Angry Transgender Woman Writes Story About Texas Bathroom Bill, Changes the World

Like most people who managed to live through 2016, Texas has had an exceptionally, embarrassingly terrible year. Whether it be placing archaic restrictions on abortion procedures and women’s healthcare in general or blatantly ignoring presidential mandates meant to protect transgender students, Texas has been doing the most when it comes to mistreating already marginalized peoples. Unfortunately, with a Texas legislative session on the horizon and our state red as ever, 2017 is already looking like it’s gearing up for the next political trainwreck.

This brings me to Senate Bill 6, also known as the Privacy Protection Act, a bill being paraded around by conservative Texas officials, in particular our Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who considers the bill a priority, under the guise of protecting (cisgender) women from the invisible trans feminine predators lurking bathrooms and private women’s spaces to ravage and molest unsuspecting (cisgender) women and girls.

According to the Austin-American Statesman, Lt. Gov. Patrick said in a recent press conference that SB6 would “protect businesses from government interference” by overturning local government non-discrimination ordinances that offer protections for transgender people. The Statesman went on to quote the bill’s author Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham who claimed that the bill would also require public schools and universities, along with government buildings, to designate bathroom use by people “according to their biological sex.”

To date, there have been no reported cases of transgender people assaulting anyone in public bathrooms in Texas, nor am I familiar with any cases like that occurring in any other state, and I’m sure if there were such cases, proponents of SB6 would be thrilled to have any sort of ammunition to use against the trans community, not that they need it to create such discriminatory legislation.

Conversely, there are numerous cases of transgender individuals experiencing assault, harassment and discrimination in most public spaces, notably in those that are segregated by gender like public bathrooms and locker rooms. With that in mind and also considering that the number of trans people murdered annually is at an all time high, it’s more appropriate to say that cisgender people are a threat to us, the trans community, not the other way around.

All of this transphobia and transmisogynistic rhetoric is fueled by the fallacies that trans people aren’t who we say we are and that a binary system of imagining and enforcing gender is absolute. Both ideas are incredibly far from the truth, and yet they’ve managed to dominate the mainstream, influencing policy-makers and voters alike. But what lies beneath all of this fear-mongering and hatred towards trans people, specifically towards trans women? If you ask me,  it’s a whole lot of insecurity, ignorance and an inability to accept change.

So let’s tackle and unpack some of this bullshit, shall we?

I’ve noticed that the folks who speak out the strongest against trans people have a “two and only two” system in mind when it comes to gender. They believe wholeheartedly that gender is immutable and exists in physiology rather than in the mind. To them, any question to that system is deviancy and should be sought out and eliminated with the swiftness of a thousand… really swift things.

However, when looking at the most recent studies on gender, we find that sex characteristics, such as chromosomes and genitalia, are not indicative of gender and are in fact gendered because of proponents of biological essentialism, a framework which purports that gender is informed solely by our physical nature. In other words, to the average anti-trans legislator, girls have innies and boys have outties because that’s the way it is and always has been and always will be.

But having XX chromosomes does not a woman make. There is nothing inherently “woman” about a vagina nor is there anything inherently “man” about a penis. We as a society have long agreed to gender these terms that majorly serve to divide us into two groups: those who can impregnate and those who can be impregnated. But we as a species have evolved beyond that. There is such a vibrant spectrum of gender and gender expression to cultivate in this world, and there is no viable reason to maintain the “two and only two” system other than to maintain the cisheteronormative status quo, which is exactly what conservative lawmakers are setting out to do.

To transphobes, the existence of transgender individuals is an anomaly, an attack on all that is normalized, and they’ve no other approach but to demonize us as perverts trying to destroy the fabric of society, one public women’s restroom at a time. In reality, whenever a trans person uses a public restroom, we are doing one of four things: peeing, pooping, washing our hands or checking ourselves in the mirror with the possibility of a fire selfie session if the bathroom has good lighting. Imagine the horror when one of these anti-trans legislators realizes that trans bodies function like every else’s bodies do.

If this SB6 passes and goes into effect, I’ll have to pee, poop, wash my hands and look at myself in the mirror in a men’s bathroom, lest I violate the law of the land. But I haven’t been in a men’s bathroom in years, and should I enter one, I know I’ll be met with confusion, harassment and possibly an altercation of some sort. That is because I am not a man nor do I desire to be treated like one regardless of what’s under my skirt.

I refuse to place myself in danger because it makes some fools at the Texas capital uncomfortable that girls like me exist publicly. I will not be limited to a sexual fantasy or some kind of untouchable position in society because I am a transgender woman. I will NOT use men’s public facilities in any capacity, law or no law, because it is insulting to me and trans women everywhere to suggest I should.

We are not predators, we are valid functioning members of this society trying to do our business in peace, and it’s only a waste of time and effort and tax dollars to promote and push a bill like SB6 into law.


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Profile gravatar of Polly Anna Rocha

Polly Anna Rocha is a 24-year-old queer transgender writer, journalist, musician, poet and activist of color born and raised in San Antonio, Texas.

Polly has written 2 articles for us.

16 Comments

  1. This is like, the best title I’ve ever seen, the fact that you wrote this in the third person and put your photo above the title, like, all of it is beautiful and utter genius.

    Aside from this obvious statement, thanks for your article. 1) I wish I was as articulate when I’m angry and 2) what also strikes me as ridiculous is that these people always think about trans women and the horribly transphobic assumption that they’re really predatory ‘males’ when trying to restrict bathroom access, to “protect the children”. Yet they seem to completely forget the existence of trans men. I wonder if they’d be okay forcing Buck Angel to use the women’s bathroom ???

    And 3) I hope this law doesn’t pass and that you’re able to stay safe.

