HilaryN Texas

Transgender Restroom Rights

Transgender people should be allowed to use their right to access their bathroom of choice like every other human being regardless of their birth gender.

Dear Future President,

As a citizen of the US, I would like to congratulate you on winning the election of 2016 and on becoming the next person who will take the challenge of leading the country, and continue the legacy of our great founding fathers who had wrote the Amendments and the Constitution in order to protect our basic rights as Americans. As a matter of fact, I would like to address an issue that relates to basic human rights: Transgender people's rights to use the bathroom of their choice. Recently, the state North Carolina passed a controversial law known as HB2, that requires people living in the state to use the public restroom that corresponds to their official gender on their birth certificate due to the growing fear of transgender people sexually harassing non-transgender people. This fear seems to come naturally especially when it comes to the safety of non-trans kids and women. However, fear is not always based on truth. It can sometimes even be the opposite of the truth.

One of the many problems that causes this fear to grow is the stigma against transgender people and how they are currently being portrayed in the society with ideas like “A dangerous man in a dress will come and rape you.” In the reality, according to a research conducted by 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, it was revealed that 41% of transgender participants had attempted suicide at some point of their life. The biggest cause of this is cases of sexual assault, followed by physical assault, harassment, and job loss due to gender bias. Correspondingly, a Georgia State University finds that the suicide rates grow significantly higher --from 41% to an alarming 60%-- with transgender university and college students being denied access to bathrooms and gender appropriate campus. Many people would argue about their concerns for their wives, daughters, etc… but however they seem to forget about trans women who are also wives, daughters, etc… who ultimately suffered because people refused to view them as women but as sexual predators as the result of the fears for sexual harassment and assault carried by males. With this in mind, I would like point out that the fear are against males. Not transgender people. So why must they suffer and face discrimination because of something like this?

In addition to this harmful stigma, many transgender individuals who are being targeted, were reported to find that bathroom access is one of their most stressing matters. They were being faced with situations like being questioned about whether or not they belong in the bathroom, being stared at or being told to leave. As a result of this, those targeted individuals felt less safe and tried to avoid using a public bathroom. Furthermore, according to the U.S Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA), being forced to wait to use the bathroom for a long period of time can can cause damage to their physical health, including urinary tract infection, hemorrhoids, damage to internal sphincters, constipation, and kidney infection. By the same token, the dehydration effect of trying to limit the amount of intake liquids can be extremely fatal. Also, according to World Professional Association for Transgender Health, using the appropriate restrooms is an essential part of gender transitioning. It plays a role to ensure that a transgender person is being able to be seen and recognized by others in their life as their preferred gender identity before medical transition that involving hormones and surgery.

In the same fashion, I would like compare the similarities of this issue to many discriminating issues that people had problem with in the past historically. One of these including the famous “Little Rock Nine” during 1957, where African American students were being escorted by federal troops to an all-white high school after the U.S Supreme Court issued the historic Brown v. Board of Education on May 17, 1954 to desegregate all schools throughout the nation and how White parents are opposing to the busing of African American students to a much wealthier white district with fears that their kid “might get stabbed, taking drugs, getting robbed” yet today, intergration school systems are being seen as the most natural thing to us with evidences, showing us how integration can benefits students of both races despites the false claim of our fear. Another example is how students with disabilities were being discriminated in the past with them receiving no special education at all before 1957, when Congress passed the law of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) enabling disabled children to have access to a free and appropriate education like other children in a least restrictive environment. As a result, it was shown to be very beneficial and effective when placing children who have disabilities in a comfortable normal class setting. These comparisons are made to show how easily our fears can control us. This causes us to label people negatively on the outside, from how African American are being viewed and portrayed as a threat to white societies to disabilities children are isolated as the result of being labeled as a drain on our money resources. Fear is what makes us see the worst in people, clouding reason and better judgement.

Because of these harming stigmas, I believe we should establish policies that will protect transgender rights, following the model of the U.K’s Gender Recognition Act 2004 with rules such as how transgendered individuals who have been transitioned for more than two years is automatically allowed to obtain the right of their gender. The act also allows transgender people many personal freedoms and rights, such as being allowed to change the sex on their passports, being able to get legally married to whomever they want, and legally being able to change their birth certificate. Another option that can help both sides is to encourage companies and schools to install gender neutral bathrooms in order to allow both non-trans people and trans people to be more comfortable. Furthermore, we should encourage and educate people on LGBT rights including knowledges about transgenders such as sex reassignment, hormones treatment, etc… in order for them to be more understanding and to prevent misunderstandings and misconceptions about them

In conclusion, a transgender person should have the right to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender they identify themselves with. There is no evidence that states that gender segregated bathrooms are safer for non-trans women than a unisex one. HB2 is unnecessary because there are laws protecting people from misconduct in a public restroom. Transgender people are not a threat. If anything, they're the true victims, for they are more likely to experience harassment, hostility, and discrimination in their everyday lives. It’s very important that we should allow every individual have the right to access the bathrooms regardless of their race, gender, social class instead of making the bathroom as the tool for degradation, humiliation, and shaming people for who they are. As a fellow citizen who resides in America, I think it’s necessary for us to uphold our proud legacy as a country who celebrates individualism and freedom in everyone, including transgender people.

Trans lives matter,

Hilary N.

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New Tech High Coppell

Class of 2020

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