SALT LAKE CITY – A new form of panic disorder has been spreading like wildfire among area restrooms and their occupants, and experts say we haven’t yet seen the worst of it. Front-line clinical therapists are calling it RTSD (Restroom Transgender Socialization Disorder), but its generally known to its wake of terrified victims as “Bathroom Panic.”
Reported incidents began rolling in as soon as the non-discrimination of transgendered persons was put on the legislative agenda, and have been spiking with the frequent release of local op-eds on the matter. The law, which seeks to protect transgendered persons from discrimination in housing and employment, has been widely viewed as favorable in state polling.
But that was before those already opposed to the bill voiced their toilet-centric concerns.
“It’s just like 9/11, you know?” Lyndsay Denton, area cisgendered person, confides about her experience with bathroom panic. “I just can’t get the image of the genitals of the person in the stall next to me out of my mind. I just keep thinking about them, all the time. Of course I haven’t seen them, you typically never see another person’s genitals in the bathroom, so I have to spend a lot of time imagining them, in order to get it right. And the more I do, the more panicked I become. It’s just so unfair.”
Lyndsay wonders why she is forced to deal with the hypothetical scenarios she’s concocted about transgendered people. “What did my religious beliefs and political positions ever consistently keep from them?” Lyndsay asked earnestly.
Susan Harper, area woman of independent means, believes the threat posed by non-discrimination in the workplace cannot be overstated often enough. “Put simply, bathroom panic is the natural culmination of a person of privilege, like me, conjuring “yucky” scenarios in order to justify discrimination against a marginalized group.” Susan sums up, “In other words, it is without hyperbole the greatest threat facing the nation today.”
When asked what that had to do with workplace discrimination, Susan turned and ran, leaving a Susan-shaped dust cloud to slowly dissipate behind her.
But there is good news for the panic-afflicted. Legislators are stepping in to uphold the status quo through bold, new inaction.
A statement from the state senate’s bi-partisan caucus released yesterday reads: “We are fully prepared to block this bill, and to block any bill that would protect basic rights for a group that is often at risk for abuse, violence, or suicide. We firmly believe in the power of the people to express their most firmly held beliefs in the public square; especially if that expression comes at the expense of those we can effectively mislabel, diminish, erase, and silence.” The written statement further proclaims the phrase “Freedom of Religious Expression…” before trailing off.
These words from the legislature come just in time for those who believe themselves to be most affected by this situation. The multitudes facing the actually real and probably dire threat of bathroom panic can now breathe easier (and less rapidly). At least this time, the forces of apathy and social inertia are on their side.