  2. For those who would like an easy way to send a message to your legislator (if you are in Texas) or to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor (if outside the state), Trans Pride Initiative has set up a tool to help you do that.

    We know just this won’t change minds alone, but it is one way to add your voice to those speaking out about SB6.

    You can send emails via this link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/sb6-know-the-truth

    If you enter an address (used to determine who your legislator is) and it’s not in Texas, the tool will route you to a way to send to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

    There are templates for various wording if you would like to cut and paste the text, or feel free to write your own.

    regards,
    nell gaither, president
    Trans Pride Initiative

  3. Hi this is nifty and a good read but also there’s a mildly confusing typo in the first section about the four things people do in the bathroom: “…checking ourselves in the mirror with the possibility of a fire selfie session is the bathroom has good lighting”

    Thought you might wanna know.

  4. I absolutely agree with everything you said. But the problem is our opponents, primarily Anti-Christian Evangelical type greedy ministers, and the American Catholic leadership, who use us for profit, and their sycophant low IQ brainwashed followers. The psychopath leaders want that good pew and corporate (Example: Koch Brothers) blood money and the ineducable cheer in fear of damnation if they don’t kill us. The key is the sycophants, but they are incapable of understanding your science. Read and see these and you’ll know why.
    https://braindecoder.com/post/politics-neuroscience-1282982492

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI-un8rHP14

    The only way to change their minds is to make them afraid, and I have no idea how to do that. Honestly, our only hope is corporate rejection of these anti-trans and LGBTQ+ laws. BUT, Mike Pence wants Federal anti-trans and LGBTQ+ legislation asap, which will render corporate protests moot. Where else will they be able to go to do business if it’s the entire country? The best thing we can do right now is organize and join groups apposing the Republican leadership and Trump. Then if we can get passed the voter suppression in 2018 and 2020, we might have a chance to regain our freedoms. Bottom line, millions of Americans will have to suffer the curses of the damned economically and medically before cis people demand change upon which we may be able to ride the wave. Unfortunately, there are the thirty something judges Trump will appoint to over one-hundred federal benches, plagues that can easily haunt us the rest of our lives. Recently I have been disheartening when I heard several long time progressive/liberal leaders, who devoted their entire lives to the cause, talk about how young people will have to carry on after them. They must feel their entire lives works was for practically nothing. I guess I’m like them these days. I’m in my fifties, I want to leave the country, life is just too short to live in fear. We have no idea how bad the already bad will get. The US has had internment camps before, and this time they will be run by the Neo-Nazis. Eventually they will have a “Final solution” for everyone in the LGBTQ+, starting with the trans people, to “cut taxes and relieve our suffering as deviants.” So make your plans, even if it’s just a Go Bag! GET THAT PASSPORT with your chosen name and gender NOW, you won’t be able to after Trump in inaugurated, Pence has already made that clear. Don’t be caught unprepared. Good luck my friends.

    • Hi Jamie, while I am not fond of many of harsh stances and rhetoric of many of the US Bishops in the Catholic hierarchy, as a queer person who is in graduate school and still in the Catholic Church, I would appreciate not being described as “sycophant low IQ brainwashed followers.” What the bishops say doesn’t always correspond with what I or other lay Catholics think or do (I mean, how many Catholic families with tons of kids do you see these days?). For a window into some of what is going wrong and right for LGBT Catholics, just scan some of the recent entries in New Ways Ministry’s blog (https://newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com).

      Polly Anna, thanks for this article! In talking to some traditional-minded acquaintances and friends, I have certainly seen some of the ignorance and insecurity you mention at play. I think and hope that it is not actually “inability to accept change,” but merely reluctance. There’s a lot at stake, so I’m trying to have more of these conversations so hopefully my trans and non-binary friends don’t have to have as many.

  5. Thank you for this. It hurts me see more states trying to pass laws like this, and spreading all this misinformation too. To quote Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, “White dudes hold the record for creepy crimes.” This law won’t stop the problem, which usually is cis guys, but in fact may cause more problems. I remember when I was in hs at my local library, they caught a flasher who woman’s facility in the children and teens section to flash the mothers in the facility. He was a cis white guy. This law would do nothing to protect women.

    Stay safe friends.

  6. Thank you, Polly, for this brilliantly written piece! People in my community are threatening to repeal our non-discrimination policies with a specific transphobic focus on bathrooms. It makes me so angry. I will keep fighting here to make sure that love and acceptance wins.

  7. Thank you Polly for this piece.

    As I dont live in the US (i live in the Netherlands) it’s sometimes hard to keep up with legal things happening in other contexts. It was very informative and heartbreaking to read about how these laws intereact with your and other trans ppl’s lives.

  8. Listen: these stupid laws empower us in a sense.
    We have a choice to adhere to the law or not to AT YOUR DISCRETION.
    As a M2F trans person I can tell you for 100% certainty that my using a male restroom causes men a LOT more chagrin than my using a female one would bother women.
    Why?
    Decades of HRT, my attire, my hair, my presentation.
    However I normally choose the ladies room (where I medically and legally belong) however when traveling to in a very busy public place where the laws could adversely affect me and with immediate presence of law enforcement I have on a few rare instances used the men’s room (a couple of times in DFW airport to name one that happened in 2006 not long after Katrina).
    However when I use the facilities at a client site, hotel, or restaurant where I am a patron or worker?
    Not a chance, I go where I belong.
    But in a public place where nobody knows me, and there is a risk of arrest?
    Heck yes I am totally ready to freak out a whole bunch of cowboy/rednecks.
    You should see them. “Miss, this is the MEN’s room!” I nod and continue on my way. That is what you get when you vote bigot.

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