a third side to the target debacle.

I keep hearing about this whole Target bathroom debacle, and the more I hear, the angrier I get. It seems that nowadays all we do is play Red Rover with our issues. You on one side with your "opinion" and you on the other with your "opinion," wondering who's gonna be the strongest or the fastest and win.

Everyone's got an opinion. You're on the outside looking in, but you just want to win, casualties be damned.  Feelings be damned. Truth be damned.

 There are only two options. Pick one.

1) Transgenders deserve the right to pee in whatever bathroom they want.
2) Letting transgenders pee in whatever bathroom they want means my kid might get molested.

Hearing these two options, most people choose a side quickly and fiercely, as if they have some kind of stake in the matter. Looking at that list of options, quite frankly, I would tend to agree with Option 1. That seems logical. Who cares what bathroom people pee in?! Plus, Option 2 seems unlikely, not to mention the fact that correlating transgenders with sexual assault is just wrong. And, as I'm sure we've all been hearing, we've already peed in the same bathroom as a transgendered person. It happens all the time. And it's fine.

Which is true.

But here's the deal. There is a third side to this. A side that is apparently "not what you need to be afraid of" because, as we all know, out of the 1 in 10 children that are sexually assaulted, close to 90% of them are molested by someone they know. It's the creepy uncle we need to be afraid of. Or the nosy neighbor. Or the naughty teacher. "Stranger danger" is just some cliche, and we need not fear, because ONLY 10% of them get molested by strangers, and I mean, really, no one gets molested in a public bathroom.

Well, except me.

I did.

April 17, 1996. 2:40 pm. I was 11 years old. I was wearing black jeans and a red sweater and my green Wednesday panties. I was at school. I left Mrs. Osborne's math class early to use the bathroom. A guy had already snuck in and was hiding in one of the stalls. He waited until I was alone...

And I've spent the last twenty years checking every bathroom stall to make sure no one else is waiting for me. I've spent the last twenty years having flashbacks of a boy with a blue washcloth over his face and a gun to my head telling me not to scream as I undressed. And it's been twenty years since I've been able to wear day-of-the-week underwear.

I'm not telling you this so we can have some silly pity party. This isn't easy or fun for me to talk about, but I'm ok. And I won't let someone tell me to keep quiet again.  I swore a long time ago I would do what it takes to speak up for the kids like me who didn't get to have a voice when their innocence was stolen from them.

It's not fair to call me a statistic. It's not right to say that because I am in the minority, I don't matter. Isn't that what you are trying to argue against anyway? Discrimination against the minority?!

Who are you really trying to protect?

Yourself maybe? Does it look better to choose a certain side? Do you work with people who chose a certain side? Do you get better blog ratings if you choose a particular side? And it goes both ways. I'm not pointing my finger at one or the other.

So what if I choose neither side?

Because this situation is bigger than peeing, and it is not about discrimination. It really isn't. I don't have a problem with transgenders using any bathroom they want. I know you just want to pee. Hell, I wish that guy hiding in that stall in April of 1996 was a transgender. Cause then HE WOULDN'T HAVE WANTED TO MOLEST ME. I do not hate transgender people. At all. And if you know me, you know that's the truth.

My problem is with the idea of calling out a specific policy to the public in general that may allow for a pedophile to use it to his advantage. In my mind, even the possibility that one more kid could be hurt the way I was hurt FAR outweighs whatever damage there is in having to pee in a different bathroom. I'm sorry, but it does.

Tell me if I'm missing something, but I have been racking my brain about this, and I really can't see how peeing matters more than this. Even if the chance of a pedophile taking advantage of this policy is small, minuscule even, why take that chance? I can tell you first-hand that it just isn't worth it. My life has been affected every single day because of what happened to me. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

I still don't know what the answer is, to be honest. I just know that it isn't fair to say it's only about peeing, or only about discrimination. Whatever it is, it isn't just that. And it isn't just because of hate or disregard for "inclusivity." There is probably a third side to every story, something I am just now learning, and I hope from now on we can try to see that side too. Because it really does matter. It may only matter to 10% of us. But it still matters.



  1. Wow, Jessie, this is profound and brave and well, just huge. I have yet to read one article on this issue that could come close to presenting this in such a heartfelt & truthful manner. Your testimony is huge sweet girl! Thank you for sharing it and hope you don't mind me sharing this very well written post. Hugs and much love to you sweet girl!

    1. Thanks so much Kathy! And yes, feel free to share. :)