First impressions; they aren’t everything, but when someone makes a good one, it’s hard to shake. That was the case with my daughter’s friend Xander. He’s smart, funny, empathic, and just plain fun to be around and he’s a dog whisperer to boot. As if that weren’t enough, he’s a good, solid friend to my daughter. Always happy to give her a ride home, and you know that one friend you can call when you’re in a pickle? That’s Xan. Sometimes I wish I could hang out with him, he’s just that cool.

And Xan is part of the reason that the issue of who uses which bathroom matters to me. 

Xander is transgender.

I cannot stand thinking of him standing outside the restrooms, trying to decide which one to use because he’s pretty much in a no-win situation. If he goes into the lady’s room, because that bathroom matches his anatomy, the ladies will wonder what the heck he is doing there because he looks like a young man. And if he goes to the men’s room which matches his appearance and identity, he might be breaking school rules or even the law. What a lousy position to be in.

So what is the right answer?

For me, it’s a simple answer. Xan is going to use a stall, regardless of which restroom he enters, so he should go into the one that matches his identity.

If you are outraged by that statement, please, bear with me!

I have 3 children, two boys and a girl. No matter which of my children it is, if someone is harassing them in the bathroom, either showing them private parts, or looking at my children’s private parts, that needs to be addressed no matter if they are male, female, straight, gay, cisgender or transgender. Voyeurism, exhibitionism, and sexual harassment of any kind, is wrong, and must be dealt with according to the transgression, not according to the identity of the transgressor. So if Xan, or anyone else, for that matter, goes into a bathroom, goes into a stall (which any transgender person would do, in either male or female bathrooms), and uses the facilities without harassing another person in any way, what is the problem?

My heart breaks for a community caught up in a debate, and painted with a broad stroke as perverts and sickos. There are perverts and sickos of every stripe, in every community, and every sexual identity. Without data to support the claim, many people assert that the transgender community is more of a threat to our women and children, and that is discrimination, not protecting people.

Alethea Mshar

Alethea Mshar is a mother of four children; an adult child who passed away of a drug overdose, one typical daughter and two sons who have Down syndrome, one of whom has autism spectrum disorder and complex medical needs. She has written "What Can I Do To Help", a guide to stepping into the gap when someone you know has a child diagnosed with cancer, which is available on Amazon, and is publishing a memoir titled, "Hope Deferred". She can be found on Twitter as leemshar, and blogs for The Mighty HuffPost as Alethea Mshar, as well as her own blog, Ben's Writing Running Mom on She is also on Facebook as Alethea Mshar, The Writing, Running Mom.