Editor’s note: Several Delta High School students in teacher Marc Dowd’s class participated in The New York Times 5th Annual Student Editorial Contest earlier this spring. Here is one of the submissions.
We all need to use the bathroom — it’s inevitable.
Imagine if someone wouldn’t let you go because of some issue they had with your body. If you are transgender and aren’t fully distinct as the gender you transition to, you may have issues with using a public bathroom. But why should you have to? Transgender people are being oppressed — in schools or in the law and we need to change this by educating people and being more open and accepting to the LGBT community.
Though the entire transgender community has had problems with the public, the largest stories seem to revolve around children and teens. While some have full support from their school and aren’t bothered while using their preferred bathrooms, others are forced to use their bathroom assigned at birth and constantly monitored by staff to assure such behavior. The extent to which a school will go to monitor someone is dehumanizing and degrading to people and could cause lasting harm on their mental state.
One of the popular arguments against transgender rights revolving around bathrooms and locker rooms is the privacy issue. Many believe being transgender is an easy cover for a sex offender to hide behind, and use for perverted antics. However, there has been little to no evidence of this.
Transgender people are not trying to cause a scene when using the bathroom nor are they trying to make people uncomfortable. The only goal they have is to go to the restroom without being noticed or judged — like anyone else. Trans people use the bathroom that causes the least amount of ruckus and besides, even if someone had a problem with transgender rights, what could they do to stop them?
Whether it’s because of a religious belief or personal ideal, many feel that it is a safety or moral issue that needs to be addressed within schools and public environments.
The problem with these ideas, however, is that there has been a miniscule amount of cases of transgender — or people posing as transgender — sexually offending someone in a bathroom.
It seems that there is no need for separation of trans students and cis students and if needed, the solution would be a gender neutral bathroom.
If we want to solve this issue, we need to remain progressive and intact with what’s happening in our world so we can allow people the rights they deserve. If we put forth a small change as simple as making bathrooms neutral, we can solve a large problem that is putting so many people at ease. With this solution we can further create a public norm that will forever reduce conflict.