With the increase of coverage of transgender (women mostly) people in the media, some have woken up to the fact that we exist and they’re horrified that they might have to share a bathroom with us.

Like we just materialised into the world when they finally looked outside their little bubble of bigotry, where do they think transgender people have been doing their business until now?

As Texas becomes the latest state to consider banning transgender people from the bathrooms that align with their gender identity, Republican representative, Matt Shaheen, recently said “I will die on this issue politically. I am going to bat for my wife and my daughters.”

This is Buck Angel.

He’s a trans guy, the forgotten part of all this nonsense. Under the new laws in parts of America he is LEGALLY REQUIRED to use the women’s restrooms or face six months in prison.

Is that what you had in mind, Matt, when you went to bat for your wife and daughter?

The sad fact is that transgender people have far more to fear from using the bathroom than anyone else.

It is they who are abused verbally, physically and sexually with frightening regularity yet this provable fact never registers on the radar of these ill-informed morons who can’t even point to a single case where a real transgender person has assaulted someone in a public bathroom.

Here in Northern Ireland, a place that, at times, can seem as ignorant and backwards as parts of the States, Lavery’s recently introduced gender neutral bathrooms.

It’s a sign of changing times, but with increased visibility comes more attacks, something that Stephen Nolan used on Wednesday to try and fire up his crowd. It didn’t work.

A man who lives for controversy and has no trouble using people who are prejudiced against to boost his numbers, Nolan showed absolutely no grasp of the issue. I don’t even think he Googled ‘transgender’ to find a basic understanding of it.

At one point he declared he didn’t even know what ‘intersex’ was, not a crime in itself, but these are the people we have debating our rights – people who don’t even know anything about the issue.

The debate started with a video of a tall, white (presumably cis) man from Nolan interviewing people on the street in Belfast city centre asking relevant and cutting questions such as ‘what if I decided I was a five foot Chinese woman’ while demonstrating the depth of the ignorance at play.

Feeling like you should have been born with a male or female body is something that is wired in your brain. I’ve yet to meet a single person who claims, in all seriousness, that they should have been born as another race or a foot smaller than they actually are.

Transgender people suffer real torment, self-harm and a higher rate of suicide/suicide attempts than any other group in society because their brain says ‘this gender they told me I am is not right’. I’ve yet to hear of a single instance of the same happening to people because they believe ‘I should have been five foot tall, why am I six?’

“If you’re male, you’re a male,” said one guy on the street, which was promising until he added “it depends what you’ve got down below, you should just go to the original bathroom. You think on your girlfriend or your children in there, me turning round and telling you I’m a female looking to use their bathroom, you’d feel a wee bit ‘what’s he doing?'”

Is he going to stand and check people’s genitals before allowing them in? That’s what is happening in North Carolina where, reportedly, you have groups of men actually entering women’s bathrooms (which I presume they weren’t doing before this law) and trailing women they think might be transgender out.

Who really should be afraid of whom in this argument?

Other replies included:

“I’m afraid that’s a bit dangerous” (despite there being zero evidence that it is dangerous to anyone other than the trans person)

“But I don’t think I’d like them in with me” (from a man who said people should be allowed to identify as they want)

and finally “If they feel they are male or female, let them go to that toilet.”

That last response was from my girlfriend, randomly stopped on the street to be asked about this issue. She highlighted how unclear and nonsensical the interviewer had been with his questions.

When people discuss this issue, they not only take things to the extreme, which is completely ridiculous because the examples they regularly give would never happen in real life, but also unhelpful, yet they see no problems in this ‘logic’.

On the show, Nolan asked the assistant editor of Spiked magazine what would happen if a naked woman walked into the men’s changing room and, with breasts and vagina on display, declared ‘don’t hassle me, I’m a man!’

This is a classic example of their ridiculousness.

Saying beforehand that you are going to take it to a ridiculous extreme doesn’t negate the fact that you are taking it to a ridiculous extreme with the sole purpose of trying to prove your argument. Why else would you do it?

Let’s look at this ‘extreme’ example.

For a start, that woman wouldn’t be a woman, HE would be a trans guy. And as a trans guy myself, I promise you, the last thing that any trans person wants to do is walk around, with genitals they’d happily hack off themselves, on display to the public. I didn’t even go swimming for 25 years, so scared was I of someone seeing my body and the things that shouldn’t be there.

But let’s answer Nolan’s question, what would happen?

At the very best, the fictional trans person, who had apparently rid themselves of the gender dysphoria that caused them to declare they were a man in the first place and become comfortable enough with their body to parade it around, would receive verbal harassment, most likely sexual. People with breasts can’t walk down the street without being harassed like this so it’s no leap to imagine the same or worse happening in this fantastical situation.

So, who is at risk? Is it the men in the locker room or the naked person with their genitals on display? Tell me again, who should be be afraid of whom?

Ask yourself a question – when was the last time you saw someone else’s genitals when you went to a public bathroom? Trans people often don’t want their partners to see their ‘bits’ so they sure as hell don’t want to be waving them in your face.

Maybe it’s time you stopped obsessing over our genitals and asked yourself why you care so much about what’s in our trousers.

Who is the real ‘pervert’ here?

(It’s worth noting that, overall, despite the show being full of Northern Ireland people, most of them just said ‘let people be people and get on with things – we’re a pretty awesome set of humans really, we just let a lot of nonsense get in the way of others seeing that).

Don’t forget, sexuality and gender aren’t the same thing, but this image says what it needs to. Don’t be on the wrong side of history on this issue. Equality is a human right.

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