Bathroom debate puts added pressure on parents
A single dad shared his perspective on the bathroom debate that shows how the whole situation has put additional pressure on parents. Ah, yes, the Great Bathroom Debate of 2016 that until recently flooded our Facebook feeds and took up too much cable news airtime. If you’ve managed to erase the ridiculousness from your memory here is the recap. North Carolina passed a law in March that requires transgender people use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. Most people opposed it because they don’t like their laws discriminating against individuals.
Target was fairly outspoken with their support of employees and customers using whichever bathroom best corresponds with their gender. There were a few protests but then everyone moved on. It wasn’t as easy for parents who have young children to brush past it, which single dad Philippe Morgese explained perfectly in an interview with Babble.
“‘Daddy, I need to use the bathroom!’ When I hear those words away from home, I begin to panic. Immediately I start scanning my environment,” he shared. “I have three choices: I let my daughter use the woman’s bathroom by herself, I bring her into the men’s bathroom with me, or she has to hold it until we get home. All have their ups and downs, and I’m sure I’m not the only parent to go through this.”
Morgese is a dad to 9-year-old Emma. The pair became famous by teaching parents how to do their daughter’s hair. Using the bathroom in public can be a stressful situation for them. He shared that family restrooms are the preferred option. “At least in there, our odds of it being clean are better,” Morgese said. “Most places don’t cater to families, and I understand why. The square footage is valuable and the cost of an extra bathroom doesn’t make sense.”
Since Emma is almost in the double digits, Morgese doesn’t have to worry as much about her going to the bathroom alone. So usually he stands outside of it and waits for his daughter, which has turned into its own situation since the bathroom debate. “I can see the look in the eyes of women that approach the bathroom,” Morgese explained. “They scan me with their eyes and evaluate my threat level, as I do the same to them. After all, they are about to go into the same bathroom my daughter is in.”
Making sure his daughter is safe is always Morgese’s top priority, though. “Basically, I don’t care about formalities when it comes to this,” he said. “If she isn’t out after a minute, I start calling for her.” Morgese said he’d sometimes ask a woman who is going to the bathroom to check on his daughter. It lets her know why he’s waiting outside the bathroom and also helps keep his daughter safe. He added, “I hate to think of myself as an overprotective parent, [and] maybe I am, [but] some risks aren’t worth taking.”
In certain situations, though, Emma has no other option than to brave the men’s restroom with her dad. As a kid, I used the men’s bathroom with my dad less than a handful of times and hated it. The dilemma’s been there for dads all along, but it’s more stressful thanks to the people determined to discriminate against transgender people. “It’s awkward bringing a nine-year-old girl in the men’s room with me,” Morgese shared. “At what age is it no longer OK? At what age will Emma no longer feel comfortable? Those are the kinds of things I consider.”
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