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Conservative Trolls Encourage Men to Enter Women’s Restrooms to Protest Trans Protections

Woman holding toilet paper in front of a toilet

In a shocking yet somehow unsurprising display of absolute ignorance, a group of conservative trolls has started encouraging men to go into women’s restrooms and locker rooms in a sort of twisted demonstration against the protections currently in place for transgender people. The Stranger reports that in the “Keep Locker Rooms Safe” Facebook group, a commenter suggested a protest wherein they should get “male protesters to occupy the female locker rooms, and female protesters to occupy the male locker rooms” in an attempt to “shut down the business.”

Somehow, by their spectacularly flawed logic, they believe that placing men in women’s locker rooms shows how much they want to protect… women… from… men in locker rooms (and vice versa)? What? How could you say you want to “protect people from entering the wrong restroom” if you’re telling people to go and do just that? How does that make any sense?

The scary thing is that this suggestion doesn’t stand alone. The other day, I shared the story about SB 6443’s demise, which would have barred the protections currently in place around trans people and proper bathroom usage. In a Facebook event page encouraging people to show support for the bill, one commenter suggested the same thing: that “a group of men should go ‘occupy’ all the women’s restrooms in the building to prove the point that men should not be welcome there.”

These two aren’t isolated incidents, either. In yesterday’s story about South Dakota becoming the first state to pass its anti-transgender bathroom law, I mentioned that there was an incident in which, according to Seattle local news, a man entered the women’s changing facility at a public pool in Seattle and stated that his presence in the locker room was protected by law. “The law has changed,” the man said, “and I have a right to be here.”

The list goes on and on, and the amount of people suggesting such an outrageously ignorant “protest” grows by the day, it seems.

Listen again, and listen closely: trans women are not men. Trans women are women. Trans men are not women. Trans men are men. This fundamental misunderstanding of identity and how it works with regards to transgender people lies at the core of whatever “logic” these people are using. They refuse to see trans people for who they are, and in doing so, refuse to understand why protections like the ones in place at the federal level are so important.

Personally speaking, having to constantly state my existence is god damned exhausting. Bills like SB 6443 and the recent South Dakota law are, as Brynn Tannehill writes in her poignant op-ed, “instruments of cultural genocide.” They’re all part of a single point in a five point plan laid out by the Family Research Council designed to eradicate transgender people from existence. You begin by taking away our basic needs–a safe place to live, work, go to the bathroom–and spiral out from there.

By doing so, it makes mere existence as a transgender person nigh impossible. It makes one not want to continue living. Given the higher rates of attempted suicide amongst transgender people, making it difficult to live would be like blowing over an already fragile house of cards.

Each “demonstration,” each Facebook comment/Tweet/blog post screed, each law passed in the hopes of protecting the sanctity of the bathroom is another straw on the camel’s back. I have to ask: which one will be the one that breaks it?

(image via Shutterstock/VGstockstudio)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (thebolditalic.com), and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters (spinningplatters.com). She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.