Thursday, November 5, 2015

GHWB and Transgender Bathrooms

It was fascinating to read this morning about former President George H.W. Bush's upcoming biography and his assessment of his son's administration and actions in Iraq. Apparently "iron-ass" is a favorite expression of the senior Bush -- he used it in reference to both Dick Cheney and Cheney's wife, Lynne. And he deemed Donald Rumsfeld an "arrogant fellow" who badly served his son's presidency.

Another interesting tidbit, admittedly of minor importance: apparently Nancy Reagan was no fan of Barbara Bush. And despite everything, Bush said he still supports his son's actions in Iraq -- "Saddam's gone, and with him went a lot of brutality and nastiness and awfulness," he said.

It seems to me that a lot of brutality and nastiness and awfulness was actually ignited by the Iraq war, but whatever.

I never liked Bush pere as a president and in fact I volunteered for the Dukakis campaign in 1988. (I had a track record in the '80s of supporting losing political candidates. Does anyone remember Steve Pajcic, who ran for Florida governor in 1986? I volunteered for him, too. And I voted for Mondale in '84.) But I sure liked George H.W. better than George W. Both he and Ronald Reagan seem positively moderate by today's standards.

I wonder where they'd stand on the issue of public restrooms for transgender people?

You've probably seen that that issue defeated the Houston human-rights ordinance at the polls. Fear-mongering opponents managed to convince voters that giving transgender people equal rights (along with everybody else) would allow men to lurk in women's restrooms, waiting to victimize people.

Plain ol' common sense tells me that's a stretch. But apparently the bathroom (and locker room) issue is a major stumbling block to accommodating those who identify as transgender, especially in schools. Even students who are transgender in some cases don't want their own separate changing facilities and restrooms -- they want to be with the rest of the team.

For now, in some situations, I think it's reasonable to ask transgender people to use a separate bathroom -- as long as we have communal bathrooms and locker rooms. But ultimately, wouldn't it make sense to move toward designing and building unisex restrooms and changing facilities that give everyone privacy -- individual secure stalls with walls and solid doors? Sure, it would be more expensive, and it would cut down on the opportunities for socializing that (I'm told) are an aspect of trips to women's rooms in particular, but it would eliminate the thorny questions around how to cope with this societal reassessment of the antiquated notion of binary gender.

And that's all I've got for you today, because there's not much happening in my own life.

(Photo: A vacant shopfront in Bath, a couple of weeks ago.)


  1. There may not be much happening in your life, but you have given us a couple of topics for further consideration. I was interested to read the article about the forthcoming Bush Snr book.

    The transgender issue - I have the same thoughts as Judy Chiasson of the LAUSD; everyone else can stop making everything so complicated and if you see this as a risk to your children.... then watch over them in public places.

    I'm off to cook potatoes for the evening meal - that's my exciting life.

    Ms Soup

  2. John Moore's life really does seem to have gone downhill since his Bath sports shop had to close!

    Perhaps transgender toilets should be opened in proportion to the transgender population. So that would be just one transgender toilet in all of Yorkshire and about three thousand in London.

  3. Well, you know how I feel about transgender issues. And let me just say- if Billy used the women's room, there would be some confusion.
    Don't even talk to me about the Bushes. Jesus.

  4. It seems to me that a lot of people create things to be afraid of and the bathroom issue is a good example. There are a couple of restaurant/bars here that only have unisex restrooms which I personally think work very well for everyone.
    I had not heard about George H W's book but, I'm with you on the Iraq issue. As far as I'm concerned, that war was indefensible and it has certainly become the root cause of far more brutality and pure evil that Saddam ever perpetrated. As the old saying goes, better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

  5. Well, your life may be ordinary, but there are several things to think about in this post. I've been several places lately that offer one large bathroom, available to individuals without specification of gender. Perhaps that is the way to go here...often, fear supersedes commonsense. As for the Bushes, a blight on the land. I, like you, have a penchant for underdog politicos who just might change the way we could do things if given the chance.

  6. I so agree with private bathrooms, period. I hated showering and changing in the girls' locker room, and I'm a girl. Even worse was being bullied/taunted/having cigarette ash flicked on my head over the stall wall in the main girls' washroom. It's not only gays and transgenders that get bullied, although it's at a greater rate. It's also teachers' offspring, the kids who are different, and the kids who won't fight back.

  7. The entire Bush family puts me off- and the bathroom deal, it is getting anyway, doesn't seem to matter, that said, however, urinals are disgusting. Would be nice to have privacy, and sound proofing for loud poos. Whatever, as long as the toilet flushes and there is a faucet for washing, it is good. ( remember holes in the floor with a bucket of water?)I do not hesitate to use the men's toilet if the women's is too crowded , as they always seem to be. I have no pride...

  8. I do NOT like being social in the bathroom. Don't look at me or acknowledge me in any way, much less talk to me! Ha! So, yes, my own private stall would be fabulous :)

  9. I read that same article about the Bushies -- just ugh all around. I, too, voted for all the losing candidates until Clinton came along. I was just thinking the other day that it's been a long time, if ever, that Democrats were in a position to win a third Presidential term.

    The bathroom deal -- ridiculous. I mean, dorms at some schools have been co-ed, including the bathrooms, for years. And we have plenty of restaurants with uni-sex bathrooms! We're such a strange country with the weirdest taboos.