Red & Black

Bathroom bill weighs heavily on students

Sophomore+Ace+Uhlmann%2C+an+openly+transgender+student%2C+sits+below+a+bathroom+sign.
Sophomore Ace Uhlmann, an openly transgender student, sits below a bathroom sign.

Sophomore Ace Uhlmann, an openly transgender student, sits below a bathroom sign.

Photo by: Salem Sanfilippo Solindas

Photo by: Salem Sanfilippo Solindas

Sophomore Ace Uhlmann, an openly transgender student, sits below a bathroom sign.

Salem Sanfilippo Solindas, Staff Reporter

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You just drank twenty-four ounces of grape soda in three minutes on a dare. Though you may get $5 out of it, when you’re running to the nearest public restroom, it doesn’t feel like enough of a reward. You have two options: go to the boys bathroom, risking the possibility of someone especially violent coming to beat you up, or try the girls, earning accusations that you’re there to hurt a woman or child.

 

This may sound like a horror story to some, but for many transgender people around the United States, it’s an unfortunate reality. Since President Donald J. Trump revoked protections for trans kids in schools this February, faculty are no longer obligated to allow us the freedom of choice.

 

In many schools, openly transgender students are given the option to use the nurse’s bathrooms, the stalls of their biological sex, or not go at all. Not only is this time consuming and emotionally damaging, but the ruling is also a threat to our physical safety.

 

Unfortunately, this is not where the problems end. According to a poll of fifty students and staff around the school, 18 percent of the student body believe transpeople do not need protections, while 10 percent believe they do not exist at all.

 

Ideologies like these occur when discrimination is so common and normalized over the years that future generations fail to see the problem. The same has happened with racial minorities and women’s rights, and it is why people mistake feminism for hating men or Black Lives Matter for terrorism. When we are provided a reason to think a certain group of people are the enemy, we are able to dehumanise them.

 

This may all sound like unrealistic ranting, but there is proof in numbers. According to a survey by The Task Force, over 75% of transgender students report being harassed by other students, while 35% have been physically assaulted. With such a large demographic of transgender students at Jefferson City High School, it is clear they face a serious problem of bullying, transphobia, and neglect throughout the halls.

 

The solution sounds like it should be more complicated and tedious than it is, but to solve the issue of slurs and jeers being thrown at the trans community, JCHS just needs to protect its transgender kids. First, allow them to go to the bathrooms of their choice. If this is normalised, the myth that they try to go to the right bathrooms to harm women or children can be erased.

 

Second, do not tolerate harassment of any kind on the basis of gender or sexuality. Give those who spread hate speech real consequences.

 

Lastly, stop objectifying the transgender community. Transgender people are not a rare minority: we are all over Jefferson City and the rest of the world. Everyone wants peace and equality, and the first step to that is accepting those who are different from us.

 

Together, we are stronger, and together, we can work for what we believe in. All we need to do is try to understand each other a little bit better.

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Bathroom bill weighs heavily on students