Hate, Activism and Bathrooms

celes

Celes Dreyer

The issue of hate has existed in this country since its very inception, when the native people were callously tossed aside. That being said we cannot fix the past and simply feeling guilty is not a solution.  We have to strive to create a future that helps remove hatred that comes from fear and lack of understanding.  Hatred is a stain on our country and it continues to grow as bigotry continues to exist largely unchecked in the present.  Surely things are slightly better, because laws have been passed to protect people from the actions of those who hate them. That does not, however, stop hatred from existing, and it does not stop people from getting hurt or killed by it.  I’m writing this article from my own personal view of the world as a transgender woman, but transphobia is only one part of the bigger problem, and even though that is going to be the focus of what I talk about, I have to recognize all the other hatred that exists.  Unarmed citizens are being shot due to the color of their skin, people are being pulled off planes for speaking in a language that people are uncomfortable with, a math professor was pulled off a plane because someone was scared and thought they were writing in another language, transphobia and homophobia are fueling laws that promote discrimination, hate permeates anything that mentions a religion other than Christianity, and often when atheism is simply mentioned, it is responded to with hate and derision.  It is really hard for me to keep up with current events as of late, but I continue to pay attention.

I am a pretty strong individual.  I have been through bullying, sexual abuse, and I have lived through my entire persona being shattered.  Despite all of that, I am graduating in a few days with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.  I strive to be out publically as a transgender woman so I can be a resource to help others who are struggling, and I talk about my experiences so that others can learn.  That being said when I get online and read comments, articles and watch videos that are about bigotry it is rough.  But I am not going to stop paying attention, and I am not going to hide.  If I did this, I would be doing a disservice to anyone that does not have my privilege of being a white, middle class, college educated person.  By paying attention and using my platform to speak on my own experiences it helps create a space that I can use to give others that have less privilege a place to speak.  And that is the most important part of activism to me.  I not only strive to make the world a better place for myself, but for others as well.  So I am not going to ignore the horrible comments, I am not going to keep my head down and be quiet, I am not going to let others suffer while I gain more rights, and I am not going to hide from the world.

I cannot speak for anyone else, so I am here to talk about the bigotry that affects many of my friends, my family, my girlfriend, myself and many others. This is the anti-LGBTQ legislation and particularly the bathroom bills that conservative lawmakers are trying to pass in many states.  These laws are very clearly based on hatred and prejudice.  All of the religious freedom restoration act laws are just a license to discriminate against people.  Church and state should be separate, there should not be government protections for hatred or discrimination due to religious beliefs.  I am mainly here to talk about the bathroom bills.  As I write this there, are 11 states that have introduced bills in the guise of protecting women and children from other women.  There have been no cases of an actual transgender person using their identity to gain access to assault other people.  Quite frankly we are more scared than anyone else when we use the bathrooms.  I sometimes wish I could ignore my bladder in public and pee at home safely.  Unfortunately, our bodies do not work that way, and holding it can cause many health issues.  They also have stated it is about stopping perverts from pretending to be a transgender person.  Well I have some news for them, people can walk into either restroom without claiming to be a transgender person.  If someone is going to break the law and assault someone do they think another law is going to stop them?  That is not how this works.  And if conservatives care so much about sexual assault and abuse, they should be focusing on preventing and stopping it through funding the organizations that are actually working to do this.  Not policing everyone’s genitals at the restroom.

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