When I usually talk about Going Potty, it is within the context of being a potty learning coach for parents of wee ones; but more recently going potty has become very political. I have to weigh in because my work with potty learning and children makes me feel very strongly about everyone’s right to relax and let the pee out in safety- to not get a bladder infection from holding it. See, I was harassed as a young child by the older “more powerful” girls at school whenever I went to the bathroom and so I held it until I was sick. 
 
On a Facebook group I belong to, a lawyer-activist mom posted a question in a group of other activist moms:
 
What do you think about this Target Bathroom thing? 
 
-At least 15 people immediately respond that any change to bathroom policy puts women and girls in danger. A few say people should just use any bathroom they want and not make such a big deal out of it- aren’t trans people are already safe? (No!) The other half says people belong only in the bathroom that matches their original plumbing. At least half said they are so scared for their daughters now and for their own safety as women. They were actively boycotting Target. My response:
 
Moorea Malatt: What group am I in? I am ashamed to be here. Trans people are already using bathrooms with you but are just terrified while doing so. This isn’t a tiny bit of population that identifies as transexual or transgendered, this is for all people who don’t dress or look like your rigid idea of two genders, like my wife and my conservative mom friend who really looks like a guy with her short hair and plain attire and so gets asked to leave restrooms frequently. If you are scared of men using the rule to their advantage, then what you actually have is not a bathroom problem or a trans problem, but a problem with men and should set yourself to social action to make change against patriarchy and misogyny and raise your sons to be kind and respectful and mindful of privilege – rather than boycott a store because of its allowing people to pee in safety. If we are all afraid that men will come in and hurt women then that is what we need to look at. Because men are hurting women in their own homes, on the street, in marriages, at college and children are being raped and molested by their fathers and uncles. You really need not worry about a store bathroom.
 
Lawyer:  Moorea I really appreciate your feedback and I think you make some very valid points. This group is an open forum where we respect everyone’s opinions. If you feel ashamed by other people’s views, you are free to leave the group, while I hope you will stay and continue to express your side of these hot topics. Again, thank you for your input! 
 
Lawyer (again):  after reading this over I could not disagree more. Trans people are terrified to pee in public restrooms? How is that the case? As a full supporter of equal rights, and half my law practice focuses on gay rights, I find that this to be absurd. I have been in public restrooms my entire life and I have never stopped and thought if the person should be there or not. Half my life I lived in West Hollywood and even there didn’t see an issue ever where there is a big gay and transgender community. As a victim of abuse, I will say that I am more scared of a lunatic male psychopath now having access to an area Women should feel safe to pee in and men as well. With all the pedophiles out there (just look at the registered offender list to see how many there are in your area) giving them another way to access children and women is a potential liability I am not willing to risk. Better efforts would be spent educating people on equality of rights and supporting anti LGBT bullying legislation. Also, the argument of men hurting women elsewhere also is hard for me to understand as why give them another potential arena to do so? Don’t we want to limit areas one can become victims of such abuse at all costs? 
  
Moorea Malatt: you may work with trans people but you clearly don’t have any in your actual life like I do if you think restrooms are no big deal. I have come in with and stood outside of bathroom doors for years to protect friends and lovers. Living in west Hollywood, one of the few areas where trans has been accepted for many years is hardly a good gauge for whether trans people are safe and accepted in general. I have also talked about this with many friends who are survivors like you and I am fully aware that this is not an easy question for many women and I actually don’t fault your position – it was not easy for me to come to my opinion about this because I have so clearly heard those two sides. And I fully appreciate the fear you experience regarding restrooms as I definitely have it simply as a woman in a rape culture. But I truly believe that psychopaths can and do have easy access to women’s restrooms already and there wouldn’t be any actual disadvantage to having laws where people cannot be forced out of the restroom of their choosing or identification. Many countries with very low gender crime rates have shared bathrooms.
I also think it is best to work toward changing society (patriarchy) with openness and a hopeful progressive mind where all people are looking out for one another rather than resisting change in fear. What if we were all focused on protecting one another’s safety in bathrooms ? I believe that the patriarchy that breeds abuse will actually be dismantled by dismantling the binary code and assumption of born man and born woman and how separate and different we think the two are. It is for this reason that I believe trans rights are a key to finishing feminism’s work and dismantling rape culture. It is easy to abuse someone who you feel is so very “other” than yourself because you have, in our culture, suppressed that part of your own gender. What if parts of ourselves were not suppressed?
 
Lawyer: I completely see your points and am now a bit torn on the issue myself. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences and bringing light to this sensitive topic! 
 
Moorea Malatt:  a pleasure to have such discourse.
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So for those of you who think educating other parents is not worth it, consider having hope and serving the greater good with a conversation- you never know.  The truth is that I have had a fear of men and male culture all of my life and I do personally want to feel proprietary about “no penises in my restroom.” because l am scared of the kind of carte blanche power given people born with that appendage. I have grown up in a culture where most of my friends had been molested by men as children or sexually assaulted as adults. And that is just because my friends were women. But though I may have my own fears, I will not throw another oppressed group under the bus so that I can personally gain more safety. When I think harder, women and trans people are all terrified of the same thing: patriarchal violence and rape culture. And I believe we can erradicate it together.
 
I have a 6-year-old little girl, I am worried how safe she will be when she later goes anywhere alone, bathrooms included.  But now I also have a stepson who just finished his potty learning journey. His own gender performance and choices are up in the air of course because he is young but he does love dresses at the moment and l do know that I want him to relax and pee in whatever bathroom he chooses. 
 

Full Definition of patriarchy- Merriam Webster

plural

patriarchies

  1. social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly :  control by men of a disproportionately large share of power

  2. a society or institution organized according to the principles or practices of patriarchy

 

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