by Rep. Drew Springer
I am working on many rural and statewide issues that affect HD 68 as we get closer to session in 2017, such as ensuring access to rural healthcare. However in the last week, everywhere I’ve gone in the district, people want to know my opinion on bathrooms.
There are likely many liberals that would paint me as a hater and racist after reading the title of this month’s newsletter – The Case Against Gender-Neutral Bathrooms. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Republican party and I have a history and political platform that supports the civil rights of the individual. When it comes to public policy, one must bear in mind that everything is a trade off. If the state spends more money on water infrastructure, the state may make transportation infrastructure worse by spending less money on roads or taking more of the earnings of its citizens through higher taxes.
In other words, whenever you make something better, you make something else worse. The question is, which alternative outweighs the other regarding harm and benefit. Public policy is about finding the right balance with every issue, and maximizing the benefit through making the correct trade-offs.
Whether or not a particular transgender person is a sex offender does not change the fact that gender-neutral bathrooms would give bad actors easy and unfettered access to women’s restrooms.
Therefore, the problem with any gender-neutral bathroom policy is whether the emotional, physiological, and even physical stress that such a system would place on ordinary individuals is collectively larger than the benefit in the same areas that transgender individuals will receive. Moreover, there is an inherent public safety issue with gender-neutral bathrooms – a potential for more sexual assault or the very least, more sexual harassment. Whether or not a particular transgender person is a sex offender does not change the fact that gender-neutral bathrooms would give bad actors easy and unfettered access to women’s restrooms.
President Obama exasperated this issue with his administration’s recent declaration that Title IX also applies to transgender students. Stating that transgender students should now be able to use the restroom of the gender with which they wish to label themselves. A policy that allows transgenders to use opposite-sex bathrooms infringes on the privacy rights of non-transgender students, who are the overwhelming majority.
I believe that people should go to the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate. A person is not free to step on someone else’s toes just because he or she feels a certain way. I do not believe that transgender individuals have the right to make the majority of us acquiesce to unsafe environments in which we would be uncomfortable so that they can feel better about themselves.