Bathrooms…And No Fucks to Give

giphy-downsizedSo we’re back to the bathroom thing…because Republicans have nothing better to do than to police people’s nether regions.  After all, a penis makes you a predator, did you not know?

Currently, we are seeing the effects of H.B. 142 in North Carolina which is so ambiguous that it leaves transgender people unsure of what will happen if they use the bathroom of their choice.  In addition, it also prevents local governments and school boards from crafting their own laws and ordinances to address the situation as they feel to be appropriate.

In addition, there is SB 3 in Texas, authored by Lois Kolkhorst, which she says is “to stand for for women’s rights and female athletes.” because, letting Mack Beggs (for more, click HERE), who was assigned female at birth, (AFAB) wrestle with the girls and destroy them is definitely standing for female athletes.  SB 3 essentially says that you must use the bathroom, lockerroom, and play sports as the gender you were assigned at birth.  This is regardless of the social, medical, and surgical interventions one may have gone through.  Kolkhorst claims that this will protect women from male predators entering their bathrooms, although there are already several laws in place that should deter that from happening.  One of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s chosen, she is helping to lead the bigoted, transphobe charge against transgender Texans.

Lastly, for the purposes of this post, there is US HB 2796, introduced by Pete Olson of…and you guessed it…Texas.  They say everything is bigger in Texas, and I guess that includes its bigots.  The bill states that, “No Federal civil rights law shall be interpreted to treat gender identity or transgender status as a protected class, unless such law expressly designates “gender identity” or “transgender status” as a protected class.”  In other words, in order to protect transgender people under Federal law, specific laws must be passed that specifically recognizes “transgender” persons.   Further, wherever “sex” or ”
gender” is mentioned these words would refer only to how one was assigned at birth, and it would ignore gender identity.  Further the language of the law would open up the possibility of discrimination against other groups as well.  While the odds are pretty high that this bill will never make it to a vote, let alone pass two Houses of Congress, it shows again that there is still a large segment of the population with little knowledge of transgender people or the issues facing them that have taken it upon themselves to try and define who transgender people are, and what corner of the box they should be forced into.

Now, as this blog always contains an element of how it affects myself and Fab, I am about to go there, and get to why I named the title of this post, “Bathrooms…and No Fucks to Give.”  As most people know by now, Fab is seven (almost eight), and she is for all the most part living stealth, meaning that most who meet her do not know she is transgender, nor does she share this with them.  People never mis-gender her in public and yes, she uses the girl’s bathroom wherever we go.  If her mother is with us then she goes with her, and if alone, depending on the setting I will let her go by herself.  It’s laughable to even suggest she should go into a boy’s bathroom by herself, and she would look at you as if you had lost your mind if you were to suggest such a thing.

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend, and by talking I mean Facebook messaging,  about the situation her daughter will face next year at her new school.  As is par for schools in the south, they refuse to let her use the girl’s bathroom and instead say she must use the family or clinic bathroom in the school.  My friend has told her daughter to use whatever bathroom she wants to use, and not to worry about what will happen, that mom and dad will deal with whatever happens, and all I could think is, that is awesome…see “No fucks given!”

See, this points to the stupidity of such bathroom rules and laws, especially in terms of children.  I have yet to meet a child who transitioned before puberty that doesn’t pass 100% of the time.  Most do not know, nor would they ever unless the information was shared.  In my friend’s daughter’s case, she will probably get in trouble, but she will gain strength from knowing that her mom and dad have her back, and she will learn that trouble in school isn’t really trouble, not really.  It has also made me think that I would tell Fab to do the same exact thing…You define who you are, and no one else can tell you otherwise.

Now, there may come a day in the future where Fab will be confronted with this, as are thousands of older transgender women everyday.  I say transgender women, because this isn’t usually an issue for transgender men, because the rush to bathroom laws is based in the misogyny of our society.  Women need to be protected, whereas men can protect themselves…even when there is nothing that needs protecting.  Transgender men, therefore are no threat to men going to the bathroom, and men have no issue with women using the men’s room (just ask anyone who has ever been to a concert or a college bar).  Transgender women on the other hand, are “sick perverts” according to the other side.  They’re men in dresses who are set to prey upon your wives and daughters.  I think of my child, and then I think of several transgender women I’ve gotten to know a little bit, and the thought is totally laughable.  Many transgender women have been assaulted already (Fab was before transition…in the boys’ bathroom), and many both physically and sexually (but that is a topic for another post).  A women’s restroom serves as a safe space for them to use the bathroom in peace, and then go about their daily business…just like everyone else.  Most people I know do not go into bathrooms with the purpose of checking out other people’s junk, men or women.

I know some of my transgender friends, like Fab, will use the bathroom they want to use, regardless of some law, and I think that is great.  They refuse to let others define who they are.  That said, it doesn’t mean they aren’t afraid of the law, they just choose to be who they are regardless of it.  I know some transgender folk will say they aren’t brave, that transitioning wasn’t a choice, that it was either do so, or die.  I understand where they are coming from, but still, how you approach life after transition with the ability to persevere, keep a sense of humor, and to find joy…I think most are brave, because the I see the same attitude in them that I see in Fab everyday.  Most step out into the world everyday with head held high, regardless of how they feel on the inside, most people never knowing what might be going on in their heads (fear, anxiety, worry).  I know, but only because a little girl chooses to confide in her parents, and we listen.  Her confiding is a big reason she is going stealth and will be at a new school this year.  Last school year, I was amazed at how she would go off to school and never crack regardless of what was said to her, or how it was said.  She would calmly stand her ground, no fucks given, and go about her day.

If you don’t believe this is a civil rights issu, then you are deluded.  Just as Rosa Parks refused to get up, and others used the “wrong” drinking fountain or the “wrong” bathroom” to prove a point, transgender people should continue to do as they feel best guided when it comes to bathrooms, regardless of what an unjust law says.  Last year, Fab was so happy she was able to be herself, that she tolerated the clinic bathroom.  However, I’m pretty certain from our talks that it would have become an issue this year, so I am thankful she does not have to deal with it at her new school.

If she ever does have to deal with injustice, and I fear she will.  I will tell her to do what she thinks is best, and that her dad will go to battle for her to make sure she is respected.  When a school administrator tells a little girl she can’t use the girl’s bathroom, she is being told, “well, you aren’t really a girl.”  When you tell transgender people they can’t use a bathroom or play a sport, you are telling them that they aren’t really who they say they are.    Nobody has the right to tell you “who you are.”  This is one of the biggest life lessons I can bestow upon Fab, and the fact that whatever she decides, her daddy always has her back.

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