Why The Bathroom Uproar Isn't About Safety

Why The Bathroom Uproar Isn't About Safety

A look into how people's fears reveal transphobia.

(Disclaimer: As a non-binary person, I have certain privileges that many trans people don’t. While I cannot speak for the trans community as a whole, these are my thoughts as a non-cisgender individual.)

Nearly every day that I’ve logged into Facebook this past week, I’ve seen someone complaining about how horrifying Target’s clarification of bathroom access is. Nearly all of these critics say they don’t like the idea of trans bathroom rights because it compromises the safety of children.

Well, I’m here to call these people out. The worry isn't about safety; it's a fear of transgender people.

I know this seems more like a gut reaction than a thought-out response, so let’s take a look at a few cues that show the concern isn’t with safety but with inclusivity.

First, it seems that most of the ideas about lack of safety revolve around the concept of a “man dressed as a woman” assaulting children. I’ve seen this thought in what many people say in person or write on social media. And while the thought of assault is scary, trying to argue that trans bathroom accessibility is the threat to safety is inaccurate and rooted in discrimination. Many (but not all) trans people have been using the bathroom matching their gender for years.

Furthermore, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over 80 percent of child assaults and child abuse are done by someone the child knows. If the concern was genuinely towards child safety, why is this uproar about safety only brought up when trans-inclusive policies and clarifications are made? If people were concerned about child safety and not about trans-inclusivity, we would have a focus on all venues of abuse, especially the factors that affect a majority, and these concerns wouldn’t only be brought up when inclusive policies are clarified.

It’s also important that we look at this idea that cisgender men will dress as women in order to gain access to the women’s bathroom and proceed to prey on children. Obviously, child predators are aware that they’re breaking the law. This being said, child assault is, of course, illegal in all senses. Nobody wants to change that, nobody is in the process of changing that, and nobody thinks it’s even close to rational.

But for some reason, people seem to think that trans people using the correct bathrooms is equivalent to legalizing child assault in all of its forms. There’s this irrational idea that trans rights are inherently connected to giving the freedom to assault. It shouldn’t need to be said that this is incorrect, and once again stems from the idea that people who don’t conform to the gender norm are dangerous.

After all, many (if not most) places have gender neutral changing areas. Target certainly does and has had them for years. Yet despite this sudden outrage against inclusive bathrooms, there hasn’t been any discussion of the inclusive changing rooms that have been in existence. And similarly to bathrooms, changing rooms divide into separate, private stalls in which some element of clothing is removed.

While these rooms have different purposes, the set-up is pretty much the same. The difference lies in society’s acceptance of one’s status as inclusive and the other’s as this horrific taboo thing. If safety was an active concern on people’s minds, wouldn’t they have been talking about safety in changing rooms and other public places in addition to bathrooms?

If people were concerned about safety, we would see more laws and punishments against perpetrators of rape, assault, and other violence. We would see more understanding and support for rape victims, assault victims, and the difficulties they face in recovery. We wouldn’t only talk about child safety when trans rights are involved.

But are not the case, and we can see that safety isn’t the concern. The concern is about letting transgender people have basic human rights.

So instead of worrying about what’s in people’s pants or whining about how trans people using the bathroom makes you uncomfortable, just do your business, wash your hands, and get on with your day.

(If interested, a mother’s point of view on the subject can be found here.)

Cover Image Credit: thenation.com

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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'The Farewell' Brings An Asian-American Narrative To Hollywood

I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.


The trailer for Lulu Wang's "The Farewell" was recently released. The film, based on Wang's own experience, stars Awkwafina as Billi, a Chinese-American woman who travels to China after learning her grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. "The Farewell" initially debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in January, and currently holds a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

"The Farewell" is an exciting film for members of the Asian-American community, as it encompasses many of our own experiences in having family overseas. Having this Asian-American narrative portrayed in Hollywood is especially groundbreaking and important to the community. "Crazy Rich Asians" has received much well-deserved acclaim for its leap in Asian representation, but the film did not necessarily depict a completely relatable experience and was only one story out of many in the Asian-American community. There were aspects of the characters' cultures that allowed the Asian-American audience to connect with much of the film, but the upper-class narrative wasn't quite as accessible to everyone.

While "Crazy Rich Asians" portrays Asians in a way that is very much uncommon in Hollywood and American media in general and had a hand in helping to break stereotypes, "The Farewell" introduces a nearly universal first-generation American or immigrant narrative to Hollywood. In doing so, the film allows many members of the Asian-American community to truly see their own experiences and their own stories on the screen.

For me, the trailer alone was enough to make me tear up, and I've seen many other Asian Americans share a similar experience in seeing the trailer. The film reminds us of our own families, whether it's our grandparents or any other family living overseas. I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

"The Farewell," which is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019, depicts a family dynamic in the Asian-American experience that hits home for many, including myself. The initial critical response, especially towards Awkwafina's performance, is certainly promising and will hopefully motivate more Asian-American and other minority filmmakers to bring their own stories to Hollywood.


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