Trans* Community Needs the Same Support being given too Marriage Equality Maybe Even More

There is one static that grows out discussion, the number of people that take their own life that identify as trans* “46 percent of trans men and 42 percent of trans women in the United States have attempted suicide. That’s far higher than the 4.6 percent national average, and more than double the 10–20 percent of gay and lesbian cisgender people who report a suicide attempt.”

 

The other thing is the lack of discussion on Trans* issues. Marriage Equality has gained so much support over the past couple years with 17 states in this country allowing same sex couples too marry. Where does that leave the Trans* community? It leaves us way behind the members of the lesbian and gay community. They haven’t turned back to come help us…the people that need it most. 

 

The people of the conservative party always bring trans* issues back to the “bathroom argument” over the past two years of my personal medical transition I have many times had conversation over the bathroom. These are some of the most common ways I deal with the discussion and situation.

 

Here are the most common political arguments that they like to have about bathrooms one of them was actually said to me by Staten Island Assembly member Joseph Borelli of Staten Island in some of his campaign literature. He refused to have a discussion with me personally so here is how I would have handled that situation

 

Gender-neutral bathrooms are unsafe for women and children

 

·       this argument assumes that the safety of cisgender women and children is more important that the safety of trans* and gender nonconforming people

·       allowing people to use the bathroom that works best for their gender identity does not compromise the safety of women or children. Trans* and gender nonconforming people should not be assumed to be predators or dangerous. Also, a sign on a gender-segregated bathroom does not keep actual violent or dangerous people (of any gender) out of the restroom.

·       while gender segregated bathrooms do not actually insure safety for cis women or children, they do actually compromise the safety of trans* and gender nonconforming people

 

 

Gender-neutral bathrooms are a special privilege for transgender or gender nonconforming people. Spaces should not be required to go out of their way or spend money on creating a space for such a small population

 

·       going to the bathroom is not a privilege, but a right. Many trans* and gender nonconforming people will avoid using the bathroom if not given a safe or anxiety-free option. Not using the bathroom when one needs to can cause severe health problems such as dehydration, malnutrition, or a UTI depending on how one deals with not having a bathroom option.

·       gender neutral bathrooms do not only increase bathroom accessibility and safety for trans* and gender nonconforming individuals. Gender-neutral bathrooms also increase access for guardians who accompany a child of another gender to the bathroom, thus increasing the safety of that child. Gender-neutral bathrooms also increase access for attendants who assist people of another gender in the restroom, thus increasing the safety of the person who necessitates assistance in the bathroom.

 

Gender-neutral bathrooms increase safety and health of trans* and gender nonconforming people, but we just don’t have the money or space to build more bathrooms. We also don’t have the power to change the bathrooms we have into gender-neutral options.

 

·       Multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms actually take up the same amount or even less space as gender segregated restrooms. They are simply a single room instead of two separate rooms assigned to women and men. They are also more cost efficient because you need fewer of them, you can convert pre-existing bathrooms with only slight changes, and if you choose to take the urinals out, you will have less maintenance cost, as urinals are known to clog and break down at a faster rate than toilets.

 

·       If you cannot build new bathrooms or change some of the existing bathrooms to gender neutral, you can institute a broad nondiscrimination policy and post it in the bathroom that encourages a culture of respect where people do not police gender in the restroom. The policy should state the right for anyone who uses the restroom to do so and do so safely.

 

 

It’s more than just bathrooms, I know for me the things that has always crossed my mind is how long can I push myself to survive in a body that I know doesn’t look the way I want it too. Surgery is so important too it and me really is a struggle to get the money to have it, and the cost of HRT is expensive.

 

Many of us in the trans* community can only hold on for so long, as our community of lesbian and gay brothers and sisters continue to push way ahead of us, sometimes I wonder if they even realize that we are so far behind them. We need them to come back too our community and lend a hand too us, especially in states like New York. We need the same drive and determination for GENDA that we had for Marriage Equality in 2011.

 

The best thing that the Trans* community needs are it’s allies but we need allies who know their place in this conversation.

 

  1. Always call people by their preferred name and personal pronouns.  If you’re not sure, there are polite ways to ask.
  2. Never out anybody.  For one, this can put their personal safety at risk, but more importantly their gender identity is theirs to publicize at their discretion, not yours.
  3. Don’t ask a trans person about their body.  This kind of curiosity is pretty invasive and at the end of the day, it’s not really any of your business.
  4. Avoid outdated and offensive terms.  See a list here if you’re not sure what I mean.
  5. Don’t tell a transgender person they look like a “real” man or woman, or that they “pass,” and don’t give advice on how to look “more like a man/woman.”  A person’s gender expression is not a binary, and passing judgment in this way is delegitimizing.
  6. React to situations where you see transphobia in action.  Call it out.  Tell the offending person that their behaviors and attitudes are unacceptable.

 

We need to have the difficult conversations with the difficult people. It’s something I have personally decided to work on. I am going to talk to the people who pass our laws, and have them understand this is becoming life or death for many of us. 

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