I posted this on my Facebook page this morning, but I thought I’d share it here as well.
Dennis Hastert sexually abused multiple children while he worked as a boys’ wrestling coach. He watched them shower. He gained their trust and then fondled them. He didn’t dress up like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, as proponents of bills like HB2 like to imagine. His disguise was much more clever and far more terrifying: He was a monster dressed as an authority figure, a buddy, a role model. He was like the thousands of coaches, teachers, clergy members, family members, family friends, camp counselors and others to whom we entrust our children every single day.
If there are nearly 750,000 predatory sex offenders free to enter our public restrooms in any form of attire, that’s what we need to address.
We need to address the fact that there are statutes of limitations on sex crimes, despite widespread knowledge that it can take victims many years before they are able to talk about what happened. They suffer in silence and then are told “Sorry, it was too long ago. Deal with it.”
We need to address the leniency in sentencing and the ease with which those in positions of power can often buy their way out of trouble.
We need to address the stigma of sexual abuse.
We need to address the idea of better education, so children feel more confident saying no, and speaking out.
We need to address the ignorance that teaches our children to fear anyone who looks different, but to follow without question anyone in a position of authority.
We need to address the reality that gender identity is a complex thing, not defined solely by the contents of your trousers.
We need to address the safety of transgender people, androgynous-appearing people, gay and lesbian people, as others in the community seek to harm them simply for needing to use the bathroom.
We need to address the safety of our children, who are at exponentially greater risk for suicide and self-harm if their sexuality and identity are not understood and supported by family and community members.
We do not, I promise you, need to address the question of whether or not your genitals match those of the person in the next stall over. If that is your concern, over all the others I just listed, then you are undoubtedly part of the problem.