The Bathroom Crisis
This blog post is written from a gender fluid individual, assigned female at birth. This means that I don’t actively identify as… well… anything, and I have no interest in any form of transition. I dress on the more feminine end of the spectrum… mainly because of my job and the fact that I don’t have the money to have two different wardrobes.
It also means that I’m not a cisgender individual discussing a transgender issue, and I’m not a person who is or will transition commenting on an issue that affects those trans folk who have/will transition, either socially or medically. Which means that my voice and opinion, while valid, is not the be-all-end all of opinions or voices AND I do not pretend to speak for a community that I do not personally feel a part of. This opinion is mine.
Oh, North Carolina, our northern neighbor. Usually, “the North” is linked with liberal ideology, but you… the only thing “North” about you is your name.
I’m sure everyone is well aware at this point that the wonderful state of North Carolina passed a bill called HB2 (formally known as House Bill 2, commonly known as Hate Bill 2). Since then, there’s been country-wide backlash towards North Carolina, where companies are threatening to pull jobs, events, and money out of North Carolina because of their “backward views.”
The transgender community is not unfamiliar with hate and violence. Hate and violence toward them started the Stonewall riots. Hate and violence is why there were more transgender deaths in 2015 than there were in any previous year.
Hate is why we have all these so-called bathroom bills cropping up all over the United States, and violence will be the result.
I’m sure we’ve all seen these pictures like the one to the right. It’s a well meaning meme with a transgender individual in a bathroom with people of the opposite gender. They’re posted by well-meaning individuals, but they are still equating being transgender with being a predator.
“Hey, look at me: I’m a very masculine individual hanging out in the women’s bathroom. Doesn’t that make you uncomfortable? Doesn’t that make me look like I’m a bad person?”
And on this one specifically, the trans woman’s expression in the men’s restroom is… less than helpful. The big “fear” behind bathroom bills is that men will enter the women’s restroom and assault or attack women who are trying to pee. The idea behind the bathroom bills is that men are predators when they enter into the women’s restroom.
The images of trans men in the women’s bathroom are perpetuating that belief, and while they are well meaning, they aren’t helping the overall cause.
“Do you want me in the bathroom? Do I look like I belong here? Don’t I look like the predator you so fear?”
Trans men who are forced to use the women’s restroom are at a risk of violence. Hell, they’re at a risk of violence no matter which restroom they use, but to place them in the women’s restroom where they will most definitely “stick out” more is just asking for trouble, and trans women who enter into the men’s room?
I don’t even want to think about it. They’re going to be beaten. They’re going to be murdered. And it’s going to be this law’s fault.
And let’s be real clear about this for a second: the reason the bill even came into existence is because of a fear that men will dress up as women and prey on women in the bathrooms. But there’s never, not once, been a case where a man dressed up like a woman with the purpose of gaining access to the women’s restroom for whatever illegal or bad reason.
Trans women are targeted by this bill because of ignorance in the belief that they are men because that’s what society says they were born as, when in actuality, this isn’t the case.
These laws will also not stop any person from entering a bathroom for the purpose of molestation if that is what they are planning on doing. Criminals will be criminals regardless of laws, which is usually why they’re called criminals: because they’re breaking the law.
No criminal is going to see these bathroom bills and be like, “Oh, well… guess I can’t molest a child or a woman anymore: it’s illegal for me to enter into the bathroom!”
In fact, I argue that it will actually make it easier for a criminal to enter into a bathroom by claiming to be transgender when they aren’t. Look at those pictures again.
The only reason we know they are transgender is because they told us they were. What will stop a cis guy (or cis gal) from entering into the opposite gender bathroom, claim to be transgender and that the law requires them to be there, and then doing whatever criminal activity they were planning on doing in the first place?
Regardless of what lawmakers want you to believe, these laws are primarily aimed at the transgender population for the purpose of discrimination. But these laws don’t stop at just affecting the transgender populations: they affect a mother or father’s ability to take their child into a restroom to help them use the bathroom.
In North Carolina’s law, there is a provision for children up to the age of 7, as if 7 is the magical age of being able to use the bathroom independently. There’s also a provision for disability.
But that’s not all: HB2 also means that cities and counties can’t set a minimum wage higher than the state or federal minimum wage. It means that the GLBT can be fired from their job because of their orientation or gender identity. I means that students are at a higher risk of bullying because they aren’t able to go through gender reassignment surgery and have their birth certificates altered, which is what is required.
Sex reassignment surgery is not cheap. It’s not readily available, and if a doctor isn’t properly trained or experienced, it can have disastrous effects. Many trans guys go to other states for their surgeries or treatments because there aren’t any qualified doctors. The added costs of the trips themselves makes it extremely difficult for people to get these surgeries and treatments, and insurances rarely, if ever, helps.
This isn’t the first time we’ve all heard about bathroom discrimination. People of color were assigned to their own bathrooms because they carried “diseases” and it wasn’t okay for them to use the same bathroom as non-white people. There were propaganda films about the homosexual molester who hid out in public restrooms waiting to POUNCE on our young and impressionable boys.
Discrimination: same story with different names.
These laws aren’t going to prevent criminals from using public restrooms for criminal reasons…
But it will prevent law abiding transgender people who couldn’t get their birth marker changed for whatever reason from using a bathroom where they feel more comfortable and more safe. It will prevent mothers and fathers from accompanying their young children over the age of seven into the bathroom. It will prevent cities and counties from providing a living wage to hard working individuals. It will prevent people from legal recourse when discriminated against for their sexual orientation and gender identity, including losing a job in the “right to work” state of North Carolina.
HB2 and the rest of the bills like it do one thing, and one thing only: they perpetuate fear, hate, and violence under the guise of protecting citizens from criminals.
As my friend Crystals says, why do people believe that gun control laws won’t stop criminals from using guns… but bathroom bills will stop criminals from using the bathroom?