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Ash Isaac Eng 111 section 24 Sarah Hughes April 9, 2017

Transgender Bathroom Law: A Gender-Neutral Bathroom, in MY House?!

Have you ever gone into a bathroom and been scared that you would be sexually assaulted or beat up? Well, that’s the case that both transgender and cisgender people are proposing both for and against the bathroom law. Cisgender people are afraid of being attacked by transgender people who are “faking” their identity and transgender people are afraid of being attacked by cisgender people for going into the bathroom that correlates with their real identity.

What is the bathroom law, you might ask?

The bathroom law is a law that says all people must use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate despite their gender identity and expression. The whole issue surrounding bathrooms and transgender people has been getting bigger and more well- known, according to the New York Times in “Understanding Transgender Access Laws”, since 2012 when “Cities including Austin, Tex.; Berkeley, Calif.; Philadelphia; Santa Fe, N.M.; and Seattle were among the first to pass laws requiring single-user all-gender restrooms, following a pattern emerging at schools and universities. Soon museums, restaurants and even the White House (in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building) began rebranding restrooms.”


The bathroom law causes problems for not only FTM (female to male transgender people) and MTF (male to female transgender people) but also people who identify as a non- binary gender (not fitting into the binary of either male or female). People transition from one

gender to another by taking hormones (either testosterone or estrogen) and possibly getting surgeries. Transgender people can decide to transition as much as they want, take hormones for

as long as they want to and go through with the surgeries they want, says Lisa Fields in their article “What It Means to Be Transgender.” This law also causes problems for people who are passing (looking as if they are cisgender even though they are transgender) because, for example, let’s say a passing FTM transgender would like to use the restroom. Because of this law, he is unable to use the men’s restroom, even though one would never be able to tell that he is trans, all because his birth certificate says that he is female. This is a problem because he would go into the women’s restroom looking completely male and causing all the women in there to be uncomfortable. In “What it’s Like to Live Under North Carolina’s Bathroom Law if you’re Transgender”, Matt Pearce shares another example of this, explaining, “Ethan Mayo, 18, started his gender transition

this year, and he struggled over the right time to switch bathrooms.

He started using the men's

room at his Charlotte, N.C., high school

when he started

“getting more weird looks in the girls'

bathroom.” Not to mention, people who are stealth (people who aren’t openly out about being trans - for safety or just personal preference), won’t be able to use the bathroom that their gender corresponds with without outing themselves because either their birth certificate or license says they are another gender.

This viewpoint comes from transgender people just wanting their basic human rights to be acknowledged. If this law gets passes, most transgender people won’t be able to use the bathroom that corresponds with their identity. Because of this, they may not be able to use public bathrooms at all meaning they can only use the bathrooms in their homes. By having to do this, it can cause serious health problems such as kidney and bladder infections.


People want this law in place because they - mainly women - are scared that a MTF “will ’identify’ as a female long enough to harass, molest, or rape some girl or woman in a bathroom or locker room somewhere” according to Deroy Murdock in “Trump Should Dump Obama’s Transgender Shower Decree”, or, per Onan Coca in “One College Figures Out Why Gender Neutral Bathrooms are a Bad Idea”, “Some students argue that reverting to single-sex bathrooms could somehow make voyeurism even more likely. “It’s not very hard to be of [another] gender and sneak into the single-gender washrooms if they know it’s in the wee hours of the morning, or if they know that there’s only one person in there, who actually might happen to be in the shower,” student Tessa Mahrt-Smith told The Varsity, the school’s newspaper. “So, I do feel that while [gendered washrooms] may help, there’s also the potential that [this system] could provide easier targets for the voyeur.”

This side stems from the fear of the unknown. People feel that if this law is passed anyone can go into any bathroom and do harm to others. They feel that if they don’t know who is coming to into the bathrooms they don’t in know what they will do to them. The people on the supporting side think this way because they most likely haven’t met many transgender people and/or fully understand them. According to, Bob Unruh in “The Big List of Bathroom Attacks”, most cases of assault and harassment in a public restroom are cisgender men against women. Unruh says that there aren’t any reported cases of an actual transgender person attacking a cisgender person but there have been cases of men dressing up as women (even though they identify as male) and going into the women’s restroom to be a voyeur.


There are already family bathrooms that are open to all genders, so a possible solution would be to add in a transgender restroom sign (pictured below) below the family bathroom sign so that they are being more inclusive. If we wanted to take that a step further, businesses could change all their restroom signs to transgender inclusive ones. Doing this wouldn’t just benefit transgender individuals, but it would also benefit cisgender people as well. Women already sometimes use the men’s restroom if the women’s line is too long, so, by having this in place, everyone can use what restroom they would like. Another thing people can do is, teach their children to respect people who are transgender and not to be hateful and discriminatory. In 2012, 40% of homeless youth was part of the LGBTQ+ community. This number is still growing because they were kicked out by their families and friends and can’t get a job all because of their identity. “The rate of suicide attempts is 4 times greater for LGB youth and 2 times greater for questioning youth than that of straight youth. […] In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25. LGB youth who came from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection” (The Trevor Project). Lastly, just going around trying to break the binary of gender and advocating for equality really helps because in the end, we’re all just trying to pee.

http://www.adasigndepot.com/gender-neutral-bathroom-braille-sign-trans-symbol.html http://www.breitbart.com/california/2015/03/08/san-diego-airport-introduces-gender-neutral-bathrooms/


http://www.adasigndepot.com/gender-neutral-bathroom-braille-sign-trans-symbol.html http://www.breitbart.com/california/2015/03/08/san-diego-airport-introduces-gender-neutral-bathrooms/


Works Cited

Coca, Onan. “One College Figures Out Why Gender Neutral Bathrooms are a Bad Idea.” Eagle Rising. 2016, eaglerising.com/24833/one-college-figures-out-why-gender-neutral- bathrooms-are-a-bad-idea/.

Fields, Lisa. “What It Means to be Transgender.” WebMD, 2015, www.webmd.com/a-to-z-


Murdock, Deroy. “Trump Should Dump Obama’s Transgender Shower Decree.” National Review, 19 Jan., 2017, www.nationalreview.com/article/443974/obama-bathroom-law- transgender-decree-no-deliberation-debate.

Pearce, Matt. “What it’s Like to Live Under North Carolina’s Bathroom Law if You’re Transgender.” Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2016, www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-north-


The New York Times, “Understanding Transgender Access Laws,” The New York Times, 24 Feb., 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/us/transgender-bathroom-law.html?_r=1.

The Trevor Project, “Facts about Suicide,” The Trevor Project, 2017, http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/facts-about-suicide.

The Williams Insitiute, “America’s Shame: 40% of Homeless Youth Are LGBT Kids,” 13 July, 2012, https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/americas-shame-40-of-homeless-youth- are-lgbt-kids/.

Unruh, Bob. “The Big List of Bathroom Attacks.” WND, 23 May, 2016,