Recently in the news there has been a lot of talk about gender neutral bathrooms. The biggest controversy with this topic is that women and children won’t be safe if men who identify as women can now use the bathrooms. I would like to say, WE CAN HANDLE OURSELVES. Fearful women and ignorant men talk about the matter as if women are weak little kittens that could never take care of ourselves if something were to happen, like an assault, in a public bathroom. News flash, WE CAN and we will. So thanks for worrying about us, but we don’t need it.
Actually, a sad statistic I recently read was that 70% of all trans people have experienced assault in a public bathroom for “using the wrong one”. So are the women and children really the ones we need to worry about? Doesn’t seem like it. Also recently, Target has put a new corporate policy into place that states that transgender people can use whatever bathroom they identify with. Following this policy is one million [ignorant, mean] Americans that have vowed to boycott Target until they reverse the policy. The American Family Association (AFA) is the group leading the boycott by first stating, “Everybody knows it’s wrong for men to use the same bathrooms and fitting rooms with little girls” and then saying, “Target has decided they don’t care about the vast majority. They only care about the tiny, tiny majority”. You’re so right AFA. Why protect little kids that are cyber bullied or African-American kids that are picked on? They’re only part of a tiny majority of kids; they don’t really matter. Right.
The AFAs arguments are simply a form of violence. Not allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms that they identify with is symbolic violence. The more that this oppression is practiced, it eventually becomes structural violence with trans people at the bottom of the hierarchy. Ivan Coyote said it perfectly in his TedTalk when he said, “By putting these laws and policies into place that make it so trans people have to use the bathroom that they were assigned to at birth, we are promoting violence and it’s not towards women in children”. The violence demonstrated is towards trans people instead. He also used a word I haven’t heard before: transphobia- the fear of trans people.
All in all, trans people are people too. We need to protect them just like we protect women and children. I personally am not afraid of trans people and I am not afraid of predators coming into the bathrooms. At first it made be a little weird to get used to, but so was women voting 50 years ago. What can we do to support gender neutral bathrooms? How can we speak up about it?