and older people relying on a spouse for help. I'm sure there are other situations as well. Sometimes gender has nothing to do with actual public restroom safety."

Scott was a single parent for 3 years before we got married, and he had custody of his baby daughter. He often had to take her into a public men's bathroom, and was always terrified someone would think he was a child molester. My mom became so deficit from strokes that my dad would escort her into the women's bathrooms in Walmarts to assist her, and although it felt weird to him, not one single woman complained about it. What woman wouldn't want a husband like that? I sometimes see family restrooms now in clinics and other places, and hear people mock them as they pass, making jokes about why whole families need to pee together, how wrong that is. Well, do you know nothing of handicaps and seniors and children and stuff like illnesses and injuries? I've been having to use handicap facilities for years because of spinal injuries, and for a couple years in my own home needed actual assistance. If I ever need my husband to come into a bathroom with me, people around us making a big deal had better hope I'm in too bad a shape to get in their faces about it.

I have no answers to the public restroom debates, but I will offer that it's nice to live in a country that believes in public restrooms in the first place. Some countries still don't. As for your reasons for why trans shouldn't use the 'wrong' public restroom, have a little consideration for 1- all the other people who will be affected by laws put into place out of fear, 2- the fear alt genders live with every single day everywhere they go, and 3- your inability to think outside a very small box. Many of you have been using restrooms with trans for years and probably never even knew.

My brain, like my body, doesn't 'work right'. The chemicals and hormones don't fit into an 'average' balance. I don't experience life the same way 'normal' people do. Am I to blame for being born into a gene pool heavily laced with autism spectrum, autoimmune illnesses, cancers, and hormone problems? I've been living with everything from joint pains throughout my childhood to diabetes into my aging adulthood. Does this body, something I have no natural conscious control over on a cellular level, make me a bad person? Does the t-shirt I wear instead of a blouse make me a bad person? Does who I am standing here being warrant me getting beaten up? Because I sure was bloodied up in high school by a 'nice' young man with a very strong moral principle that somehow failed to red flag 'men shouldn't beat up on women' in his mind.

What I'm saying is that you can't stand both against violence and for it. You can't stand up against domestic abuse and condone public restroom abuse. You can't say it's not ok to hit someone here but it's ok to hit them over there.

Human rights, human dignity, human public safety.

That is what the trans public restroom debate is all about, and that's what it stands for globally. It's not about genitals and being in the wrong bathroom. It's about people being bullied, beaten up, and even killed just for being different, even when they're doing their best to not start any trouble.

I'm not afraid of trans people in the same bathroom as me. I'm afraid of people who will hurt me in public and laugh about it just for being kind to other people, and the people who won't do anything about it because they're more afraid of the bully than they are of the trans person. THAT'S WHAT THIS WHOLE DEBATE IS ALL ABOUT.

I don't care what your religion is and what your beliefs are, if you are dismissive of others and cruel to people over silly ideas that you make big fusses over, I do not stand with you. If you believe it's ok to hurt (and kill) other people just for believing something different from you and looking different from you, and you base everything you think you know about life on glances without getting to know what it's really like in other people's shoes, then you've got a real problem when I walk into your room.

Back in high school I didn't say anything. I'm saying all the things now. I could be out here naming names, I could be naming and shaming, I could be pointing and accusing, but I'm not. I'm asking people to think it through. Untangle the layers and use your brains for a few minutes. Because from my point of view, not using your God-given brain is a sin. If you want to debate actual sin with me, I will win. I was trained to debate religion by one of the most obsessed people on the planet by the time I was ten years old, and I've spent all my years since soaking up everything I can about world religions, philosophies, political history, heck, the history of the whole human race since the dawn of time and the evolution of modern day thinking. If you're not yet familiar with me, I enjoy a little Orwell with my breakfast, and that's just the start of my day.

Here's the point blank of it all. People of faith are the only ones required to follow God's law. It's not your job to punish those outside the faith. It's not your job to condemn the world to the point where you drive even your own loved ones out of your lives. Your job is summed up in the golden rule, is it not? To wish death and harm on others without provocation means there is something wrong with YOU.

Something to think about.

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