The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the freedom to pee in private. The cultural war has gone to the children, and children do not like it. Children and teens want the freedom to pee in private, or at least away from the prying eyes of the opposite sex. This act used to be guaranteed, but things are changing and not always for the best. There is a definite “bathroom crisis” in some areas of the United States as well as other countries.
George Packer wrote a long feature article titled “When the Culture War Comes for Your Kids.” He describes the decision to send his son to public school in New York City and the ordeal of finding the right one. The parents wanted the child to experience more diversity that he was getting in the private school where he previously attended. The parents did their research and selected a school, and everything seemed to be okay until one second-grade girl decided she was a boy. This one girl’s decision affected every child in the school.
The bathroom crisis hit our school the same year our son took the standardized tests. A girl in second grade had switched to using male pronouns, adopted the initial Q as a first name, and begun dressing in boys’ clothes. Q also used the boys’ bathroom, which led to problems with other boys. Q’s mother spoke to the principal, who, with her staff, looked for an answer. They could have met the very real needs of students like Q by creating a single-stall bathroom – the one in the second-floor clinic would have served the purpose. Instead, the school decided to get rid of boys’ and girls’ bathrooms altogether. If, as the city’s Department of Education now instructed, schools had to allow students to use the bathroom of their self-identified gender, then getting rid of the labels would clear away all the confusion around the bathroom question. A practical problem was solved in conformity with a new idea about identity.
Within two years, almost every bathroom in the school, from kindergarten through fifth grade, had become gender-neutral. Where signs had once said BOYS and GIRLS, they now said STUDENTS. Kids would be conditioned to the new norm at such a young age that they would become the first cohort in history for whom gender had nothing to do with whether they sat or stood to pee. All that biology entailed – curiosity, fear, shame, aggression, pubescence, the thing between the legs – was erased or wished away.
The school didn’t inform parents of this sudden end to an age-old custom, as if there were nothing to discuss. Parents only heard about it when children started arriving home desperate to get to the bathroom after holding it in all day. Girls told their parents mortifying stories of having a boy kick open their stall door. Boys described being afraid to use the urinals. Our son reported that his classmates, without any collective decision, had simply gone back to the old system, regardless of the new signage: Boys were using the former boys’ rooms, girls the former girls’ rooms. This return to the familiar was what politicians call a “commonsense solution.” It was also kind of heartbreaking. As children, they didn’t think to challenge the new adult rules, the new adult ideas of justice. Instead, they found a way around this difficulty that the grown-ups had introduced into their lives. It was a quiet plea to be left alone.
Packer continues his article by discussing the reactions of some parents who were not at all pleased with the solution put forth by the children and showed up en masse at the PTA meeting. The principal assigned a group of parents to settle the problem. After six months the school district decided that one bathroom would be gender neutral.
Tony Perkins wrote about Jasper, a small town in Georgia with approximately 3,800 residents. Parents in Jasper decided that their schools would stop the march for transgender bathrooms from affecting their children. More than 900 angry residents attended a special meeting of the school board. Accommodations had already been made for the two students that identified as another gender. There were single-person restrooms available for anyone who wanted to use them. However, the transgender students were not satisfied. Parents in Jasper were insistent. They were not going to run the risk of children with bladder infections caused by not drinking anything while at school. Their fury convinced the superintendent that they were serious, and they won the skirmish.
Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council, and he says that parents need to be prepared for the moment that this crisis comes to your town and your school. He suggests that parents read “A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education” as well as watch videos about the experiences of other people who have come face to face with this agenda.
Children and teenagers should not have to experience the fear or embarrassment of not being able to pee in private. This act is such a personal one, and the rising generation has enough problems without this one being forced upon them.