By Jonathon Van Maren
In our era of overnight cultural change, it has become possible to watch activists change the narrative and rewrite history in real time.
For example, as the transgender movement insists that biological males be permitted access to female-only spaces (the reverse is true, too, but less controversial for once-obvious reasons), we are witnessing a flurry of questions asking why, exactly, girls and boys need their own bathrooms and changerooms to begin with. A sampling of headlines:
- “Why do we have men’s and women’s bathrooms anyway?” – TIME magazine
- “The Weird History of Gender-Segregated Bathrooms” – Live Science
- “How did bathrooms get to be separated by gender in the first place?”—the Guardian
(That one came with a great lede: “The ‘natural’ separation of men and women in these spaces arose less than 200 years ago, as part of a pervasive ideology of separation and dominance.”)
- “Why are bathrooms segregated by sex in the first place?” – The Huffington Post
- “Who’s afraid of gender-neutral bathrooms?” – the New Yorker
This revisionist reporting and retroactive history serves one purpose: to portray those who object to boys being allowed in girls’ bathrooms or men being allowed in female-only facilities as hysterical idiots who, dontcha know, are too dumb to realize that sex-segregated bathrooms are a recent thing rooted in Very Bad Precedents.
Thus, just as fictitious history was produced out of thin air claiming that transgender people have always been everywhere (with every mannish woman and effeminate man being reclassified as trans to make the case) to justify sex changes for children, “think pieces” such as these are published in order to make those with common sense look unhinged.
And those essays lead to news stories such as this one, from Burnaby Now (Burnaby is in British Columbia):
Not everyone is happy with all-gender washrooms installed at a Burnaby elementary school last year, but the school district says the concept is the bathroom of the future for local schools.
A $13-million seismic upgrade completed at Parkcrest Elementary School last school year did more than make the building safe against earthquakes. During the renovations, the district did away with boys and girls bathrooms and replaced them with shared, universal facilities… Instead of a door marked ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ there is now an open entrance way that leads to a space with banks of individual, locking cubicles on each side for everyone to use.
Unlike traditional stalls, the door and sides are longer, extending nearly up to the ceiling and down to the floor. ‘These inclusive washrooms are very private,’ school district secretary-treasurer Russell Horswill told the NOW in an emailed statement. Each cubicle contains a toilet, a wastebasket and not much else. Sinks and mirrors, instead of being inside the washroom, are now located in the hallway.
Plenty of ordinary people are upset about this, of course. Former teacher and grandmother Bonnie Whitten told Now that: “Schools are supposed to be safe and healthy, and I find it hard to believe that it will be safe and healthy for a six-year-old girl going into a washroom with a 12-year-old boy,” she said in an interview. “Not that I’m saying they’re bad, but it’s a toxic situation, and should not be happening.”