Why we’re covering this: Transphobic bathroom bills are bigotry, plain and simple. Considering that 27 states are slated to pass anti-LGBT legislation this year, it’s time to consider alternative methods for battling the bigots.
“Collectively and openly, in their rainbow of appearances, [transgender people] should enter gendered spaces in defiance of the segregationists… The nation needs to see the diversity of transgender identities safely and peacefully using gendered facilities and standing up to threats to their humanity. They should understand that existence and acceptance of people born with nonconforming bodies is not what threatens the peace and safety of our society, but the violent threats and actions of those who cannot tolerate human difference…
Everyone would be well served if signs were posted explicitly stating that intimidation, violence, or threats will not be tolerated against any person in those facilities, regardless of how they look, and that anyone who experiences or witnesses such aggression should report it. Additionally, men who make murderous threats against trans individuals for entering bathrooms with their “wives and daughters” need to be held accountable.”
— Trans activist Mischa Haider and Harvard law professor Bruce Hay suggesting a plan for civil disobedience in an Advocate.com article entitled, “Time for a National ‘Pee-In’ Movement?” Haider and Hay say that while social media photo campaigns like #WeJustNeedToPee point out the absurdity of anti-trans bathrooms bills (like the one just passed in North Carolina), such campaigns focus on trans people who “pass” rather than gender non-conformists.
While national “pee-in” would help raise transgender visibility, they say, while helping make Americans more aware of a wider spectrum of gender expression, it would also require the participation of trans people willing to face violence, arrest or imprisonment for their civil disobedience. Haider and Hay compare their action to Black civil rights protestors who sat at segregated lunch counters during the 1960s.
As far as people who make “murderous threats”, in 2012, bathroom-bill sponsor Tennessee Representative Richard Floyd threatened to “stomp a mudhole” into any transgender person who dared piss in the same bathroom as Floyd’s wife or daughter. While his bill failed shortly after his widely broadcasted threats, the shit head is still in office.