The bathroom bill….

I remember many years ago talking to a young child…. I think he was 5 or 6…about personal safety .  He told me not to worry.  He knew who was dangerous and who was not.   His mother had told him.   I asked him what you did to be safe and he told me it was simple.   “Look at their heads…..”

I asked him what he was talking about and he turned and smiled at me.   “My momma told me anyone who would hurt a little kid had to be cracked in the head….”   (He was looking for the cracks.   That was his safety plan)

Today we have a new version of the cracked had…. Transsexuals in the bathroom with little girls.   I think the data would probably show that as many transsexuals have attacked little girls in the bathroom as people with cracked heads have.

Politicians looking desperately for a hate that sticks have flooded the country with bathroom bills that make where you go pee potentially a criminal offense.   In Tennessee one of the cosponsors of our bathroom bill has his office moved out of the legislative plaza after a special legislative committee decided that based on his normal behavior it was dangerous for him to be allowed access to women who worked in the legislature.

Scores and scores of organizations and businesses and people have pointed out that this is discrimination, hatred, and violates most of the laws in this country. There is, despite what Republican presidential candidates, say no right to legalized bigotry.

But I want to make another point.. a very personal point. These laws do not make children more safe. They make them less safe. They tell kids that danger is about people who look different, that nobody who is like them could possibly be dangerous. They tell them who to be afraid of and tell them the people you are afraid of is where the danger in life is.

It is a lie. It is a huge mountain of a lie. Anyone who has had personal experience or anyone who has worked with victims will tell you the most dangerous people are the ones who don’t look at first dangerous.

When I was a kid I knew to look out for weird or strange people. I knew I was safe.

When I was 13 years old I was sexually abused. It went on for 8 months. He didn’t look strange. He didn’t act strange. He was my pediatrician. I would stake everything I know now that I was neither the first or the last. He didn’t have a cracked head nor was he trolling the bathroom looking for kids. In every way he appeared to be everything that a trusted, respected person should be and he was a monster.

There are all kinds of opportunists but I think the worst are those who would tell us that we should hate and fear those not like us and then they ride our hatred and fear for personal gain. It is lower than a snakes belly behavior.

I am not afraid of people with cracked heads. I fear most those with stone and hard hearts who would tell us hatred and fear are the most American of values instead of a betrayal of what this country is about.

They are the ones we need protection from.

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One thought on “The bathroom bill….”

  1. Once again Larry, thank you so much for your courageous, powerful words. I applaud you not only for rightfully calling out the hate and discrimination of the recent rash of legislation seeking to criminalize trans youth and adults for using gender-segregated public restrooms; but for sharing your own childhood ordeal at the hands of a trusted pediatrician, and in telling this story, exposing how dangerous the “stranger danger” lie really is, as most sexual assailants and abusers of children (and adults) are trusted familiars, not strangers who are different.

    Having been raped by my nurse practitioner during a physical exam when I was 24, I experienced firsthand the trauma of such a deep level of betrayal by a trusted healthcare provider, and the long series of betrayals that followed when the rapist’s clinical supervisor and co-workers summarily dismissed my complaints; when the local nonprofits, civil and human rights bodies and legal system shrugged and took no action to hold him accountable, and the larger queer community we were part of continued to celebrate his work while I retreated in silence, fearing his retaliation if I went public. The trauma I endured as a result of this assault devastated me and followed me around for years — precisely because of the pervasive, pernicious lie that rapists are strangers who look very different and not prominent, respected community members with social standing. That lie perpetuates child sexual abuse and rape culture. Sincere thanks for speaking truth.

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