Why do Transgender People Need to Use the Public Restroom that Aligns with Their Gender Identity?

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.”

Click here to support Ash’s documentary!


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.

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1 Comment
  • Ashley

    May 15, 2016 at 7:28 PM Reply

    Out of all the political arguments that I have decided
    not to address, this bathroom bill is that ‘last straw’

    I have always voted conservative, you know, where it can
    live in the republican or democrat home. It doesn’t make
    sense for me to say I’m republican if I am told from the
    party that I am not one of them and have a bathroom
    bill to prove it.

    I am very happy to see Dara post:

    It is not an uncommon story to hear conservatives feel
    alone about being gay or transgender and still argue the
    issues of a particular party, ignoring the rights of the GLBT.

    Certain truths have more priority. If there are 10 important issues,
    and these people believe the other issues take precedent, then
    it is easy to ignore the bathroom bill.

    People will still fight for these priorities and believe that it will all work out, even
    when these people are sticking up for the party that is putting them down.

    We seem to believe that we won’t be branded with triangles marking
    our gender identity or partner preference. That talk has already spread.

    Being fair about IDEAS first, regardless of which political camp is sponsoring it or
    political views of the individual, is essential for compromise.

    Yes, I wrote it: compromise. In the times of fairness and not pure hatred,
    it can be accomplished. It is not evil and is much different than capitulation.

    For example: I hated that churches could kick me out of the women’s restroom
    and kick me off their property.

    The compromise here, in a place of PRVATE quarters or business operation,
    such as a church, they have the right. I should be less mad, because what
    we all got in return, is that all PUBLIC areas from business have to recognize
    our rights and can not use religion as a grounds to dismiss our rights.

    It seems like the compromise has been working, all along.

    I promise not to go to a religious facility and protest. They should now
    honor the same compromise and not protest my rights in a public area.

    Not so hard.

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