The Fiction of Win/Win and Bathrooms

Sometimes there just isn't a way in situations to make them a win/win. In fact, when dealing with a number of people it is often almost impossible to make everyone happy. But often when we talk or argue about things that are really important to us, we speak as if we expect everyone to fall in line - to agree with our position or at least be happy about it!

Its been all over the news about the different institutions making declarations of who can use which bathroom.And most recently their has been an outcry from both sides when Target announced that their policy would be that transgender individuals can use the bathroom aligned with their gender identity.

Now I personally have very strong beliefs about gender and identity. I don't know what it feels like to question your gender or your sex. But I do know what it feels like when things don't seem to fit and what confusion feels like. I know those feelings well. They are difficult and hard and I know how hard it is to be mired in those emotions. So even though my belief is that gender is an eternal part of our identity, I feel empathy for anyone that identifies as transgender because I know it can't be easy.

Yet, I also understand the fear of predators - because sadly in our society there are many, many sexual predators of both genders. Is it a little scary to know that someone can now claim to be a gender to more easily gain access to the bathroom of the opposite gender when they have predatory intentions?


As a grown woman it makes me personally nervous and even downright frightened for young girls who are unable to defend themselves.

HOWEVER, I must say - predators find a way and if that is their intent - a simple sign won't keep someone out of the opposite gender's bathroom.

Though personally, I would prefer to not be using the restroom with a man who identifies as a women. I would feel uncomfortable. And of course, most of us would prefer that if someone has to feel uncomfortable it shouldn't be us it should be someone else - the minority.

But I understand how it feels to be in the minority, when most of the time the majority rules. The structure of many a society has been such that whatever the majority wants, the majority gets regardless of how the minority feels. I understand how we ALL want to be able to do such a basic function in privacy and not having to feel uncomfortable or scared about what might happen there. NONE of us likes to be the minority when what we want isn't acknowledge as having value or being heard.

The difficult part is - how can there ever be a win/win where everyone feels comfortable? Why do we have such a hard time acknowledging that isn't possible? There isn't any easy answer in this situation that makes everyone comfortable and happy. I know the majority want the majority to continue to rule. But I know the minority would like to have what they want heard and accepted.

What makes this all even more difficult is too often we each stand in our own position and shout about how WE are the one that needs to be listened to and followed. We don't take the time to consider the other position, the difficulty that arises for someone who feels differently than we do.

Can each of us take a minute to think about how someone in a different position than our own might feel? Even if we don't agree with their position. I think each of us knows what it feels like to be ignored or experience having our needs ignored. To feel confused about something that about ourselves, or how we feel compared to others or the majority.

I know how I would like things to be for myself but I acknowledge there are millions of others with needs and feelings too. So regardless of policies now or in the future, I can be firm in my beliefs but strive to be kind, to look out for others, and to listen to someone's position whether it is the same as mine or different with empathy and then strive to treat them with love. I can be on the watch for predators regardless of what the sign on the bathroom says.

Each of us personally can make situations win/win.
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