Back in the spring, taking my granddaughter to school, I asked her if there were transgender students at her school.
We’d been listening to the news on the radio, and the so-called “bathroom bill” had been that morning’s topic.
“Yeah, there’s one that I know of,” my granddaughter said. “He’s – well he was born a guy – but he, you know, is a girl. He’s really pretty.”
“Where does he/she go to the bathroom?” I asked.
“Oh my gosh, Grandma. I don’t know. I don’t pay any attention to where anybody goes to the bathroom. I don’t watch them and they don’t watch me.”
“So this isn’t a big deal to you?”
“It’s not a big deal to anybody I know of.”
“Except those who don’t want to make big deals out of important stuff,” I thought. “Just focus on the unimportant. Fiddle and let Rome burn.”
And there seem to be enough fiddlers and real issue ignorers in our state legislature that there won’t be a shortage of the ridiculous. We will and have wasted ample amounts of time and an untold amount of money figuring out how to require birth gender identity for every person who feels the call of nature while in “protected” public facility.
As a side note, we Cooksey sisters were schooled early on how to squat behind a tree when out at the farm. I couldn’t help but notice that it was much simpler for the brothers. But I didn’t give it too much thought.
I’ve said before, and will repeat, my concerns about bathroom etiquette are straightforward. Flush and clean up after yourself. I will try to do the same, including (but not limited to) wiping up water that splashes when I wash my hands. I’d prefer it if none of us would stink up the place, but I’m not going to make a big deal over that. But if that becomes a law, I may be going to jail – well, lots of folks are going to be in big trouble.
For a while, I thought the so-called bathroom bill was a joke. How could it possibly be enforced, I wondered. Then, when I heard big businesses were weighing in and such a law could be detrimental to our economy, I thought, “Well that will be the end of that.” Wrong, again.
This is another one of those issues people are for or against. Neither side is going to reconcile with the other. When I saw on my newsfeed Saturday morning, the bill had passed in the state senate, I was sad. Sad because of all the things that might have been fixed, that are broken, this huge focus was given to something that isn’t broken – or at least doesn’t need fixing.
In nearly 65 years of using bathrooms – public, private or pasture – I’ve never been accosted or bothered. Not once – OK there was a spider once behind a tree that I didn’t see pre-squat. I let it be, and he let me pee. I cannot say the same for elevators at convention hotels. (Forty years ago, I got on the elevator in the lobby and punched my floor. The handsome suit-wearing man got on at the the next floor and tried to follow me to my room. I flirtingly convinced him to go to the bar with me for a drink, and enlisted the bartender’s help so I could make an escape.)
I just don’t know anymore. I’ve been vocal about this and other political hot topics so that people I thought were friends have called me a “Lib-tard.” But isn’t the conservative view about less government? How does this unenforceable bathroom bill fit it with that? What if, now that my convention days are over and my cuteness has all worn off, I’m mistaken for someone who was born a male, and not actually an aging fat lady who didn’t have the foresight to carry her birth certificate in her purse?
I don’t understand transgender urges. Honestly, I don’t know of anyone in my circle of friends, family and acquaintances who that’s been an issue for. I’ve never heard of bathroom attacks occurring, except by bullies who are in the right gender specific bathroom, by the way.
To quote my pastor friend, Kyle Hooks, “We will not fix our country by making better rules. We will fix our country by making better hearts.” My addition to that, is to start with ourselves, with our own hearts, minds and with our own self-control.
Editor’s note: Candace Cooksey Fulton, formerly of Brownwood, is a freelance writer now living in San Angelo. She writes weekly columns for the Brownwood Bulletin and the San Angelo Standard-Times, each unique to the particular paper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.