Letter to the Editor in Messenger on 5-15-16

Pastor proposes Solution
I’ve resisted commenting on the so-called “bathroom laws,” but the topic just won’t go away. I spoke against the proposed ordinance at a Janesville City Council meeting in March and found myself in the middle of this controversial issue.
Six others also spoke against the ordinance, which ultimately passed on a 6-1 vote, but as the only pastor quoted in the media, I became a lightning rod on this issue.
Let me begin by saying that I’m not taking a stance against people whose gender identity is different from what they were born with.
I regard all people in Christian love and, regardless of my personal feelings, am sympathetic to those whose path to their perceived gender is uniquely dissimilar to mine.
My purpose here isn’t to make a statement for or against transgender people. In fact, that’s not even the issue, even though there are those that are trying to make it so.
There is a practical, humane and safer solution to accomodate the less than 1 per cent of people who identify with a different gender than they were born with. Provide single-user, unisex restrooms with locking doors and everyone is happy.
The analysis of the ordinance passed by the council states that it “would not require places of public accomodations or employment to build new bathroom facilities, but would require these entities to allow an individual to use the bathroom of the gender that they identitfy with.”
To my nonlegal mind, they’re discouraging businesses from building or designating special facilities to accomodate transgender people but would instead force them to use the public restrooms used by everyone else. Is that a compassionate solution?
When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, it said that a “reasonable accomodation” be made for people with disabilities in workplaces and public accomodations. I’m not equating transgender and disabled people, but the “reasonable accomodation” standard should apply to this situation also.
The Rev. Mike Dissmore
Senior pastor
Christ the Rock Church, Janesville

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