BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama’s only openly gay state legislator says fears surrounding the transgender bathroom debate are unfounded and if parents really want to protect their children from predators, they should not allow them to participate in church or other activities that put them under the temporary supervision of other adults.
“If you really want to protect your children from child predators, don’t take them to school, public parks, church or allow them to play sports or use the internet,” state representative Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) wrote in an op-ed on Alabama sports website and liberal political blog al.com.
Todd says some of her legislative colleagues have said “stupid things” with regard to transgender issues because they have not personally met anyone who struggles with their “gender identity.”
Recently a fellow legislator wanted to talk with me on the issue and he said he supported the law in North Carolina that mandates people use the bathroom of their birth sex. I asked him how many transgender people he knew personally. His answer, of course, was NONE.
I know many of you can’t imagine a person feeling that he or she was born in the wrong body. But there are millions of people in every country around the world who do. I’ve witnessed so many friends struggle with the mainstream view of “male” and “female” and I’ve seen the emotional trauma, the isolation from friends, family, and society, and the pain this mainstream view inflicts on them.
All of us express our gender identity and gender expression in different ways. There are hundreds of ways that a person expresses his or her gender identity. To think that are is only two ways is ignorant, narrow-minded, avoidant of the truth. People are not “Barbie/female” or “G.I.Joe/male”. Each individual is unique and therefore expresses every aspect of his or her uniqueness – including gender identity in myriad forms.
Todd also accused politicians who are opposed to allowing men to use the women’s restroom and visa versa of “demonizing” transgender individuals and “appeal(ing) to the emotions of voters” with “stereotype(s) promoted by the right.”
“This is a classic diversion technique used in politics,” she said. “If you know you can’t win on facts or merit, throw out a damning statement that will appeal to the emotions of voters.”
The transgender bathroom issue began making headlines after laws were passed by North Carolina and Mississippi requiring individuals use the restroom that corresponds with their sex at birth, as opposed to their gender identity. Predictably, the new laws have drawn ire from the LGBTQ community, with many activists claiming that it violates their civil rights.