At the beginning of 2017, Texas attempted to limit transgender bathroom access with a new bathroom bill. The bill was similar to North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2) that passed in March 2016, but unlike its predecessor, progress on the issue stalled . . . until last month.
In early June, Gov. Greg Abbott revived the bathroom bill by ordering a 30-day special session of the Texas legislature starting in July. If passed, it would prevent municipalities from passing antidiscrimination ordinances designed to protect transgender people. In opposition to Abbott, members of the Texas transgender community have decided to fight back.
On July 15, a San Antonio woman by the name of Ashley Smith visited with Greg Abbott and had a smiley picture to show for it. What Abbott didn’t realize, though, is that Smith is transgender. “How will the Potty Police know I’m transgender if the Governor doesn’t?” Smith captioned the photo. While the photo is a strong statement in and of itself, Smith makes a pretty salient point about transgender individuals: it doesn’t matter. Most of the time, you wouldn’t even notice if you were using the same bathroom as a transgender individual. It’s worth noting that transgender people present in many different ways, but even if an individual isn’t able to “pass” as the gender by which they identify, it’s up to them which door they walk though.
What happens in a bathroom behind closed doors is private business and really only matters to each separate individual. Transgender individuals pose no threat to others. In fact, according to a study conducted by UCLA in 2013, a transgender person is more likely to be victimized in a restroom rather than the other way around. The transgender community doesn’t fall into the black-and-white gender boxes that are created by dangerous bathrooms bills like this and HB2. As Smith proves, there’s no way to truly enforce it. It’s just another way for conservative lawmakers to attack a group of people they wrongfully hate and tragically don’t understand.