Growing up as women, we’ve all had our fair share of unpleasant encounters with men. From the uncomfortable leering on our growing bodies to the extreme of sexual assault or physical violence, every single woman on this planet has fallen somewhere on this spectrum.
As a mother of a 10-year-old daughter, this causes concern for me. We don’t want our daughters to have to go through what we went through, so we try and protect them in every way we can. As parents, there is a reason why we are more protective over our daughters than our sons. Everyday media will remind us why. Having single-sex spaces in the public sphere is a necessity to protect the safety and dignity of women and girls. This used to be commonsense —until recently.
When I first heard about transgenderism and self-ID, I didn’t think much of it. My initial idea was live and let live. If it wasn’t infringing on anyone’s rights and it made someone happy, why not? I didn’t know what was happening because it wasn’t being talked about a lot in the media. It was only until I started hearing bits and pieces of information from other women that I started to research what was really going.
I found cases upon cases of women’s spaces allowing men to enter with no regard for women and girls. Separated swimming areas, spas, dormitories, public bathrooms, school bathrooms and changing rooms were all open season for any man who identified as a woman. In each of these places, young girls were put at risk and/or even assaulted.
I am teaching my daughter that she doesn’t need to be agreeable or be silent if she ever feels uncomfortable with a man. But how can she stand up for herself if this becomes law? If she isn’t allowed to challenge men invading her spaces, how can she protect herself? Does she deny what her instincts tell her because of men self-proclaiming they are indeed women?
If my daughter ever needed intimate medical care, would she be able to have a female doctor? If —God forbid, she needed to stay in a domestic violence shelter, would she be assured she wouldn’t have to house with a man if shelters are legally unable to turn away men who say they are women?
I don’t want my daughter’s future to be in jeopardy. She loves sports and is quite competitive. Should I tell her that there is a possibility she will never win because there is a biological boy she must compete with? That she may lose out on that scholarship or sponsorship because she just doesn’t have what it takes to beat a boy that is stronger than her? Or that she will physically be put at risk?
Nowadays, women and girls can exist in the public sphere because of these things we take for granted. We are able to have work opportunities, education and leisure because single-sex spaces exist for women and girls. Places like India are still fighting for single-sex toilets to prevent sexual assault and the embarrassment of menstruation. So why are we trying to reverse this?
If we aren’t careful, women’s rights may be rolled back to the previous century. I want my daughter to be happy, safe and successful in life. We need to protect our children and we need to start speaking up.