Lawmakers are currently targeting trans and gender-nonconforming youth with what have become known as “bathroom bills,” aimed at preventing people from using the public facilities that correspond with their gender identities.
But Generation Z ― the demographic a step below Millennials on the age scale ― is on the front lines of the fight to end gender-based discrimination for good.
An initiative called Arts Not Parts, launched last week, hopes to resist ongoing attempts to police bathroom habits. The project uses a variety of handmade posters to advocate for the liberty and safety of gender-nonconforming youth ― and their right to use the damn bathroom without being monitored.
According to Nylon, the campaign was founded by the Gen Z–run studio Irregular Labs and a teenage girl named Grey. The idea, as explained on the initiative’s website, is to “use creativity to combat contempt”:
Our hope is that Arts Not Parts serves as a reminder that we all have a choice to collectively say Hell No! to bigotry, hatred and intolerance. Neither your parents, your principal nor your president can take that away from you.”
Over 45 artists, organizations and activists submitted a poster to the cause, each in some way celebrating freedom, difference or the simple act of taking a piss. Participants include the musician Sia, photographer Cass Bird and artist Hunter Schafer.
Schafer, an 18-year-old high school student from North Carolina, has spoken out about the injustice of bathroom bills. “Every time I use a public bathroom, I have to make a choice,” she wrote for Teen Vogue. “Do I break the law, or do I disregard my comfort and face the risk of harassment and violence?”
All posters are currently available on the Arts Not Parts website for free download. Everyone is encouraged to print out their favorites and hang them up in any bathrooms they so choose, transforming potentially hostile environments into safer (and far better looking) spaces.
Currently, 16 states across the U.S. pose a threat to the rights of transgender Americans.
Most prominently, North Carolina’s HB2, signed into law last year, banned people from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identities. Although the controversial bill was technically repealed in March, the annulment does little to actually improve the lives of at-risk gender-nonconforming youth. The compromise signed into place when HB2 was repealed was swiftly and harshly criticized by LGBTQ groups for “doubling down on the discrimination that HB2 exacts,” as Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, told HuffPost.
Next month, Texas and potentially Washington will attempt to pass similar measures of their own. Washington’s initiative I-1552 enforce the segregation of multi-stall restrooms in public schools by birth-assigned sex. Similarly, Texas’ bill would require Texans to use the public bathroom that corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificate.
Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming are also drafting laws to limit the rights of transgender individuals.
Take a look at some of the Arts Not Parts posters ready for download below:
CORRECTION: An earlier edition of this article mistakenly said Hunter Schafer was from Northern California. We regret the error.