Keller @ Large: Bathroom Bill Battle

BOSTON (CBS) – Even if you missed the lurid TV ads in the past, showing a suspicious guy following a little girl into the ladies room, didn’t you know Beacon Hill is about to make it legal for men to use women’s bathrooms?

It’s hard to miss the sensational radio ads currently airing, all part of the long-running battle over this bill granting equal access to public facilities for people who want to belong to the opposite sex, also known as transgenders.

Advocates have run ads of their own, focusing on protecting transgenders from violence.

WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller Is At Large

But the opposition’s “bathroom” emphasis has been politically effective, helping to keep the bill bottled up in committee for years.

So we asked both sides: is there a middle ground here?

“To me the bathrooms are not the important issue,” says Ashley Amber Bottoms. “The issue with me is our rights. I’ve lost jobs, been denied jobs because I’m transgendered. That’s where it hits home.”

“I’m talking about 10,000 registered sex offenders who we’re saying you can walk into a bathroom of your choosing and no one will be able to challenge you,” says Kris Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute.

More from Jon Keller
  • mikey

    Flush the “Bathroom Bill.”

  • Willow

    Will this transgendered person walk into the ladies room where there might be little girls with their mothers, and walk over to a urinal, or into a stall? The world has completely turned upside down in my opinion. Now they want to allow men to be lurking around in the ladies bathroom, just because they may look like a woman? Maybe it’s time to build a third bathroom for the public. They could be labeled, MEN, WOMEN, and WHATEVER!!

    • thoughtful

      If a transgendered person walks into the ladies; room, questions about urinals vs. stalls would be moot. Bathrooms for women’s use don’t have urinals in them.
      And, if everyone just uses a stall, there’s no problem with privacy issues. I’ve never had any problems with, say, washing my hands next to strangers.\

  • StanleyRamon

    I guess my brain works differently; so because the sign on the door says “ladies”, that somehow prevents a predator from entering? Or a transgender from entering? And this bill will change that how? If I saw a transgender enter a woman’s bathroom today, should I call the police? Someone with bad intentions is going to strike no matter what the sign says, and no matter what their gender is. Maybe we need bathroom police, which means I won’t be able to use the handicapped toilet unless I have my handicap badge on.

    • Italo

      Excellent post.

    • Anna Keppa

      Yes, your brain does work differently, as in “illogically”. I suspect you lock your car when you leave it a parking lot. Using your reasoning, that useless, because if a guy wants to steal your car he’s going to figure out a way to do it. Right? Now, when a predator (or even a guy who innocently misses the sign on the door) walks into a ladies room, any women present will yell for him to leave, or seek help, and very likely some manager or security guy will toss the guy out, at the very least. Under the proposed bill any perp could walk into that ladies room and claim that he has a right to be there, no matter how uncomfortable the women are about it. THAT’s what the bill would change.

      • StanleyRamon

        @Anna- 60 Minutes once aired a show about stolen vehicles and asked an expert car thief what could be done to prevent him from stealing a car and his answer was “don’t buy one”. It doesn’t mean we should just give up trying to stop criminals. The key word of course is “criminal”. Transgenders are not criminals they’re just different from what we’re used to. In the scenario you describe, after the law is passed, the same thing will happen; the “guy” will be removed from the ladies room. What will not happen is a transgender person will not be told to leave the ladies room simply because you are uncomfortable with him/her being there. The problem as I see it is that folks with your opinion are expecting a crime to be committed because you disagree with a person’s life style, sexuality, color, economic status, etc. There’s a name for that.

  • Rick

    Why do so few have to always say” it is our rights”! Give me a break and look at the population on a whole. Why do we make so many, the majority, of people uncomfortable with that few who seem to have all the rights. What about the rights of every one else to use a restroom in peace and not have to worry about that “thing” in the restroom being some pervert pretending to be a trans gender.
    Once again this country has gone overboard the wrong way from the majority.

    • StanleyRamon

      It’s called progress. At one time “the majority” felt that African Americans should use a different bathroom too. You have a right to use the bathroom in your house in peace, but not a public one.

    • Lori

      I absolutely agree. As a former sister of one of these ‘THINGS” I could not agree more.

