Trans Teen Lila Perry Just Wants To Use The Girl's Locker Room, So Why Do So Many People Have A Problem With That?
Another day, another group of people obsessing over which bathrooms trans individuals use. This week, students at Hillsboro High School in Missouri staged a walk-out to protest trans student Lila Perry using the women's locker room, because people just can't seem to let the whole bathroom thing go. Heaven forbid our delicate sensibilities have to handle the idea of a woman using the women's bathroom! Except... wait a minute. That shouldn't really be an issue at all, should it? So why do so many people still seem to have a problem with it?
Perry, a senior, was assigned male at birth but has identified as female since she was 13, KMOV reports. According to Cosmopolitan, she came out as transgender in February of this year and used a gender-neutral faculty bathroom until recently. However, she told KMOV that using a separate bathroom made her feel "segregated," so she asked to use the girls' locker room during gym class at the beginning of the new school year.
It's a totally normal request, especially since teenagers aren't big on being singled out from the pack; and indeed, Perry says that the school itself has been supportive of her. But the residents of Hillsboro apparently have a different opinion. Last Thursday, a school board meeting discussing bathroom and locker room rules for trans students drew such a huge crowd that it had to be moved to the gym, and on Monday, 150 Hillsboro High students staged a walk-out to protest Perry's use of the girls' locker room.
Allow me to sum up my thoughts in Real Housewives form.
"Boys needs to have their own locker room. Girls need to have their own locker room and if somebody has mixed feelings where they are, they need to have their own also," one protester told KMOV, which calls for another Real Housewives GIF.
Around 40 students also staged a counter-walk-out in support of Perry, so at least there's that — but overall, the opposition has been so strong that she was forced to drop out of gym class out of fear for her safety.
"I don’t believe for a second that they are [uncomfortable]. I think this is pure and simple bigotry," she told KMOV.
Again, it should be noted that the school district has been wholly supportive of Perry, allowing her to use the girls' bathrooms and locker rooms. According to St. Louis Today, the Superintendent released a statement saying the district "will promote tolerance and acceptance of all students that attend our district while not tolerating bullying/harassing behaviors of any type in any form."
Despite the bullying, Perry told KMOV that she plans on using the girls' bathroom at school anyway.
Perry's story is the most recent in a long series of "bathroom wars," so to speak. Although many would say there are more pressing matters to focus on, like the ridiculously high rate of workplace discrimination and poverty faced by trans individuals, it seems like every few weeks someone is protesting a trans person using the bathroom.
Take, for instance, the entire Kentucky Senate committee, which passed a law earlier this year prohibiting trans students from using the bathroom for their identified gender. Or Yvette Cormier, the Michigan woman who tried to sue Planet Fitness for standing with a trans member who used the women's locker room. Or the Canadian bill making its way through the government that would force trans people to use bathrooms for a gender they don't identify with. It's not all bad news — earlier this year, the Harvard Divinity School installed gender-neutral bathrooms, and trans students in Japan can use the bathrooms that correspond with their gender. However, the incidents of discrimination far outweigh any other.
With all this in mind, it's not exactly surprising that trans people are much more likely to have negative experiences while using the bathroom, from verbal threats to physical assault.
This makes Perry's decision to continue using the girls' bathroom despite the discrimination even braver. You go, girl. I'd say this calls for one last Real Housewives GIF.
Images: Giphy (3)