The face of a predator

Posted on 03 Mar 2017 at 7:45am

If you really want to protect women, children then stop focusing on trans people

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Leslie McMurrayreally wish we could get past the restroom debate. I get asked about it so much, seemingly every day. My Facebook feed is full of stories debating on both sides whether or not there is a threat to women and children in our public restrooms.

If you are looking for someone to tell you that assaults in restrooms never happen and to just relax, well, find someone else. They do happen.

One such incident occurred on a warm summer evening when I was 17 years old. I was out with two friends, Scott and Tom, and we’d shared a pizza and a couple of pitchers of soft drinks. (Yeah, we were really crazy!)

Scott was driving, and I told him I had to pee. So he pulled off and parked near the pump island at a Shell station. It was around 8:30 p.m. Tom had to go, too, so he and I walked to the gas station bathroom, situated outside the gas station with a wall next to the side of the station, creating a kind of external hallway.

The “men’s” room (this was way pre-transition for me) was the second door, down near the end of the dead-end hallway.

We both took care of business, washed our hands and walked out. I saw Tom open the door, then the next thing I saw was Tom’s blood splatter all over the door’s painted-white surface when he was sucker punched in the face.

There were five guys who attacked, calling us “faggots” as they beat the hell out of us. There was no other conversation.

Tom ended up with a broken nose and covered in blood. I was knocked to the ground then kicked in the face so hard my jaw was broken.

Our assailants left in a car. We were able to get the license plate and reported it to the police.

There were never any arrests. Just excuses.

We were not attacked by transgender women; we were attacked by — presumably — straight white men.

Tom is not gay, by the way. But he was wearing tight, white jeans and a colorful shirt, so maybe that’s what earned us a trip to the emergency room. There was zero provocation on our part that might have prompted the beating.

Just remembering this incident again is difficult for me. It was an extremely painful and emotional time. I rarely bring it up.

But when I hear ignorant, bigoted, hate-fueled politicians like Dan Patrick grandstand, posing as a “protector of women and children” and trying to paint women like me as the problem, well I just want to throw up.

See, I know what a “bathroom predator” looks like. I’ve seen five of them up close and personal. They look like white, straight men. That’s the face of bathroom predators.

It’s not transgender women, and most certainly not transgender children. They are the ones that need protecting. But if bills liked SB6 enacted, transgender kids will be the ones on the receiving end of a kick to the face just for existing. No child deserves that. I sure as hell didn’t.

Saying you want to protect women and children is fine. But if you really want to protect women and children, why not protect them from the people who actually hurting them — straight men!

Women are far more likely to be sexually assaulted by their husband or their boyfriend or even a classmate. Children are more likely to be victimized by someone they know — a creepy uncle, a clergy member or someone else considered “trustworthy” — than they are by a stranger in a bathroom, and when you compare statistics, it’s not even close.

Look, I have two daughters. And I share the same desire for privacy and safety in public facilities that they or anyone else have.

But it makes me sad to think my daughters hear the hateful rhetoric and lies being told about transpeople. I know they love and worry about me.

I’m tired of talking about restrooms. I’d just as soon move on to discussions on why it’s still legal in 31 states to fire me from my job solely because I’m transgender, or to deny me housing or health care.

That, by the way, is what happens when you leave it to the states, Mr. Trump — tyranny of the masses.

It’s high time to stop lying about the whole predator thing and just come clean. It’s about selling “stigma” and fear; about demonizing and erasing a group of people who have done nothing wrong.

I’ve seen the face of a predator. I’ve felt their boot shatter my jaw. It was a boot belonging to a straight, white male. When will we start looking long and hard at the true face of a predator?

Solving the real problem won’t be easy. Our culture seems to look the other way when straight, white males force their will on women. That makes the problem twofold: We need to raise our men to respect women, to care for children, to be respectful.

But bills like SB6 do nothing to address the real issue of protecting women or respecting their privacy. It’s all a big distraction.            

Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in Dallas. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com.

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