A new bathroom policy has Washington State residents in an uproar, and I happen to be one of them. For sixteen years my husband and I have raised our son and five daughters here. Six children, among millions of others, that can no longer use public restrooms, locker rooms or dressing rooms in this state, with a sense of privacy or assurance of safety.
This new mandate, issued by the Washington State Human Rights Commission, allows men who claim to be women, or who simply “express” themselves as women, full access to women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities. Of course this rule also applies to women who claim to be men. Initially, the original draft of this law applied only to Washington businesses, but it has been revised to include schools. Bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms are now wide open to anyone who claims to identify with the specific gender they were intended to protect.
- First and foremost, sexual predators, under the guise of identifying as women, can access areas where women and children are most vulnerable. Public outrage has centered upon the lack of acknowledgement that women and children have been put at risk with the new policy change. There are several cases where men, dressed as women, have filmed, assaulted and violated their victims in facilities provided to protect their privacy. Examples include Jason Pomares[i], Norwood Smith Burnes[ii] and Taylor Beuhler[iii]– men who dressed as women in order to expose themselves or secretly watch women and children. Predators will use any available opportunity to access those they want to harm, and this new policy makes it easier to do so.
- If women or children are uncomfortable with a man undressing in front of them in a bathroom or locker room, they will be advised to leave their appropriately assigned facility, while the gender-confused naked male is allowed to stay. It is now prohibited and considered offensive to ask transgender individuals to use a “gender-neutral” or separate bathrooms or locker rooms regardless of the presence of children or the privacy of others.
- Offensive speech will now be penalized. The Human Rights Commission has the ability to enforce this new rule with fines, as well as the possibility of lawsuits from individuals who feel they have been offended. In this case, what is “offensive” is so broad that it loses both meaning and credibility. Accidently calling a man “Mr.” after he has told you he “identifies” as a woman, can bring fines and possibly a lawsuit. Asking an “unwelcome question” about a person’s gender or identity is now prohibited[iv]. The absurdity and overreach of this new rule reaches a new level when an individual can legally consider it offensive to be asked which title they prefer, while at the same time having the ability to sue if someone refers to them by the wrong one.
- The final draft of WAC 162-32 has been expanded to include schools, eliminating their ability to use case-by-case discretion in allowing students access to facilities for the opposite sex. There is no limit to who can enter our student’s bathrooms and locker rooms, there need only be the claim of “identifying” or “expressing” oneself as that gender. Any argument to the contrary can be considered offensive and punishable.
We should have compassion for the confused, but this does not, should not, translate to dangerous policies that put the safety of others at risk. I have not witnessed any claims that transgender individuals are all sexual predators, but I have witnessed fellow parents labeled as bigots for voicing their concern that this policy can and will be taken advantage of by those in our society that are predators.
On the other hand, regardless of someone’s emotional or psychological claim to masculinity or femininity, parts are still parts anatomically speaking, and I do not want a man undressing in front of my little girl in a locker room. What mother or father would? Let’s use reason, common sense, and basic concepts of decency to protect the innocence and safety of our children. If you live in Washington, call your legislators and share how you feel about WAC 162-32.