Dear President Obama,
Your new requirements for gender neutral bathrooms are anything but progressive. They are taking women back 80 years to a time when it was more important for girls to be kind than to be safe; when men were always given the benefit of the doubt regardless of the circumstance and when female opinions were brushed aside as trivial.
TIME magazine recently reported a disturbing story about a locker room in Manhattan where this policy is already in effect. The girls’ swim team encountered a person who presented as a man in their locker room. He was “bald, with heavy stubble, and a towel at waist level.” He had just stepped out of the shower in a locker room full of girls ages 6-18 changing for swim practice. They felt uncomfortable and told the swim coach, but employees are not allowed to say a word. All 18 girls now squeeze into the family changing room in order to avoid this man at the Rec Center.
Now, Mr. Obama, you are welcoming and open, so this scenario probably doesn’t bother you. Perhaps you should send YOUR girls into the changing room with this man who claims to be a woman. Let your daughters leave their Secret Service at the door and change and shower while he nonchalantly watches them. Though you have raised them to be strong, smart, independent girls who control their own bodies and destiny, remind them not to judge. Tell them to disregard their feelings of fear and violation. After all, it is more important that this man feels comfortable than that your daughters’ feel their bodies are safe. Even though he is an adult and they are still children, emphasize to them that they are to be polite and accommodating so that he feels happy and wanted. When they mention how they feel to you, wave them off with words like “overreacting and paranoid” and instead praise equality. Then, make your daughters go swimming again tomorrow. Is your skin crawling yet?
While they are at swim practice, perhaps you could bring back the wage gap, the glass ceiling, and misogyny, to round things out. Or maybe your time could be better spent apologizing for a hasty policy without carefully thinking about real world ramifications for every day people. For kids who don’t have the luxury of country clubs, private pools, or careful parental supervision. For the kids whose only option is the city Rec Center and free after school programs. I need a background check to coach a soccer team, but any adult of either gender can waltz into a locker room full of unclothed children and our main priority is that adult’s feelings? Certainly there has to be a better way. Let’s find it.
Amen. Up until recently, I’ve given President Obama the benefit of the doubt, but not any more. He is now, more than ever, embracing evil.
P.S. I’m a friend of Meridith’s.
Hi Jennifer. Thanks for your comment…nice to “meet” you :)!
Thank you! Very well said and I completely agree.
Anxious to hear your answer/response, President Obama!
Me too Dee!
Very well put; as a father of 5 boys (now men) and 1 daughter (now a JC grad and doing just fine) I agree completely!!
Thank you Elmer!
Unfortunately, you won’t get a response, just a form letter from a jr. Staffer who rubber stamps the presidents signature along with his picture.
Unfortunately, I think yo are right!
eagerly waiting for obama’s reply sir please do reply for this post, it’s gonna rock in the thoughts of every parents
Thank you Julie!
Thank you! This just express what I feel, the fear for my daughter and son as well :/
Thank you Diosa!
Just curious if you actually sent this to the great Lion King. (The guy who thinks he’s our king and is always lying.) The whole topic makes my skin crawl!
I should Gwen. Wish there was a way for him to see it! Keep sharing…maybe he will.
Watch out Brooke, your bigotry is showing. Might want to tuck that back away. Not something you’d want to flaunt around, especially if you know what’s good for you.
Hi Lacey. Thank you for your comment, but I don’t appreciate threats. What I have written about it not bigotry. I have a desire for each person to feel safe, including those who are transgender and especially children. I am asking those in charge to look for better answers.
I took Lacey’s comment as Sarcasm…. I could be wrong, that’s the way I read it.
I hope so! Didn’t think of that 😉
Lacey – Would you please define “bigotry”? I thought that was making a distinction between people/things when there wasn’t one. That’s not the case here. If, however, you define it as someone looking down on others for whatever reason, then you are also guilty of being a bigot. Just curious as to how you got there mentally.
I completely agree! Very well stated.
Thank you Cynthia!
Thank you for this grear post! Just in Friday an 8 year old little girl was strangled in a bathroom by a 33 year old man. This does indeed open up the door to a myriad of disturbing things.
