Staff Editorial: Bill would cage transgender people, obstruct acceptance


Art by Megan Goyette[vc_custom_heading text=”SB 720 would require transgender students to use the bathroom that accords with the gender on their birth certificate. “][dropcap color=”#” bgcolor=”#” sradius=”0″]I[/dropcap]t’s not preposterous to say the state of Missouri is not the most enthusiastic about concepts like “equality” or “political correctness.”
Support for this bill comes from fear. People fear their safety and liberty will disappear if transgender people use the same bathroom as them. Their fears are meaningless, and unfounded. If anything, the people with a reason to be afraid are members of the transgender community.
Every day transgender individuals face brutal scrutiny from themselves and society, which compounds the ill-effects of gender dysphoria, a mental and medical condition that defines the transgender identity. Part of the disorder is an intense shame and loathing for their bodies, according to WebMD. These feelings intensify when the outside world seems to support their feelings of being out of place.
These feelings are so strong that some sufferers of gender dysphoria are convinced that their life is no longer worth living. According to a 2014 UCLA study, nearly half of all transgender and gender-nonconforming adults have attempted suicide.
In addition, transgender people are already the targets of homicide and other hate crimes. According to the same study, 57 percent of transgender peoples’ families don’t talk to them and 69 percent have experienced homelessness. These somber statistics are caused by transphobia and they will never stop unless the walls between transgender and cisgender people are taken down.
Bathrooms in particular are a hotspot for the abuse of transgender individuals. A study by the Williams Institute showed that 68 percent of transgender individuals in the DC area had been verbally assaulted in the restroom, and nine percent had been physically assaulted. The fact that more than two thirds of the polled group had been assaulted is mind boggling. Everyone needs to use the bathroom, without fearing their safety. An oft-cited reason for the bill is concern over violence or attacks that could arise if a transgender person used their preferred bathroom. That argument, however, is completely unfounded.

According to the LGBT rights magazine, Advocate, there has never been a filed instance of a transgender person assaulting a cisgender person in a bathroom. ”

Another reasoning behind the bill is that having a ‘boy’ in the girls room or vice versa would be uncomfortable. What this reasoning fails to consider, though, is that most transgender people present in the same way they identify. Unless someone was inspecting strangers’ genitals, there would be no way of knowing that someone is transgender.
There have already been several movements that attempt to illustrate the ridiculous nature of bills like SB 720. The hashtag #WeJustNeedToPee accompanied photos of people who presented as male in the women’s bathroom, and vice versa. The image of a burly man in a women’s room underlines that having people use the bathroom that accords with their birth sex can be more uncomfortable than using the restroom of their choice.
The driving force behind this bill is people’s fear, obsession and hatred for those who are different. These forces are so hideously powerful that the bigoted philosophy of small government is abandoned for the ability to police a person’s genitals. There is the longtime held belief that transgender people are liars and tricksters because they present in a way contrary to the gender they are assigned at birth, according to the magazine Everyday Feminism.
This fear of deception erupts into violence and a strange obsession with transgender people. No one would ask a cisgender person about what is between their legs because that question is simply impolite and inappropriate. Because transgender people are seen as different, suddenly the parts designated private are everybody’s business.
The people who face this anger and intolerance are not just faceless statistics. They are part of the RBHS family. These are friends and students and classmates. They have loaned you a pencil, held your hand and even loved you. There is no moral way to let fellow Bruins suffer.
Fictional fears support a law about something as trivial as someone’s genitals. These fears can be put to rest with something as simple as a phone call or an email to a district representative.
SB 720 cannot pass because it is made out of hate and intolerance, an attitude that cannot be allowed to continue if transgender individuals are ever going to receive their full rights.