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Safety Solutions

Until a Few Things Get Sorted Out...Transgender Issues and Public Restrooms

Posted by John Baker on May 29, 2016 1:58:30 PM

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Over the past few weeks, since the issue of transgender restroom issues came to a national front, several families have approached me with their concerns and specifically what to tell their children about the possibility of interacting with the other gender in the restroom. Before long this issue will logically extend to retail changing rooms, public locker rooms and any other spaces with gender designations.

This is causing some anxiety among  families and understandably so.  Changes in our society and social customs often come with a period of concern until everything gets sorted out. 

Here are a few tips to remember when engaging in family conversations about this issue:

  • Private body strategies still apply.  Talk to your child about the basics they should have learned early on in their childhood development.  Regardless of where your child is, it is unlawful for others  to inappropriately view or touch your child.  With a little bit of situational awareness your child should be able to create a situation where their privacy can be preserved.  They need to own this responsibility at an early age; very similarly to Stranger Danger and other child molestation strategies.
  • Technology can be used for good and evil.  While not a pleasant conversation it is important to let your child know that there is smart phone based technology out there and auxillery hardware such as flexible shaft cameras for phones  that allow high tech "peeping toms" to violate the privacy of a bathroom stall or other personal space.  While the percentage of people engaging in such conduct is extremely small deviants may  try to exploit this opportunity for their own perverted agenda.   Again this goes back to basic situational awareness.  Make sure your child has an awareness of phones, small cameras or other devices that may be used to look through gaps in partitions or under/over stall walls or under changing room doors to violate their privacy.  Don't be afraid to visit a restroom with your child and walk-thru the possibilities with them.  Don't assume they understand what you are talking about.  Consider entering a stall and allowing your child to attempt to view you while you are standing in the stall so they have a better understanding of the options less honorable people may have. 
  • Find Someone in Charge and Ask for Help.  For our younger children we may also want to encourage them to ask for help should the signage, symbols and instructions being found on public restrooms during this transitional period become overwhelming.  Hopefully this transition will be over soon and we can give our children clear and consistent instruction but for now,  they may need to seek a second opinion about restroom use if it is not kid friendly.
  • Consider using single user family style restrooms.  Until our society figures out how to manage this change consider using single user family style restrooms whenever possible.  This option provides the greatest opportunity for preserving privacy and deterring unwanted predators trying to abuse a new social privilege. 

If you want to talk more about strategies at both a family or organizational level to address transgender restroom feel free to reach out. This is John Baker for safetysolutions4schools.com 

Topics: safe living

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