Yet what I think many are missing in the broader conversation is that transgenderism is a feeling and something that exists in the mind of a very few people who need help. In a fast and furious way, the media is trying to hide the fact that transgenderism is not reality. It is anti reality. So when we speak of this, we need to look at the broader conversation and talk about gender confusion and find a better holistic approach rather than encouraging or legislating something that is not reality.
i’m fairly positive that none of the folks who are advocating civil rights for transgender individuals are in favor of putting adult men into locker rooms to watch young girls change. surely rational minds can see that this is an issue of one person who is abusing the system (something that happens regardless of laws put in place to prohibit it) rather than something that should cause everyone to flip out and strip an entire group’s rights away?
my main issue with your post is your snarky comment about bringing back “the wage gap, the glass ceiling and misogyny”. those things are alive and well in this country – and even more so thanks to the presumptive republican presidential nominee. to pretend otherwise is naive.
perhaps you should look at this issue for the complex one that it is – an issue without easy answers, that’s made more complex by fear-mongering such as your post and the time article you reference. i am a mother and i would do anything to protect my children. but supporting discriminatory laws and thinking that they are going to keep my children safe? that’s not really advocating for my kids or kids exploring their gender identity.
Thanks for your comment, Piper Leah. The reason I wrote this post was to highlight the unintended consequences that could be especially harmful to children because of this policy. The hopeful take away here is THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY. I feel Obama was hasty in his actions and this problem should be carefully studied so that there is a favorable outcome for everyone involved.
“An entire group’s rights”???????????? So, we should cater to 1% of “transgender” population AND those who feel like “today, i’ll just be a girl” or “today, i’ll just be a boy” – and take away privacy and safety from the 99%.? awesome.
because gender specific bathrooms weren’t designed with the MAJORITY in mind in the first place? because the MAJORITY still know what gender they are and can safely pee and change in their respective facilities. but, now, we need to change that because………..one small group is “offended”. WOW.
and yes, there have been and always will be those who are abusing the system, what you’re missing is the fact that NOW IT’S EASIER AND MORE CONVENIENT FOR ANYONE TO DO SO!
Anony, unfortunately when you stated “none of the folks who are advocating civil rights…” you are incorrect. You can’t put a mandate in place and not think about the consequences. If something like this occurs at any public Rec Center or YMCA and we start having skyrocketing incidents because of a legal loophole, they can’t wash their hands and say “we didn’t mean for that to happen.” Secondly, I guarantee Mr. Trump is not responsible for wage gap, glass ceiling and misogyny. I don’t know Brooke, but what I will say is that her article is totally accurate and on point with regard to transgender declaration and facility use. I just wish there was as much emphasis on real issues than pulling something from the bottom of the stack. Surely you could think of 500 things far more important than for this Anony right? Stay informed!
Simply provide transgenders with their own “male” and “female” bathrooms. They need to understand that there are other vulnerable groups other than themselves, and women and children are a few of those groups. The feelings of many women and children on this issue are just as valid as are the feelings of the transgender individual. We are asked to validate the feelings of the transgender; lets ask the transgender to validate the feelings of young women in locker rooms as well, and ask them to be willing to have their own bathrooms for the sake of a group that feels just as vulnerable as themselves.
I appreciate your words; you echo many of my sentiments, and do so more eloquently than I can.
I think another issue is one that I haven’t heard (read) anyone saying: children should not be going I the restroom by themselves in a public place anyway. Whether it’s a gender specific bathroom or not, my daughter will not be going to a public bathroom by herself until she’s a teenager. That may make me a helicopter mom, but so be it. Times have changed, and it’s “better safe than sorry”. She will be taught about kindness vs. creepiness; how it’s impolite to stare or be stared at; how to defend herself; etc. How will she be taught this? Because I’ll be in the bathroom with her to show her what is okay vs. what is not okay!
Hi B-Rad. Thanks for your thoughts.
So well put. If he wants equality for everyone that includes his family. Every state needs to stand up against him and tell him no, he has no rights to shove his off the wall laws on us he is not a king. He is just plan evil.
Thanks for your comment Rakael.
I don’t know why anyone who voted for Obama the second time, didn’t learn from his first term in office! I was hopeful the first time that he would do some good for our country and make us proud to call him our president! But with his charismatic personality and promises (and with an additional dose of free programs) he swayed the destitute and businesses to his side! He has gotten away with a lot, too much, (along with Hillary) and now he has pushed it too far! We, at times, forget to learn from history! Obama, do you hate America so much that your goal is to bring it down along with our youth?! I don’t wish bad things on your precious daughters, I know how I feel about my own children: I love them and want to protect them!. But you seem to be blind to others! I pray you will open your eyes (and your heart) to the hearts of America and other innocent people around the world and stop trying to be “the boss”! Help us become united again in doing good everywhere! We ARE all children of God and He wants us to do what is right and help each other, the right way! This great nation is God’s promise land and as long as we are done what is good and right He will make this country and it’s people strong! If it continues this way we can’t expect much more! Globally, people look to us to help and as a good example of, not only freedom, but inspiration of goodness in mankind. It is what our country was founded on! Not thoughtless, power-hungry heathens. At least protect our youth! They are precious (all people of every age is) and they are our future. Stop thinking of yourself! If you don’t, we will have to “learn from history” again! God bless America!
