As the field of gender study progresses over the years, scholars begin to concern about one’s psychological gender identity rather just than the biological gender. A variety of genders and sexual orientations appear, such as transgender and homosexual. Although mankind has been studied about themselves since human culture began, gender study is a relatively new academic field. With its significant and quick development, a large number of opinions and countless arguments appeared. There are two opposite sides primarily against each other. Conservatives tend to separate and segregate transgender from male and female. Critics question that if transgender bathroom access has any necessity. They propose that allowing transgender using the single-sex traditional bathrooms is not acceptable and inappropriate. Trans-students should be using the faculty room or separate bathrooms at school. Nevertheless, I strongly disagree with their perspectives. Empowering trans-students using bathrooms of their own choice is unquestionably a leading, prominent advancement in human history. Banning transgender using the bathroom of their choices adds restriction to human rights and undesirable consequences on people who are suffering from mental problems related to this issue.
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For those who are unaware, the term transgender refers to people who claim their gender identities or expressions are different from the biological genders in anatomy. The conservatives who hold negative opinions towards transgender bathroom access don’t actually consider transgender as a new gender that worths to be highly regarded and heeded. Transgender people, in their views, are merely tomboys and transvestites who like to break in into heterosexual bathrooms. They refuse to acknowledge the fact that transgender is a psychological term authenticated by numerous researchers and psychiatrists. Although the public attitude towards LGBTQ group is constantly improving, pressures and discriminations are still common and frequent. “In a US study, 41% of transgender participants reported attempting suicide, compared with 1.6% in the general population.” (Lam, Abramovich). The fact that forty-one percent of trans-participants which almost half of them had attempted to suicide is absolutely shocking and avoidable if the public can treasure gender rights more seriously. “Personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity affects the mental health and personal safety of LGBT individuals.”(Mental Health America) In a low-awareness society that most citizens are still uninformed in the domains linked to transgenderism, it’s too difficult for transgenders to stand out, raise voices, and fight for their rights under severe stigmatization. “Discrimination against LGBT persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide.”(Mental Health America) The negative attitude of opponents could offer transgenders who are experiencing internal struggles more obstacles. A variety of mental diseases such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders and etc. can occur. “The study, “Injustice at every turn” surveyed close to 6,500 trans people and found over half of respondents were under the age of 44.”(Rivas) In general, it is tougher for transgender when undergoing the realization of gender identities since most of the transgender are relatively younger. When the government neglecting the popularization of gender study, there is the possibility that people will frequently ask personal and probing questions which could make transgender people feel apprehensive. And this may lead to further discomfort and anxiousness.
Unlike homosexual or bisexual people, the process of coming out is normally more intolerant and challenging. Since homosexual and bisexual people can be not obvious by not disclosing their sexual orientations. For transgender, they must come out even it’s not the most ideal option because of medical transitions, social, costumes, and etc. Therefore, they need to confront more judgments and criticisms directly, no matter from the social media or the surrounding. The Declaration of Independence states, “All men are created equal.” (US 1776). But it’s not the current situation for the majority of transgender people in real life. They still bear inequality and discrimination more or less every day when interacting with people. Unless they choose to hide which is painful and difficult. In this case, a positive attitude from the government is fairly vital and necessary. Transgenders all deserve to have the same level of protection and respects, just like all other citizens do. When the government provides assistance and exhibits care towards transgender group by allowing them using bathrooms matching their gender identities, the determination and courage of transgenders who are exploring their inner-self or suffering from related issues would be reinforced. Conversely, a lack of mental support and aids could result in creating more chances for transgenders to be marginalized and demonized. Moreover, without braving this heart-breaking matter, the public’s attitude will not change due to government’s disapproval and negative acts.
“Activists have used the bathroom debate as a venue for rolling back broader civil rights protections, arguing that allowing transgender people into the supposedly safe spaces of single-sex bathrooms creates dangerous scenarios and violates privacy and common sense.” (Balingit) Critics perceive transgender bathroom permission as an assault to personal privacy and a potential threat to its original-gender users. People against the access of trans people mentioned about privacy frequently. For instance, the director of public policy from Massachusetts Family Institute called Evelyn Reilly says (Schilt, Westbrook), “Men and women bathrooms have been separated for ages for a reason. Women need to feel private and safe when they’re using those facilities” Her argument is very sexist in a way. She hypothesis that only any individuals with penises are dangerous predators in a patriarchal society. She assumes men to be men, regardless of concerns about their psychological identities. However, it is true that men are more often be the involvers of violence. But it is unfair and misleading to assume that all violence and assault is committed by those “dangerous” males. There are even many cases of women assaulting men. A thought that I have is crimes and outbreaks of violence happened in the bathrooms relate with qualities of a person rather than its gender. No matter of a person’s gender, one can still commit crimes if that person is intended to do so.
In conclusion, I find it nonsensical that conservatives will make up unequal excuses to oppose transgender bathroom access. There will be clamors and counterviews but these complaints will die down eventually as the public begin to realize this is a not something to be scared of. This is a remarkable social progress. Those opponents seem to forget that there were intense backlashes to the desegregation of African-Americans and women attending classes as well. Just like our earlier generations, people who care about gender equality will fight for justice until it gets accepted by both government and the public. The act of accepting transgender people to use bathrooms associated with their identities align with the civil freedom and gender equity.
- Lam, June Sing Hong, and Alex Abramovich. “Transgender-inclusive care.” CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal, 21 Jan. 2019, p. E79. Academic OneFile, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A570818854/AONE?u=pl7321r&sid=AONE&xid=174d1423. Accessed 8 May 2019.
- “Bullying and LGBT Youth.” Mental Health America, 17 Aug. 2015, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/bullying-and-gay-youth#_edn1. Accessed 8 May 2019.
- “Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Communities and Mental Health.” Mental Health America, 14 July 2016, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/lgbt-mental-health. Accessed 8 May 2019.
- Rivas, Jorge. “Transgender Census: Who Transitions, When, and Where.” Splinter, Splinter, 24 July 2017, https://splinternews.com/transgender-census-who-transitions-when-and-where-1793847327. Accessed 8 May 2019.
- Balingit, Moriah. “Transgender Student in Va. can Sue Over Restrooms.” Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2016, pp. A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com/webapp/article?artno=0000381549&type=ART#cite. Accessed 8 May 2019.
- Schilt, Kristen, and Laurel Westbrook. “Bathroom Battlegrounds and Penis Panics.” Contexts, American Sociological Association, 20 Aug. 2015, https://contexts.org/articles/bathroom-battlegrounds-and-penis-panics/. Accessed 8 May 2019.