Trans People are Not a Threat

Helena Jenkins on Transphobia


A flag representing the trans community waving in the breeze

Helena Jenkins, Staff Writer

Transgender people are not a threat to you, no matter what bathroom they use. There has not been a single case of a trans person assaulting another bathroom-goer in any of the cities, townships, or states that gender-affirmative bathrooms have been legally mandated. In fact, transgender people continue to live in much higher danger than others, with a 40% suicide rate, and approximately 50% experiencing violence or abuse in their lifetimes.

Besides, consider this situation logically: What is stopping a cis person (cis/cisgender meaning not trans) from entering the other bathroom now? What invisible forcefield is preventing men from entering the women’s bathroom and assaulting them? The answer, of course, is that there isn’t one. Given that no trans person has ever assaulted a cis person in a bathroom, but there have been many cases of cis men assaulting others in bathrooms, our focus should clearly not be on trans people.

The popular imagery of ‘a man wearing a dress’ (aside from the inherent transphobia) is preposterous; there is nothing stopping former Governor Mike Huckabee from indulging in his creepy desire to invade the women’s restroom now. “Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE,” Huckabee said. “I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.’” A cis man’s desire to use any method necessary to creep on women should not be used as artillery against trans people’s ability to use the bathroom.

To summarize: assaulting someone is illegal no matter who you are or what bathroom you’re in, so stopping transgender people from going to the bathroom is not ‘protecting’ anyone, and it’s harming trans people.

Additionally, the fear that has been popularized by sensationalist media can be boiled down to fear of men assaulting our women and girls. (For some reason trans men and nonbinary people aren’t quite as scary?) Putting aside the weirdly possessive idea of “we male lawmakers need to keep our women safe,” this vocal fear-mongering points to a societal problem with sexual assault and misogyny. Why should we be afraid of “men” entering the women’s restroom, if not in fear of assault? And if there have been no cases of a trans person assaulting someone in a bathroom, where could that fear have come from? Our society has a major problem with sexual assault, and we’re looking for a scapegoat in all the wrong places.

In fact, the major groups pushing the narrative of the “scary trans predator” are themselves purveyors of misogyny. Kat Blaque of the Huffington Post put it well when she said, “Furthermore, I find it laughable that colleges and high schools are expressing concern for women on their campuses because we’ve seen time and time again that schools are more invested in maintaining their image than properly addressing sexual assault on campus.” If lawmakers and transphobes really want to “keep our women safe” they can start by pushing for legal reform around rape trials, processing more of the thousands of unprocessed rape DNA kits, and just not assaulting women.