Okay, I’m going to be real with you all: what Donald Trump’s administration is doing about transgender rights is messed up. And I’m mad about it. If you aren’t really sure about what’s going on, I’ll let give you a quick review. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice joined together to ensure that transgender students in the United States would be free from discrimination at school, under Title IX. This means that trans students were granted the right to use any bathroom they felt comfortable in. In other words, they were giving them basic human rights that everyone should have.
Pause for a second. If you’re a little confused about what it means to be trans, let’s discuss: GLAAD describes it as “a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate.” So, someone might be born in a “male” body and physically seem like a male, but emotionally, they identify as a female. Make sense? If you’re still confused, we have a great interview with transgender activist Jazz Jennings you should read.
Now, let’s say you’re a cis girl (meaning you were born in the physical body you identify as). Let’s say someone told you that you were not allowed to use the women’s bathroom. Wouldn’t you be like, “Uh, excuse me? WTF am I supposed to do now?“ Well, that is what’s happening to transgender youth right now – they are being told they cannot use the correct bathroom because they were not born as the gender they identify with. And you need to be angry about it.
transgender kids in 2015:
75% felt unsafe in school
54% verbally harassed
24% physically attacked
13% sexually assaulted#protecttranskids
— con (@ConnorFranta) February 24, 2017
Wait, back up – what happened? I thought the government gave trans youth the bathroom rights they deserve?
They did – under the Obama administration. This past week, the Trump administration withdrew this important federal protection for trans students, which basically means that transgender kids have to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender they were assigned at birth. Forget, for one second, how unfair this is and think about the very real consequences. The emotional and psychological damage this can do to trans kids is alarming. Trans kids are constantly told that what they are doing and feeling is wrong, and now they are being told that the bathroom they want to use is wrong. They are being forced to use a bathroom they feel is not right for them – again, imagine that you, as a cis woman, had to use a male bathroom. Think about how out of place and scared you would feel. We need to protect these kids because, clearly, the government isn’t doing it.
— Mike Lynch (@MikeLynch09) February 24, 2017
You already know how hard it is to be a teen. Now imagine how hard it is to be a teen who is told that who they are is wrong. That their basic existence is “offensive” or “wrong.” Honestly, it is incredibly upsetting that people in this world are okay with this – with the bathroom issue, with telling transgender kids that they are “freaks,” with making people feel unwelcome. It is a BATHROOM. Everybody needs to use a bathroom. Stop taking away their basic right to use it.
Stop criminalizing trans ppl by labeling us “dangerous” from childhood. We are PEOPLE-we just wanna pee like the rest of u #ProtectTransKids
— Buzzcut Booty✨? (@SebastianFZulch) February 24, 2017
So, I don’t get it – why is this happening?
Transgender people arrested for lewdness in bathrooms: ZERO
Number of times Trump entered Miss Teen USA dressing room unannounced: NOT ZERO
— Daniel Lin (@DLin71) February 24, 2017
It’s happening because Donald Trump does not care about the protection or safety of trans kids in America. That’s really it. Some people will try to justify this by saying that it’s a party issue. This means that, typically, the Republican party does not side with trans rights because they are more conservative, and so Trump is doing this because he’s part of the Republican party. But that’s a lame explanation and still excuses nothing.
Trump, and the rest of his administration, is rescinding human rights for American citizens. You might think this has nothing to do with you, but it does. And you know what, even if it doesn’t directly affect you, it shouldn’t have to for you to understand how wrong it is. These are basic human rights. When you go to the bathroom, you might not think twice about it. But when trans kids have to use the bathroom, they are forced to go into the wrong one, just so that it makes others comfortable. Sorry, but this isn’t about the comfort of cisgendered people. It is about a person needing to use the bathroom. It’s not your business where they do it, so why won’t you let them do it in a place where they identify?
If you’re in the bathroom and know what genitals someone has, YOU are the one doing something inappropriate. #ProtectTransKids
— Matthew Kick (@MatthewKick) February 23, 2017
This sucks. What can we do to help?
we ? you pic.twitter.com/w6djfW61Dc
— Gurl (@GurlDotCom) February 23, 2017
You need to speak up. You need to get angry. You need to help and protect transgender students who can’t stand up for themselves. You need to let them know that they are not alone and you will support them.
— AMINA (@TheAminaBanks) February 24, 2017
There can be change, but it needs to start at the local level. Talk to your friends and family members and explain to them that denying people their right to use whatever bathroom they feel comfortable is a violation of human rights. Call your local government officials. Inform others by defending the trans community and making social media posts about the important stuff. Get out there and protest when one pops up near you. And , most importantly, listen to trans people. They need you now more than ever.
What do you think of the transgender bathroom ban? Tell us in the comments!