In 2016, North Carolina officials and the U.S. Department of Justice filed lawsuits against each other regarding North Carolina’s law on transgender use of public restrooms. While the U.S Department of Justice supported the right of transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choice, North Carolina officials believed that transgender people should be required to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender written on their birth certificates. According to CNN, one of the main points of the state’s argument regards privacy rights.
North Carolina believes that its law “reflects concern and compassion for the many North Carolina residents—especially girls and women—who do not wish to be in close proximity to persons with genitals characteristic of the opposite sex when using public restrooms, locker rooms, and showers.” Ultimately, the state argued that allowing transgender people to use public bathrooms would threaten the comfort of people who use restrooms for the purpose of privacy from the opposite gender.
However, transgender people identify as the same gender as other users in the public bathrooms they use. The only difference may be their genitalia.
“External genitalia are…but one component of sex and not always determinative of a person’s sex,” said the Justice Department.
Thus, singling transgender people out as different from the rest of their gender further contributes to the negative stigma that surrounds transgender individuals. This results in the exclusion and alienation of transgender people from society, furthering the sentiment that they do not deserve equal rights or respect.
America is a country founded on the belief system of equality for all people. Denying transgender individuals this equality dehumanizes them by excluding them from the category of people who are worthy of equal rights. We should grant transgender people the federal right to use the bathroom of their choice in order to respect their privacy as equal to that of other citizens.