Thanks for your thoughts Kathy!
All I have to say is, EXCELLENT!!
Thank you Sarah!
I’m sure he would send his daughters in because he’s a rational, intelligent person. I’m sure his daughters would have no qualms about it because they’re intelligent, thoughtful people.
So if you don’t want men sharing a shower with your young daughter then your not a thoughtful rational person?
Josh – using your “logic” you would also be comfortable with a male coach of a girls basketball team hanging around in the locker room while his team changes. Is that true? I can’t believe that you would be, but otherwise I don’t know how you would take the stand you do on the bathrooms. Please explain if I’m missing something here because I would like to understand…
I grew up in the 60′ and 70’s and was married in 1977. I was very innocent and naive, especially considering I was molested by my stepdad from the time I was 12 to 17, when I finally made it so rough around my house they let me go live with my daddy. Still, I had never heard of this happening at school. My eyes were opened when I became a preschool teacher shortly after each my own three children got into school. I had no idea how much evil there was in the world. So sad. I’ve seen Satan and his minions drag decent folks down progressively and there’s really not much further down to go before Heavenly Father starts over again.
Hi Robin. What a horrible thing to go through; I am so sorry. Keeping children safe should certainly be a top priority.
New solution: Make all bathrooms fully enclosed! My boys are swimmers. They are careful when changing in front of others. If we relooked at the bathroom/locker room model from an architectural point of view- why aren’t there more fully enclosed areas with doors (ie WC)- why do we need to have open area lockers… even when I have had to use locker rooms in the past, I always tried to find somewhere with a semblance of privacy- more of modesty thing than a gender identification thing. This is not a place that needs to be open air. There is nothing that happens in the locker room that I wanted to share with others. I am sure it is a budgeting problem, ie, “we are running low on funds, lets make 1/2 walls in the bathroom and group showers.”
I completely agree. If I had a choice I would always choose a private/enclosed option. These are the types of solutions that would make EVERYONE more comfortable. However, I am sure that funding is factor.
S Davis to answer your question: the reason bathrooms are not fully enclosed is to prevent assault or to stop other indiscretions. A fully private bathroom provides an opportunity for an aggressor to pull a victim in a private space without fear of being ‘interrupted’ by a coach/peer/supervising adult.
I work in the architecture industry (in Canada) and that is the way things are going, particularly in schools. The move is toward gender neutral washrooms where the sinks are shared but private, enclosed stalls are offered. You are right about locker rooms though. It’s a space problem. In a typical locker room you can accommodate 25 students changing in a much smaller space if it’s open, versus having enclosed spaces of 3’x5′ plus 6″ walls around. In my office, locker room design changes haven’t been implemented yet but I imagine it’s coming soon, likely before this decade closes.
Hi Amy. A single stall would be wonderful…it really may turn into the only option.
Brooke, I appreciate the measured tone of your post as well as the issue you bring up. A couple of points, and a question:
-Many of your commenters are not so measured and display a deep bigotry or at least closed-minded view of the issue. (Not recognizing that one’s personal interpretation of the Divine is not a basis for legal or even moral standards is closed minded). The policy may have flaws or unintended consequences, but that does not mean that Obama is evil or hates America. Let’s be real about that. So when you thank those commentators, it makes me question your stance.
-The same issue exists in the previous bathroom/locker room scenario. Creepy guys (there could be creepy women too, but you hear about it less) also creep on other men and boys in locker rooms of yeseryear. What solutions do you offer for those instances?
-Back to unintended consequences: there have been several reports of the transgender fear driving discriminatory behavior against cis-gender women who happen to have short hair or wear jeans or some other bogus reason to suspect they are trans.
-Let’s not forget that those most in danger in this conversation are trans people themselves. The only documented crimes around this issue have been against trans people by bigoted people (mostly men) acting out their fear with violence.
-So, what IS your better solution? I think it is irresponsible to stir up the pot with this critique without suggesting how to better protect all – children and adults of all genders. That is what you claim to want, but your piece only fuels the hatred against trans folks, which actually puts more people – adult and children who are trans (or are perceived to be!) – at risk.
Thank you Colleen.
1. In thanking readers for their comments, I would like them to know they are heard. I believe in free speech and the right to express your feelings and thoughts even when others don’t agree. I believe in civility and try to show that on my blog.
2. I agree with this too. My boys are now reaching the age where they would be in a locker room on their own and possibly shower. This also makes me squirm. Hopefully, this helps us push for more private options overall.
