Today, the Supreme Court announced that they would no longer be hearing the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen from Gloucester, VA. Instead, the case will be moved back to a lower court where, hopefully, Grimm will be able to make his case sooner as opposed to later.
G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board
To quickly recap, Grimm’s case came to be when, in 2014, some parents of Gloucester High School students complained to administration upon finding out that Grimm, who was assigned female at birth, was using the men’s room.
Prior to the first complaint, Grimm had been using the men’s room (without any problems) for an entire two months. That December, after hearing both Grimm and various parents, faculty, and students, the school board adopted a new policy disallowing transgender students to use restrooms that correlate with their gender identity as opposed to their biological sex.
Since then, the question of which bathroom transgender individuals should use has become a widely controversial topic.
“But What’s the Big Deal About Bathrooms Anyway?”
I’ve heard this question echoed in many different ways – some phrased more pleasantly than others – over various social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
To that, I say, “Nothing. There’s nothing special about bathrooms – at all,” which is exactly why we, non-trans individuals, should mind our own business and let them use whichever bathroom makes them feel most comfortable.
Unfortunately, when most people pose that question, it’s because they’re trying to make the point that, according to them, trans issues should be considered states’ issues and not issues addressed by the federal government.
And you know what? In most cases, I’d agree with that.
When it comes to issues like the legalization of recreational marijuana or death with dignity, both of which I support, by all means, leave those decisions up to the inhabitants of each individual state. To a certain extent, each state, and its laws, should represent the ideologies of the people who live there.
However, trans issues are much less comparable to the legalization of marijuana and much more similar to civil rights issues we’ve seen in the past, such as segregation or marriage equality.
When you’re dealing with a human being and their right to be treated equally, “separate but equal” simply doesn’t cut it. Hell, learning about Plessy v. Ferguson back in high school should’ve taught you that.
And these types of issues, civil rights issues, are important, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you, a person who will likely not be affected by them.
Where To Go From Here
To be straightforward, forcing trans people to use separate bathrooms would be unconstitutional and forcing them to use bathrooms that correlate with their biological sex isn’t a real solution either.
Cisgender individuals, like me, and likely you, will never run into the issue of being unsure about which bathroom to use simply because our biological sex aligns with our gender identity. We’ve known this about ourselves since childhood and most of us have never second-guessed it.
That said, because we’ve never had to struggle with our gender identity and its relationship to our biological sex, it doesn’t make much sense for us to try to settle the issue for trans people, unless we’re going to allow them the full freedom that we have to use a public restroom that correlates with our gender identity.
And until that’s the case, we, cisgender individuals, should sit down and listen instead of arguing over the basic human rights afforded to others.