Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Reality Of Bathroom Laws

What those laws are really targeting is not trans people but those who do not fit the gender norms. Cisgender women and men are being targeted because they do not look like what some people feel a woman or a man should look like. I came across a blog the other day that talked about this.
Bathroom Laws Are About Insufficient Femininity, Not Being Transgender
Fibonacci Spiral
By Vandy Beth Glenn

Recently, in the wake of all the high-profile nonsense about restrooms in this country, a friend of mine (who is a gay attorney, just to set the table) messaged me on Facebook with this:
“I am in regular communication with lots of ‘Republicans’ and others who would self-describe as conservatives. I frequently hear people say, ‘I don’t have a problem with anyone being transgender.’ And when they elaborate, what’s clear is that their problem is with people who ‘look like’ they have transitioned—i.e., people who, for whatever reason, have external visual identifiers that indicate that they were formerly presenting as male/female. And I just think that that sort of thing is:
  1. classist (not everyone can afford procedures like facial feminization, etc.) and
  2. not really any different than other sorts of bigoted thinking—why should it really matter what someone looks like?”
There’s a good bit to unpack in that comment. Let’s start with his statement that’s really at the heart of the matter: “their problem is with people who ‘look like’ they have transitioned—i.e., people who, for whatever reason, have external visual identifiers that indicate that they were formerly presenting as male/female.”
Last Thursday I attended the LGBT Moveable Senior Center at one of the host towns, the guest speaker was the former Executive Director of Love Makes A Family and she was talking about her history and the history of the LGBT movement in Connecticut. Afterward there was a discussion, I was the only trans woman there, everyone else were older lesbians some of whom came out in the fifties and sixties and were on the frontlines of the battle for our rights all their lives.

A little while in the discussion I said that the root of all discrimination is not conforming to the gender norms. I expected a heated debate over this instead I got total agreement.

It is the lesbians and gays who do not fit what society thinks as a “typical” woman or man should look like that face the discrimination and harassment and violence.

It is when a lesbian or gay shows a public display of affection that they get attacked. It is the butch lesbian or the feminine gay or it is the trans person who doesn’t quite fit into society who face the harassment and violence.

What this Republican legislation is doing is trying to force everyone in to a mold of what the Republicans think a person should look like, dress and act. They want everyone to look like Jim and Margret from “Father Knows Best” and the children all should be like Betty, Bud, and Kathy and in the Honor Society and a star athlete.

1 comment:

joanna Santos said...

extremely well said!