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The Bathroom Ban- It’s Not About Safety



The North Carolina General Assembly recently passed the controversial House Bill 2, which has sparked a firestorm of debate across the country from both conservative and progressive groups. The bill prevents transgender people from using bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity and aims at reversing LGBT anti-discrimination bills passed by local governments within the Tar Heel State. Conservative groups and politicians like North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory adamantly support the bill citing that the hateful legislation protects the safety of individuals in the bathroom and prevents sexual assault from occurring.

Target has recently stepped out in front of the heated bathroom choice debate with their outspoken support of their transgender workers and customers. In reference to the recent anti-LGBT legislation like the NC HB2 bill, Target stated on the company’s website that they will continue to stand for inclusivity and allow transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. While many prominent LGBT groups like the Human Rights Campaign stand with Target on their inclusive policies, conservatives across the country have launched a direct attack on the pro-LGBT corporation claiming that their policies have put young women and girls at risk in the restroom. Over a million people have signed a petition to boycott Target sponsored by the recognized hate group, The American Family Center, and thousands of social media users have left opposing messages directed at the inclusive company. These protesters insist that their opposition to the policy is not about anti-transgender hate but instead to prevent against sexual assault.

Conservatives may explain that their reasoning for supporting bathroom bans is to prevent sexual assault, while in reality that excuse is a facade for their targeted agenda against LGBT individuals. It is doubtful that HB2 or any similar anti-LGBT bill would prevent against sexual assault from occurring. Very few fringe cases of men sexually targeting women within restrooms have ever been reported and the eighteen states with LGBT anti-discrimination legislation in place have seen no occurrence of this. According to RAINN, the majority of sexual assaults do not occur in public places with strangers but rather in private spaces with victim knowing the predator. Statistically, sexual assault is more likely to occur in these anti-LGBT conservatives homes than it would within inclusive bathrooms like those at Target. If these people actually cared about sexual assault they would fight for more legislation to stop sexual assault where it commonly occurs by enacting legislation to prevent against campus rape and help those taken advantage of by friends or family members. They would be outraged over the vast amount of rapists that do not face jail time, rather than being worried about hypothetical sexual predators in bathrooms. If these protesters actually cared about sexual assault they would’ve been outraged long ago over the nation’s inability to effectively stop it and punish perpetrators.

Though, conservatives are wrong about their reasoning behind anti-LGBT bills, they are right in the sense that stricter safety protections should be enacted in bathrooms- for transgender people. Many transgender people fear violence and hate from others in the restroom when they simply wish to go about their business in peace. Transgender people face an epidemic of violence in the U.S. with numerous instances of violence and even murders being reported each year. They often face verbal and physical harassment from others who foster an attitude of hate, which could easily occur within a space like a public bathroom. The hateful politicians that support HB2 and similar legislation claim to advocate for the safety of the people, yet they ignore the safety concerns of the transgender community by denying anti-discrimination and hate crime bills from passing. If anyone’s safety is at risk in public restrooms, it’s transgender people’s and the focus should instead be placed on their well-being.

It’s clear to see that the ‘bathroom bans’ occurring across the country only have one motive in mind- and it’s not to protect people’s safety. The anti-transgender bathroom legislation are targeted hate crimes, with the desired effect of putting transgender people’s safety and rights at risk. If the supporters of these bans truly cared about ending sexual assault and protecting the safety of people they would not target innocent people using public bathrooms. Transgender bathroom rights are not a threat to protecting the safety of vulnerable Americans, but rather the government’s inability to handle sexual assault and protect targeted individuals like transgender people should be the real concern.

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Katie is interested in progressive politics, particularly those relating to feminism and LGBTQ rights. She hopes to attend college for political communication and work within the world of politics.


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