Say no to gender neutral bathrooms 

From Shake Shack to the Sawyer building on our very own campus, gender-neutral bathrooms are being installed around the country. Proponents of the radical shakeup to the way we “do our business” make a pretty appealing and straightforward case: A person who identifies as gender-neutral or transgender that feels uncomfortable entering either the male or female bathroom has a right to their own bathroom where they do feel comfortable. 

Although it seems appealing to air on the side of “rights” and “comfort” in this debate, you should say no to gender-neutral bathrooms as they distort scientific reality in order to perpetuate the myth that biological  sex is a  mere “social construct.” Not only do they distort science to fit an a-scientific narrative, they create more discomfort than they alleviate, open up avenues for sexual abuse that were previously non-existent, and push the dangerous myth that commodities and services of any kind are fundamental human rights.

First, the idea that a subjective feeling of discomfort for one individual necessitates a complete change of cultural norms for everyone in the bathroom is quite a stretch of logic. Bathrooms are not separated by gender as the transgender rights activists would have you believe. Instead, bathrooms are separated based on biological sex. Men go to the bathroom with other men, women go to the bathroom with other women — and for good reason. As much as the transgender activists advocate for the notion that there are no inherent differences between the sexes, anatomy says otherwise. 

Activists may respond that there is no need for the separation between the sexes, but this flies in the face of common sense. Would any woman prefer to be in the same bathroom alone with a group of inebriated men at a bar late at night? The sexes are separated because they are biologically, socially and behaviorally different. 

The number of both men and women that will feel uncomfortable in a gender-neutral bathroom far exceeds the number of non-binary people that will feel uncomfortable in a normal bathroom. The number of people that could potentially be victimized in a gender-neutral bathroom far exceeds the number of people that could be victimized in a single-sex bathroom.

No, this doesn’t mean that transgender or non-binary individuals are predators stalking the bathrooms looking for victims to prey upon, but gender-neutral bathrooms do open up opportunities for would-be pedophiles and sexual abusers that otherwise would not have been there. As reported by the Economist, “In 2012 Christopher Hambrook assaulted women in two homeless shelters in Toronto, gaining access by falsely claiming he was a trans woman. State law had changed earlier that year to recognise self-declared gender identity. In 2014 he was found guilty of sexual assault and criminal harassment.” The pernicious act of falsely identifying as transgender or non-binary in order to commit crimes is a real threat, and the previous example is only one of the many avenues of abuse the tearing down of sex-separated bathrooms creates. 

If the main motivation behind creating gender-neutral bathrooms is the elimination of discomfort for those that identify as non-binary, why does the potential discomfort of the transgender community, constituting roughly 0.6% of the world’s population according to the Williams Institute, outweigh the potential discomfort of 99.4% of the world’s population? It shouldn’t. 

 Let’s also dispel with the notion that anyone has a “right” to a bathroom. Bathrooms, just as housing, water, food and healthcare, are commodities or services depending on your definition. They certainly aren’t things that are we “endowed by our creator” with a right to.

Declaring a commodity a right is as foreign to the Western notion of inalienable rights as a Polar Bear is to the Amazon Rainforest. The Bill of Rights guarantees rights that are immune to any interference from government, these rights are otherwise known as “negative rights.” 

For instance, the government can never infringe on your right to free speech, imprison you without due process nor strip you of your right to bear arms. However, guaranteeing commodities as rights require something from government, which in this country is the people of the United States. These rights presume that by a person’s very existence, they are entitled to goods and services that someone else must provide. Although it may sound compassionate and progressive to say that things like healthcare, food and water are “human rights,” codifying commodities as rights actually leads to a violation of human rights.

To illustrate the danger of these “positive rights,” consider the following situation. A hungry man walks into a 7-11, takes a Milky Way and a bottle of water, scoffs them down, and then leaves the store without paying for neither the food nor water. The clerk immediately calls the police, the man is arrested and charged with petty theft and a trail ensues. The defense of the sweet-toothed bandit is not that he made a mistake in stealing the candy bar, but instead his defense is that he, having a right to food and water, should not be imprisoned for simply exercising his rights. 

The onus is on those that argue for commodities as rights to explain either why he should be imprisoned if he has a right to food and water or why his stealing is justified. Furthermore, if we treat commodities as human rights, why couldn’t the man force by government action the store clerk to provide him with the food or water? If the clerk didn’t provide the man with the food and water willingly, surely it would be a legitimate role of government to guarantee the rights of the man in this situation as well. The road to hell is most certainly paved with good intentions.

Lastly, we arrive at the crux of the issue. As established in this article earlier, no reasonable person would come to the conclusion that access to a private or public bathroom is a fundamental human right, nor would they conclude that on aggregate less discomfort is caused with gender-neutral bathrooms than with sex-separated bathrooms. So why is there still an insistence on this terrible idea? The true reason why we are even considering the radical transformation of bathrooms across the world is that there has been a recent push among the transgender rights activist community to get rid of biological sex, claiming that biological sex is simply something that we are “assigned” with at birth, not something that is immutable and inherent in human beings. 

Take it from Planned Parenthood, which says “Biological or assigned sex does not always tell the complete story.” Of course biological sex tells the whole story when it comes to whether someone is a male or female! Regardless of your views on the validity of gender identity and its mutability, biological sex is an undeniable reality. Sex, as defined by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), as the “biological characteristics that define humans as male or female.” A male is of the male sex because he is born with XY chromosomes, a female is a female because she was born with XX chromosomes. One cannot change their chromosomes or their sex because they are immutable factors in a human’s DNA. 

The transgender lobby argues that the binary of sex is debunked by the existence of intersex people — people that are born with the opposite DNA that they have the physical characteristics of. Again, this is taking genetic outliers, which WHO deems “outside of the typical definition for male or female bodies” and attempting to apply their case to the larger issue at hand. For example, arguing that humans are designed to be born with 11 toes per foot is not true, simply because one person has 11, and not the standard 10.

Say no to gender neutral bathrooms. They not only perpetuate the a-scientific theory that biological sex is a mere social construct, they also cause more discomfort than they alleviate, and push the dangerous notion of positive rights.

Connect with Nick on Twitter @nsamm41.