Time for a Potty Break

It happens to me time and time again…

I’m out in public, at the mall, at a social event, buying groceries…when it happens.

I have to pee. (Cue dramatic music)

I feel the panic rising in my chest as I determine the level of urgency of my body. And then I barter with myself…

b4b20fe235d8dc82955bfc3263a73724How bad is it, really? Can you hold it until you get home? Is there a single stall bathroom nearby? How busy are the bathrooms? Maybe you should just hold it until you get home. You really don’t have that much longer to go…

I’ve cut shopping trips short…I’ve held it in far longer than what’s healthy…I’ve fought anxiety…all over using the public restroom.

I’ve written about this before. But with all of the bills that are being introduced around the country, I feel like it needs to be brought up again. Because now things are different.

A bounty has been placed on the heads of transgender individuals around the country. A monetary value has been given to each member of the trans community.

$2,500. These bills aren’t new. Kansas is just the latest state to propose such a bill.122z2v

$2,500 for every trans person caught ‘using the wrong bathroom’. Students being tempted to turn in classmates to earn that $2,500. I can see it now.

“Sally, you have only 3 more transgenders to catch before you’ve earned enough money to pay for college. Danny, you’ve only caught 2 transgenders. You’re going to have to step it up if you want that new car you’ve been eyeing…”

It’s entirely hypocritical. Many of these same people are against any kind of gun law – saying that by putting laws into place only hurt those law abiding citizens; that criminals will still have their guns. Yet somehow, putting a law in place banning trans people from using the appropriate public restroom will prevent men from entering the women’s room and sexually assaulting them.

The reaction to these RFRA and bathroom bills have been intense, as expected. There’s been a movement of trans men and women who “pass”, taking their pictures inside the restrooms they’ll be forced to use based on ‘chromosome’ and ‘biological’ gender. And I get it…these bills are absurd, claiming that allowing trans individuals to use the bathroom they should be using (i.e. the one that they see fit to use) will somehow open the door to men sexually assaulting women in restrooms.

#wejustneedtopee is all over Twitter. And I was all for these movements…I got excited and wanted to respond in kind (even though I don’t see myself as all that masculine most days). At least at first.

trans-restroomI understood #wejustneedtopee. After all, how do you fight the absurd idea that “allowing” me to use the men’s room would somehow result in men raping women in public restrooms? You fight it with more absurdity. Show pictures of bearded, burly trans men in women’s restrooms and curvy, busty trans women in men’s rooms, right?

I was wrong. While these are indeed pictures of the absurdity these laws are implying, they’re leaving out some important groups of people. It’s not people like Buck Angel or Adain Dowling or Laverne Cox who need to worry. The trans men and trans women who “pass” – they won’t be questioned when it comes to using the restroom. Those who are non-binary or gender non-conforming or who don’t “pass” are the ones these bills target.

It’s clear the bathroom bills are poorly disguised attempts at targeted discrimination towards the trans community – specifically towards trans women. Non-binary and non-conforming individuals are caught in this too. The fear-mongering by Republicans has the potential to incite violence against the trans community, and if you don’t present as a masculine male or as a feminine female, then you’d better take a self-defense course.

And the politicians are using a very real, valid issue to gain support for these bills – rape.

These same political asshats are the ones who want to defund Planned Parenthood. They’re the same fools who claim that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” They’re the same douchebags who blame the victims of sexual assault and rape because they must have done something to provoke or confuse or entice the attacker.

Don’t be fooled. The states that have ‘bathroom of choice’ have reported a zero increase in sexual assaults and rapes in public restrooms. That’s right – all of this fear is completely unfounded. Surprise! In fact, during the first 6 months of 2015, more transgender individuals (overwhelmingly trans women of color) were murdered than in the entire year of 2014.States-transgender-law-2

I dare say cisgender women have very little to fear in public restrooms.

Yes, #wejustneedtopee – all of us. #IllGoWithYou is a start. I know we’ll see many more lawsuits than the one challenging North Carolina’s newly signed law. But in the meantime, don’t cater to the gender stereotypes by taking pictures of yourself in the restroom. It ignores the real issue at hand – the targeting of trans women and non-binary individuals. Instead, use the passing privilege you have to help cisgender folk understand that we all need to pee, and that’s exactly what we plan on doing when we walk into a public restroom.

To me, this is the only debate that needs to take place in regards to bathrooms…

TP-over-under

***A couple of footnotes…

First, I dislike using the term “passing” because it serves to reinforce gender stereotypes. I myself am a binary trans man, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is binary, nor should they be forced to conform to a binary. I use the term “passing” in this blog post because it best fits for the scenario – those supporting this discrimination against the trans community are using these ideas of an oversimplified idea of what it means to be male or female, and in the eyes of society at large, at least in regards to these bills, the binary is what this is all based on. (for those of you unclear to the term – ‘passing’ refers to a transgender individual’s appearance and ability to ‘blend in’ as a cisgender male or female)

Second, when I say the ‘transgender community’ I’m including non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals simply for brevity. My intent is not to erase the existence of non-binary and non-conforming individuals.

