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School needs transgender bathrooms

Art by Grace Knotts

Art by Grace Knotts

Randhika Aturaliya, Deputy Editor

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Going to the restroom is a simple process. You do your business and wash your hands. But for transgender people going restroom with their identified gender has been a losing battle until recently.

The Webster dictionary defines “gender” as the cultural traits typically associated with one sex. Antithetically, “sex” is defined as the state of being male or female.

There is a stark difference between the definitions of these words. Sex deals with the biology of our bodies while gender deals with societal implications.

Transgender people face being discriminated by having their identity invalidated; it is a punch in the gut to not to be able to use the restroom that they are comfortable in.

Invalidating transgender people’s identity is dangerous. Reported in August 2015 in USA Today, 41 percent of transgender individuals have attempted suicide at some point of their lives, compared to the 5 percent of the population. Statistics for transgender youth are even more staggering.

A 2011 survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality revealed that 50 percent of transgender youth will attempt suicide before their 20th birthday.

Many Republicans are opposed to transgender restrooms. They argue women may be sexually assaulted by transwomen but evidence has been contradictory. Statistics have proven that transgender people are more at risk of being assaulted.

A public policy scholar reported to NPR that 70 percent of transgender people have been harassed while going to the bathroom.

A bill passed in North Carolina on March 23 was the first bill banning transgender people from using restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

This bill is in no way just. It forces transgender people to break the law to use the correct restroom. Some even limit how much they eat and drink to avoid using public bathrooms.

While the battle for transgender equality has been a rocky road, there have been advancements.

President Barack Obama issued a federal directive on May 13 ordering public schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. This is a massive leap for transgender rights.

As well, gender neutral restrooms have emerged as another option.

College campuses have gender neutral bathrooms among them are American University, Ithaca College and Yale University. It’s one of the few options that truly allows for transgender students to feel accepted.

Member of Spectrum, member of the LGBT+ club and Griffin deputy editor Emma Walz said that Spectrum made a proposal last year to install a private restroom in the school. The only current option is a private restroom in the nurse’s office. Spectrum surveyed 17 homerooms and found that 43 percent of students thought gender neutral restrooms were a good idea.

I believe that gender neutral restroom options are a blissful solution. Students who are beginning to question their gender identity will be able to use the restroom without worrying about people yelling at them or assaulting them. All because they don’t fit society’s expectations of a girl or a boy.
We can’t make strides in equality for transgender people if they are forced to go to the restrooms where they. Going to the restroom shouldn’t be a privilege. It should be a right.

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