March 15, 2017
Filed under Editorial
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The average person pees almost 3,000 times a year. Now, imagine for a large portion of that time, you’re afraid to use the bathroom, that in public place, you feel there is nothing standing between you and verbal or physical harassment when you enter a restroom.
After the Trump administration removed an executive order that ensured protections for trans people that was signed during Obama’s period in office, this became the reality for transgender individuals currently living in the United States.
This means that states are no longer required to allow trans individuals to use the bathroom with which they identify, a problem that is especially taking its toll on school-age trans children, who can now be forced to use bathrooms and locker rooms that don’t align with their gender identity. In fact, the Supreme Court just decided they will not hear a case regarding a trans high-schooler from Virginia, while also throwing out a lower court’s ruling on that case, a move that many LGBTQ+ advocates say is missing an opportunity to take a stand on a national issue.
So, you might be wondering: Why does it matter? It’s just a bathroom; who cares about where you pee and where you don’t? The answer is that trans people care because they have to care. Trans people have to deal with possibly being questioned every time they use a public bathroom, and, in the cases of legislation like North Carolina’s HB2, may even be forced to show ID when they try and use the restroom.
Trans people have to constantly be thinking about something that the average person may take for granted. Trans school children have even admitted to waiting the entire school day to use the bathroom until they’re back home.
If it’s just a bathroom, why not let them use it? The leading argument tends to be that there is no way of protecting people, especially women and children, from people who are posing as trans people to get into bathrooms or even from trans people themselves. The issue with this is that there have been no documented cases of a trans person harassing or attacking someone in a public bathroom. Ever. Yet, according to the National Center for Trans Equality, 12 percent of trans people have been verbally harassed in restrooms, 1 percent have been physically assaulted, and 9 percent say that they were denied access to a restroom.
At what point must we feel so entitled that we humiliate someone by denying them access to a restroom? At what point do we feel that we can deny someone a privilege we unquestionably have?
This country is at a tipping point in regards to LGBTQ+ and specifically trans rights, and while it may seem petty or insignificant, by denying trans people the right to use the bathroom without second thought, we are denying their right to exist in a public space. So you, Louisiana or even the Supreme Court: just let them pee. It’s really that simple. And to any trans readers out there: we will go with you, and protect your right to exist.