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On The Subject of Bathroom Bills
The Bathroom Bills sweeping the nation promote discrimination against gay, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, and intersex people. It catapults transgender people into the spotlight and forces their private lives into a very public dialogue.
We began seeing “passing” transgender people in Facebook memes, Instagram, Tumblr, and across the internet. This well-meaning narrative dictates that transgender people are not necessarily identifiable and “pass” as cisgender. It also paints an incomplete picture of the Trans community at large.
My name is Mac and I am transgender. I have been fighting for years to have the courage to say those words. I was born female and still use the pronouns she/her or they/them. I do not neatly fit into a box. I am covered in tattoos, have a shaved head and no breasts. I am a Transgender Masculine Female. Our current binary system does not have a place for me. I use the Women’s Restroom because it is where I feel the least threatened.
Until the recent laws came into play I usually went unnoticed in bathroom settings. What these laws have created is a standard for policing gender. We now have people paying very close attention to those who share a bathroom. They are looking, actively searching for those who stand out. I stand out. Lots of people under such scrutiny are standing out.
I am fortunate that I live in Asheville, NC. It is one of the few places that I feel I can be myself and not be criticized. When I travel for workshops and shows for my artwork I am much more guarded. I, like many others simply try not to use public facilities for fear of backlash. By avoiding such places I am more likely to suffer from kidney infections and urinary tract infections. Those of us who don’t fit the gender stereotypes are the most likely to be targeted.
Policing Gender is not a new trend. Since the 1950s when women could be arrested for not wearing at least three pieces of women’s clothing, people have been forced into narrow gender constrictions with little room for deviation. Those of us who are masculine females or feminine males are constantly criticized. We need to call these laws what they are, a license to discriminate.
I will not feel safe until our country makes space for us all to be the colorful gender-variant people that we are.
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