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The crazy reasons trans kids are banned from using the right bathroom

The crazy reasons trans kids are banned from using the right bathroom

Young activist Brae Carnes posted photos of herself in men’s restrooms to show why trans people should get access to the right facilities.

Conservatives have always been obsessed with policing this nation’s genitals.

They like to control how we use them, what body orifices they enter, and –now with transgender bathroom bills up for debate across the country – where we take them to go relieve ourselves.

If the state of Virginia wasn’t serious I could laugh off their Republicans lawmakers’ suggestion that ‘Adults must check children’s private parts before entering restroom.’ And, if a transgender child should violate the state’s bathroom ordinance he or she will be slapped with a $50 (€46) fine.

House Bill 663 is receiving an avalanche of outcry from the state’s progressive and LGBTI populations.

‘This is what the conservative movement has devolved into,’ LGBTI activist Tim Peacock wrote on his blog, ‘forcing children to allow adults to examine their genitals out of misplaced fear that transgender kids and adults might commit a hypothetical never-before-seen act of violence or sexual aggression (that would still be against the law with or without transgender protections).’

Across the country, however, this sort of amped-up fear-mongering of the ‘predatory heterosexual male pervert’ or ‘Peeping Tom’ has either halted or canned movement forward in getting needed transgender public accommodations bills passed.

The people backing the bill often claim to have ‘nothing against transgender people’ but say a ban on them using the right bathroom protects people from these perverts.

Kaeley Triller, a Christian mother of two writing in The Federalist, is a typical example: ‘Let me be clear: I am not saying that transgender people are predators. Not by a long shot. What I am saying is that there are countless deviant men in this world who will pretend to be transgender as a means of gaining access to the people they want to exploit, namely women and children.’

To date there is no evidence to corroborate Triller’s fear. Media Matters, a progressive news watchdog, report no incident from the 17 largest school districts in the country that have adopted policies of allowing transgender students access to ‘gender-appropriate facilities’.

A study put out by the UCLA’s Williams Institute, an LGBTI think tank, shows approximately 80% of trans students where no policy is in place to protect them have reported either harassment or physical assault in their attempt to use ‘gender segregated bathrooms’.

Data proves access to ‘gender-appropriate facilities’ greatly assist transgender students in feeling accepted by their peers and community, and to live more fully as their identified gender.

If we’re looking for a federal nondiscrimination law passed on this issue – should any of the Republican presidential hopefuls take office – we need not hold ourselves waiting. Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie believes giving transgender K-12 students the right to choose their bathroom is a confusing matter:

‘Men go to men’s rooms, women go to women’s rooms and there really shouldn’t be a whole lot of confusion about that – public accommodations. And I don’t think we should be making life more confusing for our children.’

And former renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson says transgender students should have a ‘separate,’ and I surmise ‘equal’, bathroom because Carson feels ‘it is not fair for them to make everybody else uncomfortable’. One would think Carson would know better than to utter such a statement like that, living the African American experience in this country.

Transgender Americans being denied access to public lavatories is eerily reminiscent of the country’s last century Jim Crow era denying African Americans access to lunch counters, water fountains, and restrooms in restaurants, libraries, gas stations, theaters, to name a few.

With Massachusetts lauded as one of the most pro-LGBTI states in the country, my lawmakers have disappointed me with their political foot dragging and staling on our ‘Bathroom Bill’ ( HB1577). Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Attorney General Maura Healey fully support the bill. Governor Charlie Baker, however, has declined to take a stance on it.

This sort of inaction by lawmakers makes it increasingly unsafe and difficult for our transgender denizens to engage in the simple activity of simply going out to grab something to eat – that cisgendered people can take for granted – without the angst, anguish and fear of navigating their bathroom restrictions.

But the fear-mongering, policing, and transphobia concerning transgender people using public bathrooms gravely impact gender non-conforming people, too. Without such bills passed, perceived too ‘butch women’ or too ‘effeminate men’ confront similar harassment and danger as our transgender sisters and brothers.

It is my hope for 2016 that state lawmakers pass their Bathroom Bills’. Then they could focus their political gaze and energy on more important issues than our genitals.