Bathroom Laws Policing Our Genitals

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Bathroom Laws Policing Our Genitals

tank, approximately 80 percent of transgender students where no policy is in place to protect them have reported either harassment or physical assault in their attempt to use “gender segregated bathrooms.”

Data, however, has shown that access to “gender-appropriate facilities ” greatly assist transgender students in feeling accepted by their peers and community, and to live more fully as their identified gender.

If we’re looking for a federal nondiscrimination law passed on this issue should any of the Republican presidential hopefuls take office we need not hold ourselves waiting. According to Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie giving transgender K-12 students the right to choose their bathroom is a confusing matter.

"Men go to men's rooms, women go to women's rooms and there really shouldn't be a whole lot of confusion about that -- public accommodations. And I don’t think we should be making life more confusing for our children.”

And according to former renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson transgender students should have a “separate,” and I surmise   “equal” bathroom because  Carson feels “it is not fair for them to make everybody else uncomfortable.”One would think that Carson would know better than to utter such a statement like that living the African American experience in this country.

Transgender Americans being denied access to public lavatories is eerily reminiscent of the country’s last century Jim Crow era denying African Americans access to lunch counters, water fountains, and restrooms in restaurants, libraries, gas stations, theaters, to name a few.

With Massachusetts lauded as one of the most pro-LGBTQ states in the country my lawmakers have disappointed me with their political foot dragging and staling on our “Bathroom Bill” ( HB1577). Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Attorney General Maura Healey fully support the bill. Governor Charlie Baker, however, has declined to take a stance on it.

This sort of inaction by lawmakers makes it increasingly unsafe and difficult for our transgender denizens to engage in the simple activity of simply going out to grab something to eat, that cisgendered people can take for granted, without the angst, anguish and fear of navigating their bathroom restrictions.

But the fear-mongering, policing, and transphobia concerning transgender people using public bathrooms gravely impact gender non-conforming people, too. Without such bills passed perceived too  “butch women” or  too “effeminate men” confront similar harassment and danger as our transgender sisters and brother.

It is my hope for 2016 that state lawmakers pass their “Bathroom Bills.” Then they could focus their political gaze and energy on more important issues rather than on our genitals.