For transgender Americans, the fight for equality is not over. While the recent changes in laws affecting LGBT individuals have done a great deal to improve the situation, the fact remains that a portion of the population is still denied the most basic of human rights. Something as simple as using the bathroom has become the new battleground for civil rights, as many states attempt to pass laws that restrict bathroom usage to the gender on someone’s birth certificate. While the number of transgender Americans seems small at an estimated 0.3 percent, this is still a significant number of people who are unable to feel comfortable using a public bathroom (Wong).
Not only is avoiding the bathroom a health risk, forcing transgender Americans to use the bathroom of the biological gender has led to verbal harassment and physical violence. Transgender Americans should be allowed to use the restroom of the gender they identify with. The number of anti-transgender bills has been increasing, and is higher now in 2015 than any other year. This wave of legislation seems to be in response to the advances made in state non-discrimination policies that protect transgender people (Daileda). The opposition has proposed many bills that are unfair to transgender people:So-called “bathroom bills” introduced by social conservatives…typically mandate that people use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate. That’s a marker that is difficult for most transgender people to change, as well as one that, for them, is a bureaucratic indicator decided by someone else that should not be weighed against their innate sense of self.
(Steinmetz)Some examples of proposed bills include the one created by Rep. Frank Arties in Florida, which wo. .room avoidance has led to health problems, and the UCLA School of Law conducted a think tank to study them. They found that more than half of the transgender people surveyed reported physical problems from trying to avoid the public restrooms. This included dehydration and kidney problems (Wong).
For transgender Americans, something as simple as using the restroom has turned into a legal battle. The opposition’s concern that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with will led to an increase of violence against women and children is unfounded and nothing but propaganda. Transgender Americans should be allowed access to a safe environment where they are comfortable, just like all other Americans. The battle of equality will not be over until transgender Americans are allowed to use the restroom of the gender they identify with.