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In response to “Target’s gender fluid bathrooms stir controversy”


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Dear editor of The Chant (and by extension Kat Shambaugh),

This is in response to an opinion piece featured the previous year titled “Target’s gender fluid bathrooms stir controversy” by Kat Shambaugh. I would like to offer my complete, factual rebuttal of this piece that relies on baseless fearmongering and no factual evidence whatsoever.  Let the refutation begin:

 

“Following a recent push for gender fluid bathrooms, where patrons choose which bathroom to use rather than following gender constructs, Target officially changed their store policy to allow customers to choose whichever bathroom they like on April 19, 2016.”

There has been no push for “gender fluid bathrooms”. There has been a push to create gender neutral bathrooms for people who do not identify as male or female, and a push to allow transgender people to use the bathrooms they feel align with their genders, but “gender fluid bathrooms” do not exist. They are bathrooms. Bathrooms are inanimate and lack a gender unless designated one for usage. Genderfluidity is a very specific term that exclusively refers to people whose gender identity can vary over time. It is not synonymous with gender neutral, and while some gender fluid people consider themselves transgender as their identity is not fully aligned with the one they were given at birth, they are in no way interchangeable terms.


“I do not disagree with promoting gender equality or even gender fluidity, but the new policy puts more at stake than just the rights of a minority: it instead endangers everyone else.”

“I do not disagree with promoting… gender fluidity”. Again, the word you are looking for is transgender. Lack of education on a subject you are speaking about, especially one that concerns a marginalized identity, is never a good thing. Furthermore, the whole “I don’t disagree, but…” feels like an attempt to pander to those who support the change, such as myself, rather than an actual reflection of your opinions on the subject. As for the “endangers everyone else”, your words are based off of nothing more than speculation and irrational fears. Also, “just the rights of a minority”? Yikes. Implying that the opinions of the majority can trump the human rights of an oppressed minority, which your piece is complicit in perpetuating. There is absolutely zero (read it again) evidence, as demonstrated by studies conducted in places where policies like this one have been implemented for some time, that allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms they truly belong in causes higher rates of attempted sex crimes (1). But you know who does endanger other people? People who threaten to shoot transgender bathroom patrons, bomb Target stores, etc. in the name of “safety” (2). Am I the only one noticing a pattern?

 

“By opening up public bathrooms to people of both genders to share, Target also opens the door for increased sexual harassment, inappropriate videotaping, and more inside their bathrooms. Catastrophes may not occur everyday, but the ease with which they will now occur cannot be understated.”

Correct me if I am wrong, but did the policy state that videotaping and sexual harassment is permitted in their restrooms? Of course not. Likewise, as it was illegal before the policy change, sexual harassment will remain illegal even after its implementation. No matter what gender someone is, sexual harassment is wrong and claiming to be transgender will not protect someone from being prosecuted for a crime. I’ve read your pieces before, author, and you’ve made the claim in an argument about the Second Amendment that “laws won’t stop criminals from getting guns”, then why would banning transgender people stop sexual predators? Seems like some doublethink to me. Even if there are people committing sexual harassment crimes, who is to say they would not have done it to people in the restroom they would normally be in? You, like many others, are too caught up in the “think of the little girls” rhetoric that you conveniently exclude the fact that many predators prey on children regardless of their gender. Catholic Church priests, anyone?

 

“If anyone can choose to walk into either bathroom and make an excuse about their gender identity just to harass others, then Target faces a major problem.”

Again, gender identity is not an excuse. That’s as illogical as blaming a sex offender’s hormones for their decision to commit the crime. Regardless of the excuse, they did it, and the justice system can and will address it accordingly. The laws endanger nobody. However, preventing transgender people from using the bathrooms they feel comfortable in is harmful. A study done found that in places that restrict bathroom access for transgender people, the suicide rate of transgender people is significantly higher than in places where access is unrestricted 1). Attempting to police people’s bathroom choice only leads to more danger, like enforcement. Are you suggesting we subject everyone who doesn’t fit your perception of “100% male/female” to Fourth Amendment-violating searches before we allow them to use the facilities? And what of the transgender men and women you will force into the inappropriate bathrooms? Transgender women would be in constant danger of sexual harassment and/or assault, especially if they have been transitioning for a while and have taken hormones and/or surgeries so that they are physically no different from women born with a uterus. Transgender men would be accused of being perverts, since many are tall, muscular, bearded, and would be completely out of place in the women’s room. In your fight to “keep men out of women’s rooms”, you have failed to realize that you’ve done exactly what you’re trying to prevent. People are already harassing women (all born as “women” as you would say) for suspecting them of being transgender. Funny, the majority of these “bathroom police” are men. (4)

 

Everyone deserves their rights as humans, until they infringe on the rights of others.”

Agreed. Your “right” to irrational fears and prejudice should not infringe upon my right to… ahem, “expel waste” in peace. Oh wait, you didn’t mean for it to go both ways, did you?

 

Sincerely,

A closeted, scared, and very angry transgender North Cobb senior.

 

Sources:

  1. http://abcnews.go.com/US/sexual-assault-domestic-violence-organizations-debunk-bathroom-predator/story?id=38604019
  2. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/activer-shooter-scare-target-anti-lgbt-bathroom-policy-article-1.2623632

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2016/04/christian-lawyer-issues-death-threat-to-trans-bathroom-users-at-target/

http://www.advocate.com/transgender/2016/4/25/right-wingers-pledge-carry-guns-bathroom-fend-trans-folks

3.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280026618_Transgender_Adults%27_Access_to_College_Bathrooms_and_Housing_and_the_Relationship_to_Suicidality

  1. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/texas-man-woman-bathroom-check-gender-article-1.2622029
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The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.
In response to “Target’s gender fluid bathrooms stir controversy”