There was a battle for my freedom in Springfield, MO this month.
It was a battle for civil rights, one that should have every true feminist up in arms.
This was a fight for a woman’s right to control her own body. To be protected from exploitation. To have her voice be heard.
To have the power of law placed behind the fact that that her “no means no”.
Even when she says it to a man.
Tim Cook did not show up. Apple did not throw itself in the path of the train. Salesforce, Twitter, eBay, and Facebook did not threaten economic sanctions against those who would threaten my safety and violate my person.
No, these would-be crusaders for civil rights did not come in with nuclear force to speak up for the oppressed minority, like they did to oppose Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Why? Because this time, the minority was not the LGBT community.
It was women.
And the women standing up to this brazen disregard for our dignity were not saying “no” to the misogynists of the religious right.
We were saying “no” to the misogynist gay and transgender men of the liberal left.
We said, no, you can’t see us naked. No, you can’t watch us breastfeed our babies if we choose to do it in private. No, you can’t watch us take care of our most sensitive personal hygiene needs through the crack in the stall door. No, you are not permitted to expose your male genitalia to our little girls.
No, you cannot use our bathroom.
We don’t care if you wear a bra or lipstick. We don’t mind if you want to call yourself female. We don’t object to creating a third bathroom. But you will not deny us our own.
You see, feminists know what must be said to people who think that they can run over women just because they have a penis. Gay and transgender men may have become the minority of choice in recent years— but they are still male, and still an advantaged group over women.
So when they stand against the right of a woman to have her voice be heard and her body respected, they must hear women’s voices as loud as as any other misogynist would.
Why? Because it’s the only way they will listen.
But unfortunately, it won’t be enough.
The Battle Of The Bathrooms
Springfield, MO, isn’t the first place this battle has been waged. Court cases and civil disputes have cropped up all over the country in recent months over this same issue: transgender men and boys insisting on using women’s bathrooms.
In Springfield, it took the form of an ordinance which, among other things, made it legal for males who “identify” as female to use women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. Because of the public outcry against this violation of women’s rights, a vote was held to overturn the ordinance. In this case, the voice of the people prevailed, and the ordinance defeated.
Not so in other states.
In Our States and Cities: Houston’s War on Women
Maryland passed a transgender rights law last October, which allows transgender people to choose their bathroom. Conservatives failed to collect the necessary signatures to bring the issue to a vote.
Iowa, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia have passed similar statutes.
Houston passed its own pro-LGBT “non-discrimination” ordinance last year (the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance), sparking a huge backlash, including a petition to have it overturned.
Annise Parker, Houston’s first openly gay mayor, targeted five Houston pastors who were speaking out about the “bathroom issue”. Parker subpoenaed the pastors’ sermon notes, emails, and any other communications that spoke negatively about the ordinance, herself, homosexuality, or gender identity. The subpoena also demanded communications containing language about the petition, petition circulators, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the fact that the ordinance would allow males to enter women’s bathrooms, or the opinion that it threatened the safety of women and children.
A member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission issued a letter to the mayor. Commissioner Peter Kirsanow asked that the subpoenas be withdrawn, calling them “a blatant attempt to punish these pastors for expressing their religiously-based political views” and an “abuse of government power.”
Conservatives collected over 50,000 signatures. These were initially certified by the city secretary, then rejected by Mayor Parker and City Attorney Dave Feldman. Feldman threw out all but 15,247 of the signatures on technicalities— just short of the necessary number to bring it to a vote.
Last week, a judge found in favor of the City and HERO, declaring the petition 565 signatures short. The issue will not go to a vote, and the law is now in effect.
In Our Schools: The World Girls Are Forced To Live In
Last May, a Louisville high school gave permission to a boy who identified as a girl to use the girl’s bathrooms. Students and parents complained, prompting an appeal to the school board, and a heated debate over whether gender identity should be added to the district’s non-discrimination policy.
In the meantime, the principal told parents that in response to their concerns, the transgender student would only be allowed to use one of the two girl’s bathrooms.
The student’s defenders, however, were not satisfied. They stated that the limitation “doesn’t make any sense,” and the student “shouldn’t be restricted.”
One more detail. This biologically male transgender student is bisexual…and at the time of the controversy, had a girlfriend.
That’s right: he calls himself female, is sexually attracted to girls, and uses the girls bathroom.
That’s the world girls are being forced to live in.
In Public Businesses: The Planet Fitness Fiasco
Perhaps the most brazen show of LGBT misogyny came last month.
Planet Fitness revoked the membership of a Michigan woman who complained about a man in the women’s locker room. Why?
Because when employees informed Yvette Cormier that the company allows people to use whatever locker room associates with their “gender identity”, she warned other members— an action Planet Fitness publically called “inappropriate.”
So much for the people’s right to know.
And so much for freedom of speech.
But then again, she is only a woman.
Planet Fitness issued this statement:
“[We are] committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members. Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity. The membership of the member in question was not cancelled as a result of complaints about the policy, as we welcome all feedback from our members. Rather, the manner in which she expressed her concerns about the policy exhibited behavior that club management deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement and as a result her membership was cancelled.”
That’s right. They revoked Yvette Cormier’s membership— not because she complained, but because they didn’t like “the manner in which she expressed her concerns.”
