I was just reading about the school in Missouri where students walked out because a transgender student was allowed to use the girls’ locker room. I had heard it was over a bathroom. No, a locker room is quite different. In a bathroom, at least there are stalls with doors for privacy.
My last locker room experience was in junior high, after which I waived PE the rest of my school years. The girls in my school HATED the locker room. Most of us were incredibly shy and all of us being girls didn’t make us feel any better about it. We were in our awkward stage for sure – some of us wishing our boobs weren’t so big and others wishing we would finally get them.
Even though we most likely didn’t break a sweat in PE, we were required to shower before we went to class, which was not done in privacy. Female gym teachers stood there with clipboards as they marked us off. If they didn’t witness us showering, then it didn’t happen. If we were on our periods, we could remain in our underwear and rub ourselves down with wet towels. Or course, this caused some of us to be on our periods a lot! (We lied.)
If were weren’t on our periods, we left our underwear on anyway, slipped our brastraps down, and covered ourselves with our towels. We dipped our legs in the shower and didn’t actually let go of our towels. No, we didn’t scrub our armpits with soap or anything. We were determined to never be naked in front of each other or see each other naked.
This was a humiliating Hell that I dreaded every day because I thought the teachers were going to tell us to take the towels off and put our naked bodies in the shower. It was bad enough having them stare at us. If a transgender girl had been allowed into the locker room, meaning a person who identifies as a girl but still has a penis, I can’t even describe how that would have affected me, although I think a good ice breaker would have been if they yelled, “Rub down!” claiming they’re on they’re period too.
I don’t know how school locker rooms work nowadays. Are they more modest? Is there more privacy? Are kids not forced to shower after PE? All I know is that when I was a teenage girl, one of my goals in life was to not see anyone’s penis until I was married, unless it involved a diaper and babysitting. In fact, a boy I was giving a spelling test to in a back room when I was a teacher’s assistant was making “jokes” that he needed to adjust himself and would need to remove it from his pants. I don’t know if he did, because I wasn’t going to look. (Still, I should have reported the incident immediately.) As I told this story to a relative, I said, “I decided that was NOT going to be the first penis I ever saw!”
There is no perfect solution to make everyone happy when a student declares they are the opposite sex of what they appear to be. I would never want anyone to feel bad, but I feel like the fairest and most respectful solution is for transgender students to use a private bathroom since you can’t offer it to the 100+ girls who feel like it’s a violation of their privacy. Oh, what I wouldn’t have done for a private bathroom!
Students who are transgender have feelings. So do students who are not transgender. We don’t know their experiences. We don’t know what they have gone through that would make this sort of experience especially upsetting.
I have taken my kids to the pool where many women are comfortable walking around completely naked in the locker room. Now if a transgender woman who hasn’t had sex reassignment surgery was walking around in such a fashion, I think I would be quite alarmed thinking a man had come in there to expose himself. They’ve just been in the pool, their hair is wet, and their make-up most likely washed off. How would anyone be able to tell they identify as a woman? In fact, any man could just put on a women’s bathing suit for a day and claim they identify as a woman just to gain access to the bathroom where both women and little girls are changing.
No. Just no.
The key to getting everyone to understand your plight is not forcing everyone into this kind of situation. If we had had co-ed locker rooms when I was a kid, I would have protested. I never would have set foot in one. I don’t hate men. I just don’t want to change in front of them! And whatever gender you identify with does not change the way I perceive you when faced with locker room nudity. Your thoughts and feelings don’t travel to my brain.