Trans Women in Bathrooms

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Brae Carnes posted this pic to protest a bill that would have required her to use the men's room

Bathroom access is a disability issue. No one should be told they have to wait to get home to pee. Some people can’t wait. And some people don’t have homes. So, starting from the position that public bathroom access is both a need and a right, let me tell you why I hate trans-targeting bathroom bills.

Bathroom bills require people to use the bathroom that correlates with their assigned sex at birth, not their gender. These laws are justified by invoking the spectre of men in dresses attacking vulnerable cis women. The laws are usually written to apply to everyone, but with trans Women specifically in mind.

These bills are unnecessary. Trans women pose no discernable risk to cis women. In fact, there is not one reported case of a trans woman attacking anyone in any public bathroom. Flashing and sexual improprieties among trans Women in public bathrooms also yields a big fat zero. Cis men dressed as men have committed such crimes, however. More members of Congress have been accused of lewd acts in public bathrooms than trans women.

Bathroom laws invade privacy. Establishing another person’s gender or anatomy is a wholly unreasonable, wildly inappropriate prerequisite to bathroom access, a need and right. Exactly how would that be done, and how much worse would it be than sharing a stall partition with a trans person? And you thought airport security was invasive!

They encourage transphobia and transmisogyny. Few US states offer employment or housing protections or have non-discrimination legislation. Singling out a vulnerable and hated minority, and making them out themselves or break the law, puts them at risk of losing their job and their home. For trans femmes and trans women in particular, this also endangers their very lives. Google’s top suggestion for refining the search “trans woman” is “trans woman killed”. Twenty-one trans women were murdered in the United States in 2015, a tragically high number for such a small percentage of the population.

These hateful laws criminalize bodies. By making peeing safely a crime, these laws allow cis people to enlist law enforcement in their discrimination. Transgender and transsexual people are frequently put in the wrong jails, with trans men in women’s facilities and trans women in men’s prisons. The risks of abuse for trans people in jail, especially trans women, are substantially higher when in the wrong place.

Bathroom access is a human right and a human need. Trans people are human, and trans women are women. They just want to pee, safely, without risk of criminal, physical, or sexual violence. Not passing trans-targeting bathroom laws is literally the least we can do to support this minority.

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