Here's Why Transgender People Need Safe Bathroom Space
We’ve talked a lot here about the new wave of transphobic bathroom laws that’ve been sweeping across the United States and targeting the basic human right to pee in peace. Thousands of words have been spent describing the barbaric laws that have popped up in North Carolina, Alabama, and South Dakota. We’ve covered the unashamedly transphobic idea that actual presidential candidate Ted Cruz has spewed about trans people who literally just want to find a place to take care of something that’s a natural bodily function. We’ve all played The Sims and seen what happens when we take away the door to the bathroom. People need to use the restroom. Restricting that access based solely on whether the gender you identify with matches up with the gender someone else assigned you at birth is fucked up.
The reality is that transgender people are not a new phenomenon. They’ve been using the restroom they identify with long before Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, or other trans celebrities were around. And—curveball!—nothing happened. Despite the dramatic video of a preacher standing outside of Target yelling “think of the children” over the company’s humane new trans-friendly bathroom policies, the fear of being attacked by trans people in bathrooms has a lot in common with things like reverse racism and the war on Christianity. It’s all a fantasy. Do you know how many trans people have sexually assaulted kids or parents in bathrooms? Zero.
— Robin Lord Taylor (@robinlordtaylor) April 24, 2016
Do you know how many trans people have been attacked or harassed by people who have had the privilege of living their entire lives in bodies that align with the gender they identify with? A lot. That’s the issue with these bathroom bills. They are only saving cisgendered children and adults from dangerous situations (that don’t actually exist).
Transgender people already deal with more discrimination than any other group within the LGBTQ community and the rash of anti-trans bills have done nothing to stem the depression and suicide that plagues the community. It’s actually done the opposite. A new study out of Georgia State University found that anti-trans policies lead to increased rates of suicide among trans youth. It may get better eventually but, right now, the future is bleak thanks to these heartless pieces of legislation. Ever since the North Carolina law went into effect, Trans Lifeline, a suicide hotline for transgender people, has seen their number of calls double to an average of 200 per day.
— Michael C. Hughes (@_michaelhughes1) March 11, 2015
The reality of the situation is that a large portion of the hate and violence the trans community faces occurs when they’re trying to use the bathroom. An alarming 70 percent of respondents in a survey on trans bathroom use reported that they’d experienced “denial of access to facilities, verbal harassment, and physical assault” when trying to use the bathroom that their gender identity aligns with. It’s an issue that has been dramatized on Transparent and immortalized in harrowing YouTube videos of trans people like Chrissy Lee Polis being physically assaulted for using the “wrong” bathroom.
Blocking the transgender community from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity is stupid and incredibly dangerous. It doesn’t matter if you’re genderqueer, transgender, or even whether you can “pass” as cisgender. What matters is that we’re all in this together. Being able to comfortably use the restroom that you feel most comfortable using cannot be a privilege—it’s up to us to make that a basic human right.
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Images via The Huffington Post.