Thursday, January 21, 2016

Creeps in Your Restroom!

This blog post was written to fulfill an assignment for the course Creativity & Community.

There is a chance that any time you or your loved ones enters a public restroom, that they could be sharing it with a sex offender.  Child molesters, voyeurs/exhibitionists, date rapists - these are all people who buy the same groceries as us, eat at the same restaurants as us, and fill up at the same gas stations as us.  If you were the type to be concerned about safety in public restrooms, and believed that legislation were an effective tool to protect restroom patrons (I don't), what could you do about this situation?  If your answer is to outlaw transgender people... you just might be Indiana Republican state Sen. Jim Tomes.
What about the other sector of society of people that who have all through the decades women been using women’s restrooms and men been using men’s restrooms and kind of like that and kind of expect that level of privacy? Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?
Forget people who are actually tried-and-convicted sex offenders; the real danger has been me all along!  Nevermind that if there really were an epidemic of cross-dressing predators peeping under bathroom stalls, Fox News would be plastering their mug shots all over the scare pieces in a never-ending parade of shame.  But the real stories of abuse and violence against peaceful transgender folks in public spaces get pushed to the back pages of news websites.

In many states, there has never been a law explicitly against using the "wrong" restroom.  So why after over 100 years of trans people in multi-user public restrooms (yes, we've always been using them, even if you didn't notice) do we suddenly need laws to segregate and outlaw us?  Honestly, it's for the money.  This is a great way to scare people into donating money to the political campaign or advocacy organization of their choice.  I'm including pro-LGBT orgs here - they use fear tactics to profit from our situation too.

Even if laws were passed explicitly to protect people like me, we still wouldn't be safe.  Assault is already illegal, and people still regularly assault trans folks anyway.  We cannot be safe in a society that demands segregation.  I mean that in the fullest sense.  We cannot be safe in a society that demands separate yet equal restrooms.  Racial segregation dates back to 1849; separate gendered restrooms came later, in 1887.  Segregated restrooms have always been racist as well as sexist, and as such will always be unsafe.

P.S.  I figured out how to find the single-user restrooms on campus.  It's solution - inadequate on a societal level, but it's the solution available to me right here right now, so I'll take it.

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