  • emom

    I agree flush this bill…. Are they insane, to allow a trans gender man into a ladies bathroom is insane… These folks have got to see this from a women’s point of view… SORRY they are being unreasonable. This bill has no safety in mind. What is stopping a non- trans gender male from dressing the part of a women and entering the bathroom and committing a crime. Are they trying to create problems,,, By allowing this bill it tells us that no female is safe and that they have no say in this . That simple is unacceptable. If they prefer to us a bathroom that is not their gender, then they can use the family bathrooms,,, or if there is a single bathroom in an establishment then that’s ok,, but when there is multiple stalls in a restroom, HELL NO WAY. I wonder if these folks even care about others feelings,,, they cry its unfair,,, well ,, what about the rest of us with little girls,,,, TELL US YOU ARE BEING FAIR ….. Where is the safety for little girls when they see some guy dressed as a women come into the bathroom. Equal rights has gotten out of control… this does not give equal rights to those that already use the bathroom,,,,,, there is serious flaws with it.

    • Steve

      Totally agree. Unfortunitely this is Massachusetts. This will end up getting passed and there will need to be countless assaults before something is done. And the poor victims will need to live with the emotional/physical damage for the rest of their lives. This isn’t a dig at transgenders, and I ‘m not trying to say that just because someone is a transgender they are going to abuse a girl/woman. My concern is more for the thousands of sick FU@Ks out there that will use this as an opportunity to access a place which currently is protected. I understand what StanleyRamon is saying, and no it doesn’t safeguard women/girls now just because it says ladies on the door; but it does offer a certain level of protection. Since as of now a transgender male is not allowed into a ladies room, I know I for one would immediately notify someone if I saw someone walking into a ladies room I did not think should be in there. I don’t care what you WANT to be, if you are a male, stay out of the womens room. I’m all for equal rights, but there has to be a line drawn to offer the rest (majority) of the population both the safety they deserve and comfort they deserve. This is the same as the colleges that want to make co-ed bathrooms. I honestly feel this is just inviting trouble.

    • Lori

      emom, the trans (m2f) will tell you “But I AM a woman!!!”

  • Marge

    Bathrooms should not be an issue if the signs are changed. Men’s and Ladies should be changed to Pen is and Vag ina, these are both medical terms and should not offend anyone. What you got is where you go – problem solved.

    • Steve

      I like it!

    • Lori_former sister of a "thing"

      I like your post!!!

  • scared

    Or the real motive behind this, transgender can do what ever they want and if questioned, the person questioned will be punished – actual event not publicized by mainstream media, a male enter female restroom, manager questioned him, he cried his rights being violated, manager FIRED.

    This is what the law is REALLY all about – why need a law, they pretty much can already do what they want, a manager FIRED because male using a female restroom – imangine with the law – the manager would also be serving a prision sentence as well, being fired wouldn;t be enough, he would also be guilty of a HATE crime.

  • KathyD

    @Lori: I feel bad for you. But not in the way you think. Turning a loved one into a non-human and then proudly declaring you’ve disowned a human being for his/her sexual identity is pretty sad. Maybe if you let go of the circus-act mentality and instead focused on a loved one’s inherit worth and dignity, maybe you would have a life filled more with love than anger.

    I wish you and your sibling, the best.

    • Lori_former sister of a "thing"

      Kathy, I DO have a sister… I was the youngest of 3 kids. My brother is no more both legally and physically. I did not make that decision. I love my BROTHER and my sister but I was born with 1 brother and 1 sister NOT 2 sisters. Initially he said he was NOT going to have the surgery when I found out (by accident BTW) and I was okay with just dressing the part. It was when he chose to have the surgery that I could not (nor would I) take part in condoning it. No matter WHAT one does to the outside of your body your insides will ALWAYS stay the same. The DNA will ALWAYS say you are male or female. Just because a Trans changes the book cover doesn’t make them from a fiction book to non-fiction book. I believe, and scoff if you must, that GOD does not make mistakes. I have a son with Aspergers and he is NOT a mistake. It is also one of the reasons I cannot have anything to do with my brothers choice. YOU try telling a child, with an issue like my sons, why his Uncle is not his Uncle anymore and never will be again. I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I want you to feel bad for my nephews who hate their fathers decision even more then I do. He has lost his own sons who have barely hit their teen years. They have enough strife already and their father added to it.

