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Things That Should Worry You More Than Sharing A Bathroom With A Trans Person

via http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0415-frank-bathroom-panic-tactics-20160415-story.html

via http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0415-frank-bathroom-panic-tactics-20160415-story.html

Content Warning for Rape/Sexual Assault, Violence, Child abuse

Some people make it seem as if sharing a public restroom with a person who just happens to be transgender is one of the worst things that could ever occur. In reality, there are many things that should take precedence over stressing about a transgender person using the same bathroom as you.

  1. The presence of disease carrying germs: Ever heard of getting Ebola from a public restroom? It’s possible, and a very scary thought.  Don’t forget about staphylococcus, a flesh eating bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. Staphylococcus can also be contracted from a public restroom. There’s also streptococcus,  E. coli, hepatitis A virus, and the common cold virus to worry about.
  1. The presence of guns: If you live in one of the 45 states that allow open carry of firearms, the person in the stall next to you could very well be in possession of a gun, a weapon built for no reason other than destruction. I don’t know about you, but to me – that fact alone is more worrisome and anxiety provoking than anything else.
  1. The presence of real predators: The futile, generalized argument that transgender people are all sexual predators is false, damaging, and stigmatizing. The fact is, real predators do exist and those are the people we need to worry about. The ironic part of this is that so often rapists and abusers are not put behind bars and victims of assault are not believed or supported, but all of a sudden people now pretend to give a crap about sexual assault because of a transgender person using the bathroom. People using transgender people to make a threat out of them for their own convenience is sickening and it is also a way to demonize transgender people as a whole. It is especially hurtful to the actual survivors of sexual assault who still aren’t believed or supported to this day. Their abusers roam freely while people are too busy blaming and criminalizing innocent people simply because they are transgender. Think of the cases of real predators. Like this case where a man exposed himself to a 9-year-old boy inside of a Target bathroom. Or like this case where a teacher hid a tablet in a bathroom stall to record videos of others using the toilet. Orthis case where a teacher directed children to engage in sexual acts while being filmed in a school bathroom. These are the instances where real predators are putting others in real danger in bathrooms. 

Additionally, transgender people are actually the ones who are the most at danger in public restrooms. This study found that almost 70% of transgender people claimed that they had experienced verbal harassment and almost 10% reported physical assault, all in situations involving gender-segregated public bathrooms. Transgender people are substantially more likely to be victims than the ones doing the harm. 72% of the victims of hate violence homicides in 2013 were transgender women.  Transgender people are also 7 times more likely to experience a physically violent interaction with a police officer. Transgender women are 1.8 times more likely to go through sexual violence. All of these statistics can be broken down further to examine the intersection of gender and race. Trans women of color make up 67% of victims of homicide and trans people of color are 6 times more likely to experience police violence.

These statistics prove that transgender people undeniably are the ones who have a real reason to be worried when stepping into a public restroom. Transphobia (especially when coupled with racism) is proven to be deadly. Transphobia causes discrimination and violence towards its victims. It is time to support and look out for transgender people. Still feel threatened? Still feel worried about peeing next to a transgender person? Unfortunately, I’m confident that they are feeling (rightfully so) much more threatened and worried than you are.

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Lou Rambeau
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Lou Rambeau is a young writer, photographer, activist, and artist currently located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Contact via email at mrambeau@lourambeau.com, Twitter/Instagram @lourambeau, or website lourambeau.com.

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