Controversy mounts over transgender bathroom policies

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A University of Denver wall that allows students to express themselves sports the phrase, “Protect Trans Lives.”  Sunday, April 24, 2016,  Driscoll Green, University of Denver, Denver, CO [photo by Jessica Johnson]

After juggling the benefits and challenges of allowing transgender individuals to use public bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, companies such as Target, and state legislators in states like North Carolina have incited controversy through the release of transgender policies that dictate which restrooms should be used by whom.

Target released a statement on April 19, 2016, that they were officially instating a policy allowing transgender individuals to utilize restroom and changing facilities corresponding to their gender identity, regardless of biological sex.  

“I think that it may cause some backlash for some companies from customers who are a little bit older and who don’t have the same kind of mindset that the younger generation does,” said 20-year-old University of Denver freshman, Caitlin Hood.

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“Do you think people should be able to use the bathroom of whatever gender they identify with, or do you think people should be required to use the bathroom of their biological sex?”- “I think that implementing that is probably going to take some time for our society to get used to, but I think that it’s the eventual progression that we’ll go towards, so I think that it’s good that we’re implementing that,” said Hood.  Caitlin Hood, DU Freshman – Sunday, April 24, 2016, Centennial Halls, University of Denver, Denver, CO [photo by Jessica Johnson]

Target has been experiencing resistance since the announcement of its new inclusive policy.  The American Family Association, a Christian nonprofit organization, started a petition to boycott Target, which has garnered over 650,000 signatures since it was created on Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

“Target’s policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims,” said the AFA, “And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women’s bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?”

18-year-old freshman at the University of Denver, Sophie Lovelace, supported allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with, saying, “If they want to be a woman, why shouldn’t they use the women’s bathroom?”

In an effort to be inclusive towards people of all genders, the University of Toronto instated gender-neutral bathrooms last fall.  However, following their efforts, their were two reports of voyeurism in September, where two women saw a cell phone over the shower door while they were showering.

They had to alter their bathroom policies to separate bathrooms by gender, but are still trying to accommodate privacy and inclusivity through their Washroom Inclusivity Project, which according to dean of students, Melinda Scott, will require at least one gender-neutral bathroom per floor and house and will map the locations of these bathrooms.

“I think that there should be some sort of policy involved where they need to require unisex bathrooms in all public locations, where no one will feel uncomfortable either way, and they feel like they’re in a safe place,” said 20-year-old University of Denver sophomore, Sydney Donati-Leach.

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“Do you think people should be required to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex, or should they be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with?” – “I think there should be some sort of policy involved where they need to require unisex bathrooms in all public locations, where no one will feel uncomfortable either way, and they feel like they’re in a safe place… not all public locations, but maybe universities at least,” said Donati-Leach.  Sydney Donati-Leach, DU Sophomore – Monday, April 25, 2016, Centennial Halls Courtyard, University of Denver, Denver, CO [photo by Jessica Johnson]

Rape survivor, Kaeley Triller, spoke out about safety concerns about inclusive bathroom policies in an online article for the Federalist magazine.

“I am not saying that transgender people are predators. Not by a long shot,” said Triller, “What I am saying is that there are countless deviant men in this world who will pretend to be transgender as a means of gaining access to the people they want to exploit, namely women and children.”

In lieu of concerns such as these, North Carolina passed a bill, House Bill 2, that requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex on their birth certificate.

“Republicans stressed that the bill was passed not just to protect women and children from unwanted and potentially dangerous intrusions by biological males, but also to clarify legislative authority,” according to a New York Times article by Dave Philipps.

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“What kinds of outcomes do you think would come out of allowing transgenders to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with?” – “The only problem would be getting through the traditional views of thinking of the older people. That would be the hardest thing, but once you get through that, then it’s easy from there,” said DeLeon. Christopher DeLeon, DU Freshman – Monday, April 25, 2016, Centennial Halls Lounge, University of Denver, Denver, CO [photo by Jessica Johnson]

According to an online article on Reuters thousands gathered to protest in Raleigh, NC on Monday, while lawmakers gathered to discuss this bill once more.  Entertainers like Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas have cancelled concerts in North Carolina as a way to speak out against North Carolina’s HB2 law.

University of Denver Freshman, Christopher DeLeon, 19, expressed that he supported allowing transgender people to use the facilities of their choice, but there would likely be opposition.

“The only problem would be getting through the traditional views of thinking of the older people,” said DeLeon, “That would be the hardest thing, but once you get through that, then it’s easy from there.”

“It is going to be a transition that will cause a lot of controversies and a lot of issues, but I think that it’s the right step,” said Hood, “I think that any new change for society is going to cause issues and then progress.”

 

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One thought on “Controversy mounts over transgender bathroom policies

  1. I think it’s crazy that this has been such a strong topic in America lately. It sad that we can’t just let people do what makes them happy. Of course, we can’t let people do things that make them happy if they are also hurting somebody else, however I do not personally see any harm in letting transgendered people use a bathroom of the sex that they identify with. Furthermore, I think that by not letting these individuals use the bathroom that they are most comfortable in then we are actually oppressing them and causing them harm, which should never happen.

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