Letters to the Editor

What is normal?

Chris Tabin’s Belleville News-Democrat letter on how the transgender bathroom issue is a challenge to normalcy, begs the question of what is normal.

My idea of normal bathroom protocol was challenged when my Air Force off-duty bicycle rides around the city of Niigata, Japan required a pit stop. I learned the locations of public outside “facilities,” but made sure that my visits were solo and not shared with anyone of the opposite gender who also used the toilets. On one occasion when I used a unisex restroom in a building there were women present, but the squeamishness was mine, not theirs.

The attitude of the Japanese toward nudity was illustrated in the story about the U.S. Army officer of the occupying force in charge of a town who commanded that the men and women no longer bathed together in the public bathhouse. So the bathhouse put a rope in the middle of the pool to separate the men from the women, the only change in their “normal” baths.

The transgender issue is only one aspect of the culture shock we are going through. It will take some time before we can stop seeing it as “distorted claims of sexual identity” or “perversion,” and see it as simply being “abnormal.”

Ray Hollmann, Fairview Heights

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