(USA Today) I have worked with hundreds of adults who have been traumatized by sexual abuse as children. I spent several years working at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines as part of a team treating sexual perpetrators of children.
I also have also spent more than 20 years working with gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender clients. I have helped many transgender clients through the process of transitioning to the gender expression that feels like home to them, even though their outward biological expression was of the other gender.
Driving through western Iowa recently, I turned on my radio to a call-in show. In a portion of the program a caller was talking about transgender people using public bathrooms.
My therapist part became disturbed. The caller was saying something about this not being a civil-rights issue because we are dealing with sexual criminals and want to protect our children from them.
I turned to another station but couldn’t help thinking about what the caller said.
Some people in our country are saying that transgender people must use the public bathroom of their biological birth gender. They also are implying that men who dress like women, transgender fellows, who use women’s bathrooms are often sexual predators.
In all the years of working with adults who were sexually abused as children, I know not one of them having been abused by a transgender person or by a man dressed as a woman.
They were molested by Catholic priests, Protestant clergy, school teachers, coaches, fathers, mothers, siblings, cousins, uncles, grandparents, family friends, neighbors and babysitters. Most notable, most of the nonclergy abusers belonged to Christian churches.
I believe your child is in much less danger of being molested by a transgender stranger in a public bathroom than by someone your child knows or lives with.
I am amazed by the courage and determination of my transgender clients for striving to live their lives as the gender they believe they are. They have so many strikes against them.
They have become my heroes.