Monday, March 9, 2015

3-9-2015 Entry: Open Letter to the Congresses of Texas, Florida, and Kentucky

So, I haven’t really written much about these bills being proposed down in a few of the southern states that would make using the bathroom as a transgender person a question of legality. More specifically, if you were born with a Penis and you transition to female (or vice-versa), you still have to use the men’s (or women’s) room because doing so protects the children and women from those sexual deviants and predators! I wish I was exaggerating about the reasoning that is being used to hold up these transphobic bills.
 Because there is little that I can do to directly influence these bills and whether or not they are passed since I am not a resident of Texas, Kentucky, or Florida, I’ve decided that I will exercise my influence in the only way I know how, by writing an open letter to the proponents of these bills. Each bill is different in degree and affect, but all three of them are going after the same end result, restricting the rights of transgender individuals to alleviate themselves in privacy. I say privacy because going into a men’s room (or women’s room) after years of HRT, probable gender reassignment surgery (top surgery), and complete transformation of wardrobe and personal appearance in order to look as female (or male) as possible, is a huge breach of privacy; the privacy to keep what’s between our legs our own affair and none of the governments. So without further delay:

"Dear Mrs. Debbie Riddle, Mr. Frank Artiles, Mr. C.B. Embry and all the members of state congress for the honorable states of Texas, Florida, and Kentucky,
I write to you today as an American citizen who is both heartbroken and disappointed at the state of affairs in our country. There are so many areas of our society that are in desperate need of solutions that can only be provided by the collaboration of governmental bodies such as yours to pass bills for the betterment of us all. We are in great need of improvements in housing, in education, in job training opportunities, in childcare, in healthcare, in tax reform, in prison reform, and in public works. Millions of Americans are struggling with diminishing wages, increasing costs of living and extreme burdens of debt. So many of our nation’s children are forced to attend failing and bankrupt schools that do little to actually prepare them for the world that awaits them in their adult years. Those same children will also be forced to pay the highest costs for higher education that anyone has ever paid if nothing changes from the status quo.
It is with all of these things in mind that I write to you to ask you to end the debate on whether or not a transgender individual has the right to use the bathroom of their identified gender. I understand from the comments that many of you have made that there is a concern for the safety of cisgender women and children, and there is the concern that allowing transgender individuals access to bathrooms of their choice will increase the frequency with which predators prey on those women and children. I am writing to you today to say that I understand your fears and the needs that create them. I understand that you need for the world to make sense, and that the world also be filled with safety and courtesy. I understand that you need to know that your trips into the public restrooms won’t be mired with dangers of sexual harassment, violence, or even murder. I truly empathize with that need for safety in this regard, because I, as a transwoman, know all too well the dangers that lurk in the women’s bathroom when I enter it. The transmen I know also understand the fear you are feeling about them being in the men’s bathroom.
We share a need for safety and a fear of harassment in public bathrooms, but you must understand that the fear that we as transgender individuals face is actually created by the very bills that are being debated in the state congresses of Texas, Florida, and Kentucky. The laws and regulations (and the flawed premises they are created on) that you are considering implementing in your states will create such harsh and unfriendly environments in public bathrooms for transgender individuals that you will only end up creating more hostility than there currently is (aka the opposite of your objective).
I want you to understand above all other things that transgender individuals do not want to use the bathroom of their identified gender because they wish to spy on members of the “opposite sex”. The very idea that these bathrooms would be of the “opposite sex” for those transgender individuals just shows a need for greater understanding about the nature of trans-identity and its roots in genetics. I do not wish to use the women’s bathroom because it will give me the opportunity to spy on other women while they urinate (gross, by the way); I wish to use the women’s bathroom because I have to alleviate myself and I wish to alleviate myself in a place where I will not be harassed by actual members of the opposite sex (men) about my appearance or the fact that I was born with genetic material different from them which predisposed me to have a non-conforming gender identity. These potential laws that you are debating would be similar to a bill suggesting that women with naturally blonde hair have to use the men’s room and men with naturally green eyes have to use the women’s room. Under such circumstances you would be creating extremely hostile and problematic environments. The chances of violence and harassment based on sex would increase dramatically. By forcing a fully transitioned transwoman or transman to use a men’s room or women’s room respectively would be creating the very same hostile bathroom conditions as the example I just gave above.
