As reported by the Los Angeles Times, conservative politicians have recently argued that people should be required to use the bathroom of their assigned gender at birth due to public safety and security. They believe that granting the freedom to choose a bathroom encourages child predators and other dangerous adults to walk into the women’s restroom by claiming to be a woman. This can lead to easy attacks on women and children.
Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee shares these beliefs.
(Photo source: Slate)
“[These] ordinances [say] if your 7-year-old daughter—if she goes into the restroom—cannot be offended and you can’t be offended if she’s greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man,” he said in a speech at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters Convention
This fear is not only irrational, but also entirely fabricated. In states where anti-bathroom discrimination laws have been in place for years, there is no evidence of this freedom leading to an increase in attacks, according to a recent article by CNN. There is seemingly no correlation between transgender bathroom use and restroom assault. CNN notes that in Maine, where laws have been in place for over 11 years, the state Human Rights Commision failed to find a single bathroom incident occurring as a result of these freedoms.
Additionally, there is no definitive way to know whether a law restricting bathroom choice would actually make a difference. If child predators want to go into the women’s restroom, no law will stop or discourage them. No law will physically keep them out of any bathroom they desire to enter. No law will prevent them from putting on wigs and dresses and disguising themselves as women. With no practical basis in reality, it is easy to see the public safety argument as a very thinly veiled excuse to discriminate against transgender people.
The public should not have their freedoms taken away as a result of an arbitrary precaution for a crime that may never occur. This punishes transgender people for a fact over which they have no control: their gender identity.