[Image: Emmie, a young girl with long blond hair and a frilly blue dress, sings into a microphone on an outdoor stage, with onlookers smiling and clapping in the background.]
When I cast my vote yesterday, the many San Francisco ballot measures were my primary reason for going to the polls. As usual, some results went my way, and some did not. But from my perspective, one of the most important defeats was not in my own city. It was in Houston, Texas, where voters defeated a proposed equal rights ordinance that would have banned discrimination against oppressed people, including trans people, in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
The reason? Hate campaigns that convinced voters that men would take advantage of the legislation to prey on women in restrooms and locker rooms. Because once again, transmisogyny rules the day. Many people simply refuse to believe that trans women are actually women, and not men dressed as women. Despite a complete lack of of evidence that allowing trans people to use the correct restrooms has resulted in any increase in sexual harassment or assaults (which are already illegal in any case), cissexists refuse to acknowledge that we just need to pee.
The growth of anti-trans sentiment is the flip side of visibility. Trans people – trans women of color in particular – are not immune from violence or discrimination anywhere. In the wake of the Houston defeat, the Transgender Law Center has alerted supporters to fight a trans discrimination initiative here in California.
The victims of this hate have done nothing to deserve their fate. Look at the little girl pictured at the top of this post, singing at the Trans March. Her name is Emmie. I don’t know much about her, but I do know that she is a girl, and that she would be very out of place in a boy’s restroom. Who cares what her chromosomes are, or what genitals she has? What kind of warped person wants to know what is between a child’s legs before they’ll allow them to use a restroom?
Trans girls are girls. Trans women are women. They use restrooms for the same reason as any other girls and women do. Let them go in peace.