In a common-sense move that promotes safety as well, the South Dakota Senate passed a bill last Tuesday requiring transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex at birth.
The vote was 20-15 to send the bill to Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who initially responded positively to the measure. Last week he said he’d need to study it more before making a decision.
Advocates of the bill say it is meant to protect the privacy of students. Accommodations such as single stall bathrooms for transgender students are a part of the plan.
The governor will no doubt be besieged by LGBT activists as he weighs the bill, as South Dakota would be the first state to pass such a bill into law. This bill and others that may follow will be an important signal to everyday Americans — the majority of the nation — that their concerns are important. The corporate world, where political correctness often translates to dollars, may be a different story.
In 2015, in Midland, Michigan, the lack of gender-specific policy resulted in a blow to personal safety and comfort.
Yvette Cormier went to the front desk of Planet Fitness after someone who “looked like a man” entered the women’s locker room while she was changing her clothes.
“I wanted to know why there was a man in the women’s locker room,” she told CNN. “He looked like a man, and that’s what stopped me in my tracks.”
She told CNN the front desk employee explained Planet Fitness’ “no-judgment” policy, which allows people to use locker rooms based on “their sincere, self-reported gender identity.”
Cormier saw it differently. “If you have male parts, you don’t need to be in the women’s locker room,” she told CNN. “I don’t care what you are; I don’t care if you’re gay, lesbian, transgender or transvestite. I am uncomfortable with you as a male in my locker room, in my restroom.”
Cormier reportedly went back to the gym on successive days to warn other members about Planet Fitness policy. She said she was acting out of concern for her safety and the privacy of other female gym members when she raised the issue. But Cormier’s Planet Fitness membership was cancelled.
How is gender identity-based restroom availability — which may sound both equitable and progressive in theory — going to play out in the real world?
LifeZette talked with four teens around the Northeast about transgender bathrooms. Here’s what they had to say:
From a 16-year-old male: “No way. If a girl walked into the boys’ room, even if she looked like a boy, it would be awkward and just … impossible. I would just leave, and try to go to another bathroom, and probably get into trouble for being late to class. I think it should go by what gender you are biologically. I think it would be even worse for girls if a boy came in to their restroom. I mean, couldn’t any boy just say, ‘I identify as a girl’ to go look at girls? I think there’s actually some danger involved to this.”
From an 18-year-old female: “I feel badly for people who aren’t comfortable in their own skin. I do. I don’t know what that feels like, so I don’t want to judge. But while I won’t make a judgment on people, I can make a judgment on policies. And I think that in America, we are bending to the will and whims of the minority, and the majority has to change or they are called haters. Or, a school system has to install new bathrooms, and spend money on that.”
From a 17-year-old male: “I think the whole country is being swayed by the transgender movement. In our school, they were going to change the graduation gowns to satisfy one student who felt ‘unseen’ because she would have to wear the female gown. That’s crazy! In America, I feel like, people used to be tougher. Not everything goes your way, and things sometimes get uncomfortable. But you have to just keep moving, keep progressing. You don’t stop and cry, ‘My rights are being violated!’ Stopping to complain ends a person’s moving forward.”
From a 17-year-old female: “What is going to happen when women start getting attacked in restrooms? My mom has already told me, ‘If you are in a restroom and a boy comes in, I don’t care if he’s wearing a dress and a wig, you leave.’ Isn’t it a safety issue, and not a civil or personal rights issue? When I see a transgender person I feel bad, almost like they are crying out for something — who knows what? But getting into opposite-gender bathrooms isn’t the answer.”
Will such voices and that of other concerned citizens be heard?
Perhaps South Dakota is leading the way among state legislatures in considering safety over political correctness. If that is true, will corporate America follow?
In the case of Planet Fitness, probably not. For a company that decries “gymtimidation,” they allowed it in their locker rooms, forcing out a fee-paying member.
“Planet Fitness is committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members,” the company said last year in a statement. Perhaps more accurately, they mean just the LGBT members — and those who support their every demand.
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