This week on Ask Cristen it's time to take some facts and use them like toilet paper to wipe up some gender discrimination in the bathroom and flush it all down the toilet.
That is a disgustingly vivid analogy.
This week's Ask Cristen question/request is coming from Mandy who says, "I am getting so tired of this nonsense about children being more likely to be molested in bathrooms where transgender people have access.
This argument is only perpetuated by the belief that transgender people are sexually deviant so KEEP THEM AWAY FROM MY UNATTENDED CHILDREN.
"We need a video, Cristen!"
Well Mandy, before I get into statistics about gender neutral bathrooms and safety.
I first want to emphasize how historically public restrooms have been ground zero for discrimination.
Not all that long ago, African Americans were segregated to their own bathrooms due to racist fears about how it might be unsanitary and even immoral for them to sit on the same toilet as a white person.
Not to mention disability activists have also had to fight for equal access to essentially pee in public.
And here we are again with our 21st century round of unfounded fears about what might happen in the bathroom.
Specifically that if we outlaw gender identity based bathroom discrimination that somehow women's restrooms in particular will suddenly become hotbeds of sexual assault, child molestation, indecent exposure, and kidnapping.
But in reality, our private, probably not gender-neutral bathrooms at home are more 'dangerous' for children and women than public restrooms are.
Unless of course you count stalls without any toilet paper 'as a danger.'
A lot of these transgender bathroom fears revolve around stranger danger myths.
Completely forgetting the facts that a majority of child molestation's and sexual assaults are perpetrated by people that the victim's know.
Whether that's family, friends, acquaintances, spouses, or significant others.
Not a fun fact.
And speaking of child molestation, 23% of perpetrators are under 18.
And if we're worried about say, abduction, only 0.1% of those cases involve stereotypical kidnappings of a stranger walking into a space like say, a public restroom, snatching up a kid, and running.
Most missing children have not been abducted. They're running away from situations at home.
Moreover, there is zero, let me repeat, zero, third time's the charm, zero, statistical evidence that outlawing gender identity based bathroom discrimination in any way increases the risk of sexual assault in those spaces.
And we know that based on the dozen or so states that have already passed laws prohibiting that kind of gender discrimination.
For instance, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, and Vermont are among the states that already have those laws on the books.
And in 2014 Media Matters polled police departments in those states asking whether there's been an uptick in sexual violence in public restrooms since those laws were passed, and here's what they had to say.
Minneapolis' police spokesperson said there had been quote, 'not even remotely a problem.'
Las Vegas' police department also said they've had no reported incidents or transgender suspects since passing the law.
The Albuquerque police department reported quote, 'We are unaware of any cases of assault in our city as a result of transgender accommodations."
Heading over to beautiful Portland, Oregon, their police chief said quote, "I've never heard of any issues like this in Portland."
And then he got on his custom made fixed-gear bicycle and rode off into the wind.
If we hightail it over to Bernie Sanders country in Montpelier, Vermont, the police chief said quote, "We don't have any complaints related to this issue."
But there is one group of people that does face a lot of harassment, discrimination, and even violence in public restrooms, and those are transgender people.
Data from UCLA's Williams Institute found that 62% of the transgender people it surveyed experienced at least one incident of harassment, denial of access, or outright assault in a public restroom.
A lot of trans might simply hold in having to go to the bathroom to the point it causes kidney and bladder health problems.
So to answer Mandy's question about whether there are any statistics to debunk all of this gender-neutral potty panic, the answer is obviously yeah.
If we really look at the nature of these crimes and the nature of these perpetrators and spaces where these perpetrators are likeliest to be...
It's not transgender people that we should be worried about or scared of.