On Friday, Bruce Jenner came out as a transgender, conservative Republican in his ABC News 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer. Some found this ideological admission more shocking than his statement, “I am a woman.”
Jenner, who breaks the myth that Republicans are a monolithic group, does bring LGBT issues to the forefront and even called on House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to discuss the issues in relation to public policy.
One such LGBT policy issue gaining attention in the media is the so-called “bathroom bills,” which consider gender identity requirements for bathrooms in public areas, especially public schools. Among the states recently in the news on this issue are Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Texas and Virginia — red and purple states.
If asked, do you know how to talk about transgender bathrooms in public schools?
Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.
Here’s the likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:
Q: “Do you think it’s right to force a transgender child to use a bathroom that makes him/her feel uncomfortable? Isn’t that discrimination?”
B²: “We should focus on the privacy and safety of all students. In some schools, gender-neutral bathrooms are available to any student who feels uncomfortable, including those who feel bullied. But, any policy should include <insert talking point>.”
Wherever you take the conversation next, even if to say that due to privacy and security concerns the vast majority of children and parents prefer to leave bathrooms as is, do show your concern for all students.
Also, remember that the words you use matter. Instead of repeating “discriminate” and “force,” use words and phrases to emphasize the importance of privacy and security for all students. Schools should be a safe place.
Last, watching “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and Jenner’s upcoming series on his transition will not make you an expert on the transgender issues, so it’s best to not repeat terminology without a good grasp of the context. Study up and use your words well.