The Truth About Bathroom Bills

The Truth About Bathroom Bills

Why you shouldn't be worried about trans* people in the restroom
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With all the debate in the media lately, people are sick of hearing about this issue. But not everyone is lucky enough to be able to just dismiss it and not have to worry about how it may affect them. But before I get to the details, let’s review a bit.

First, if a person is transgender, it means that they identify as a gender that does not match the one they were assigned at birth. Second, being trans* is not the same as waking up one day and deciding that you want to be a man/woman instead. Third, the existence and worth of trans* people is not dependent in any way on the acceptance/belief/approval of anybody. They are people, they exist, and they have just as much worth as any cisgender person. Disbelief and disapproval do not negate existence, value, or personhood.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, bathroom bills. These are legislation such as North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which among other things, states that everyone must use the restroom that matches the gender they were assigned at birth. North Carolina is not alone in this. A number of other states have attempted to pass such legislation with varying success. The main reason, at least the explicitly stated reason, for these bills is that they are a safety measure. They supposedly prevent sexual assault/rape, the theory being that either trans* people, or people pretending to be trans* will assault people in public restrooms.

Except they don’t. There is no statistical evidence to support this claim. In fact, in areas where trans* people are allowed to use their preferred restroom, there has been no increase in sexual violence crimes. There has also never been a reported instance of a trans* person assaulting someone in a public restroom. Why? Because transgender is not a synonym for rapist. Trans* people aren’t in the bathroom to hurt people. They just need to pee.

So trans* people are not rapists. But could predators pretend to be trans* in order to gain access to the women’s bathroom? Well, certainly they could, but why would they? They don’t need to. An actual predator, anyone who is intent on causing harm, is not going to be deterred by a gendered bathroom sign. (Also keep in mind that 80 percent of the time, rape victims know their attacker.)

There is nothing preventing actual rapists from entering whatever bathroom they want. Because, as we know, rape is already a crime. If that doesn’t deter someone, then a bill which says they can’t enter that bathroom certainly won’t. And a rapist's decision to attack someone has nothing to do with transgender people. Nothing at all.

So instead of using trans* people as scapegoats, let’s address the real problem—rape. And what causes rape? Not being transgender. Rape happens because the patriarchal values in our society sexualize and objectify women while telling men that they are entitled to power, to status, and to women. (Also note that not only women are raped. Men and boys can also be raped. Rape can happen to anyone. It is not gender specific.) So if we want little girls in bathrooms to be safe, we should be targeting rape culture, not trans* people.

And for anyone who is still convinced that your genitals at birth determine where you should pee, let’s talk about some other possible solutions.

Unisex or family bathrooms. These are great because they are accessible to trans* people, and, bonus, they make life easier for parents who have a child of the opposite gender. (Think a dad with a five year old daughter—he doesn’t want to take her in the men’s bathroom, but he can’t go into the women’s, and he doesn’t want to send her in there alone.)

Gender neutral bathrooms. The idea here is that anyone could use these bathrooms. Each stall would have a toilet, urinal, and sink. The doors and walls between stalls would come the whole way to the floor, so there’s complete privacy, and the space outside could have cameras for added safety. Privacy, safety, no discrimination.

Allow trans* people to use their preferred bathroom. It does not threaten the well-being of cisgender people using that same bathroom and has the added bonus of showing compassion and respect for our fellow human beings’ safety. A Washington D.C.-based study showed that 70 percent of trans* people have experienced some sort of harassment from simply using a bathroom and 9 percent have experienced physical violence. If anyone should be worried about restroom violence, they should.

Letting trans* people use their preferred restroom is safer for them and just less disruptive for everyone, as demonstrated by a number of trans* people in response to this type of legislation.

The evidence is overwhelming. There is no legitimate reason trans* people shouldn't be allowed to use their preferred restroom. Stop anti-trans* legislation and #LetThemPee.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Yes, I'm A Feminist, No I Don't Hate All Men

Because if we want to promote equality, why fight that with mass hating a particular gender?

nadoty
nadoty
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I'd like to consider myself a feminist.

I am all for equal opportunity, equal pay, and equal rights. I believe that women should be granted the equal opportunities that males do, be free of harassment, not be scared to exist literally just because of their gender, have reproductive rights, be taken seriously when we think something is medically wrong with us, and be treated with the same respect and dignity as men do. Just because I believe all these things, however, doesn't mean I automatically hate men.

I've seen a big increase in trends that, just for men existing, people will post about how "men ain't shit," or how men ultimately suck just because of their gender. When reflecting upon this, however, I've come to realize isn't this a step in the wrong direction?

Obviously, I can't continue on until I say this: there is, in fact, times where men can really suck. White men in positions of power abusing that, men who are rapists, men who meddle in women's reproductive rights, abusers, men who think it's okay and even funny to harass others, etc. But it all comes down to this: just because you're a man doesn't mean I automatically hate you, and I don't think others should.

Sure, as mentioned above, there are garbage humans who abuse their positions of power as men in order to get what they want. THOSE are the people I hate, not others for existing just because they are men. When in reality, there are a lot of good men who recognize their positions of power and try and make up for it by advocating for those in need of advocacy, whether they are women or even minorities. There are men who are decent human beings, whether that is being nice to others, volunteering in their community, caring for those around them, or even men who are also feminists.

I think my argument has been made pretty clear: I do not and will not hate you just because you are a man. No one gets to choose whichever gender they are, so why should I hate a group of people for just being born male? If I want to promote equality as a feminist, why should I then believe that I am better because I am female? Why should I say I believe in equal treatment between genders, yet automatically hate you because you're a man?

So yes, some men truly, "ain't shit." I believe these men, however, are not good human beings. Men aren't terrible just because they are men, and I ultimately wish that those promoting total equality would realize that we cannot strive towards equal treatment, opportunities, and pay if we continue clumping one group together under the impression of, "they're men, they're terrible."

nadoty
nadoty

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