Thursday, February 23, 2017

Trans youth deserve human rights

By O.D. Wright
Reporter
NASHVILLE, Tennessee, U.S.A. – President Donald Trump this week rescinded federal guidelines concerning transgender rights. That means that the government no long is encouraging school districts to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
I would say that this is revolting, but that is not a word strong enough to describe my feelings. Not only are we putting our most vulnerable young citizens at risk of harassment, assault, and bullying, we also are taking away a piece of their freedom and humanity.
Discrimination in bathrooms isn’t new to America. We’ve fought to make bathrooms accessible to all races, to women, and to people with disabilities. As a nation we raised our voices and fought for equality, now it’s time for us to fight again.
While I try to string together sentences to describe the ache in my chest, the word I settle on is ‘why?’
Why in the 20th century are we watching the government commit an injustice towards people too young to stand up for what they deserve? Why is the Trump administration redacting a guideline that brought us one step closer to ending discrimination against those who are transgender?
And, why is something as comprehensible as transgender rights inscrutable to the people who run our nation?
Although I have a very strong opinion on this subject, I do understand where the confusion lies. It’s a confusion based on misunderstanding, a confusion birthed from people too blinded by their beliefs, uneducated in the matter, or firm in closed-mindedness.
I do not discriminate with these people who disagree with my position. As I fight for the rights of transgender people, I acknowledge the rights of speech for all – and believe a healthy debate is a beautiful thing, a necessity to make our democracy work.
The number one argument against transgender bathrooms is that by opening the doors to any gender, we are opening the doors to allow predators into a private place for women. That would be an absolute monstrosity, but luckily, there is no evidence to support the claim.
In North Carolina, lawmakers passed HB2, a law that says that in publicly owned places, people must use the bathroom that corresponds with their birth gender. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights organizations filed suit against the state, saying there is no statistical evidence of violence to justify the ‘Bathroom Law.’
The real risk of violence comes from the new law and that dangers it poses for transgender youth. Imagine the reaction if a mid-transition trans boy walked into a women’s bathroom, clothed in his masculinity. Most women would feel fear and discomfort, and respond by harassing or assaulting the boy.
The real danger is misapprehension. To correlate predators and transgender youth is opening up a can of worms that allows the continuation of harassment toward these children, and feeds dysphoria and misunderstanding.
If a male predator wants to go into a bathroom to assault a woman – breaking the law in the process – why would he let the ‘Bathroom Law’ stop him?
No, it’s not about transgender youth being predators. It’s more about the fear of any form of masculinity in female spaces and the fear of those who differ from society’s norms. It’s the misconstruction of what being transgender actually is.
It’s not about a male in a dress. It’s about a person born with the wrong body, whose intent is not to hurt, but to be who they were born to be.
Another argument is the idea that transgender bathrooms are not important. Here’s the thing: when we take away the rights of trans people to use the bathroom where they are most comfortable, we also take away their dignity.
We spread confusion instead of facts.
By saying, “Transgender youths aren’t really the gender they identify with, therefore they don’t belong in the bathroom of their choice,” we take away the truth of what being transgender really is.
Another problem with the ‘Bathroom law” is that it allows the government to take away basic rights. If we let them regulate something as simple as using the bathroom, what comes next? By sitting by and doing nothing, we are watching as these youths are stripped of their basic human rights, and as their voices are drowned out by the yelling in Congress.
When one of us is stripped of our freedom, we are all stripped of our freedom. America was built by our founding fathers standing up for what they believed in, by patriots fighting a valiant battle to escape oppression.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to join that fight again. I, for one, refuse to allow subjugation of my fellow citizens. I am an American, and I believe in liberty and justice for all.
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