The controversy over transgendered people using their bathroom of choice has sparked much fear, anger and debate on both sides of the issue. While some people are worried that transgendered man or women might have his or her feelings hurt by not being able to choose that bathroom that makes him or her feel more comfortable, others are worried about the safety of their wives, mothers and daughters. One restaurant owner took a stand for his clients and he's getting a lot of backlash.
The Steak and Catfish Barn in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is implementing a strict restroom policy. The owner, Bob Warner, has posted a notice on the bathroom doors that has ruffled some feathers.
"We do not have a transgender bathroom. So don't be caught in the wrong one," the note reads.
The transgendered community and their supporters find the note disturbing because they perceive it as a threat. “That sign has an implied threat and a threat that’s very real to me,” said Paula Schonauer, a local transgender woman.
“You’ve got this sign implying a threat of potential violence against somebody for going to pee. That’s not the Oklahoma standard. That’s not what it means to be American. That’s just wrong,” lamented Troy Stevenson of Freedom Oklahoma, an LGBTQ activist group.
According to Warner, however, he was just trying to protect his customers-- all of them, including the transgendered ones.
“We have a lot of redneck guys that come in here. Truck drivers and everything. They’re big husky guys and I said ‘man alive!’ If their wife or their little girl walked in that bathroom and a man followed them in there, I wouldn’t have a restaurant,” Warner said. “I don’t want to see nobody hurt.”
Even if a perfectly innocent transgendered person is unlikely to do anything threatening in a public restroom, many people fear that restroom policies allowing people to choose invite individuals with sinister intentions. The wrong people will take advantage of the policies meant to protect transgendered people, and put non-transgendered children and women at risk.