Are you a boy or a girl? Ask any 3-year-old that question, and get a straight answer. But in a society riddled with political correctness, that very simple question could be -- non-exclusive-deity forbid! -- "insensitive." And so, the first big fight of the new century has begun: Should transvestites-transgenders have the right to use whatever bathroom they choose?
Harvard University's Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) asked this vital question during "Gaypril," a month it dedicated to exploring the ins-and-outs of sexual orientation. The centerpiece of "Gaypril" was a screening of "Toilet Training," a documentary about "discrimination linked to gender-segregated bathrooms." The political chair of the BGLTSA spoke out against this massive injustice perpetrated against the gender-confused by "signs on bathroom doors that restrict basic freedoms from members of the community." Will the atrocities never cease?
Students at Beloit College are fighting the good fight, as well. The Gender:Queer Committee of the Women's and Gender Studies program has taken the lead in this vital battle. As Catherine Orr, chair of the Women's and Gender Studies department at Beloit puts it, "There are people for whom that is a very troubling and unfair burden in terms of always having to identify themselves when they walk through a door to relieve themselves." At Wesleyan University, students have more than gender-neutral bathrooms, they have gender-blind dorms, which do not assign roommates according to sex.
In Thailand, one vocational school has solved the problem of insensitivity in bathroom segregation by adding a third bathroom to their campus for transvestites. After transvestite students were harassed by both men and women for entering bathrooms, the school added the "Pink Lotus" bathroom. The bathroom carries a sign showing male and female symbols intertwined. The college registrar explained: "We don't support their decision to be transvestites. We are just trying to solve the problems of one group that is unhappy at school."
Silly me. I thought that deciding which bathroom to use was a relatively simple operation: Check a few inches below your belly-button, and use the restroom that corresponds with your particular set of genitalia. That solution should cover 99.99 percent of human beings, no? If you are a guy but enjoy wearing women's clothing -- well, don't be shocked when people make fun of you. That's life. If you're a girl and you want to use the urinal, don't be appalled when the men in the bathroom seem perturbed.