Trans woman’s selfie shows just how little sense this bathroom debate makes
If Sarah McBride walked into a restroom, there would be no uproar. There would be no scandal. There would be no discomfort. There would be only a woman, using the bathroom amongst other women. Sarah is transgender.
We’ve heard so much talk about restrooms and who should be in them since Target reiterated their policy supporting their employee and customer rights to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. There is nothing new here. Target never had any other policy in place, theirs has always been one of inclusivity. In light of the North Carolina bill signed into law in March that requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificates, the company that’s always stood for equal rights decided to make a very vocal statement about where they stand on the issue.
Translation: transgender guests and employees have always been welcome to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Do you know how many problems it’s caused? Zero.
“Here I am using a women’s restroom in North Carolina that I’m technically barred from being in,” Sarah wrote in a Facebook post last week. “They say I’m a pervert. They say I’m a man dressed as a woman. They say I’m a threat to their children. They say I’m confused. They say I’m dangerous. And they say accepting me as the person I have fought my life to be seen as reflects the downfall of a once great nation.”
For those of us who see Sarah as she is, a woman just trying to live her life, the debate about these bathroom laws is mind-numbingly ridiculous. It is so clear transgender people belong in the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. If Sarah’s image doesn’t make that clear, here are a few more comments from her post:
Is the argument really that those first two men should use the women’s restroom? And the last two women should use the men’s? That’s absurd — and frankly, dangerous for trans women. But beyond that, there are so many arguments swirling around that just make no sense.
“The argument from many parents is not against transgender people. It’s in knowing that this ‘loophole’ will be exploited by predators,” said one commenter on our piece about the Target boycott last week. Funny how when we talk about gun laws, the argument is “bad guys will always get guns.” Yet, this same reasoning doesn’t seem to apply to predators. Apparently they’re all just waiting around to slip into the Target bathroom and assault our daughters. Never mind the fact that with this reasoning, they’re already in there with our sons, and nobody has worried about that until now. Sexual assault is not a strictly female experience. Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident.
So is the argument just that male predators are so dangerous that we cannot give the general public the rights they deserve, because we have to live in fear of them at all times? Maybe we should turn some of our vitriol towards them and away from transgender people who are just trying to live their lives then. They have absolutely nothing to do with this issue, and it’s an insulting correlation.
“I’m just a person. We are all just people. Trying to pee in peace. Trying to live our lives as fully and authentically as possible. Barring me from this restroom doesn’t help anyone. And allowing me to continue to use this bathroom – just without fear of discrimination and harassment – doesn’t hurt anyone,” Sarah says.
Our children are not less safe because transgender people use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. If you have never been exposed to trans people and your limited world view makes you apprehensive, you can own that. There’s a quote I love that I can never find the root of, but it says this:
Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.
At any moment you can open your mind and be a more accepting person. Maybe you’ve never interacted with a trans person. Maybe you just don’t understand. You can still realize trans people are not a danger to society, they are simply trying to live their lives with the same rights as the rest of us. Like, for example, not having to face the indignity of arguing about where they are allowed to pee. You can believe facts like for example that three out of four adolescent victims of sexual abuse are victimized by someone they know.
The last words on Sarah’s now-viral post are, “Stop this. We are good people.”
Like Ashley Austrew wrote last week, “stop using your children as an excuse to be a hateful human being.” To become a more accepting, less hate-filled, and more compassionate society, we must evolve. Humanity demands it.
It’s time to rise to the occasion.
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