With the push to guarantee the safety and emotional well-being of transgender people comes the unexpected oppression of victims of sexual abuse.

First, we can all recognize that it is important for all people to feel safe when they use a restroom or locker room. The last thing we want to do is unnecessarily incite any fear or anxiety among our population.

With that in mind, I’d like to suggest that that is exactly what we are doing when we insist that biological males who self-identify as female (i.e., transgender females) must be able to use female facilities.

Consider the following facts, according to government studies:

About 25 percent of women are victims of some form of unwanted sexual contact.

About 20 percent of women are victims of attempted or completed rape.

Victims of sexual assault understandably carry with them severe emotional and psychological baggage, often for the rest of their lives, because of the trauma they have suffered.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting that transgender people are more likely than non-transgender people to sexually assault someone.

What I am saying is that female victims of sexual assault can suffer extreme anxiety and feelings of panic when forced into the close proximity of a biological man (i.e., someone with male parts intact).

Now, consider the following fact:

About 0.4 percent of the population self-identifies as transgender.

I think that we ought to carefully consider what kind of message it sends to the 25 percent of women who have suffered the trauma of some form of sexual assault when we impose a biologically intact male presence into their facilities, to accommodate 0.4 percent of the populace. It says, “Your trauma is irrelevant.”

There must be a better way.

Ted Bennett

Scarborough


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