Now that I've said it… What do you think about it?

Transgender, toilets and my newest heroine Lila Perry

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This is probably the most controversial post I have ever written. I have no doubt that it may alienate me from some of my followers, friends and certainly raise a few eyebrows.  My goal is not to be salacious simply for the sake of putting myself on the radar by riding the coattails of a very complex and trending topic. Instead I am confused and need to speak my truth.

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photo credit: CNN

While I am a man who is gay that does not make me an expert on transgender issues. In fact, it does not even make me an expert on gay issues nor do I wish to be the voice of the LGBT community. Now that we have that silliness aside let me get to the point of this post. While Bruce Jenner has bravely risen from the ashes like the mythical Phoenix and introduced us to Caitlyn Jenner, there is far more happening in the transgender community. Make no mistake, I have the utmost respect for Caitlyn and if she can make some noise, knot some panties and use her celebrity to raise awareness I am in 100% support despite my very public distaste for the entire Kardashian train wreck that has left me wondering what is pop-culture and what is simply a “hot mess” that has become a cash cow and simply won’t go away.

Growing up gay was hard enough as I come from an era prior to gay straight alliances on campus, marriage equality and a world where in many places nobody now gives a damn who I love let alone who I’m intimate with.

Yet a 17-year-old high school student navigating her genderl identity while dealing with everyday life as a teenager still has the insight to see that segregation and marginalization have never been the answer. In contrast, a room full of misguided parents who apparently have not taken the time to educate themselves on transgender issues have the audacity to refer to this young woman as “confused”.

It does not appear that Lila is confused but what does seem evident is that once again ignorance prevails and gender identity is equated with sex, sexuality and sexual orientation.

Lila lives in a small town of approximately 2,900 residents all of whom are not anti-Lila but for those who are I feel a deep sense of sadness and embarrassment as we are the adults in this situation and as such we have a responsibility to not only love and respect our own children, but to do so from a place of compassion, acceptance and most of all an unwavering commitment to educating ourselves on those issues that we must face first so that we can best address and advise our kids.

I’m not even going to begin to get into the legalities of this issue because I believe it derails us from the humanity of it. Ladies and gentlemen of the United States of America this great nation has always been about diversity, about freedom and about embracing the reality that the world is not made up of you and your three best friends.

Shame on you Hillsboro and shame on anyone else in this country, my country the United States of America that feels that citizens, people just like Lila are a threat to the health and well-being of our children.

How did the transgender discussion become about bathrooms and locker rooms? And while we sort it all out in the courts and town meetings here’s a radical idea. While I’m also not an expert on women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, for the time being put in stalls so that each young woman can dress, primp and answer any call of nature she needs in privacy.

In fact, without getting too graphic, isn’t that how the ladies room works?  While I’m not an expert on many of the issues mentioned I have certainly used my fair share of urinals and I certainly don’t see how they could possibly be of any use to ladies of any age in any bathroom or locker room.

To all the Lila’s in America and across the globe I am no expert on what you are living every day but I admire and respect you for having the courage to be authentic. And to the rest of you can we please stop talking about bathrooms and locker rooms?

her·o·ine (aka Lila)
ˈherəwən/
noun
noun: heroine; plural noun: heroines
  1. a woman admired or idealized for her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

7 Responses to “Transgender, toilets and my newest heroine Lila Perry”

  1. 338384kk

    i am a post op transexual circa 1998. i think lila should respect the rights of her female classmates. i disagree with caitlyn jenner. stay below the radar. you are young yet. threre is plenty of time to be you. transition, then move on and live your life as a woman. dont make front page news. you know how many of us are out there? thousands. listen to you parents, close friends and doctors. take your time stay out of the limelight. you are pretty and will do well. this validation thing that caityn is looking for is wrong. if you want respect then you must respect others.

    joanne

    Reply
    • JoshSays

      Joanne – Thank you for you post and for your courage – I have not walked a day in your shoes so I won’t pretend I have so I welcome the input – Here is what I think and feel free to educate me and disagree : ) – Lila is doing nothing disrespectful other than living here life. While it takes many of us longer than her to find our way and discover who we are transgender or otherwise, she seems well on her way so I feel that the concept of “respect” is exactly the point here and a gender neutral bathroom is not the answer. Education is and taking the time to find out what EXACTLY makes the other young ladies uncomfortable is the place to start as I think it is MUCH more than what is being said.

      The issue of Caitlyn I am not really understanding how she is disrespecting anyone ? Help me understand what you mean? Thanks again for posting and sharing !

