ID2P: The Transgender Fight Against Restroom Discrimination

Shares

Hi everyone!  I am excited to be your Transgender Community Editor for On the Moovz.  Before I was approached with this role I was already working on the article and video below.  Thank you to Moovz for helping me shine a light on this very important topic.

At some point we have all been there, rushing to the restroom hoping there isn’t a line and that the cubicle you end up inside isn’t a grotesque scene of atrocities. You do your business, wash your hands (I would hope) and off to your next destination.

What if however, before you could go into that bathroom you had to:

  •  Show your ID
  •  Submit to a blood/swab test
  •  and/ or have your genitals “looked at” to make sure you are the sex you present yourself as.

Wait..what?

It sounds like some totalitarian Sling Blade fantasy but for many transgender Americans, this is becoming a common idea among conservative lawmakers, the limiting of trans people’s access to public bathrooms and facilities in a growing wave of anti trans legislation known as “Bathroom Bills”.  With broad language that requires you matching your original birth certificate or X/Y chromosomes despite appearance and gender status, the options mentioned above are not that far fetched.

Most elected officials will tell you (when pressed) that they’ve “never met a trans person that they know of.”  For example, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) said this when discussing HB1008.  This bill would have blocked all public schools from making accommodations for trans students. It easily passed the Republican dominated  house and Senate with a vote of 58-10 and 20-15. The scare tactic driving these busted trains to nowhere is always the same insidious yarn.  They make trans men and women out to be monsters that are lurking in bathrooms and dressing rooms,  waiting to terrify young children, prey on unsuspecting women, and even bring about the end of days with our terrible evil wickedness.  All of this, just because we exist.

To his credit, Gov. Duugaard did veto HB1008 and met with trans men, women and children in an earnest attempt to educate himself on the issue.   Yet, he only did so under a lot of pressure from the business, sports, and entertainment communities who all weighed in on the financial loss that would happen in tourism if the city presented itself as unwelcome or hostile. In 2016 alone, 11 states have asked themselves the same questions with their own versions of bathroom bills.  Including my home state of Tennessee.

Other states like Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Kentucky, Florida and more have grappled with similar legislation in “Religious Freedom Bills” that would enshrine discrimination in the guise of religion citing the right to refuse service to LGBT people if it violates a person’s sincerely, deeply held religious beliefs. No cakes, no photos, no service for the “homos.”

The Supreme Court  ruling in favor of gay marriage lit a fire of religious contempt that has burned through our branches of government.  This contempt is driven by the most extreme fringe elements exacerbated by a toxic political environment in a high stakes election year. It’s not a coincidence that bathroom and religious freedom bills go hand in hand among the same group of conservative elected officials who continue to bring them to the floor. (Listen up, Caitlyn Jenner!)

It is rarely taken into account the dangers and humiliation thrown onto trans people forced into the bathrooms they don’t identify as.  There is verbal, physical, and in some cases sexual abuse and assault.

What exactly do you think grown men going into the bathroom will think, when they see a woman standing there in line to pee? If she is forced to reveal her transgender status, how will they react? With compassion? Ridicule? Violence?  What about young boys who go in and find themselves in the same setting? To say “children can be cruel,” well…we all know that is an understatement.

Which brings me to the biggest argument used in support of these bills- THE CHILDREN.

Many bathroom bills aimed at trans kids in public schools violate Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs.  Why (oh why) aren’t we thinking of the children?

I can certainly imagine how inquisitive little Sally will become when she goes into the women’s restroom with mom and sees a hairy, butch, buff trans man washing his hands at the sink. Little Johnny will certainly want to know why there are women applying makeup in the men’s room. Are you ready for those conversations? Lets talk about the obscene amount of married men that have a sexual fetish for trans women.  Do you really want your husbands and boyfriends in the same bathroom with private stalls?

For trans people who are not “passable” it can be a life or death situation,  as documented in the murders of so many trans people.  This scary number  came to all time high in 2016.    Most trans people can barely afford their rent being one of the most poverty stricken demographics in society.  So, as you can imagine, hormone therapy and surgical enhancements take a back seat to their basic needs.   Many go to great lengths risking their lives to get illegal silicone injections in seedy hotel rooms by someone who is not a doctor.  These Trans people do this in hopes of having a more “passable” appearance. Then on the flip side, there are those as well that have no desire for surgery.  These people should not be pressed to have any body modification in order to feel safe or to meet the public’s standard of what is presentable for gender expression.

If you think what I’m describing can’t happen, it can,  and at some point if these bills become law you would have to present identification.

I know it can happen because it happened to me.

I was stopped and carded walking into a women’s restroom and had to show that my ID said female in order to stay and pee. And it happened in of all places- a gay bar.   The straight community is not alone in their misunderstanding of trans people and trans issues. There is plenty of miseducation in the LGBT community when it comes to the T in LGBT. They seem to forget that it was the trans women of the day who threw that first brick…but that is another story for another day.

All of this has led me to the conclusion that its not enough to just talk about or describe these things. People need to see how these proposed laws effect people in real life. That is why I created the viral hashtag campaign #ID2P where trans people can share videos, pictures, stories, and experiences on MOOVZ and all of social media.   Just #ID2P

If you have a story to tell about bathroom experiences good or bad we want to hear it! Your voice really can make a difference!  We should no longer stand by and be demonized by uneducated people.  We cannot let them hurt and confuse our trans youth, who are already having a hard enough time figuring out who they are.  The time to speak your mind has never been more imperative or important than now!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to use the ladies room, while you watch this video.

 

-Aurora Sexton

P.S.  If you have questions or need someone to talk to, you can always chat with me on MOOVZ.