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I’ll take a little discrimination with a side of hypocrisy to go. Thanks!

Hi there, it’s Repowoman. I was gonna take a stab at the whole video post thing, but an audio failure prevented me from doing so. Oh well.

Anyway…

I wanna start out by giving a shout-out to my home state: download (11)

Hiya Michigan! What the fuck??! With Virginia’s constitutional amendment being declared unconstitutional (on Valentine’s Day, no less) , we are now the ONLY state that has an amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and all other contracts.

Fucking awesome! The mitten state, America’s high five to the world, is sufficiently giving its citizens a giant middle finger.

Progress? No! That’s talk of the devil!

Okay, well, to be fair, we are awaiting a ruling from a US Federal judge regarding a lawsuit filed by a couple in Detroit. LGBT-Adoption-Rights-by-State-InfographicThey have adopted children, separately, and want to adopt each other’s children, so that if anything should happen, the children would stay with the remaining parent and not go back into the foster care system.

But, Michigan won’t allow that. Michigan does not allow same-sex partner adoption. Because, you know, it’s so much better to rip that child from a loving family and put them back in the system. So they went to the judge and said, ‘how fair is this shit?’

And the judge says “I’m inclined to believe it’s not fair at all, but if you challenge Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, I bet you’ll get even further!”

So they did. And the judge told them he was going to wait to see how the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA. When the Supreme Court said DOMA sucked and was unconstitutional, the Federal judge here said, “Cool. Well, I wanna hear from some experts.”

And now, on February 25th, 2014, the Federal judge will listen to experts testify.

Because it’s not enough to listen to the parents of these kids.

I should be happy, though, because he is at least hearing the case. But how long will we have to wait before this is a marriage-scales-of-justicenon-issue in this state? In 2004, when Prop 2 was passed, it was passed with a 58% majority. Now, a poll done in May of 2013, shows a 56% support for same-sex marriage. Gay rights activists are looking to petition to have the ban overturned, with a ballot drive in 2016.

Why? Why do we have to wait 12 years for someone to say “Hey, this isn’t right, let’s fix this”? Why do we have to wait 12 years for a fucked up constitutional amendment that was painfully redundant to be overturned?

But, it doesn’t end here. With each step forward, there is someone trying to push us back.

download (12)Kansas has decided that so-called ‘religious freedom’ trumps the basic human right of equality. They’re looking to pass legislation that will allow for absolute discrimination against the LGBTQ community on the basis of ‘religious freedom’.

Yup, the ‘Because God said I could’ movement of discrimination is picking up steam. They’re using the argument that the First Amendment gives them the right to refuse service to anyone they feel ‘violates their beliefs’.

Okay you fucking Bible-thumpers. Here’s the deal. The First Amendment is not a tool for you to use to discriminate against anyone. Freedom of religion, as per the Constitution, means the government can’t force you to practice a particular religion. If you want to be Jewish, be Jewish, if you’re a Catholic, that’s great! If you’re an atheist – more power to ya! But that still does NOT give you the right to refuse service to someone based on their sexual orientation.

Let’s reverse the roles. Say you walk into a business. You wanna buy some flowers for your dead grandmother. The

'These were on their last leg, ma. Just like you!'
‘These were on their last leg, ma. Just like you!’

business owner of the floral shop is an atheist, and refuses to sell to you because he thinks you’re an idiot for putting flowers on a grave of a bunch of bones.

What are you gonna do? Stand outside and pray for his fucking salvation? No. You’re gonna go find a lawyer, and sue his non-believing ass, right? You’re gonna picket outside of his business and tell people that it’s blasphemy to step foot beyond that threshold.

So what gives you the right to do it to someone else? Where in your Bible does it say to turn away from people who need your services? Where does Jesus say “Go ahead and tell the gays you don’t want them around”?

I don’t think he does. In fact, from everything I’ve ever read, Jesus was a pretty cool guy who accepted everyone for who they were. No exceptions.

So this bullshit about freedom of religion? You’re wrong. You do have freedom of religion. And until someone violates your ability to practice your religion or tells you that you can’t practice your religion, you still have freedom of religion. And no, my ‘gay agenda’ is not infringing upon your religious rights. Mostly, because we don’t have an agenda. Unless you consider equality an agenda. Oh, we’re such sneaky homos…

Newsflash, Kansas…This law isn’t going to stand in front of the Supreme Court. There’s this lovely amendment that trumps your ideas of what the First Amendment says. The Fourteenth Amendment – the one that guarantees us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Yeah, that’s sorta like your worst nightmare, isn’t it? Your ‘religious freedoms’ are trampling all over my ability to live and to have liberty, and certainly, your bigotry and discrimination is a massive roadblock in my pursuit of happiness.

Enforcing-the-ten-commandmentsYour brand of pseudo-Christianity is severely lacking in substance and realism. I’m sure that nowhere in the Ten Commandments does it say “Thou shall practice hypocrisy and hatred.”

If your religion says that it’s perfectly okay to turn away another human being in need…I don’t want to prescribe to your religion…

And you wonder why I’m agnostic.