3. My issue with this policy is that children and women who feel threatened or uncomfortable would have no opportunity to share their fears or worries with an adult who was able and willing to help rectify the situation. Silencing any group with a policy is not okay. This includes those who are transgender. I am not okay with them feeling threatened either. This is the reason I wrote this piece.
4. I also think this is hateful and wrong. However, the requirement by Obama was hasty and did not look at every scenario. I would like our government to find an option where everyone but ESPECIALLY children feel safe.
5. I don’t have the solution, I wish I did…private stalls could be a starting point or perhaps times when only children can be in the locker room…I am not sure, but I would like people and our leaders to start thinking and really trying to figure something out that would protect everyone instead of trade one group’s rights for another. I have no desire to cause harm or hatred…none. I only wanted to write a piece that would allow people to think, talk, and hopefully come up with a better way.
I also appreciate your thoughtful and measured comments. Thank you!
SPOT ON, BROOKE! SPOT ON!!
Just today I was shopping with my 11 year old daughter who happens to have Asperger’s. She really , really hates shopping, so when she had to go to the restroom, I was so tired and holding many of the clothes we still needed to try on, that I almost sent her into the restroom without me, which I never do.
Thankfully the changes we are seeing with all of this as of recent POPPED into my head , and I put all the clothing down literally on the store floor in the men’s department , and of course, went right in with her. My child will not be going to any restroom alone anywhere at anytime. Just not willing to take that chance at all.
Amen to your insights. This is personal to me. My young adult son lives on his own now. He identifies as gender fluid, so with this “progressive” policy he is given license to go into either locker room on any given day, according to whether he feels more male or female that day. However, he looks completely like a man (actually, I’m sad to say, kind of like a homeless guy), and I’m sure would terrify any girls using the facility. I have another extended family member who is transitioning to female trans. I have compassion for trans people, but you are spot on that Obama has opened a Pandora’s box with this policy. We need to be looking out for our kids instead of trying to spare an adult’s feelings. This is absolutely crazy.
I created a petition for this…..
Perfect response. THANK YOU.
I had the same thought before I read your article! I wonder how he feels, as a father, having his teenage daughters share a locker room with a transgender male or even worse someone who poses as a transgender male.
My husband and I have 24 grandchildren and 2 great grandsons and this new policy infuriates us. We so agree with your letter, wish it could really reach Lion King’s desk. Our grandbabies are very precious to us and I don’t know what I would do if some confused person did anything to them. We need to stand up to this out of control PC or soon no one will recognize the United States that we know and love. Thank you so much for the way you expressed what so many of us are feeling.
Thank you, Brooke, for being brave enough to write this! I only wish that the president would actually see this and that it would make a difference to him.
To quote from The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “All human beings-male and female- are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents and as such each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” It is sad that there is so much gender confusion in the world. We need to love all our brothers and sisters while still making sure that all children are safe. I agree. There has to be a better way.
May I reference this post on my blog at llittlebitsofinspiration.wordpress.com?
Of course. Thanks Laura!
Thank you Laura! Excellent, well said!
Oops, I put the wrong address down. littletidbitsofinspiration.wordpress.com
President Obama just one statement to you on OUR children and grandchildren. If you do not intend for your girls to go to the restroom or dressing room with these people who just SAY they are transgendered to access these places. DO NOT EXPECT OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO BE SUBJECTED TO THIS FEAR AND EMBARRASMENT!!!! YOU NEED TO THINK BEFORE YOU JUMP. IT MIGHT SOMEDAY BE TOO FAR TO STEP!!!!!! IN MY OPINION YOU ARE AN EDUCATED DUMB ASS!!!! Another point. Could you live on 7743.00 a month and 172. 00 in groceries? The answer is no but no cost of living raise and all I worked from 9 years old to 55 and that’s the max I get a month? I just wish I had a quarter of your pay!!! Your wife’s dresses cost more than I live on a month. Sickening that my money is given to illegals that don’t even have a SS card!!! It’s my money untrusted to the government to give back to me when I needed it. I never gave you permission to loan or give out my money!!!!! I need a big raise or one lump sum of my money back. He’ll I can invest it and get more than what you allow me to have of MY money!!!!!
