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The Idiocy of the Great Bathroom Debate

Updated on February 29, 2016

Trigger Warning: Use of Offensive Language

It's your first day of high school and you're super excited to see all your friends again. Earlier that week, your mom took you shopping at the mall and you found the cutest dress ever to wear for your first day. That morning, you put that wonderful dress on and did a little twirl - feeling pretty and confident. Then you curled your hair and slapped some mascara on before grabbing your Hello Kitty backpack and swinging out the door.

You have a great day, at first. You chat excitedly with all your friends about what you did over summer break and what classes you're looking forward to. It even works out that you'll have your lunch break with your best friend - something that almost never happens. It's going to be a good year, you tell yourself. Until you have to be excused to use the restroom.

Your teacher nervously nods as you ask to leave the classroom and out you flounce, only to be stopped at the door of the girl's room by the gym teacher.

"Where do you think you're going?" He towers over you.

"The bathroom?" You're confused.

"Not in there, you're not," he replies. He then points to the door next to the one you're standing in front of. The one with the 'boy' symbol on it. "You use that one, son."

"But I'm not a guy," you tell him. He sneers down at you.

"That's not what your transcript says," he's leering now. "We all know you're a little boy."

"No, I'm not," you're angry now. You just want to use the toilet and go back to class. What is his problem?

"Then prove it," the gym teacher insists. "Prove you're a girl. Show me."

"Show you!?" you cry. "But that's sexual harassment. You can't do this!"

"You can't sexually harass a f*ggot."

In tears, you realize now that you can't win this. He won't let you in the girl's room, not without a scuffle. You quickly glance around the empty hallway before darting into the boy's room, hearing the teacher's "that's what I thought..." as the door shuts behind you. Luckily there's no one else in the bathroom, so you race into a stall and do your business as quickly as possible. On your way out of the stall, another male student walks in and stops dead in his tracks....

What do you think happens next?

The Great Debate

Recently, South Dakota has come under a lot of fire for introducing a bill that would force transgender students to use the restroom corresponding to their assigned sex at birth, rather than their gender identity. According to the Washington Post, 13 other states are also considering similar legislation as a national debate rages on about the civil rights of transgender people vs privacy concerns in schools.

The bills supporters are lawmakers, advocates, and parents who want to push an emphasis on 'traditional' values and protecting students. But...protecting them from what, exactly?

State Rep. Fred Deutsch who sponsored the bill said that while he is sympathetic to transgender students, it's the other students that have to be protected from the biological opposite sex while they're young and impressionable. But again, protected from what?

Another force in the fight for restricting access to public restroom and locker rooms is the Alliance Defending Freedom - who has created the model legislation that South Dakota used in their decision. They describe their model as a push to protect the "bodily privacy" of children - "including victims of sexual assault who might be traumatized by running into a member of the opposite biological sex in a restroom."

But a recent study has shown the statistics for how many times a transgender individual has attacked or harassed someone in a public bathroom. The number...is ZERO. There are zero reported cases of this ever happening. Despite this, many parents of school-aged children express concern for their child's comfort and safety while having the share a restroom or locker room with a transgender student. Much of this fear and uncertainty comes from ignorance.

Rebecca Dodds is the mother of a transgender boy in South Dakota. Though biologically female, her son has been presenting as male in high school, and felt uncomfortable and threatened having to use the girl's restroom at school. The female teacher and fellow student who happened to be in the restroom at the time were shocked to see someone who appeared male enter that space. Now, Dodd's son only uses the restroom if no one else is in it or simply doesn't use the restroom at all during the day.

To read more about the struggles faced by transgender youth being forced to use certain facilities, read the Washington Post article linked HERE.

Your Knowledge

Do you know any transgender people?

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A transgender man forced to use women's restroom

Bathroom Laws and Harassment

Bathroom bills help no one and harm everyone, especially transgender folks. 70% of trans people have reported being denied entrance, assaulted, or harassed for simply trying to use a restroom. They report being questioned about their gender, verbally mocked, stared at or given strange looks. In 9% of cases, actual physical/sexual assault has occurred and others have had the police called on them or been stalked leaving the restroom.

As stated above, there are zero occurrences of trans people perpetrating attacks on cis-people in bathrooms. Lawmakers who claim otherwise use this fear-mongering to create policies to openly discriminate and rely on the public's ignorance of the evidence to perpetuate harmful stereotypes.

