In the Bathroom

public-bathroom-signI am a worrier.

I worry about my kids, the decisions they make and if they are happy.

I worry about having enough money to meet my family budget and having enough money to meet my office budget.

I worry about whom our country will select for our next president.

I worry about drugs and crime in our community, individuals who are homeless and people are being abused by a family member or by the system.

And I worry about people who are too self-centered or narrow-minded to care about anything or anyone but themselves and their own self-righteous and generally misguided opinions.

But I have never once worried about the person in the bathroom stall next to me.

Until this year, I never even considered that a birth certificate could prove or disprove whether that person in the next stall posed a risk to me or my children.

Birth certificates are just pieces of paper that capture information provided during one single moment in time and reflect societal norms of the past.

Heck, my own birth certificate isn’t even accurate. My mother’s name is misspelled. Apparently, in the excitement of my arrival, she didn’t put her professional proof reading skills to use.

Even worse, my birth certificate lists my mother’s profession as a housewife. My mother was never married to a house. Neither did she spend the majority of her adult life staying at home cleaning, cooking and caring for kids. She was an extension agent, a Peace Corps volunteer, a substitute teacher, a journalist, an editor and even a librarian.

But, at that time I was born, she was not an earning an income outside the home. At that ONE point in time.bathroom stallsSo, even though my birth certificate states my mother was married to a house, which I find a frightening thought, I can’t find any information on my birth certificate that indicates whether or not I pose a danger to others. The information on my birth certificate is so irrelevant that I’ve never even considered carrying it with me.

In the past 30 years, the only time I’ve even taken it out of a safe deposit box was when I needed it for proof of identification. If I ever need it to get into a public restroom, I’m out of luck because it stays locked away in a box that won’t burn.

This whole debate over which sex can use which public bathroom seems as ridiculous as the dress code a former employer tried to implement years ago. The man was getting ready to retire and was trying, for one last time, to impose his prehistoric beliefs  on those who would be left behind.

(This is the same man who insisted I should never be put in a position of authority because I breastfed during a work-related meeting. He never considered that I attended the meeting while on maternity leave because I was just that committed to my job.)

To provide some perspective about just how prehistoric his dress code was, it required women wear hose with skirts or dresses. It also required women wear appropriate underwear and noted that thongs were not appropriate undergarments for the workplace.

When I read the dress code (which, by the way, I fought against and eventually had overturned) , my first question was how it would be monitored and enforced.

I feel exactly the same about a law that require people to use the public restroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate.

It is, in two words, absolutely ridiculous.

About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a theater kid in high school, a band kid at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on April 24, 2016, in News, perspective, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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