A sign posted outside a gender-neutral bathroom at a restaurant, taking a stance against LGBTQ discrimination.
For more than 15,000 students today, the act of going to the bathroom at school has become a daily choice between risking their personal safety or breaking the law. This is the case for transgender teenagers living in North Carolina under the law of HB2, or commonly known as #BathroomBill. On March 23, 2016, North Carolina became the first state in the country to ban people from using government-owned restrooms that don't match the gender written on their birth certificates.
This outright discrimination against transgender people has sparked a national conversation about LGBTQ injustice. In reaction to HB2, Target announced its store-wide policy that continues to welcome transgender people to use the bathrooms and fitting rooms that correspond with their gender identity. In their statement, Target said “We believe that everyone — every team member, every guest, and every community — deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally,” #Preach.
Aside from the unfairness of it all, restrooms have often been a source of danger and harassment for transgender people. According to a recent survey in Washington, D.C., 70% of transgender people have been attacked, harassed or denied access to a bathroom.
The transgender and LGBTQ community already faces significant discrimination without the need for this additional worry about whether or not it's legal to use the bathroom they feel most comfortable in. Many universities have resources for LGBTQ people, such as bathroom maps to help identify gender-neutral or single-stall bathroom options on campus.
Recently, lawmakers in six more states have proposed bathroom bills that would discriminate against transgender people in Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and Washington. Now more than ever, it’s important to stand up against LGBTQ injustice to fight for equal rights for all.
How can you demonstrate acceptance with the LGBTQ community at your school? What can you do to make your environment safer and more welcoming for your transgender peers?