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Gender neutral bathrooms: a right, not a privilege

While the transgender bathroom bill, House Bill 2, has been nearly universally arraigned by the media and celebrities alike (the UK even issued a travel warning to its citizens), proving that as a society we will not stand for discrimination of this ferocity, it still exists.

Despite five US states and more than 20 US cities issuing bans on official travel unless absolutely necessary to the state of North Carolina, and even Donald “Some, I assume, are good people” Trump stating that the bill was a bad idea, it was still passed through the North Carolina congress uneviscerated and without objection.

The bill in itself acts to force transgender people to use the bathroom matching the gender on their birth certificate. The root of the problem that this creates centers around the struggle of validation for transgender people, and the implications it poses are dangerous and vast.

Most agree that bathrooms are a right, and not a privilege. And so with the debate surrounding the anatomy of an entire subgroup of people, and which bathrooms they are allowed to use, comes along an intrusive and vulgar sense of unrightful entitlement by those that are perpetrating it. It should not be the business of any elected official what the genitalia of the people they serve is, even if gender in itself could be boiled down to anatomy.

I use the above to illustrate the importance of the new gender neutral bathrooms on UMBC’s campus. If we lived in a perfect world, people would not be discriminated against. Adversely we do not, and the problems that can arise from our overwhelmingly transphobic and sexist society can create counter issues from doing the morally and sensibly right thing and letting transgender people utilize the bathroom matching their gender.

The assault of transgender people using bathrooms that match their gender has been a horrifying and widely recorded phenomenon. Oppressed people are often the subject of battery when they attempt to assert their human rights, stepping out of bounds with what their oppressors see as valid or right.

Because of this unjust scenario, gender neutral bathrooms, like here on UMBC’s campus, are a good fit for now. Says a current UMBC student and transgender person on the new gender neutral bathrooms, “As a transgender person myself, I can say that entering public restrooms is a daily source of anxiety that becomes exhausting to face. Being assured that I will have the option to avoid that very stressful situation has a major benefit to my mental health … entering [restrooms] can pose a safety issue for some trans individuals, so allowing a gender-neutral option is important for a variety of reasons.”

With all hope we will soon live in a society that treats people like people, and issues like this will be human rights violations of the past. But for now, it should be our top priority to assure the safety and health of our fellow human beings, making gender neutral bathrooms a priority everywhere.