Let me just say, under no circumstances should you believe locker rooms/bathrooms are or WERE ‘safe spaces’. Our young men, in men only spaces are also actually statistically speaking always in the most danger of predators and assault (more US senators have got in trouble for lawbreaking it male bathrooms then transgender people or people purporting to be transgender) and nothing about letting transgenders go into the bathrooms with people they look like without molestation will change that. Because seriously this discussion isn’t really about bearded men in girls rooms and I don’t know how people got there, truly transgender people are going to be hard to tell without some type of scarlett letter or underwear check… and it’d be pretty easy to determine who was ‘dressing up’ with a little vetting of the rest of their life. Do I feel safe sending my kids (boys or girls) into public restrooms alone at young ages. No. Not 8 years ago when my first son was young, not any more or less now… because nothing has really changed… I just don’t believe anyone was waiting around for ‘permission’ to be a weirdo. I have several incidents from my adolescents and childhood that people would hold up today as some example of how we’ve done damage with this new policy, the trouble is that was 20+ years ago.
Agreed. Locker rooms are not safe spaces at all, and I do not believe ONE BIT that transgender people are more likely to cause harm. Predators are more likely to cause harm and there should be as many safeguards as possible to keep kids safe. Hopefully, this new policy starts a discussion and debate that should have been had long ago. Thanks for your thoughts.
I’m sure President Obama would feel uncomfortable about this too. No one should be allowed to assault others- but the Time article didn’t give more details so we don’t know if this person is transgender or not. I believe everyone has the right to feel comfortable in such an intimate setting. You claim to be searching for a solution that protects everyone. It bothers me that you brought up the story from the Time magazine article but chose to leave out the part that offered the suggestion of allowing only adults who are accompanying the children for 30 minutes after practice in the locker room. I appreciated your other comments about wanting to create dialogue but let’s be real, the majority who read your letter will not have a respectful conversation or engage you in the comments section after your letter but will use the drama of the (partial Time story) to fan their hatred toward the transgender community. Your letter feels inflammatory and fear-mongering to me.
I am sorry you feel that way and appreciate your comments and your civility. When writing this after reading the TIME article, I did feel passionate about the safety of women and children who were put into this situation. I did not feel like they were in danger because of transgender people, but that they were in danger by those who may take advantage of this law. My main concern was that with this law, they are not allowed to voice voice their concern or have a an avenue of recourse to protect their feelings of vulnerability in a changing room when confronted with an adult who made them feel unsafe. Taking that right away from them seems to me like taking so many steps back in a fight that women have been waging for so long…that they don’t have to be silent anymore when someone makes them feel uncomfortable. Teaching young girls that there is nothing they can do about an adult who seems to be crossing the line and that THEY should make adjustments feels so wrong to me…regardless of weather that adult is male, female or trans. TIME already published the full story (per copyright, I cannot publish the full article, but I DID link to it) and it was my hope that people would read it and think about the situation. My intention was not to fan hatred towards the transgender community but to shed light on the repercussions of a hastily made directive. Thank you for your thoughts.
Thanks for your thoughtful and respectful response Brooke. I really like what you said and I wish more of this response was included in your initial article. I think the way you wrote your letter came off as transphobic, hence many of the comments about it added to that negativity. I agree that it is a BIG step back for girls and women to feel that they can’t speak out when someone is acting inappropriately or assaulting them in any way. I hope with future respectful discussions that a compromise can be found so that transgender men and women can live their lives with dignity while anyone who feels threatened can feel protected and safe also.
Best wishes, Suzie
Agreed! Thanks Suzie. It gives me hope that we can have a thoughtful, respectful conversation about a heated issue on the internet. You made me smile today!
Appreciate you sharing, great blog article. Keep writing.
This a reply to ANONY comments to Brook Romney about her post on the transgender issue. You are wrong! There is one adult who is advocating civil rights for transgenders, that one is Obama. Are you forgetting about
the letters the DOJ sent to all the school districts telling them they had to carry out this policy on shared bath-
rooms and locker rooms for transgenders or loose federal aid. I believe this can and should be called black-
This is not a complex issue. It is simply a matter of decency and respect for women. There is nothing discrimin-
atory about it. Males do not belong in a female’s bath or locker room. Obama will not allow males to share his
daughter’s bath or locker room. I wonder, do you Anony, have daughters? If so, what are you going to say if
they come home and tell you a boy was in their bathroom with them and they had to expose themselves to him. Your reasoning on this sound exactly like the way Obama would defend it.
Ladies, you do not have to allow this invasion of your privacy. You have an absolute right to protect it, along with your virtue and self-respect from the preying eyes of men who do not respect you. No man of any decency
or honor would do this to women. Unfortunately, some men do not care and will do it. Tell Obama where he can put it, than beat the hell out of any man who tries to come in.
This could also allow pedophiles and evil people easy access to young boys and women, of all ages,endangering their lives. It is stupid to consider passing a law to prevent evil people from using public restrooms. Anon 2 is missing a few marbles. How could such a law be enforced?
Send the letter, I’m pretty sure he – the lying king – doesn’t read your blog.