Public bathrooms are the latest frontier in the LGBT rights campaign. Numerous states have passed legislation removing the anti-discrimination clause and other provisions that require the use of restrooms to rely on people's biological identity during birth. The LGBT community and other liberal groups have raised concerns a discriminatory aspect of the law while on the other hand, conservative groups side with the bill aiming to enhance privacy protection. In our discussion, we would analyze the legislation and its implication based on a predetermined stance.
Understanding Bathroom Bills
A bathroom bill is a legislation that determines access to public facilities by transgender individuals. It affects access to segregated facilities based on the determination of their initial gender orientation (Hughto, White and John). The law can either be inclusive or exclusive depending on the victim. Critics of the bill analyze it diverse ways. They argue that it acts as an exclusion to transgender individuals at the same time does not make restrooms any safer for non-transgender people. The cases involving the confrontation of cisgender people in the facilities are less. On the other hand, transgender individuals have been sexual, physically and verbally harassed. Thus, the situation is comparable to a moral panic.
Supporters of the Law
Proponents of the law support it saying that it is necessary to uphold privacy. It is a view held by non-transgender people who argue that it is beneficial in preventing molestation, physical confrontation and rape. There have been amendments to the law in various states aiming to avert ambiguity and misinterpretation in addition to mitigating essential provisions. In the year 2016, a judgement came in place that allowed learning institutions receiving federal money to treat all students equally, but the requirement got later on revoked.
Opposition towards the Law
Based on that, from a personal opinion, there is no possibility of ever supporting the law due to its discriminative aspect. The legislation targets explicitly transgender people through punitive ways. It locks them out of their rights and liberties through perceptions, fear and negative opinions. Thus, hate crimes result that exposes them to possible harm and abuse from the society. With regards to that, there are numerous negatives as compared to positives that justify opposition towards the law.
Dangers and Health Concerns
One is that the bill puts an already vulnerable group in more danger. Over half the number of transgender people in school have reported cases of prohibition from using locker room and washroom facilities based on their gender identity. Over three-quarter of the same group feel unsafe at school because of their gender and especially women who are at a high risk of experiencing violence even before adolescence. While the primary objective of the law is to ensure student safety, they stigmatize the transgender segment thus exposing them to more harm. An example is Grimm v. Gloucester Country School Board (Williamson). The ruling was in Grimm's favor, and it prohibited discrimination against gender. It is not possible to support a biased law that does not safeguard everyone's welfare.
The other issue with the law is that it could lead to a public health crisis. Trans people have a wide variety of specific healthcare needs (Schuster, Sari and Sarah). Some of them include physical issues such as medical examination and surgeries in addition to mental concerns. The medical attention required is expensive and not always covered by health plan insurance. The situation highlights the challenges that they face due to discriminatory policies that limit their ability for finding a provider willing to provide treatment. What is more, most of the people experience high levels of depression and low self-esteem. Due to the hostile environment, trans individuals are likely to abuse drugs as a way of consolation. People are not entirely ready to accept them into the society as they suspiciously view them. In turn, the state of affair places a medical burden on the public and school health.
Segregation and Cost Implications
The other aspect is on segregation that would arise from such a move and the cost implications. It is costly to build separate washrooms to accommodate transgender individuals. It is because they would take part of classroom space. Besides that, the individuals would feel lesser humans that would subject them to criticism and condemnation. Therefore, it is crucial that trans people use similar facilities to other people to avoid further complicating the matter (Archibald). There has been no case of sexual molestation undertaken by trans people thus it is fundamental to prevent the mainstream malice.
Violence and Academic Impact
There is a visible increase in violence against transgender individual brought about by transphobic incidences mainly through bullying. It is more so evident in women who report the highest number of occurrences. The state of the affair could affect students academically. Due to the high rates of prejudice and bias, trans students may decide to drop out or avoid learning institutions so that they could escape the challenges. There is an existent fear of sexual violence as many are cautious of trans people and not ready to openly engage about the sensitive topic. In extreme cases, some of them pay the price through death.
In conclusion, bathroom bills are biased and retrogressive. There is need to avoid paying attention to rumors about trans people. Thus, they should be free to use washrooms as other people without restrictive clauses if they do not harm anyone.
Archibald, Catherine Jean. "Transgender bathroom rights." Duke J. Gender L. " Pol'y 24 (2016): 1.
Hughto, Jaclyn M. White, Sari L. Reisner, and John E. Pachankis. "Transgender stigma and health: a critical review of stigma determinants, mechanisms, and interventions." Social Science " Medicine 147 (2015): 222-231.
Schuster, Mark A., Sari L. Reisner, and Sarah E. Onorato. "Beyond bathrooms—meeting the health needs of transgender people." New England Journal of Medicine 375.2 (2016): 101-103.
Williamson, Sam. "GG ex rel. Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board: Broadening Title IX's Protections for Transgender Students." Md. L. Rev. 76 (2016): 1102.