I was recently filmed for an upcoming documentary and wanted to share that video clip with you. I was asked to comment on the question:
“Why do Transgender People Need to Use the Public Restroom that Aligns with Their Gender Identity?”
This is from Ash Kreis, the filmmaker behind this video:
“My name is Ash, I am a trans girl living in Colorado. More than that, I am an artist and a filmmaker. Since starting my transition 7 months ago, I have had an increasing interest in pursuing a documentary exploring gender identity and what it means to be transgender. I finally decided to bite the bullet and give it a shot.
“Given the highly volatile political climate surrounding trans rights, I decided to start adding voices to the debate that can help give people a complete view of the issues.”
As a mental health counselor, one of the things I work with my clients on is what is it that they can do in their life to be able to feel more and more aligned with their true gender identity. And one of these areas is paying attention to gendered spaces in their life.
Meaning, where are the different places in their life (which currently most of your choices are male or female) where they can make a conscious decision to say, “I know which space I feel comfortable in. I know which space I belong in. And that’s the space I’m going to go into.”
Public restrooms is what comes up number one with my clients as an example of a gendered space. Saying, “I want to be able to go into this women’s restroom because I am a woman.” Or, “I want to go into the men’s restroom because I am a man.”
This is something that everybody else takes for granted as something that they don’t have to worry about. But for transgender people this is, especially early on in transitioning, something that’s on their mind constantly. It can bring up anxiety; it can bring up fear; it can bring up literal physical discomfort if they end up not using the public restroom.
This is something that should be a given—for them to be able to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender. And so to have such push back against something that should be an easy decision and something that they shouldn’t even think about… it just ends up resulting in such a tremendous amount of issues in our counseling sessions.
They begin to feel like they aren’t welcome. Not only in that gendered space but in their town; in their state even in the country in which they live in. They’re being told that, “Whatever space you think you fit into? You don’t actually. You need to go back to the other space that you don’t fit into.”
And to me, it’s just a travesty.