Since everyone is throwing in their two cents about bathrooms, I decided to that this is what my thought for today would be about.
So recently, a lot of states have been considering passing bathroom bills, that would require transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex assigned to them at birth. I think what we first need to understand is the difference between sex and gender.
According to Merriam-Webster sex is “either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures”, which essentially translates into the label assigned to you depending on the genitals you were born with. Gender is (as defined with Merrian-Webster again is “the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex”, which is the how each other the two sexes are socialized. Which basically explains where the “gender is a social construct” argument comes from. Because the literal definition of gender readily states that gender is a cultural trait.
(A more complete definition could be found with definition 1a in the Merriam-Webster dictionary which states “a subclass within a grammatical class (as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms”. Note the use of arbitrary.)
So essentially gender is constructed through the mutual consensus on the part of the people what traits belong to a certain gender. This is why throughout cultures and history you see many changes on traits are considered masculine or feminine. This is also why in many cultures, there are several genders. The Navajo people had four genders. And in Egypt from the 1200s to the 1700s, girls who were perceived to be masculine got all the benefits of being a male (it is unknown these women were transgender or not). (There is a map that I am going to link to at the end of this post.) Main point established: gender is the socialization of sex and being transgender is nothing new. So now let’s move into the bathroom bill problem.
Many lawmakers are pushing for these bathroom bills. “We need to protect our women and girls from the sexual predation of men,” seems to be the consensus. In the words Fox News and Ted Cruz “America has gone “stark raving nuts” to let men who consider themselves female to use bathrooms also being used by little girls.” You will begin to notice that this is the only argument that is presented. Their only concern is the women and girls that “will be in danger” if a trans-woman decides to use the restroom that was is assigned to their gender. However, despite their claims of danger, there has never been one instance of a transgender person assaulting a cisgendered person, minor or not, in a restroom. There has been though several cases of cisgendered men assaulting women in bathrooms if the Liberty Counsel’s list is to be believed.
None of the men on the list claimed to be transgender but still went into the women’s restroom to sexually harass and assault women and girls. Which brings a point, if a rapist wishes to do harm, a simple sign won’t stop them. It didn’t stop an 18-year-old from assaulting a small girl and it didn’t stop many other sexual assaulters. There had been no reports of trans people assaulting anyone in the bathroom.
But this is only one facet of the problem.
What lawmakers in South Carolina and other places are encouraging open discrimination against transgender people. By denying them their own space lawmakers are essentially declaring that the trans community has no place in American society which is seriously fucked up.
Trans people are our friends and our neighbors. Their cops, soldiers, teachers, high school drop outs, cab drivers, and mailmen. Trans folk are entertainers, baristas, and dog walkers.
Trans people are people.
But that’s just a thought.
Link to Multiple Gender map: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/content/two-spirits_map-html/