Thursday, 28 April 2016

It's a Transgender Toilet Post Because All We Want to Do is Use a Loo

This morning, this post appeared on my facebook wall.   It's worth looking at.
A photographer, Meg Bitton, made public a picture of a client, Corey.  Corey is young and transgender.  The post was made with the consent of Corey and of her mother who want the picture to remain online because it raises awareness.  The comments on that post range from the majority which are thankfully totally supportive to those which are utterly vile.

In the USA there are people who would force this girl to use men's toilets. Because this girl was born with a penis.
There are people trying to pass laws, and have succeeded in North Carolina, so she would be arrested if she tries to urinate in a cubicle in a women's loo.  In North Carolina transgender people have already faced legal trouble for using the loo.  And cisgender women have too, which was not the intended consequence for the Republicans who passed the law.  It's just horrible.  Those legal troubles are in addition to the social difficulties trans people can already face for using a toilet, difficulties that have been written about by many people who have experienced them.
Some of the people who believe in these laws are in the running to be the President of the USA.

There are people who have publicly stated they would beat up girls and women like this or even murder them. And some of those people are politicians and police chiefs.

In the UK there are people who agree with them.  Yes, I've seen such people online - including some people that I know personally.

Both sides of the Atlantic there are those who call people such as this girl - and such as me - "dangerous perverts." They may think we are deranged, mentally ill, or just plain evil. They hate us.

Of course, none of those people talk about transgender men. Or non-binary people. None of them mention the transgender men, such as the man pictured here, they would force to use the women's loo. None of them mention that cisgender men and woman already sometimes cause problems in toilets or that there is no record of a transgender person ever doing the same thing.  There are stories, yes.  But they're all unconfirmed or they're quickly shown to be as false as the story that was spread this week about a transwoman supposedly taking pictures of women in a restroom at Target. 

People spread false stories because sometimes it's easier to live in fear and to create imaginary demons than to check a fact.  They worry that men might dress up as a woman and enter a women's loo but don't ever talk about how a number of cisgender heterosexual men already abuse women in restrooms or that none of them dress up as a woman to do it because why would they?  They worry about the safety of little girls in toilets but never ask whether the little girls should be accompanied, never mention that if there was a danger it would already exist for little boys in toilets, never mention that there is virtually no risk whatsoever.  They have a story to tell and it doesn't matter how wrong the story is, they're determined to tell it.

Most people I know can't see the problem with trans people going to the toilet. They are amazed that people are reacting the way they are in treating trans people this way. I met with an American this week who said she is utterly ashamed of what's going on in the USA right now.  We're all astounded that something like this can become a major issue in choosing who will stand to be President when there are actual real issues Republicans could and should be talking about.

Most people I know couldn't care less if a trans person uses a toilet.  They're much more worried about running out of toilet roll, dirty toilet seats, taps that don't stay on long enough to wash your hands and the risk of a hand dryer being so ineffective that you have to give up and use your jumper. Real issues, real worries!

Most people I know think the whole thing is ridiculous. It's stupid. They are right.  It is stupid.  And they would be right that it's ridiculous. Except it's also dangerous.
Dangerous, but not usually for cisgender people who want to urinate unless they're unlucky enough to be pulled out of a restroom with their knickers down by security men who refuse to believe that their genitals were the ones they were born with.  Yes, that happened recently in North Carolina.  Even in states that don't have discriminatory bathroom laws it can happen, just as it did in Detroit, Michigan last year to this unfortunate woman.

Dangerous for transgender people whose lives can already be dangerous enough.  Trans people face the constant possibility of abuse and that possibility can only increase when people are told to be very afraid of us.  If we look like Corey we may face legal and social problems but we are unlikely to be abused in toilets or in the street.  But if we don't pass, the abuse is very real, even in an accepting place like Newcastle Upon Tyne.  When I started to transition I was verbally abused pretty much every time I left the house.  Newcastle is one of the easy places to transition in but even here people are being abused for being transgender.  Every single day.

And it's dangerous too for the cisgender people who believe what the religious and political conservatives tell them to believe.

There was no monster.  People created one to believe in.

The monster is still not real.

But in believing in a non-existent monster, people are themselves becoming monsters.

Yes, thanks to those who teach fear and hatred, monsters do now walk among us.

1 comment:

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