The proposed laws would require my daughter to use the men’s room.

Share story

My daughter is in kindergarten. She’s 6. She loves unicorns and mermaids and soccer. And I’m concerned about Olympia forcing her to share the restroom with men.

Currently she uses the girls’ restroom. But some Washington legislators want her in the men’s room — because she was born with a penis.

It feels uncomfortable writing about my child’s genitals. But I’m not sure how else to protect her.

And I know I’ve already lost some readers. People have lots of assumptions about a transgender child and their parents. Maybe radical lesbian feminists conducting gender experiments?

But the truth is that I tried to raise my daughter as a boy. Complete with blue walls and Tyrannosaurus rex pajamas. I gave her my father’s name. Took her to church on Sundays. Her siblings have had no trouble with the genders assigned them. But it just didn’t work for her.

When I realized my child would only wear dresses and wanted to grow up to be a princess, I tracked down a support group for parents of gender-nonconforming kids. It turns out there’s a lot of them. And the parents aren’t who I imagined. Democrats and Republicans. Muslims and Catholics. Grandparents raising grandkids. Yes, there’s a lesbian or two in the mix, but even they are baffled about how this happened. All these parents were scared and confused at first.

Tucker FitzGerald is a Seattle father, husband and graphic designer.
Tucker FitzGerald is a Seattle father, husband and graphic designer. He has been involved with the Gender Diversity family support group for three years.

I also talked to my pediatrician and read national psychological and medical associations’ positions. If my child was having mental-health problems, I wanted to help.

They all agreed: I need to let her be herself. If I love and support her, as a girl, she’ll be happy and healthy. But if I try to force her to be a boy, she would be in a very high suicide risk category.

So when confronted with trusting her heart and mind, or trusting her genitals, I choose her heart and mind. There was no rational choice other than to support her as a girl.

And, of course, I want her safe from predators. I learned that transgender people are at extreme risk for sexual and physical violence. The Southern Poverty Law Center recently declared transgender women the most victimized group in the nation. Victims, not predators.

Examples of a transgender person, or a man pretending to be transgender, assaulting someone in a bathroom are rare. The Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union have pointed out that there are no documented cases in the United States.

I have a 6-year-old. The proposed laws would require her to use the men’s room. The scenario they’re drumming up fear with — impersonators or actual transgender women assaulting women in bathrooms — is conjecture at best.

These proposed bathroom restrictions make little sense. For starters, transgender people live among us and currently pee. They aren’t hurting anyone.

And consider that while some transgender people may appear transgender, many don’t — for example models Geena Rocero or Ben Melzer. So, when transgender people use the restroom consistent with their identity, people who look like women use the women’s room. But if we require genital-based restrictions, we would be sending transgender men, with beards and biceps, into the women’s restroom.

So, if a man eventually does decide to assault women by being deceptive about gender identity, genital-based restroom laws would ironically make it easier for him. If transgender women use the women’s restroom, he would have to dress up like a woman to enter. Under the proposed system, all he has to do is claim he’s a transgender man to walk into the women’s restroom. No dressing up required.

And lastly, who is going to do the genital inspections?

This is an easy issue to distort to make Democrats look ridiculous: “They want to send men into your daughter’s locker room!” But that fear mongering comes at a heavy price to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Please do pass and enforce laws that aggressively confront sexual harassment and assault. But don’t send my daughter into the men’s room in the process. She’s not a threat to anyone.