Governor of New Jersey and Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie went on record in New Hampshire Monday to say that he believes allowing transgender children to choose what bathroom that best fits their gender identity to use would make life “too complicated for them”.
When asked about the issue in reference to a California law that allows transgender K-12 students to choose which restroom they want to use, Christie used this sensitive platform to flex his funny bone. He made light of the issue and joked, “Men go to men’s rooms, women go to women’s rooms and there really shouldn’t be a whole lot of confusion about that… We want our kids not to have to decide which bathroom they get to go in. And not to be subject to peer pressure about which one to go in. And not to be subject to the embarrassment that could come with going in a bathroom where somebody maybe doesn’t agree that they should be in there or not. Why do we do this to our children? It doesn’t make any sense.” He elaborated in the same joking manner, “I’m the common sense guy from New Jersey, you know, I don’t think life needs to be this complicated. I think it needs to be a lot more straightforward.”
Christie isn’t the only Republican that used this one particularly touchy subject for millions of Americans, to try and get a smile or a laugh from his supporters. Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee even went as far for a laugh to openly admit that he is basically a “peeping-Tom”. He told a crowd, that he wished he could have “found his feminine side” in high school so he could shower with girls.
So, Chris Christie, maybe wasn’t speaking straight forward, rather just being forward that he wants to keep this country straight. Many conservatives don’t honestly try to maintain a safe environment for transgender men and women. Rather they just want to make sure that cis gendered men and women are comfortable. And that comfort derives from pure transphobia. In fact, those states which have taken an effort to end transphobia and passed anti-discrimination laws have not seen an increase in bathroom assaults.
Because here’s as straight forward as this gets while still remaining accepting of people’s gender identity and basic human rights: Aggressive actions taken by others like assault, harassment, and bullying are all still punishable by teachers, authorities, school districts, and the law. That is clear and always has been, even before the discussion of allowing transgender men and women to choose the bathroom that fits their gender identity. These established laws and regulations over aggressive actions will not be ignored just out of the blue, and suggesting so does more harm than good to transgender men. women, and children who deal with more daily struggles than the average human. It creates more enemies, dangers, and negative stereotypes for them, which they already have plenty of.
To make everyone “comfortable” and “a whole lot less confusing”, people in positions of power like Gov. Christie should allow this type of progress to be made so we may all learn and move forward, rather than holding back out of fear and getting nowhere.