Hmm, sounds familiar. Isn’t that like when a religious “complementarian” tells a woman he “doesn’t like her tone”?
As a woman Bible teacher who has heard this phrase more than once, let me translate it for you.
It doesn’t mean she is yelling. It doesn’t mean she is disrespectful, or out of control, or inappropriate, or incorrect in what she’s saying.
It means that she has dared to step out of her lowly place as a woman to tell a man that he’s acting immorally.
This is what Yvette Cormier did. She spoke her opinion that this transgender member and Planet Fitness were acting immorally by failing to inform members about this policy—and the company followed suit by demonstrating that they will indeed discriminate against any woman who publicly disagrees with it…by denying them service.
Too bad Mrs. Cormier wasn’t trying to get a cake for a gay wedding. Someone might have actually heard her case.
A World Gone Crazy: LGBT Misogyny
Planet Fitness policy states what members of the LGBT community would like to be the rule for all public facilities: that “members and guests may use all…facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity.”
In other words, any man who chooses to self-report that he “feels” he is a woman has open access to come watch the girls dress.
No medical documentation necessary. No embarrassing questions or uncomfortable confrontations. Just the word of a male who wants to hang out with the naked ladies.
And what if the women do not feel safe? What if they are embarrassed? What if this violates deeply held moral beliefs about modesty— or deeply held personal beliefs that her body is valuable, and she alone is the master of it?
Well, that’s fine, says Planet Fitness. That’s fine, say the gay and transgender men. She can feel that way if she wants to.
As long as she shuts her trap.
As it stands, Planet Fitness should release a more honest statement for its members:
“[We are] committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members…unless the member is a woman who is intimidated, uncomfortable, or offended at the prospect of dressing and going to the bathroom in front of men. Such members are not welcome— unless, of course, they can keep their bruised little feelings to themselves.”
Where Can A Woman Turn?
Are feminists the only people left in this country who know that transgender men who are sexually attracted to men (and reality check— some transgender men prefer sex with women) are not the only men who would love to take advantage of this policy?
Why? After all, it would seem that the conservative religious groups who are against gender-inclusive bathrooms would make great allies. They, too, could be a substantial force in this conversation.
Except for one thing.
They are typically the ones who tell women to stay home and shut up.
Not a great platform from which to preach women’s rights, now, is it?
The fact is, no one is buying the knight-in-shining-armor act from men who (errantly) believe that the Bible requires women to stay at home, be “shamefaced and sober”, and submit to men.
But before you lefties get all whipped up into an anti-right frenzy, here’s an honest question from an honest woman:
How are you different?
Isn’t that the same thing the transgender men are saying to women?
They want access to the girls’ bathroom. The girls say they don’t like it. So (as Planet Fitness implied), the “appropriate” thing for a woman to do is…what?
Respect herself? Stand up for her freedom? Fight for her rights? No.
Submit and shut up.
Because if you don’t, you are the one who will suffer.
You will be demonized as the discriminatory bigot. You will not be allowed to play our reindeer games.
You will never be part of our liberal club.
We will revoke your membership.
What Must We Do?
Women have always been on the front lines of the fight for civil rights.
Historically, they have been the fiercest warriors for the freedom of others. They also happen to be the largest and most severely oppressed minority group in the world.
The voice of a woman is powerful – it can free the slave, it can get the black man the vote.
But she only ever gets the vote herself when the men start backing her up.
So men, you must empower your women.
If you are a gay or transgender man (as in biologically male and therefore in a privileged class), but you are truly not a misogynist, then prove it.
Find the nobility in your soul to sacrifice your own self-interest to protect your female friends. Respect them when they say, “This may be okay with you…but it is NOT okay with us.”
Acknowledge that it is immoral to sacrifice the rights of women on the LGBT altar.
I would love to see that.
I’m not holding my breath.
But I dare you to surprise me.
If you are a conservative religious man, and you want to win this fight, take the gag out of the mouth of the righteous woman.
Read your Bible, and let Deborah and Huldah and Phoebe and Junia and Mary Magdalene and the woman Wisdom that Solomon knew nullify your
traditions…instead of the other way around.
A godly woman is a force of nature— but you’ve kept the genie in a bottle. You have buried the talent for fear of losing what you have— which is, ironically, happening anyway.
Religious men, empower your women. They are prophesied to defeat the serpent. Set them free, and let them do their work. They will blaze a trail to victory.
And women, you must be smart and brave.
Smart enough to know that 98% of sexual assaults are committed by people with male genitalia— and all such people have the power to rape, no matter how they identify.
Smart enough to know an open bathroom is a predator’s dream.
Smart enough to understand that while life is difficult for a transgender person, accommodating that 2% of the population is not worth putting 50% of the population at risk—especially when there are other solutions, like a third unisex/ family bathroom.
And smart enough to know that God calls us— the women—to speak out for what is right. Even if we find no other allies.
Yes, liberals will crucify a feminist who doesn’t tow the LGBT line, and conservatives will scarcely allow a woman to speak at all.
But if we stand alone, we should remember that Jesus and the prophets did too.
So we’re in good company.
So, women, make your voices heard.
Tell the world what is right.
Tell them that women are worthy of having their demand for privacy respected.
Tell them that God created human beings in His image— male and female.
And tell them that if they really want to, they can create another gender.
But they’re going to have to create another bathroom to go with it.