      • KathyD

        Well, I guess you and I are different in many respects. I do know transgendered (M to F) and, having listened to them at length, they really are being who they’ve always been inside. Choosing to do something so dramatic and risk alienating everyone you love, is not a choice taken lightly. To them, not doing it is more of a hell to live in than it is to pretend.
        I think that if you and your child are having problems with your brother’s decision, then blaming him for it is not going to help.
        But calling a human a “thing” is not helpful to you, your child, or the rest of your family. What does that teach your child? That intolerance is okay?
        Seek out a counselor or support group that will help you get rid of the resentment and learn how to talk to your child about it. Kids are actually more open to change than most adults.

  • Zoe Ellen Brain

    You do know that 15 states (plus sc) already have such laws in place? That over 40% of the US population lives in those states?

    That in Mass, the cities of Boston, Cambridge, and Norfolk have these laws already?

    You see, the opponents of this bill lie, blatantly, obviously. No, this bill doesn’t allow perverts to use the ladies restroom. If it did, they would have been doing that in Boston, and Norfolk, and Cambridge, for over a decade.

    The bill itself doesn’t even mention bathrooms. Look it up. This is one of the most bizarre and egregiously dishonest scare-campaigns seen in modern times.

    It might work of course – you can fool all of the people some of the time. The opponents bank on there being enough gullible idiots to fall for this, even ones who live in Boston, and Norfolk, and Cambridge, so are already covered by similar laws. All they have to do is tell the Big Lie loudly enough, “THINK OF THE CHILDREN!! PERVERTS IN BATHROOMS!!” and they’ll stampede people in panic.

    As I said – it might work. But ask those people from Boston, or Norflok, or Cambridge – from Colorado, or Iowa, or Vermont, or Maine, or (for goodness sakes) Lafayette County in Kentucky whether they have a problem there. Or have had in the 30 years since such laws were enacted.

    There’s beern none – why, in Oregon jusy a week or so ago, where such laws are in place, a pervert *did* try dressing in female attire to access children in a restroom – and was promptly caught and police who were called in.

    They’re lying to you when they say that such actions will be legal.

    • Steve

      Can you elaborate? What prompted the police to be called in/arrest the person? And I don’t know why you’d be so qucik to bash people for believe this absolutely has to do with bathrooms…. did you read this article? If this is the first time someone has heard of the proposal, such as myself, there is no question it has everything to do with bathrooms. You say there’s nothing in the proposal that actually states bathrooms… please tell us. What does it say then? Because according to this article it def does. Again, what prompted the individual in OR to be arrested?

    • scared

      KEep up the disguise behind the true motive,
      Care to elaborate in your scenario presented, that had it been a trannsgender person, and the police were called by a concerned citizen who truely thought there was a threat, the caller most likely be prosecuted for committing a hate crime.
      Then facing that REAL possibility, when someone sees what could be a potential threat, do you think they would risk a prison sentence adn still call the police,
      Far fethced, no way – it has already happened, only thing not happend is prosecution for HAte crime because not law yet.

  • Christine Michelle Duffy


    I would like to commend to Mr. Keller’s readers an article that I wrote on gender identity and expression in the workplace. It was posted online this morning at . The article includes a detailed discussion of the bathroom issue.

    Christine Michelle Duffy

  • Will Scott Brown defend DOMA? | Massachusetts Family Institute

    […] transgender named Ashley Amber Bottoms. You can view the Keller-At-Large report here: Be sure to listen to anchor Jack Williams comments at the end of the […]

  • John

    So this Bill would mean I can’t change my mind about having offered to hire Mark when I learn he was born Wendy? Nor could I just fire Jim when he tells me he’s going to become a Jill. And having discovered that the Fire Chief likes to wear dresses at home there would be no recourse? Not that different from Philadelphia the movie.

    I have also experienced the occasional woman in the Mens room throughout my life. Havn’t seen them assaulted for it nor otherwise physically harassed. It’s not entering the Mens room that brings the risk IMO. The Transphobe determined to cave your skull will follow you into either place regardless of what is on the door. So IMO save the restroom lockerroom till a fulltime transition is made.

