BATHROOM BILLS. You’ve seen them. You’ve heard about them. You’ve screamed about them. (Well… I have.) In the 2017 legislative session (and we are only in April, folks), 14 states have already introduced legislation that restricts bathroom access for trans folks. These bills restrict access in unique ways- by circumventing basic human rights with claiming these bills PROTECT WOMEN AND CHILDREN FROM PREDATORS. They range from state to state on language, some required “bathroom attendants” to monitor bathroom participants (how you check gender at the door is beyond me) or requiring same sex bathrooms while adding a provision defining gender as the “biological sex you were assigned at birth” (which is also arbitrary as many in the population who are intersex are assigned a gender out of habit, convenience, and/or shame.)
Let’s break down the other side’s arguments for why these bathroom bills are needed. First, let’s talk about how the GOP wants to protect women. FINALLY! Not our right to choose, not our right to control our bodies, or our right to prosecute those who hurt us, but yes!!!!! Protection from bathroom murderers. You know how many times as a woman I have been in a bathroom stall, and a rapist dressed in drag came barreling in to assault me? Oh wait. That has never happened- because those men don’t feel like they need to disguise themselves in order to overpower and control and hurt women. That’s what we call, my friends, the patriarchy. Men who want to hurt/rape/kill women in bathroom stalls aren’t going to say, “Oh wait! I have to run by Sally’s Beauty and grab a chestnut wig that compliments my skin tone before I enter this public restroom to attempt to hurt someone.”
But Brooke, what about the children? Yes. These bills are pandering to the lowest common denominator by saying, “Don’t you want to protect the kids? The poor, defenseless kids? What about locker rooms? What about a trans kid who has genitalia that doesn’t fit my preconceived notion of biological sex is in a space not originally designated for that child?”
Last time I checked, it doesn’t matter. Locker rooms are designed for three things: storing old bananas, putting your sports bra on under your shirt, and putting on mismatched socks. No kid is going to go through the brutal process of identifying as trans just to use a locker room that makes your kid uncomfortable. You think a kid just wakes up and says “Oops! I’m trans.” Many children go through years of counseling, and have support from their parents, family, and friends in order to identify as the gender they feel they are inside. WHAT RIGHT IS IT OF YOURS TO TELL THEM OTHERWISE? If your shitty kid is nervous about another kid’s genitals, tell them to f*cking mind their own business and use the locker room to CHANGE AND THAT’S IT. Your crotch, your business. And frankly, the sooner your kid realizes that, the more likely they will succeed in life. It will be awkward if they are sticking their noses in other people’s crotches for the rest of their life. They probably won’t make a ton of friends.
Many of these bills give the state’s attorney general specific instructions to investigate “violations” of these laws, again proving this administration is making space for bullies and bigots to use trans panic like so many bigots use gay panic in the 80’s and 90’s. Newsflash: the attorney general doesn’t need special permission to look into “violations” like this… this language is added to SCARE trans folks and the parents of trans children. To push them back in the closet, and more likely, off roofs and bridges.
So look up your state’s 2017 legislative agenda (Ohio… the bathroom bill is coming…), make some calls, and most importantly, talk to people who maybe don’t understand the discriminatory impact of these bills. Show them that this “safety” argument is another rouse by hateful bigots who only want to protect women and children when it suits their political agenda.
Trans folks work so hard to be who they are. Let’s not stand in their way. Let’s stand with them.