ELLE’s transgender columnist breaks down the psychological consequences of being denied these sorts of basic rights
By Rhyannon Styles
Mar 2, 2017
When I was at school, I hated the male changing rooms. That heady mix of pre-adolescence, testosterone, body odour and Lynx deodorant made me convulse and want to hide in the corner between parka jackets. It was, as you might expect, the place where most of the bullying occurred. I was often taunted and teased, and I saw many other femme boys subjected to the same insults.
Transgender children leave school earlier than any other group, and a recent survey has shown that 25 per cent have attempted suicide, and a further 25 per cent have considered it.
And being forced to inhabit the cruel, unmediated environment that male changing rooms can be, is in no small part to blame.
If you don’t know it already, Trump is coming for transgender students’ rights, by reversing a decree that would allow them to use the bathroom according to the gender they identify with.
There has been uproar, of course, about this and there has been the predictably extreme transphobia from people who would strike us from the face of the earth, but there has also been a loud contingent of people who are asking, ‘but are bathrooms really a big deal?’
And here is what I have to say to that…
I’m deeply concerned for the future of LGBTQIA youth in America.
President Trump’s decision to revoke transgender children’s bathroom rights will have ripple effects which threaten every measure to protect transgender students.
Originally put into place by Obama, the guidelines called ‘Title IX’ allowed students to use the toilet which represented and corresponded with the gender they identified with, rather than their biological sex.
Trump’s plans are to revoke Title IX, in favour of making trans students use the bathroom according to the genitalia they were born with.
In other words, if like me you identified as a transgender woman, under Trumps plans you’d be expected to use the gent’s bathroom as opposed to the ladies’.
If that privilege was taken away from me, I’d be really anxious and concerned for my safety. If I was forced by law to stand at a urinal and urinate it would be really damaging for my mental health.