When I went to my office bathroom this past Sunday, I encountered something terrifying that led me to run out shortly after I entered.
I heard someone taking a huge dump. A rest-stop-during-a-12-hour-road-trip sized dump. And I want no part of others people’s poo process.
It’s why, my freshman year at Lincoln University in PA, I timed my eliminations for the evenings, when the janitors cleaned the stalls of the least used academic buildings. Letrell wasn’t taking any dumps in anybody’s communal bathroom in Frederick Douglass Hall.
It’s why, when I take long trips, I take anti-diarrheal meds to shut that whole thing down, because I’m not trying to do number two in a rest stop bathroom, even though I know damn well that method isn’t healthy.
It’s also why I do not understand all the hysteria behind who's using the toilet in public bathrooms. There is no logical reason for anyone to be concerned with the gender identity of the person excreting filth and flarn behind a dirty, busted stall door. But that is exactly what has happened over the past year, as the North Carolina transgender law has become a polarizing issue, with "people who are right" on one side and "people who are wrong as hell" on the other.
Anyway, if you do happen to be one of those people who are wrong as hell, please pay attention.
1. Be Honest About Your Fears
You are not worried about sexual predators. The only reason you are opposed to sharing your dumping grounds with transgender people is bigotry.
You think, for whatever reason, that something is wrong with transgender people. You think they are sinners. Or you think it is icky. But that is the only reason you think the law passed in North Carolina is good, or the order to open up bathrooms in schools by the Obama administration is bad.
And you are using the “rape” excuse, because you don’t want people to think of you as a bigot.
Transgender does not equal pedophile. It does not equal rapist. They are not coming into the bathroom to abduct your children. They are coming into the bathroom because they just went to Chipotle (like you) put too many beans on their burrito (like you) and are there to have the remains of those beans violently exit their bodies (like you).
The other idea floating around – that pedophiles will use the law to abduct children under cross-dress disguise is absolute foolishness. And it also is a sad reflection of how clueless this nation remains about who actually commits the majority of assaults in the nation.
While random assaults and abductions do take place, they are significantly rare in comparison to other cases involving people known to the victims. The greater threat to you or your children isn’t the person taking a pee in the next stall. It’s the person in the next pew, or in the pulpit. It’s the person in front of you, or next to you, at the parent-teacher conference. And frankly, it’s the person at the next picnic table at the family cookout.
Shit, statistically speaking, it's you.
2. Be Reasonable
Guess what? You've already been sharing the bathroom with transgender people for years. In many cases, you would probably be freaked out more if some transgender Americans actually followed the logic of the inane North Carolina law.
Furthermore, there is no way of enforcing a genital-based ban anyway – at least one that people would be comfortable having. You think airport security is intrusive? Well, imagine airport bathroom security. We don't even want to take off our belts. Imagine…well…just imagine.
3. Take a deep breath, and stop worrying about who's in the bathroom with you.
What you need to worry about is what the last person who used your stall left inside or around the toilet bowl. Because that’s the one thing that's truly terrifying about public restrooms.
Dr. Letrell Crittenden is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Robert Morris University, and a board member of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation. He studies and writes on issues related to diversity and inclusion with the media industry, and community journalism.