After posting an article on LinkedIn about Target and Transgender rights including using the right bathroom, someone asked why I would use the word hater for someone who just had a different point of view. She said that it was just a disagreement about whether men should use the women’s bathroom and women should use the men’s bathroom. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a mistaken idea about this issue. Whether or not to deny human rights to any group is not a “different point of view.” Whether that decision is based on bigotry, hate or fear due to lack of information, the result is the same, discrimination.
I understand that there are many people who don’t understand Transgender issues, that may be afraid and who lack information. However that’s no excuse for not learning, and getting the right information. That’s why I think in terms of willful ignorance. There was a time when I didn’t understand Transgender issues but I took the time to learn, to talk to Transgender people and be informed. I look forward to the time when we won’t need to learn or understand, because it won’t be an issue, when no one will even think to question or deny equal rights to anyone from any group.
At one time, interracial marriage was illegal, and it was illegal to be a lesbian or a gay man. Police would raid bars like Stonewall in New York and people who were not wearing a certain amount of what was considered “gender appropriate” clothing would be arrested and taken to jail.
There were people who supported segregation who said they weren’t prejudiced but they just had a different point of view. There is a difference between a point of view where someone likes or dislikes a movie, or whether they support public or private schools, or whether kids should be allowed to drive at a certain age. Discriminating against a particular group is much deeper than that. We don’t have to use the word “hate,” we can use bigoted, prejudice, racist, homophobic or transphobic for types of discrimination. I would also add willful ignorance for some. There is a mistaken idea that straight men will want to dress up like women to molest girls. The reason most transgender people want to use the bathroom according to the gender they identify and live is because they are more in danger of being molested and not safe.
This is Caroline Cossey who is a transgender woman who was a former model, Decide for yourself whether or not she would be safe in a men’s bathroom,
And of course award winning actress Laverne Cox
Below is Ian Harvey. Look at him and decide for yourself whether you would feel safe with him in a women’s bathroom, or whether he would be safe.
Of course, like members of any other group, not all Transgender people are famous or glamorous, or even on Google. And then, there are more than a few heterosexual, straight, cisgender people who don’t fit the “accepted prototype” of what a man or a woman should look like. Some of those people have already been harassed because someone thought they were Transgender. Let’s stop the hysteria and begin to let go of old gender stereotypes of how people should look, dress and talk.
How ways to get informed:
• Take some time to learn. Go to the Transgender Law site, or Out and Equal.
• Watch documentary about people who are Transgender.
• Read about Transgender issues, watch a Ted Talk about what it means to be Transgender.
• Read the personal stories written by Transgender people.
• There are Transgender rights organizations across the country. Get to know a Transgender person and be prepared to let go of your assumptions.