This piece was originally published on The Sirens Rise.
Last month, the Trump administration revoked Obama-era federal protections for trans students by officially rescinding Title IX. To oversimplify things, Title IX gave trans students the right to use the washroom that corresponded with their gender identity, rather than their assigned gender. The Obama administration had argued that allowing trans students the right to use restrooms/locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity was a civil right. Trans students face a disproportionate amount of bullying and discrimination – rolling back previously offered protections will do nothing to help. The administration claims the move was made in order to give regard to States’ rights, and due to unclear drafting.
Individual states do not have a great track record when it comes to trans rights. North Carolin and South Dakota caused uproar and received backlash from everyone from actors and writers to professional organizations. It seems that history is doomed to repeat itself, with six other states (Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Texas) following suit. A desire to protect (cisgender) women or children from the (non-existent) danger of sharing restrooms with a trans person is usually cited as the reason. It’s worth nothing that there have been no recorded incidents of a trans person assaulting another individual in a bathroom. And, believe it or not, but assaulting children is still illegal, regardless of whether or not you are trans. There have, however, been multiple cases of trans individuals victimized in public restrooms for being trans.
Since the GOP seem so hellbent on protect(cisgender) women and children (within the confines of public restrooms and apparently no where else), it might help if they knew which groups we are actually afraid of encountering in public restrooms. They are apparently unaware that their efforts to protect our fragile selves have completely failed, so perhaps it might help to give them a bit of direction. These are the actual groups of people I am most afraid to run into while in a public bathroom, in no particular order.
1. These Republicans
There have been more Republicans arrested for committing crimes in restrooms than trans folk. Statistically speaking, you are more likely to be involved in or witness a bathroom-related crime committed by a Republican than trans individuals. Seems like we’re criminalizing the wrong people here, doesn’t it? There are three highly publicized washroom incidents involving Republican party members:
- Larry Craig, a Senator from Idaho who was arrested an incident involving an undercover police officer at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport in 2007.
- Bob Allen, a representative from Florida, was arrested that same year. His excuse? He was fleeing “black guys…in the park”, and the officer involved in the incident was a “pretty stocky black guy”. He only acted out of fear.
- Jon Hinson, a congressman from Mississippi, was arrested in 1981 for engaging in oral sex in the bathroom of the House of Representatives. He was arrested a few years earlier for exposing himself at the Iwo Jima memorial.
Perhaps the GOP ought to take care of their own house before throwing stones around.
2. This Politician And His Supporters
Each and every time there is a bathroom debate, at least a few people make “jokes” about taking advantage of bathroom laws to commit other crimes. These people seem to think those jokes are funny without realizing that they actually out the teller as a sexual predator, or at least someone who has predatory thoughts. There is seriously something wrong with a person who takes the time to fantasize about ways to circumvent laws in order to commit sex crimes. I definitely do not want to run into a person like that in any washroom, nor would I want my son to either. It’s shocking how many people see nothing wrong with expressing a desire to commit a sex crime. One comment that stands out the most is from Mike Huckabee, someone I would not want near me or my family regardless of context. He spoke of his desire to sexually harass teenaged girls to a room full of applause, saying:
Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, “Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today”.
Mike Huckabee isn’t the only one who can joke about sexually assaulting teenaged girls either. Random Twitter users also get in on the fun, like this woman who is clearly very proud of her husband’s fine moral compass:
3. The President Of The United States And His Defenders
Most jurisdictions define sexual assault as a crime where a person is forced to perform a sex act or is touched against their will in a sexual manner by another person. Precise wording varies, but in general the concept is the same. Groping a person without their consent is sexual assault. The President has not only been accused, multiple times, of committing sexual assault, he has even bragged about it. The worst part about his reasoning wasn’t even that he believed it, it was that millions of other people did too. I, for one, prefer to have control over who is and is not allowed to grab me by my pussy. Consequently, I’m pretty scared of running into Donald Trump in a public restroom. Not that we travel in the same circles or anything, but if we were in the same area, there is a chance it could happen. After all, he has also famously bragged about walking into the dressing room of Miss Teen USA Pageants, claiming he was allowed to “get away with things like that”. If fame and fortune are justifications for sexual assault and sexual harassment, I can’t imagine what he thinks he’s allowed to “get away with” now that he’s President.
No, I don’t have any evidence of clown-based bathroom crimes. I just really don’t like clowns. And apparently, that seems to be justification enough.
5. Automated Soap Dispenses, Sinks, And Hand Dryers
Okay, so this last group doesn’t seem like it’s composed of people, but I swear these items are sentient and refuse to work for me. It is a pretty horrible situation too – I mean, your only option is to keep trying everything that’s already failed in the hopes of getting just a wee bit of goddamned soap. More often than not the hand-dryers fail or only work for a microsecond before shutting off. Then you have to either wipe your hand on your pants, wait until you can find some napkins, or use toilet paper, leaving a globby mess. It’s annoying. Statistically speaking, it’s also way more likely to happen than getting assaulted by a trans person.