John Balentine’s column describing the threats to women in public unisex bathrooms was both troubling and misinformed (“Here’s Something: Women suffer when bathrooms are unisex”). As someone who claims to look out for women, his arguments paint women as inhumanly saintly, clean, and unable to protect themselves.
Public bathrooms do pose real threats, but not the ones that Balentine offers. He subscribes to the same misinformed arguments that both dehumanize transgender individuals and paint women as weak victims. Perhaps more disturbing than the lack of understanding about the female experience in public bathrooms is that he decided to openly use transphobic language to get his point across. There is a difference between differing political and social opinions about transgender individuals, and deliberately disrespecting and dehumanizing an entire community in the way that Balentine has done.
The use of Caitlyn Jenner’s birth name and purposely misgendering her, as well as his belief that transgender individuals simply decide one day that they are another gender are all damaging lies to be spreading. As someone who has been interpreted as being female and as someone who is transgender, this piece was very troubling to read and I would encourage Balentine to go out and talk to more women and transgender people to open his eyes a bit to what life is actually like for us.