For most of us, going to a public restroom is nothing but an inconvenience. But for gender minorities, such a simple task can be a extremely stressful.
According to a study conducted by the Williams’ Institute, 68 percent of transgender respondents experienced verbal harassment in bathrooms, 9 percent were physically assaulted in bathrooms and 18 percent were not even permitted to go inside the bathroom which matched their identity.
It’s one of the most prevalent forms of transphobia.
As schools and cities are enacting more inclusive bathroom policies, some are panicking that transgender people are “violating their privacy.”
Many feel uncomfortable about the issue because they fear they will be subjected to sexual advances. They are concerned that any person can fake their gender identity and enter the opposite gender’s bathroom.
However, very few individuals would be willing to crossdress and pretend to be the opposite gender for the opportunity of sneaking into the other restroom.
It’s not impossible, but the likelihood of it happening is the same as it would be with the current bathroom laws.
It’s also important to note that establishing more accessible bathrooms would not make sexual assault legal. Allowing people to enter the bathroom with which they identify with does not increase the threat of violence.
We don’t see why any cisgendered person would go through the trouble of dressing up and applying makeup when it would be easier, and just as illegal, to enter the bathroom. If one is worried about rape, the assailant’s getup is not going to somehow let them get away with it.
There are laws against voyeurism, harassment and rape and those laws do not concern how the perpetrator is dressed or how they identify.
Serious crimes are still illegal and they always will be, regardless of who is allowed to enter a public restroom.
Going to the bathroom should not be something people have to worry about and right now, genderqueer individuals across the nation do not feel safe entering these places which are rife with discrimination.
Reinforcing these strict barriers causes unnecessary anxiety for anybody who has a non-conforming gender identity.
This apparent segregation of gender implies that male and female are the only two categories you can pigeonhole people into, when on the contrary, gender is a spectrum, not binary.
Some have proposed providing a third restroom, labelled something along the lines of “other,” but this only ostracizes them more.
Creating a separate bathroom for non-binary people creates an “us and them” mentality reminiscent of the separate but equal justification for racial segregation.
Anyone who would deny somebody the most basic of rights based on their gender expression is unambiguously and morally in the wrong.