Transgender protections must be upheld
March 13, 2017 • 277 views
Filed under Editorials
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President Trump’s recent reversal of the directive protecting transgender students has brought uncertainty to what the government should do about transgender students and whether the individual states should decide on their own.
This means that unless there is a current state law protecting the transgender community, nothing is protecting students from being forced into a bathroom that does not match their gender identity.
In the transgender community it is often referred to as “navigating the bathroom,” rather than simply using the bathroom.
It is called this because it is uncertain as to whether a transgender individual will be accepted in the bathroom they use.
Navigation is used in areas that are unfamiliar; places that you do not feel safe in. This is what using a public restroom is like for many transgender people.
Most of the non-passing transgender community fear going into the restroom that accommodates their gender because they believe that they’ll be harassed or worse.
There are many terms that the public should be acquainted with such as: “passing,” the ability for a transgender person to be regarded as cisgender. A “cisgender” person is anyone who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth.
“Passing privilege,” is the same privilege a cisgender person has, but for a transgender person because they pass as being cis.
Passing depends on how much a person conforms to the gender expectations of the society they live in. For people who do not pass it is very hard to know which bathroom to use.
For example, I do not have passing privilege so I know that if I used the boy’s bathroom, I would not be welcomed. For this, I restrain from using public restrooms and restrict my water intake.
Obviously this is not very healthy but so is the risk of being beaten up in a bathroom.
If I absolutely have to use the restroom I wait until I can be sure no one else will be in the bathroom and even then I still use the girl’s bathroom.
In places like malls they have family restrooms or gender neutral restrooms. These types of bathrooms make it easier for transgender individuals to safely use the bathroom without threat of being harmed for being in the “wrong” bathroom.
The people arguing that transgender students should not be in the bathroom that corresponds with their gender say that it is because they want to keep their children safe from predators such as rapists and pedophiles.
In order to stop the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which prohibited discrimination in public services/accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the conservative party in Texas targeted transgender women as being these rapists and pedophiles.
These claims have no evidence to back them up on.
There have been no reported cases of a transwoman raping someone. All these things that people claim are true just add to the stigma that transgender people are criminals and mentally ill people.
As a transgender student attending a federally funded school, I hate to admit that I do not feel safe using the bathrooms at school especially now because I have no protections.
Getting rid of these rights only puts me in an even more scary situation in that it shows that school is not a safe place for me and other transgender people like me.
School is supposed to be a safe environment for learning.
Not a place where my right to use a public facility is taken away because the government is more concerned with what genitals I have rather than if my learning experience is wholesome and safe.
To put my life in a little more perspective I am going to provide some eye opening statistics.
A cisgender person has a one in 21,000 chance of being murdered in the US. A transgender person has a one in 12 chance of being murdered.
Laverne Cox said it best: “It was never about bathrooms. Just like it was never about water fountains.”