Eight Public Figures Who Are Throwing Their Support Behind Gender Neutral Bathrooms
Transgender rights — including bathroom rights — have not been acknowledged by the Supreme Court. Or even heard. One high-profile case of the year, in which a Virginia school board appealed the decision to let a transgender student use the boys' restroom, was sent back down to the Appeals Court because the rule it was argued on was revoked by the Trump administration. That means that the child in question, Gavin Grimm, may graduate before the matter is solved. In the meantime, support for gender-neutral bathrooms is thankfully growing. Here are 147 people explaining why they support gender-neutral bathrooms.
Of course, it's not solely the Supreme Court that can influence trans bathroom policy. As we saw in North Carolina's passage of HB2, the state's "bathroom bill," local and state governments are also crucial to the fight for easy-to-access gender-neutral bathrooms. Before the passage of the law, Charlotte planned to require restaurants and stores to let their customers use the bathroom that matched their gender identity.
Gender-neutral bathrooms would solve the whole ordeal. Requiring them for new construction makes sense, and single-stall bathrooms are easy to change.
More cities and states need to follow Charlotte's lead on this issue. The same can also be said for school boards. Baltimore's just promised to support its trans students. There's nothing stopping school boards across the country from enacting inclusive policies — even if the Trump Administration isn't requiring them. Putting in gender-neutral bathrooms — as well as respecting students' choice to use the gendered option that matches their gender identity makes sense. Listen to these voices who support gender-neutral bathrooms and trans-inclusive restroom policies and then add yours to the list.
1) Mara Keisling
Keisling will go to bat in Congress or on C-SPAN call-in shows for transgender rights. She's the head of the National Center for Transgender Equality, after all. But leave it to a conversation with Laverne Cox on MSNBC's Hardball to get to the crux of the matter, illustrating why gender-neutral bathrooms are great:
Laverne and I cannot use the men’s room, should not use the men’s room, and by the way, if we want to go back to how it’s been for decades, we will leave this stuff alone and allow people to just be adults about it.
2) Donald Trump (Yes, Really)
The Trump Administration, mostly via pressure from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, rescinded the Obama-era directive on trans students. But he's for gender-neutral bathrooms — or at least, he kept the one in the White House. He also had this to say about bathrooms on the campaign trail when asked about HB2:
People go. They use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble.
3) Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox, one of the stars of Orange Is The New Black and a trans activist, spelled it out for MSNBC's Hardball. It's about existence, period:
When trans people can’t access public bathrooms we can’t go to school effectively, go to work effectively, access health-care facilities — it’s about us existing in public space. And those who oppose trans people having access to the facilities consistent with how we identify know that all the things they claim don’t actually happen. It’s really about us not existing — about erasing trans people.
4) Matt Nardella
This guy's an architect who argues that gender-neutral bathrooms are the solution to the entire trans bathroom debate. And they'll be way better in the end than the traditional "large, multiple-occupancy corrals for either men or women."
That is not a great solution. Multiple user bathrooms have a number of drawbacks. I’ll first say, with likely unanimous support, that multiple user bathrooms are generally gross. Worse, they are typically very expensive. The toilet partitions which divide them up, have to be resilient to pretty much everything, which makes them one of the most expensive parts of a bathroom.
5) Janet Mock
Author and trans activist Janet Mock explained why a safe bathroom was so important to her when she was in high school. She posted this picture of herself from high school on Instagram and this explanation, right after Trump reversed the trans student protections:
I had issues with bathrooms and locker room access. I was sent home repeatedly due to “dress code violations.” I was repeatedly called out of my name and misgendered daily by classmates and staff. I would go home at night and seriously contemplate never returning. The struggle of waking up every day, getting dressed, walking to school and being met with stares and closed doors weighed heavily on me.
6) Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
Seattle now has gender-neutral bathrooms in any business, government building, or public space with single-stall toilets. They've all been classified as gender neutral. For Murray, it's all about safety and respect:
No one should live in fear when they use basic accommodations most of us take for granted.
7) Payton McGarry
Gavin Grimm is not the only person who is suing for their right to use the bathroom of their choice. Payton McGarry is too — in this case, to use the men's bathroom in North Carolina. Thanks to HB2, that's illegal. He makes a pretty good argument for why the women's bathroom just isn't the solution:
In high school, as my body started masculinizing, I would walk into a female bathroom and I would be screamed at. I would be pushed and shoved and even slapped. I do not look female. I do not belong in that bathroom.
8) These 140 Celebrities
An open letter to the Texas legislature was signed by more than 140 celebrities who are against a bill introduced in the state that would require kids in public schools use the bathroom that matches their birth sex. Here's how they feel about that:
Transgender and gender non-conforming young people also already face higher rates of family rejection and homelessness, mental health issues and suicidality, and they already are more likely to be denied work and housing. How much more can you punish them for living honestly and openly?
Now of course, gender-neutral bathrooms are just part of the answer for the time being. As long as there remain to be separate men's and women's bathrooms, we must allow transgender Americans to choose the one they most feel comfortable in.
But imagine a world in which no one had to worry about going to the bathroom. Everyone would be free to use any stall they please without worrying about their gender identity or expression. That's the kind of world I want to live in — even if it means the men's line is no longer shorter because it doesn't exist.