Maine proposed bill LD 1046 is troublesome. The bill, basically, gives the operator of a bathroom or shower facility the power to decide “who” can use it. If this sounds confusing, it is. I know I’m missing something.
Where things get difficult is with transgendered “users.” While the bill has bathroom operators choosing who uses the facility based on “biological sex” – that is, whether you’re biologically male or female, transgendered people generally identify with (and can very well be all but genetically) the other gender.
Joanne Herman, a transgender advocate – and transgendered herself – wrote about it on Huffington Post. She talks about a father, Wayne Maines – who was very vocal against the bill.
The takeaway comes in the second-to-last paragraph of the Wayne Maines’ letter. He says: “She came to me crying and asked, ‘Daddy what did I do wrong? Daddy please fix this?’ That is what dads do — we fix things. I had to break her heart and say, ‘You have not done anything wrong sweetie, but Mommy and I do not know how to fix this, but we will try.’”
As a father, you’re a fixer. The world, I think we can all agree, is broken. We’re the protectors of our children, and when our kids hurt, we fix it. Sometimes this means doing it the hard way – and sometimes this means knowing when to quit. A bunch of on-and-off-topic discussion after the break.
Maines’ testimony about LD 1046 is a moving read, and an insight into a family that is dealing with identity differences.
Only slightly off-topic: I’m reminded of the lady who let her five year old son dress up like Scooby Doo’s Daphne for Halloween. I still have mixed emotions about it – because in my heart, I know that letting your kid do something mundane and unimportant as dressing up like ANYTHING for Halloween is the “right” thing to do – but sometimes, when you know that their choice will lead them down a path that will risk their well-being, a little parental steering must be done. While in my heart, I know it was the right thing to do to let the boy dress up however he wanted – because, like she mentioned, if he was in college, it’d be a big joke and everyone would have a great laugh – we can’t know how all the attention has effected a boy his age. A college aged man would shrug off his detractors, laugh with his friends, and that would be that. But kids are more complex; they don’t just shrug things off – and their delicate maturation is dependent upon, among other things, acceptance from their peers. Kids can be revolutionaries, but it often comes at a cost. Am I saying that this particular kid shouldn’t have dressed like whatever he wanted for Halloween? I don’t know. It’s more complex than I think the mother initially said on her website. She passed it off as bigotry if you didn’t unquestionably accept the complex issue as black-or-white. But, to be fair – the best line of the mother’s post about her son’s costume was “If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to ‘make’ him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off.” I think my concern wasn’t in letting him dress in the costume, so much as putting it so far “out there” on the internet while she was obviously still mad. We all eventually learn the lesson of “blogging angry.”
But, as Herman said of her issues, as Wayne Maines is saying of his daughter’s issues, and as any parent, I’m sure, would tell you in similar situations – whether it had to do with issues of homosexuality, transgendered identity, or what people perceive to be dangerous cross-dressing – it’s complex. It’s not as easy as telling someone to pick a biological gender.
In any event, this is a great story about “modern” fatherhood – and something we’re seeing more often. This comes on the heels of last week’s terrible story about this father that killed his daughter’s girlfriend and girlfriend’s mother.