With laws on the books dictating which toilets are acceptable for use by trans people and the public's open hostility about restroom use, many trans people try to avoid using public restrooms altogether, especially where there are few gender neutral toilets available. This can lead to serious health problems, including but not limited to: dehydration, UTI's, kidney infection and other kidney problems.

Statistics Show How Many Times Trans People Have Attacked You

Transgender Experiences Trying to Use the Bathroom

Your Experience

Has anyone ever harassed you in a public bathroom?

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Story Time...Again

Kevin hated wearing dressed when he was little and could never understand why his mom insisted on keeping his long hair in pigtails. It was gross, he didn't want to look like a princess. As he grew older, his mom's understanding deepened and he was allowed to buzz his hair and wear dinosaur t-shirts to school. All his friends were boys and he liked them better than hanging out with girls - all they wanted to talk about were Disney princesses and dolls.

When Kevin started middle school, everyone treated him like the boy he was. Everyone that is, except the school administration. They took Kevin and his parents into an office room and told them that Kevin would have to use the girl's bathroom and that it would be inappropriate for him to change in the boy's locker room with all his friends. Kevin didn't understand and his parents were outraged, but what could they do?

So Kevin did as he was told, and used the girl's restroom one day.

What do you think happened next?

Opinion Time

Do you think transgender youth should be restricted to certain restrooms/locker rooms?

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Comments

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    • Dylanrrichard profile image

      Dylan Ryan 19 months ago from Louisiana

      Wow. This is such an awesome post!

      I love the narratives, they give make it relatable to those that have no idea what being discriminated against feels like.

      Definitely following!

    • profile image

      Wild Bill 19 months ago

      My wife was in the Target bathroom last week and a man dressed as a woman came in. He was not your typical transgender, but seemed to be doing it for a show. He had a mustache, hairy legs, and flamboyant clothes; in other words, he was not trying to fit in as a woman. But the fact remains that no one could question him because he was dressed as a woman. So now what? Should he be arrested or allowed to be in the bathroom? How do we determine who is sincerely transgender or putting on a show? If so, who gets to determine that?

      The North Carolina law is not designed to check who gets to go into what bathroom. No one is checking birth certificates at the door, mainly because no one carries a birth certificate with them. What this law does is put some kind of discrepancy in the hands of the lawmakers and law enforcers. It's too bad that there are those who have chosen to make this a political statement and force states like NC to make these laws.

      I am a grown man in my 40's and transgender is nothing new to me because this is not a new phenomenon. Transgenders have been in every community for as long as I can remember. Before this law came out, it was basically don't ask, don't tell. If you looked like a woman, you go into the women's bathroom. If you look like a man, you go into the men's bathroom. Everything was working well until PC idiots made a push to change something that was not broken in the first place. It seems that now, the only solution is to not have gender specific bathrooms. Great job PC idiots! Keep pushing your agendas on to others.

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 20 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      Bathroom bills don't hurt anyone - except those who decide to dress like the opposite sex, but then again they should be in counseling or a group home because it's classified as a mental disorder.

    • profile image

      Bronwyn Joy Ellio 21 months ago

      This goes in my 'Only In America' file. Here in the civilised world (i.e. pretty much any western nation other than the US - in this case, Australia) we support our trans children.

      Who can see through the walls of a toilet cubicle?

      Our Federal Government is currently funding a $8 million (($5.7 million US) program in State schools supporting GLBTI kids.

      Get with the 21st Century, America!

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 21 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

      All they would need to do is add ONE unisex bathroom. Maybe per floor for multistory buildings.

      Problem solved.

      But nooooo! We got to get the naked and afraid folks involved. I for one am sick of all the outright cowards living in the world today. I wish they would just put on nerf suits and rose colored glasses, then leave all the real and intelligent people alone.

      Seriously? We have to get legislators involved?

    • profile image

      Tessa 21 months ago

      I'm all for people using whichever bathroom best fits their identity. Honestly, I think it would be more "shocking" for me to see a transgender male in the girl's room than a transgender female.

      Another solution that gets thrown around a lot is simply adding unisex bathrooms, but realistically, how many businesses and institutions are going to go for that? It would be a big cost for schools especially, I'd imagine.