By Ryan Phipps
WE'RE NOT STUPID
Forgive me if this comes off sounding a bit “limbic,” but I've had about as much as I can take of the "anti-transgender-people-in-bathrooms" discussion.
We are a brilliant people. We are not golems. We've split the atom. We've spliced the gene. We've flown into space and built great-big-awesome things.
You're telling me that we can't envision a bathroom scenario that works for everyone?!!!!
That's ridiculous and (forgive me for being so blunt) just intellectually lazy.
I'm frankly shocked that no one has come up with the scenario highlighted below, yet. Anyone with half a brain could have dreamed this up in a matter of minutes.
We have dressing rooms in just about every major clothing store that are not gender segregated. Why can't we have bathrooms be the very same? The answer is, "We can." We just don't choose to. We're too busy arguing over principle instead of acknowledging people.
I am posting an architectural plan below that will suit the restroom needs of all human beings, whether they be gay, straight, transgender, man, woman, child, handicapped, you name it. If you're human, these bathrooms will welcome you and suit your needs.
And on a side note, in the spirit of western materialism, if (no matter where you stand on the issue) you are a person of "means," you could put this into production and receive awards, praise, even millions of dollars - all the while putting this divisive issue to rest so we can get back to treating human beings like... well... human beings.
Here's what I propose:
The bathroom interior features fully separated stalls, each equipped with their own toilet, sink, mirror, trashcan, hand dryer, and diaper changing station.
Security cameras are installed so that people entering and exiting are under surveillance for safety purposes. The cameras are unable to surveil anything happening inside the stalls, allowing the user to have full privacy.
The stalls each have walls and doors from floor to ceiling making it impossible for anyone's privacy to be violated or disturbed.
The bathroom exterior features a lounge and entertainment center making the user feel more comfortable and safe knowing that other members of the public are always close.
"How does one make space for these new kinds of restrooms in an existing space already using gender-separate-bathrooms?"
The answer is simple. By making one bathroom that all people can use, available space is doubled by the elimination of the other gender-separated space. In addition, eliminating the sinks outside the stalls creates space for them inside each stall.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH FAITH?
This has much more to do with faith than we may realize on a surface level.
The church should be at the very forefront of ideas that promote the dignity, worth, and wellbeing of all people, demolishing debates and discussions that don't get to the real subject at hand.
The subject is people, not principle.
There are very practical (and even profitable) ways to serve everyone, but they will never surface if all we do is bicker and divide over principle. There are ways for everyone to have a place, whether that is in a dressing room, a bathroom, or even a church, but we must take the high road in our thinking.
I think the Apostle Paul said it well when he wrote,
And here's the tough question if you are following the way of Jesus:
Are you doing this? Are you demolishing arguments and pretension that keep people from knowing God? Are you taking your thoughts captive to the way of Jesus, who didn't turn people away, but who found a way to welcome them?
We mustn't cling to antiquated ways of reasoning and separation that have long reached their time. We should think, dream, and pray about how we can be more "whole" in our treatment of people.
Ryan is the Lead Pastor of Forefront Church in Manhattan, NYC. Forefront is an interdenominational, multi-site congregation dedicated to cultivating a just and generous expression of the Christian faith in New York and around the world.