Sickened. Relieved. Disturbed. Elated.
These are some of the contrasting words associated with an issue that has been flooding newspapers and social media.
Last week, the White House issued a directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
Recently, a video of a woman running through Target and holding a bible in the air screaming, “I’m a mother of 12, and I’m disgusted by this wicked practice,” was released to social media and many news stations.
Over 700,000 people have boycotted Target because of their bathroom policy, according to USA Today.
Some people feel unsafe and uneasy about this new directive because of concerns that people can claim to be transgender as a ploy to sexually assault others.
Others feel that transgender individuals deserve to go to the bathroom they feel most comfortable in because bathroom access is one of the most pressing issues for them.
Transgender individuals who are denied access to the bathroom in which they feel they belong are 45 percent more likely to commit suicide, according to an article in The Atlantic.
People on both sides of the issue are broken. Passion emanates from those in favor and from those who strongly oppose.
Whether laws allow people to choose the bathroom matching their gender identity, or if bathroom laws require individuals to go only in bathrooms matching the gender on their birth certificate, people feel uncomfortable and confused.
The closest solution to the middle ground is making a law requiring every organization, store, school and restaurant to have single-occupant, gender-neutral bathrooms, also sometimes known as family bathrooms.
This would cost a lot of money, but Target has already lost thousands of customers due to their bathroom policy. Parents are enraged enough to pull their kids out of public school and go into debt to pay for private school.
With this solution, if individuals feel uncomfortable going into a public bathroom, for any reason, they can have the privacy and safety of going to the bathroom by themselves.
This is not only a middle ground for the gender-neutral bathroom debate, but would also decrease the number of sexual assaults in bathrooms.
There are currently 840,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S., and research shows that around 33 percent of rape or sexual assault happens on school property or in a public area, such as a commercial area or bathroom, according to cnsnews.com.
Men commit 60 percent of sexual assaults, and transgender individuals commit less than 3 percent of them, according to The university of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Prevention and awareness center.
Whether transgender individuals are allowed in the bathroom of their choice or not, predators still get in, creating an unsafe environment. Going into a single-bathroom prevents putting trust in potential disguised predators.
This isn’t only a solution to the transgender bathroom issue, but promotes safety and privacy in general. Transgender individuals are not the only people who feel uncomfortable going to the bathroom while others are present. Many people would prefer that level of privacy.
Recently, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Senior media manager, Eric Hawkins, responded to the White House Directive by saying “Everyone is entitled to respect” and that “all people should expect an environment of safety, dignity, and privacy in settings such as restrooms, locker rooms, changing areas, etc.”
We are not saying that allowing transgender individuals access to the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity is right or wrong. We are suggesting a solution that constitutes a level of common ground and a feeling of mutual safety in the midst of controversy.
This would cost a lot of money, but not higher than the cost of stores losing 700,000 customers and schools losing attendance because of parents pulling their kids out to attend private school.
To us, safety and privacy is priceless.