Arguing Against Anti-Transgender Conservatives
Today, Republican congressman Steve King told CNN that allowing transgender persons to use the restroom with which they identify will "change the social order" of our entire American "civilization." The conservative congressman displayed a not-so-shocking lack of understanding with respect to the issue at hand. But that didn't stop him from staunchly expressing his opposition to pro-transgender laws. Clearly, this issue is one that requires expanding people's education on the subject.
What's ironic is that the various "Bathroom Bills"—laws requiring transgender individuals to use the restrooms according to the gender given on their birth certificates—would actually "change the social order." Transgender persons have been using the restrooms corresponding to their gender identity for years without much hoopla. It wasn't until the city of Houston attempted to explicitly protect transgender individuals, by codifying the gender-identity-based restroom policy as a city ordinance, that the anti-trans frenzy ensued. Opponents of the measure appealed to irrational fear by alleging that the ordinance would lead to child molestation and abduction in public restrooms.
In Houston, fear won. And now the fearmongers have taken their tactics to the national stage. But when the fear gives way to truth and a lack of evidence, conservative opponents of pro-transgender protections will turn to methods like those used by congressman Steve King. The argument will look something like: "We've had male and female restrooms for years and everything has worked fine. We shouldn't change things so dramatically just to please the 'liberal agenda.'"
But, these pro-transgender laws don't "change things" at all. As one transgender activist pointed out, "Bathroom Bills" would require transgender men—who have the outward appearance of a man—to use the women's restroom. As the activist shows in his photo below, forcing male-looking individuals to use the women's restroom (or vice versa) would cause many more problems and possibly endanger transgender persons.
Conservative opponents of protections for transgender individuals are quickly running out of arguments. When someone tells you that allowing transgender persons to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity will increase child molestation or abduction, point them to the lack of any evidence to support that claim. And when someone tells you that adopting a gender-identity-based restroom policy would fundamentally alter our American society, point out that in fact a birth-certificate-based policy would cause the most change and be problematic. After these arguments fail, hopefully, people can come to understand that our transgender brothers and sisters simply want to use the restroom in peace.