Bathroom Bills: a guide to discussing civil rights with bigots.

In case four-month naps are your thing and you don’t know what’s going on in the country right now, nine states and counting have active “bathroom bills” and Ohio is jousting to take this number into the double digits. These bills, like the myriad of other anti-LGBT bills trying to be passed throughout the country, do this super neat thing: they take something harmless, like relieving yourself in a Wendy’s bathroom while on a road trip, or ordering a wedding cake, or trying to get a f*cking job, and they make it impossible for LGBT folks to live a normal life. Oh, and by normal, I mean live a life without being degraded, berated, beaten, or killed.

Bathroom bills aim to force individuals to use the bathroom based on their gender assigned at birth. The conservative wing is trying to pass these laws under the guise of “protecting children” from men that will dress up as women and go into women’s bathrooms to assault women and girls. OMG. PROTECT THE CHILDREN FROM THE QUEERS! We’ve heard this argument before… about a billion times. Right wing nutter butter Anita Bryant sang about saving the children from the terrible gays in the 1970’s to overturn an anti-discrimination law in Florida, and this argument was used in Eugene, Oregon in the 70’s as well (and while we can all agree Eugene is like, the gayest place in the world, its rates of child abuse are not the highest in the country. WEIRD.)

Conservative asshats are upset that we have marriage equality, so they are chipping away at other rights under the guise of “religious freedom” or “protecting the children.” And while I could spend the next two hours going off on how ridiculous and archaic these notions are, that won’t get us anywhere. So, as the bathroom bill comes up in conversation, whether you live in Ohio or not, I have put together some talking points to get you through a discussion with ANYONE, even a Fox News anchor. First, the asinine inquiries… then, some canned answers full of facts and junk so that you can leave the conversation knowing you have done everything you could to be a legit trans ally. Enjoy.

 

Question #1: What about the children!? Don’t you want to protect women and young girls from men?

Answer: Of course I do. But there are no documented cases of a man dressing up as a woman in order to gain access to a women’s room in order to molest or rape anyone. Scumbags who are looking to hurt, molest, or rape any individual are not going to care what they look like when they go to assault someone. Last time I checked, rapists were not “dressing up” to blend in with their surroundings before they rape anyone.

Question #2: So you don’t care about women?

Answer: Well now you are just jumping to conclusions.

Questions #3: Not really- gender is cut and dry, how can you allow men to go into women’s bathrooms?

Answer: I’M NOT. You are really frustrating. Gender is a social construction, and frankly, there is nothing “cut and dry” about sex. The rates of individuals who identify as intersex is much higher than some realize, and some studies put the rate as high as 2%. That’s the same percentage as the number of redheads in the country! Intersex individuals live with biological differences that make their identity not strictly male or female, but on a SPECTRUM, you jerk. What are we supposed to do, violate everyone’s privacy under the guise of protecting children?

Question #4: It’s not like we would have to see I.D.s or anything- you can tell when someone is in the wrong bathroom.

Answer: No. You can’t. Transgender and queer individuals don’t wear badges that identity them as trans (not yet, you fascist), and all they want to do is GO TO THE BATHROOM. Did you know trans folks have a higher rate of bladder cancers and bladder problems? Did you even wonder why? It’s because of people like you who want to prevent them from even being able to use facilities and feel safe.

Question #5: Really? I didn’t know that. Where can I go to learn more about the myriad of issues affecting transgender individuals?

Answer: I’m so glad you asked. You can learn about the high rates of unemployment, institutionalized violence, bladder cancer, and suicide at these websites:

http://transgenderlawcenter.org/

https://www.splcenter.org/

http://srlp.org/

Question #6: Wow. I didn’t realize how our governmental systems marginalize an already oppressed group of people, and how difficult even getting I.D. to match gender presentation can cause discrimination, eviction, termination of employment, and violence. How can I help this group of people who are being targeted by state laws?

Answer: You can stop passing ridiculously hateful bills that target those most vulnerable in society. And you can also buy me a drink, because I am exhausted from changing your mind.

 

Okay, so maybe the conversation won’t go exactly that way. You aren’t going to change everyone’s mind. But if you can arm yourself with useful information, you can be a trans ally and maybe force people to think about the dumb words coming out of their mouth. With knowledge and compassion, you can be…

trex

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