We as transgender individuals fight every single day to be treated as human beings. I think I speak for most trans men and women when I say that it’s a constant struggle to not encounter someone who thinks they have the right to treat us like some freak of nature. I’ve had my fair share of encounters in my time, and each time I’ve had to fight my corner. One very big issue that I had to deal with during my transition was the use of public restrooms.
In recent months, a number of US states have passed various bills that have resulted in the restriction of transgender men and women from using public bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. In a nutshell, a trans woman would have to use the gents restroom and vice versa. This has caused outrage in the trans community, and rightly so. I remember when I first heard about these bills and thinking that there’s no way in hell that they would pass. Much to my disgust, I was proven wrong.
Back when I was going through the early stages of my transition, I found it profoundly difficult to walk around in public with my head up. I didn’t want to make eye contact with anybody in case I encountered someone who brought unnecessary attention to me. Using public restrooms was difficult because I was scared that someone might clock me and I would be forced to use the gents restroom.
It baffles me that people in society feed into the belief that a trans individual using a public restroom means that the safety of others is in jeopardy. What exactly do you think we do in public restrooms? News flash, we’re in there to use the restroom, not to prev on children or sacrifice a goat on the sink counter. Seriously!! I find it unbelievable that people buy into this crap and not only does it spread, but it makes laws like The Bathroom Bill actually pass. It’s insane.
The vast majority of trans men and women, myself included during my transition, tend to use disabled toilets to avoid using gender specific restrooms…but we shouldn’t have to. Using a public restroom should not be something we as trans individuals should be made to fear or feel uncomfortable using. This whole idea that people need to keep us out of restrooms because of public safety or something equally as stupid has come from nothing but ignorance.
When you think logically about it, nothing is stopping a grown, cisgender male from walking into a male toilet and doing something they shouldn’t be…yet it’s the transgender male using the gents for what it’s used for you should be fearing. At the end of the day, being an arsehole has absolutely nothing to with whether you’re cisgender or transgender, so why are transgender people being unfairly judged as a whole when you should really be thinking if someone is going to do something dodgy in a public restroom, it’s because they want to, not because their gender identity programs them to.
Society needs to wake up and realise that if we don’t fight against this type of thinking, we’ll continue to take one step forward and three steps backwards. These despicable laws that have been put into place make me think about how racial segregation affected so many black people, and how civil rights pioneers like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King stood their ground to break down the walls of separation and achieve equality. In my opinion, I feel as though transgender men and women have to fight so hard everyday to be who they are, but now the fight has become even harder as we too feel the sting of inequality when we’re forced into a separate box and are treated unfairly.
Society needs to move forward and stop all this nonsense. The world has evolved so much and in a lot ways, we’ve made the world a better place…let’s not ruin that by punishing yet another community just because they have the strength and courage to be who they are. I have every right to use the ladies room as much as any other woman. The fact that laws in the US exist that would try to restrict me just fills me with rage. What would look more weird, me using the ladies room or me waiting by a bunch of men using urinals until a cubicle was available in the male restroom?
It’s wonderful to see the outpour of outrage against these laws in the US is huge, including major celebrities using their platform to speak out against it. The fight for transgender equality continues and I for one am ready and able to speak my mind without fear of what people might say. Too many transgender individuals suffer the internal torment of finding themselves and become so afraid to be themselves because of how society depicts the transgender community. As a result, some transgender men and women are shunned and isolated, commit suicide, or even murdered. This has to stop!
Using a public restroom may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but for transgender men and women, it can be one of the hardest obstacles to get over. That simply shouldn’t be. In this day and age, transgender equality should be stronger than ever, which is one of the many reasons why I decided to step up and make my voice heard in my own way. Nobody, no matter who you are, should be made to feel as though you don’t belong. Throughout the years, ordinary people have made extraordinary steps in order to change the world and fight for equality. We too have that ability, and it starts with how we think.
These bathroom laws are a perfect example of how men and women in power are capable of making choices that cause detrimental affects, causing hatred, fear, violence and ignorance. Instead of wasting our energy feeding into this, we need to stand against it and show that we stand for equality and that we’re not going to believe every single piece of hate speech spouted out by ignorant bigots who feel the need to stereotype an entire community. I’d rather think for myself, wouldn’t you?