We Now Have Proof That It Was Never About The Damn Bathrooms

by | Apr 23, 2019 | QUEER RVA

When a teenage girl defended herself from boys in a high school bathroom, she was the one who got punished. So can we just go ahead and admit all these “trans bathroom bills” were a farce?

Recently an Alaskan teenager had the audacity to do the unthinkable. She used the restroom, and she even did it during school hours like a human being.

A group of boys decided to enter the girl’s bathroom in order to protest a trans boy who was using the boy’s restroom. This may surprise you to hear, but the trans boy was in a no way involved in the incident that ensued. Instead the girl who happened to be in the bathroom at the time was the one punished — for defending herself against the invading boys.

What nerve of her. Or, you know, something.

She felt threatened, understandably. When they blocked her from leaving the bathroom, she kneed one of the boys in the groin. She did exactly what we as women are taught from day one out of the womb, and defended herself. But when, according to the Washington Post, the boy was told he may need medical attention, the girl was the one disciplined — indeed, she was expelled, according to a tweet from her older sister.

Luckily, Alaskan representative Tammie Wilson had her back and agreed that, were the girl her daughter, she would have advised her to do the same thing. Wilson is also upset with how the school board handled the situation, and spoke out publicly.

“If you ever feel threatened for your safety, whatever force you think you have to give, I will stand behind you,” she said according to The Daily News-Miner. The girl’s family is now appealing her expulsion, and receiving significant support from Wilson and the local community.

This incident took place at a time when Alaska’s state government has recently contended with exactly the sort of “trans bathroom bill” we all think of when we hear stories like this — one that was defeated in a ballot referendum in 2018. However, its defeat doesn’t mean that Alaskan trans students are free to use the correct bathrooms for their gender. Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Superintendent Karen Gaborik told The Washington Post that, in her district, trans students are supposed to either use a gender-neutral single-stall bathroom, or the bathroom that corresponds to the gender they were assigned at birth.

This entire incident took place because one trans boy went beyond the rules to do what felt right to him, then posted about it on social media. No one was harmed or even inconvenienced by his actions — the problems only started once prejudiced people decided they were going to “make a point.”

This circles around to another point I have, the transgender community has, and most people with any iota of sense have. This whole brouhaha over transgender kids in high schools? It was never about bathrooms to begin with — and it never will be.

The argument we heard over and over was that everyone needs to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender assigned at birth, because we need to “protect our girls and women,” or some such crap. If that was the case, then why, when a girl was threatened in a girls’ bathroom by actual boys — to the point that she had to defend herself with force — was she the one who was punished, and not the boys?

Because the entire argument is bullshit.

It’s a load of crap, and this incident completely proves it. This was never about bathrooms, this was about policing the bodies of a community currently marginalized enough that people feel like they can bully and push them around. The hole in the argument is not only evident, but withering away like threads on fire.

What is even more depressing is the way it proves that we as a society do not care about our children — regardless of whether they are cisgender or transgender. We’re willing to put all of them in dangerous situations and then punish them when they attempt to defend themselves. All to make an abstract political point.

I have at times allowed myself to think that at least all the hubbub over bathrooms in schools meant that children were the one group in all of this craziness we call the world right now that we were willing to protect. But every single day, it becomes more and more apparent that even they are easily sacrificed in pursuit of oppressive political goals.

If the children are our future, then we need to take a step back and ask ourselves earnestly – what the hell are we doing?

Additional reporting by Marilyn Drew Necci. Photo: Zackary Drucker, The Gender Spectrum Collection

Ash Griffith

Ash Griffith

Ash is a writer and improviser from Richmond. She has a BA in English from VCU and an associates in Theater. When she isn't writing or screaming on a stage, she can usually be found wherever the coffee is. Bill Murray is her favorite person along with her black cat, Bruce.

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