    • steve

      John do you have daughters? I know if I were somewhere with just my daughter and could not acompany them to the restroom and saw someone who was clearly not a woman entering in just after my 5 year old daughter, I would NOT be okay with this.

  • karyn

    You people really need to read your laws more and learn. This bill has ZERO to do with the bathroom and right now as it currently stands you cannot do ANYTHING about a transgender person being in there.

    The Mass DMV currently allows Transgender people to change their gender marker on the drivers license without surgery. So if you were to see lets say someone who appeared to be male dressed as female and Id’ed that person it would show them as female and allow them access to those facilities. You would NEVER know if they had already had surgery or not ..

    This bill is about discrimination in Jobs, healthcare and Housing not the bathroom

    • StanleyRamon

      You’re absolutely right, which was the whole point of Jon Keller’s post. It shows how easy it is for special interest groups to sway focus away from the real issues.

  • Lori_ Former sister of a THING

    Kathy, My brother is the one that needs counseling. Any therapist worth his salt would NOT okay this surgery, at least not yet. Our family history is why he is the way he is. It is not the way he was made, it is not natural therefor it is a thing. I’ve even told him to wait until his sons are out of high school but he is not willing to wait. It isn’t that far off, his oldest is in HS. Instead he is alienating most of his family (including his own children who do not live with him BECAUSE of his decision). His children need him and instead he is abandoning them when they need him most. THAT is NOT what a parent does. And he is doing it for his own selfish needs.

    • Karyn Maynard

      Actually Lori to have this surgery you need a letter from a phycologist and a letter from a pshychiatrist so that blows your “any therapist” comment out of the water. e whole process isn’t taken lightly, you dnot just wake up one day, decide and book surgery. It is a long process.

      As many educated people will tell you gender isn’t simply about DNA. In fact there are a lot of variations to DNA that also come into play. it’s not just XX or XY determines what you are

      What you are expecting is someone to live miserably so you can be comfortable. To me that means you are also being selfish. You really need to let go of your hate. It’s not up to you to determine what someone else does to their body, it’s their body. You do not have ownership of their idenity …

      • BostonIrish

        Karyn, it’s obvious to me that Lori is very upset at what is happening in her family. You and I have no right to tell her how she should feel. Those are your feelings that you’re asserting on her. Because a person has a gender change doesn’t mean that everyone else is for it for whatever reason, and there are many. I watched a gender change happen in a friend’s family. Father and mother with 3 children. Dad felt he needed to have the operation. The event tore the family down completely and bankrupted them. Divorce, foreclosure, and a lot of psychological treatment for everyone. The event also unfolded in the press and at work. I worked with the person. We all had to go through sensitivity training regardless of whether we worked with him or not. The youngest was my son’s best friend. He was 7 at the time.

        The emotional and psychological devastation left on the family was caused by a very selfish act on his part. Would you tell him not to do it because he was hurting those around him? Wife? Children? Siblings? Again, you and I have no right telling these people how they should feel.

      • Lori_former sister of a THING

        Karyn, If you knew of our family history then you too would say that no therapist would give this the okay. And, FYI, I already KNEW that a letter was needed. I am not expecting him to live miserably for me to be comfortable. I expect him to live as he was born, as he was when he made his two children until his two children are of an age where they no longer need to depend on him for anything. I love my brother, thats it, not this figment of his imagination. I’ve already lost my brother and my nephews have lost their father. You ahev NO idea. Each case like this is as individual as it comes. You can’t lump them all together. Not Everyone (in a situation such as this or not) is going to have a happily ever after.

  • Lori_former sister of a THING

    BostonIrish, Thank You for understanding. It hasn’t been easy. This has cost me relationships with some cousins as it has cost him relationships with other cousins. My sister only recently decided against supporting our brothers decision. Until recently this has caused problems between me and my actual sister. Myself and my own feelings aside… I am more worried about my nephews who already had it bad growing up and now they have this to contend with. None of his sons live with him. What happens on the off chance one of their friends finds out and tells everyone at their schools? Kids, especially teens, can be unreasonable and mean. They will have more problems then they already do.

  • Karyn Maynard
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