Today, like on many other countless days in the last For decades I used the powder room while going about my day in public.
I went in, waited in line, went to a booth, did my business, washed my hands and left.
No one looked at me twice or “noticed” that I was trans; Nobody made a fuss or asked me to use the men’s room. Why should they?
Describing such an innocuous activity would not normally be a topic to write about, but unfortunately a discussion of what bathroom someone like me should use has recently become a battleground for transphobia and anti-trans rhetoric.
And this despite the fact that transsexuals like me have been using public spaces for years.
So far this year, over 400 anti-trans laws have been passed in the US — that number has doubled since 2022. Part of this targets trans people’s access to public toilets – It states that transgender people must use the toilet according to their gender assigned at birth.
Similarly, the Equalities and Human Rights Campaign in the UK has recently come under fire for proposing possible amendments to the Equality Act to redefine “gender” to refer to the sex assigned to a person at birth – which could result in: Transsexuals are banned from same-sex spaces.
What these legislators and advocates fail to recognize is that trans people are using public facilities, such as restrooms, locker rooms and swimming pools, according to their gender identity every day.
Most trans people, myself included, never have any problem using these facilities and we have openly done so for many decades.
Attempting to force me to use the men’s facilities would not only be potentially unsafe and cause everyone’s confusion and discomfort, it would be just plain ridiculous.
It’s also completely unenforceable.
Will we set up toilet attendants to arrest people? Encourage people to report users who they think are too “male” or “female” for a particular bathroom? That will only result in anyone who isn’t gender non-conforming, including butch lesbians and effeminate men, being harassed and targeted as well.
How is that safe, fair or just?
People who advocate for these laws are simply not grounded in reality, but see trans people as an ugly caricature rather than real people trying to live their lives like themselves.
Trans people use gendered spaces with members of the public every day without even realizing it. You’ve probably recently shared a space with a trans person without even knowing it – because trans people, like everyone else, exist in society and use public spaces.
Strangers don’t know I’m trans unless told, and the same goes for countless trans people across the UK. The notion that you can “always say it” is a thoroughly debunked myth that many trans people can confirm.
This is all happening as the UK falls from one of the top spots on the ILGA Europe Rainbow Map to 17th, showing the UK is falling behind on its commitment to LGBTQ+ rights.
As noted in the ILGA Europe report, the UK Home Office’s annual hate crime statistics show a 41% increase in homophobic hate crime and a whopping 56% increase in transphobic hate crime in England and Wales.
This represents the largest annual increase since 2012.
But those speaking out against trans inclusion are just too busy making trans people into creepy bogeys not to realize that trans people just get on with life like everyone else.
That their strange obsession and opinion of us will not change who we are.
In my life I am fully supported by my family as a daughter, sister, aunt and niece – and I have friends, colleagues and neighbors who don’t give a damn that I’m trans. i am loved
They just accept me as I am and refuse to be drawn into this anti-trans political game that seems to permeate public discourse and social media.
However, it is precisely transgender people who suffer from increasing harassment and violence by non-transgender people in society, and this urgently needs to be addressed.
It seems such a fundamental thing to write, but people need to stop thinking that trans people are an isolated group of people that they never meet or interact with.
Trans people are your family members, neighbors, colleagues, people you meet at the supermarket, people you meet on a walk in the woods, who stand behind you in queues or sit next to you on the subway.
What all of these anti-trans narratives do is strip us of our humanity and try to position us as extreme runaways and an angry mob “demanding” rights.
The reality is that trans people just want to get on with their lives like everyone else and have laws protecting them from harassment and discrimination. We just want to be able to use the same spaces as everyone else without any problems and get on with our day. Including using the toilet.
Using facilities that suit me best or participating openly and proudly in society does not pose a threat to anyone. It allows me to exist and participate in society with everyone else and allows me to to fall into the crowd and not become a target.
In the end, trans people will continue to be who they are and live their lives as authentically as possible – and no matter how many insults, bullying or discriminatory laws, nothing will change that.
We deserve to be accepted and respected, and as people let go of their prejudices and preconceptions about trans people, they will learn that we have so much more in common than what makes us different.
And that we cannot build a free and just society based on exclusion and fear.
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