Unintended Targets

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A public restroom

As trans targeting bathroom bills go into effect, too many of the news stories focus on unintended targets. Bathroom bills are designed to criminalize the basic biological needs of trans people, particularly trans women. They are the people these bills seek to harm.

But bigots are not as good at guessing who is cis and who is trans as they think they are. A handful of cis women with short hair have been mistaken for a member of the intended victim group, trans women. 

Ostensibly progressive and liberal publications print these stories with a tone of “Hey now, that’s not fair! You’re not supposed to attack the good women!”

As if trans women were not good women or real women. As if targeting them is okay until it spills over to the rest of us.

Any woman being harassed while she’s trying to pee is a problem, and it’s a problem rooted in transmisogyny.

I’m a short haired cis lesbian. If a man tried to follow me into a public bathroom to ascertain the shape of my genitals, I’d be horrified and scared and probably flash back to being attacked in my home bathroom by my ex husband.

But at least the left leaning press, outlets like Daily Kos and Think Progress, would agree that was an outrage. If I was a trans woman otherwise identical to myself, with the same trauma history, I’m not so certain anyone would recognize the harm.

These bills are not wrong because they sometimes mistakenly sweep up cis women in their efforts. They are wrong because they target and endanger trans women.

The problem is not when bigots miss their target. The problem is bigotry.

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