      Josh

      Reply
  2. 338384kk

    i am a post op transexual circa 1998. i think lila should respect the rights of her female classmates. i disagree with caitlyn jenner. stay below the radar. you are young yet. threre is plenty of time to be you. transition, then move on and live your life as a woman. dont make front page news. you know how many of us are out there? thousands. listen to you parents, close friends and doctors. take your time stay out of the limelight. you are pretty and will do well. this validation thing that caityn is looking for is wrong. if you want respect then you must reapect others.

    joanne

    Reply
  3. Greg S (@TheRealGreg_S)

    Hey. Can I ask … I really don’t get it. It seems to me that, in general, if I were doing something that were making my classmates uncomfortable – it seems that I would do what I could to get along with others. For example, I get that you are using the closed bathroom stall example – but, use a real world example – Lila is anatomically a man (at the very least) and let us imagine that Lila wants to walk through the gym class locker room naked (let’s not put it past Lila to do so). Honestly, as a father of a teenage girl – I would imagine that I have a reasonable right to expect that my teenage daughter not be subjected to that environment. Why would Lila, or anyone deprive me and my daughter of our reasonable request for modesty at the very least.

    I am not saying that life isn’t hard for those who define themselves as transgender. But, a transgender locker room seems reasonable. It seems like that Lila will stop at nothing until Lila gets what Lila sees as a complete victory – but in the meantime stepping on the rights of the majority (as explained above).

    I hope I don’t get flamed over this – I am trying to be civil. I am just asking the question. Where as I missing it?

    Reply
    • JoshSays

      I don’t expect you will get any harsh feedback as you posted with respect and deserve the same in return — I appreciate your honesty and here is mine in reply… I feel this goes FAR beyond getting along with others. That is like saying that a black child should not drink from the same fountain if his/her school mates say it makes them uncomfortable. Or a girl should not be able to play on a boy’s sports team if she has the desire and skill. My understanding of gender identity is that the LAST thing those who are transgender want is to “flaunt” those parts of their body that don’t match the gender the identify with. That being said, the FACTS are that Lila has not acted inappropriately, has not walked naked anywhere, in fact it appears she has worked very hard to be the young lady that she is – I respectfully disagree about gender neutral locker rooms or bathrooms etc. If those young ladies feel uncomfortable why aren’t they given the option to change elsewhere? I try not to make comparisons to being transgender since I am not and would not begin to say I know what it is like to live with the challenges of gender identity but we should be focusing on what we ALL have in common not what makes us different. We should be educating ourselves and talking about these kind of issues that are admittedly confusing, complex and at times uncomfortable but we will gain nothing from silence and we will certainly not move towards greater acceptance by putting those that are “different” or not the majority in their own “special” rooms, places, corners etc.

      I deeply appreciate your thoughtful post and will defend your right should anyone attack you for it.

      Best Josh

      Reply
  4. Greg S (@TheRealGreg_S)

    Thanks Josh. I have read your reply 4 times very slowly so that I can understand as best as I can what you are saying. I 100% respect your thoughts.

    I hesitate to compare race with this particular issue. However, that’s not exactly my point. However, when we do compare this with the racial issue – in my opinion it gives unwarranted legitimacy to this issue.

    Also, the subject of “girls should play on a boys team if they can.” There are several concerns about that – the first that comes to mind:

    1. assume a trans-gender 300 lbs 17 YO anatomical male decided that he was female and decided to run the shit over the ladies basketball league. Although you may say he has the right to define himself as female – is it ok for him to play with the girls league? That could get ugly real quick! 🙂

    that’s just one, but I dont want this to get too verbose.

    Also, you suggested that we ‘allow the ladies who are uncomfortable to change elsewhere.” I agree with that – however, isn’t this just a semantic issue? Instead of calling the locker rooms “Girls” and “Trans” you are proposing creating a locker room called “‘Girls'” and “Girls who want to change with girls” … so, if that’s the solution – so be it. It looks a little childish though to me.

    Josh, honestly, we can’t get away from the fact that as humans we are sexual creatures. As a hetero male – changing in a locker room with a female would cause sexual feelings (because, nudity between the sexes is a sexual thing in our society). I would hope that a gay male would be sexually aroused by another gay male . What would cause us to not think that teenagers would be put in a situation that could become unsafe (or at the very least undesired)?

    I really want everybody to be happy, I swear to God that I do. However, this issue really concerns me. It appears that the homogenization of our children is the real goal here. I have no problems with people being who they are – but, we need to respect each others rights – one way or another. It’s almost like we are playing to the least common denominator these days.

    Thanks Josh. Really sorry this was so long – it’s just that nobody really talks about stuff aside from intimidation and disrespect.

    Reply
    • JoshSays

      you are correct it is so hard to make comparisons and not get lost in tangents. I see Lila as a young girl so I guess the fact that she wants to change with other young girls for gym where they change is not sexual it is rather normal.

      Thanks Josh

      Reply

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