It is no news that transgender individuals face extreme societal discrimination because of their non-conformity to traditional gender norms about penises and vaginas. In most states in the union it is perfectly legal and socially acceptable to fire a person simply because their gender doesn’t match their physiology at the time of their birth. Transgender individuals suffer from one of the highest suicide rates of any minority group in our nation and it is because of laws like the ones you are considering implementing right now that those individuals feel such hopelessness about their lives. We suffer from greater risk of depression and suicide because we live in a society that would rather believe we are sexual predators or deviants trying to prey on women and children in public bathrooms than to just acknowledge that we may not be the gender we were assigned at birth or that we have the same right to privacy when we use the bathroom as anyone else. We as a group also suffer from a very clear and present danger of violence and an increased chance to be murdered simply for being who we are on the inside. Nearly every single day a transgender individual is attacked, harassed, raped, or even murdered for simply choosing to live a life true to themselves. Forcing us to use bathrooms that do not make sense for our gender presentation will only make these statistics increase in number.
We as transgender individuals do not wish to make you feel unsafe, but we ask that you give us the same respect and decency that you are trying so hard to obtain for yourselves through these laws. We wish to be able to use the bathroom of our identified and presented genders so that we may be afforded the same degree of safety and peace of mind that you want as well. We want to know that we can go into a public bathroom without having to worry that we will be harassed, attacked, raped, or even murdered simply because we were born with different genetics. Are you certain that you want to be responsible for categorically discriminating against and endangering a population of your voters simply because they were born different from you?
All I’m asking is that you leave the bathroom decision up to the individuals. Speaking to the proponents of these bills directly, as Republicans I would think that your typical stances against having too much government would force you to recognize that bathroom privileges should not be a state affair. If you believe that government is already overreaching on our rights to privacy, then how can you, in good conscience, create and uphold bills that are the epitome of governmental overreach into privacy? My decision to medically transition to female in order to better fit the gender I feel and know inside is none of the government’s concern (and certainly not the police), especially if that transition is conducted with complete and total adherence to the law and commonly accepted medical practices. I did not obtain my hormone replacement drugs illegally. I will not be obtaining my feminine clothing and makeup illegally. I will not be attacking or harassing anyone of my same sex (women) in any bathroom that I use, so why should it be a matter of law enforcement when it comes to my decision on where to pee?
This country is in great need of many solutions to problems that only you can fix. My bathroom needs and decisions are not among them. The genitals I was born with and those that I use to alleviate the physical discomfort in my bladder is not the government’s concern. If my home state and the federal government are willing to grant people like me the gender of “female” (or "male") on our birth certificates, social security cards, passports, and driver’s licenses, then what gives you the right to deny us access to the women’s (or men's) bathroom, or to punish us for using it?
No person who wishes for privacy and safety in public restrooms can reasonably stand behind these bills because they accomplish exactly the opposite. Making it illegal for individuals who have been federally and internationally recognized as a female/male to use the women’s/men's bathroom and forcing them to use the men’s/women's room will only create more confusion, more intolerance, more violence, and ultimately, more death (either by murder or suicide).
Transgender people are humans too, humans who deserve the same respect, love, and guarantees of safety as anyone else. Please do not further marginalize an already marginalized group of people simply because you may not fully understand them. Instead, please try to learn more about transgender people and discover the wealth of beauty, intelligence, and kindness that they have.
I am an American citizen. I vote and participate in government. I am married. I am gainfully employed. I have beyond undergraduate college education. I love to write novels and have published two of them on my own. I spend my time volunteering to help others. I believe that humanity’s greatest capacity is born from love, respect and compassion. I believe that we have a bright future ahead of us. I was born with a penis but I also love makeup and nail polish. I love pretty dresses and adorable shoes. I know that I am and have always been a female with as much certainty as any of you know that you are your respective genders. I love being a woman, even if I wasn’t born with the body of one. I am a transwoman and I am proud of who I am. I stand up and write these words for all those transwomen and transmen out there who feel beaten down and broken by a society that typically ignores and discriminates against them. I urge you all to see us for what we really are, human beings with needs and desires. Human beings with fears and worries. Human beings who just really have to pee sometimes. We aren’t monsters. We aren’t sexual predators. We aren’t deviants or lawbreakers. We are people, just like you. We are American citizens granted the same rights and privileges by the same constitution as you. We uphold the same declaration of independence that our forefathers wrote against governmental tyranny 239 years ago:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
I urge you to strike these bills down now, if not for the sake of your conscience then for the sake of preserving the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all American citizens, including transgender individuals like myself and hundreds of thousands just like me. To do otherwise would countermand the very principles of freedom from invasions of privacy by tyrannical governmental bodies that we fought the revolutionary war for. It wasn't okay then, and it isn't okay now.
Emma Thrumston"

1 comment:

  1. Bravo Emma! Bravo! A very well thought out, solution oriented response to a ridiculous situation. This is a political opinion I would happily sign my name and support for!