I’m not gonna deny that I have issues.
No matter who comes knocking when I’m home alone, I’m walking to that door with a pen, pencil, butter knife, “Mischief Managed” coffee mug, something, anything, so that the triggered portion of my brain feels I’m not without some means of defense.
My husband knows to make noise when he enters the bedroom where I’m sleeping. If he jingles his keys, drops them on the bureau, trips over the cat, and says “Hey, baby, I’m home,” I’ll not rouse. I’ll sleep through it. But if he turns the knob quietly and tip-toes in . . . I’m a bolt-right, gasping, freaking mess he then has to reassure.
And that’s just a glimpse of the PTSD that rides along with me through my day-to-day life. My brain is hard-wired to defend me against sexual predators. I own that. It’s mine to cope with. And I appreciate the compassionate response of family, friends, and community as I do.
But when I hear people like Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick say things like, “Legislation to protect women’s privacy and business is essential to assure that sexual predators…will not be able to freely enter women’s restrooms, locker rooms or showers,” I’m fully aware they’re trying to play on my basest fears and hyper-vigilant reactions to support their legalized-discrimination agenda.
I’m also aware that this is where some of my more radical feminist fellow females of the trans-exclusionary bent will rise up and use rape anecdotes to demand “penis-free zones,” and the religious right will hold the microphone for them with one hand and hold their nose with the other.
And I am having none of it.
Yes, I was raped as a child. But I’ll thank you to stop using my sexual abuse as an excuse to discriminate against transgender people. I may instinctively be aware and vigilant when men of any stripe are around, but I recognize that my reaction, my prejudice, does not and should not infringe on any of my fellow citizens’ human, civil, or equal rights, cis, trans, or otherwise.
That I reflexively lock my car doors when a man walks past my car in the parking lot or as I sit at a stop light is no reason to bar men from walking past me in public. That my brain is a-buzz and ready for fight or flight when a man steps into an elevator with me is no reason to segregate elevators for men and women. My fellow citizens — with or without penises — are committing no crime in walking past me, riding an elevator with me, knocking on the door of my home, peeing in the stall next to me, or “triggering” me, any more than radio stations are committing a crime by playing 80s hits like Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like A Wolf” or my husband is for making his way to his side of our bed at night or the bathroom just beyond it.
They just have to pee, ya’ll. And I have no problem with letting them.
Look. Like you, I’m no fan of sexual predators — or creepers, as I call them — wherever they’re found, be that church pews, piano benches, or public potties. But here’s what I know: Creepers are gonna creep, and their creepy deeds are already illegal.
So I say. . .
Catch and prosecute the creepers. Let the rest pee in peace.
And leave my rape out of it.