Dear Grandpa Diff,
I have not written for a long time, but I thought you would be interested in some cultural issues we’re dealing with here in the good old US of A.
As I’ve mentioned before, lots has changed since you passed away several decades ago and likely went to a pleasant meadow behind the pearly gates. (If St. Peter didn’t let you in, there isn’t an iota of chance for me.)
Anyway…we’re having difficulty with our bathrooms. No, it isn’t the toilets, sinks and pipes; it is a rather gnarly debate over who uses which facilities.
I’m sure this strikes you are odd. After all, in your day when a kid in a school needed to go, a boy used the boy’s room and a girl used the girl’s room. Of course, in those days there was general agreement on who was a boy and who was a girl.
There likely were some confused kids back in your time, but I don’t ever remember you mentioning anyone in your circle of acquaintances being transgendered or gender questioning.
Oops…you probably don’t know those terms. A transgendered person is someone who was born biologically of one gender, but identifies more (at least in some part of their own mind) with the other gender. In other words, a baby boy might decide at some point he wants to be a she, start dressing like a girl and even have surgery…well…never mind about that.
A gender questioning person is someone who isn’t sure which sex they are called to be and wants to try various options. I admit I have a difficult time understanding how this works.
This is all by way of background to the debate our society is having: should a person use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender according to birth or their gender according to how they feel? Is where someone pees determined by biology or emotions? Or should everyone just go into one unisex bathroom and ignore biological differences?
North Carolina passed a law to settle the issue for Tar Heels – in that state you have to use the bathroom that corresponds to your biology. Thus, even if a boy is feeling really girly on a particular day when nature calls, he still has to use the boy’s room.
This has outraged some groups. The governor of Washington State has banned state officials from visiting North Carolina. (Washington has a law that says you can use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender you feel you are.) The governor of New York has done the same thing.
Here in Chicago, the mayor has asked all citizens to refrain from traveling to North Carolina. Hey, I never knew the mayor carried so much about toilets. Maybe this means he’ll put a few more port-a-potties in Grant Park.
With hope…your grandson…Jim