By Carly Harsha | Opinion Editor
Never has the issue of transgender rights been so prominent in America.
Minutes after the ABC interview of Bruce Jenner ended, love and support for him flooded the Internet. No longer is the word “transgender” completely taboo. Finally, America is realizing that this is an issue that thousands of Americans have dealt with their entire lives, and maybe it’s time we help them.
In several states around the country, lawmakers are debating whether or not a law should be enacted for schools and their facilities. Many states, like Nevada, Florida and Texas, have lawmakers who wish to place laws that say the bathroom a person is designated to use is assigned to them at their time of birth.
A law has been proposed in Texas that would prevent anyone with a Y chromosome from entering a women’s bathroom or locker room. To violate this would mean jail time, and anyone suspected of allowing trans people to enter these facilities could receive jail time.
Texas State Rep. Debbie Riddle, a Republican, wrote in a Facebook post in January that the new bill “will protect women [and] children from going into a ladies restroom [and] finding a man who feels like he is a woman that day.”
Some jurisdictions, like Chicago, have left it up to each business to declare what their stance is on whether or not a transgender person would be allowed to enter a restroom. Other jurisdictions, like New York City, Washington, D.C., etc., have said that by denying transgender people their appropriate bathroom, their nondiscrimination laws are being broken.
The only justification that anyone can give at this point is that women, or men, might feel “afraid” when someone unlike them is using their same facility.
This is ignorant thinking. The people who are truly “afraid” in these situations are the transgender people themselves.
They are afraid to use public restrooms in general. They are afraid to enter the “right” bathroom. They are afraid to enter the “wrong” bathroom.
People are the gender that they declare themselves to be. It’s that simple. A transgender man is not going to enter a woman’s bathroom with the plan of hurting a woman. A transgender man is going to enter a woman’s bathroom to use the bathroom.
If this continues to be a problem, then unisex bathrooms need to be introduced in greater numbers. All schools should have this option open to their students to prevent any discrimination.
The topic of transgender rights is just beginning to pick up in America. It is easily 20 years behind the gay rights movement that is still booming through every state, with new laws being made every month.
But no progress, in this case, is negative progress.