Can Everyone Stop Freaking Out Over Which Bathroom Transgender People Use?

From Vice:

By Paris Lees
Jan 10 2014

There’s a crazy right wing conspiracy against transgender people and it’s just turned ugly.

Conservatives are trying to deny transgender students the right to use the bathroom. Just to put this into context, in Britain trans people use whichever bathroom they feel most comfortable in. As a British gal, it both surprises and depresses me that trans restroom rights is even an issue in the States. It doesn’t have to be a big deal unless you, um, you know, want it to be. There’s a major political battle over California’s School Success and Opportunity Act right now that makes trans rights the focus of a national culture war between religious right and liberal left. Republicans are using human rights for trans students as pawns to discredit Democrats. Just like gay marriage, restroom rights have become a political football.

It’s an imaginary debate. You’ve probably already been in a public restroom with a transgender person and not even realized. Last time I checked, trans people are included in “everyone.” So yeah, we’re in that line in the bathroom, trying to get a line in the bathroom.

There are around 700,000 trans people in America and I’m kinda sure they all piss and poop. (I don’t poop. I defecated once in 2006, it was sparkly and glittery and scented with Chanel and I’ve never done anything like that since.) Let’s assume though that trans people dare to carry on existing and also continue to need bathrooms and whatnot. Conservatives say that if we give trans people restroom and locker rights, men will pretend to be trans to sexually harass women.

Number one: Since when is crazy straight guys pretending to be trans a reason to deny trans people rights? Number two: The whole thing, frankly, is bullshit—it’s an argument based on ignorance, fear, and zero evidence.

Say hello to the Pacific Justice Institute, a hate group that spreads propaganda about trans people. Sometimes mainstream media outlets repeat these lies. Like ABC’s Michael Chen who, last October, mentioned the case of a trans girl peering over bathroom stalls to look at others girls. Except she didn’t. When activist site TransAdvocate investigated—using complex methods like picking up a phone—the school informed them that the story was “fabricated.” Lies like this hand ammunition to bullies, reactionaries, and mean girls alike. But it’s not like schools have a problem with bullying, right?

Here’s something else that didn’t happen. A trans girl in Colorado didn’t harass other students in the girls’ toilets last autumn. However some girls at the school—some, not all—did feel harassed about her using the girls’ restroom. Never mind that she never actually did or said anything apart from go into the stalls, lock the door, and pee. Or that she got beat up when she used the boys’ room. No one cares about that! But Fox, the Examiner, and MailOnline were super concerned about lovely, regular folk feeling uncomfortable over absolutely nothing and global news coverage soon followed. Strangely enough, the trans student reacted badly to international reports that she was a pervert and she’s since left the school. In the aftermath of this incident, she’s been put on suicide watch.

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