Being able to use the bathroom of the gender I identify as without having to worry about being threatened for it is a privilege that I often take for granted as a cisgender person. I am reminded of this privilege whenever I read the stories of transgender people, like Maddie from Oklahoma.
Maddie, a 12-year-old transgender girl, became the target of violent threats from multiple students' parents that go to her middle school all because she had decided to use the girls' bathroom. She had previously been using the staff bathroom for two years, but since she was placed in a new building for her first day of seventh grade, she did not know where the staff bathrooms were, so she decided to use the girls' bathroom instead. This caused a massive uproar in a Facebook group of the students' parents where many of them posted dehumanizing comments.
Jamie Crenshaw, a parent in the Facebook group, started the attacks towards Maddie by writing a post saying:
"The transgender is already using the girls bathroom. We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he has his own restroom yet he is still using the girls. REALLY.... Looks like it's gonna be a long year."
Crenshaw's husband then shared a screenshot of her post on his Facebook page, which led to even more horrifying comments.
Maddie should not have to resort to using her own personal bathroom in order to appease the parents of her school. She is just like any other girl that uses the girls' bathroom and she should feel safe enough to use it as she pleases. Her gender identity does not make her a threat, nor is it the only thing that defines her. Seeing Crenshaw refer to Maddie as "the transgender" is vile because it proves that she does not respect Maddie enough to call her by her name, so she uses the word transgender as a label of contempt.
Crenshaw's behavior was already despicable enough, but other adults from outside of the district took it even further by calling Maddie "this thing" and a "half-baked maggot." There was also a comment left where an adult encouraged the other students at Maddie's school to beat her up if she tried to use the girls' bathroom so that she would avoid using it in the future. Another adult even threatened to mutilate Maddie by saying:
"If he wants to be a female make him a female. A good sharp knife will do the job really quick."
These disgusting posts were eventually seen by transgender activists that decided to write to the superintendent and organize a protest at the school. The district responded by canceling all classes on August 13 and 14 in order to protect the students from potential demonstrations from groups opposing the activists.
This alone proves just how idiotic all of those posts from the parents really are. They believed they were protecting their children and the other students by bullying Maddie, but really what they accomplished was the exact opposite. I refuse to believe that a 12-year-old girl using the bathroom is a threat to anyone. Transphobia is much more dangerous, and thanks to all of those Facebook posts, those parents were practically inviting transphobic protestors to their children's school.
I still cannot wrap my mind around how a group of adults can justify bullying a young girl. Maddie was treated as if she was a monster that would harm the other students when the only monsters were actually the grown adults trying to intimidate a 12-year-old girl for using the bathroom. Adults are supposed to set the example for children to follow, but these past few years I have seen more children and teenagers being open-minded and inclusive to transgender people than adults. It is time for adults to catch up and realize that transgender students are not a threat to cisgender students. They deserve to be treated with the same amount of dignity and respect as anyone else.