Opinion: To Pee, or Not to Pee

The Trans Flag

The Trans Flag

From the standpoint of anyone with a marginalized identity, the Trump administration is a threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It goes beyond differing political ideology, it’s a threat to their existence.

Just days ago, the latest round of oppressive rulings came when President Obama’s executive order on transgender students using gender affirming bathrooms was overturned.

For all the faults of the Obama administration--and there are more than we readily acknowledge--he worked to further the civil rights of transgender Americans. He declared that transgender students should not be afraid of going to the bathroom while they’re in school.

And then this nonsense happened.

As a cisgender (that means “not trans”) woman, I cannot and will not act as though I am an expert in the matter or have experienced anything similar to being trans. I understand that I have privilege and must work to overcome systematic oppression that I can contribute to. But I am disgusted and terrified.

Let’s get one thing clear: everything the GOP says about transgender people is false. Transphobes  claim that they’re trying to protect women and girls from predacious men dressed as women in public restrooms. That it’s not discriminatory because trans folk aren’t legitimate or they’re mentally ill.

That’s a hot crock of shit. That’s using an oppressed and widely misunderstood group of people as a scapegoat for the crimes perpetrated most often by cis men. Using the unknown and the other instead of tackling the real crisis.

From a statistical standpoint alone, a child rapist is more likely to be a relative than a stranger in public. There have been thousands of allegations of child molestation against Catholic priests, but searching for allegations against trans women comes up empty.

A child predator is wasting time and putting himself at risk by targeting random children than a child he knows and has power over--it is a disturbing truth, but that’s reality. A trans woman is more likely to be raped than to rape another person. To insist otherwise is just prejudiced.

The North Carolina bathroom bill has yet to prevent an assault, but has lead to needless panic. Trans folk, trans women especially, are more likely to be assaulted by cis people in any circumstance than the reverse.

Not to mention that, by definition, trans women are not men dressed as women. Transitioning is an expensive and potentially lifelong process. But trans people have always been around--Christine Jorgensen, Marsha P. Johnson, Tracey Norman, the list goes on. Trans folk were minding their own damn business in Target bathrooms long before Gov. Pat McCrory started feeling uppity.

The reality of the rollback on these rights is horrifying. It’s not a matter of states rights, but civil rights. Children are vulnerable enough in school; transgender people are vulnerable enough at any given time. Transgender minors face increased rates of homelessnesssuicide, and abuse. There is no excuse for making life any harder.

There is enough debate about trans minors physically transitioning and how parents are involved. Forcing trans students to jump through hoops just to use a bathroom they’re comfortable with is inhumane.

When an opinion diminishes a person’s humanity, it ceases to be an opinion and becomes a threat. Listen to trans people when they speak. Resist this bigotry, especially when it comes from authority.