State bills impede on the rights of trans students

‘Bathroom war’ debates will continue throughout the next legislative sessions

Bee Barto, Editor-in-Chief

The upcoming session of the Texas Legislature is shaping up to be a brutal one for transgender students. Several bills are in the pipeline that could completely void any confidentiality that transgender student had already.

One bill would require schools to share all knowledge about students if parents ask for “personal, direct or incidental knowledge” about their children if they inquire.

And Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is proposing legislation to stop transgender Texans from using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

It seems every discussion involving transgender students is required to loop back to the ongoing “Bathroom War.” But here is the real truth: Transgender students have bigger priorities than a straw man argument like these bathroom battles.

It is the least important issue in just about all of the transgender community. Yes, it’s important. However, when it gets down to it; being misgendered by other students and teachers, dysphoria, and being able to present how they identify, are all extremely more important issues that transgender students face on a day-to-day basis.

As a transgender person myself, I could care less about what bathroom I use. If others are uncomfortable with a girl being in the girls bathroom, I will use the boys because I was born male and I have those parts. I haven’t used the girls bathroom just because it isn’t that big of a deal to me and I don’t want to risk creating some bigger issue. But I only speak for myself.

While I personally have no issue going into the bathroom of the gender I was assigned at birth, for other transgender students it is a problem they face and it deeply affects them. If they present how they feel and have that confidence to do so, but then have to go into the bathroom of their assigned gender, that hurts, and I’ll admit that, on occasion, it has been an upsetting problem for me, too.

The issue is significantly deeper than just this “Bathroom War” that has ignored all the real problems that transgender students go through every day. Lawmakers seem more concerned with outing transgender students and only want to put a target on their back.

All bills like these will do is make the transgender community a scapegoat for things like rape and sexual harassment. Debates and discussions on the “Bathroom War” only create fear and present two issues and pretend like they have correlation to each other.  When in reality, women and men are sexually harassed on a daily basis and transgender students just want to be safe and comfortable.

This year, the Legislature should stay out of invading the privacy of gay and transgender students and focus their attention on the pressing issues that really matter.