Can we learn how to balance individual freedoms with the highest good of the entire community? Last year I wrote a post titled “Freedom Isn’t Easy.” I received this wonderful reply and sent it out via email at the time. I have been guided to share it again because our nation is challenged to balance freedom with responsibility to the highest good of all.

While this letter is specific to the transgendered community, the points made apply to a long list of issues being argued today. Many thanks to the person who wrote this and asked to remain anonymous.


Freedom and Safety

“Great post, once again, Marsha!

“Freedom and safety! I didn’t want to post this, but I have had some recent observations about the whole trans-bathroom issue that relate to freedom. Sorry about the length.

“In the 80’s, I was involved with the Gender Identity Center (GIC) in Denver. There were internal problems at the GIC so a group split off. I ran the telephone support line/crisis line for the split-off group.

“My mentor/trainer was a 42-year-old trans-woman who had a high degree in psychology. She had also been in the Trans community for a long time. This woman taught me which key things to listen for in callers. She warned me that not everyone who called would be Trans, which was okay. Also, that some would be looking for phone sex, etc. and I would get a lot of junk calls.

“People who show up claiming to be Trans run a wide gamut. They can be people who really are Trans to people who are uncomfortable about being gay to people who are genuinely confused, etc. Our group was glad to help all of them.

“The ones who were frequently present and problematic, however, were people who just had a lingerie fetish (and got off on talking about it). There were gays who were looking to pick up someone who looked like the opposite sex but held themselves back from surgery. And, there were others who just wanted to try something ‘kinky.’”


Protection of the Highest Good of All

“I once took a call from someone who had been arrested in a department store fitting room. This was a guy with a clothing fetish. He described himself as 5′ 7,” blond, naturally very scant facial hair, and ‘pretty’ features. He was proud that he could so easily pass and slip into the ladies
dressing rooms undetected.

“I asked him how he had ever gotten busted and that was when he told me that he had been standing in there jerking off. Can you imagine how you would feel about this if you were in there with your 8 or 10-year-old daughter (or even just yourself)? Not to mention what he’s leaving on the lingerie.

“This was the reason why I so strongly disagreed with the (East coast) local law that stated that anyone claiming to identify as the opposite gender, on any given day, be allowed into the corresponding restroom, locker room, or dressing room. I don’t think that the lawmakers had
considered these things or maybe didn’t even know about them.”


Writing Good Laws

“Almost everyone who has been in the Trans community for any length of time is aware of these people. The Trans community needs to help to get these laws worded in a way that allows Trans people in and keeps guys with ‘up-skirt’ cameras out. Or, the bathrooms need to be redesigned.

“I have been present during conversations where Trans people were painstakingly trying to decide the best time to use their new names and pronouns and start using the appropriate restrooms. The most frequent decision was that they would be far along in their transition before doing so.

“Often it ended up being at the same time that they got their name changed on their driver’s license and began living as the ‘opposite’ sex full-time. This was not only in consideration of others but also had to do with their own comfort level. People managed and I don’t know why this is now such a ‘thing.’ Trans people have been sharing bathrooms for decades but usually waited until they could pass.

“The safety of all needs to be considered. It is difficult for me to understand how some activists, saying that they are women, can be so much ‘on the side’ of Trans people but completely fail to be on the side of women.”


Freedom versus Entitlement

“Women have been raped and even murdered by guys hiding out in bathrooms.  The ‘up-skirt’ guys reportedly have a website. There are sexual assault survivors from public bathrooms with PTSD and their triggers are not always predictable. The Trans community is capable of screening. I don’t know why they aren’t stepping up visibly and offering suggestions.

“I have been advocating for gay marriage since the 70’s. However, I hate the SCOTUS (the Supreme Court of the United States) rulings on the photographer, the wedding cake, etc. This law does violate these peoples’ first amendment rights (they actually have to be there). They are more or less participating against their will. Anyway, who would want the resonance of seething resentment oozing out of their wedding cake?

“I think that many of the older people in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community are more in the middle and it seems to be the younger ones who feel so entitled.

“People of my generation just wanted the opportunity to get married, not forced participation or approval from anyone else.  Also, if there was a child involved and the biological parent died, grandparents who disapproved would try to get custody. Besides, where can you find a marriage where somebody hasn’t found a reason to disapprove? So there ~ that’s equal!”

Freedom is not easy. Give thought to balancing freedom and the highest good for all. The answers are there.

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