PR for People Monthly MAY 2017 - Page 25

This transgender bathroom thing is interesting from so many angles. And, since deciding to transition myself five years ago, it’s much more relevant for me than before. That’s a benefit of privilege, to remain blind or apathetic until something’s front and center in your own life. When I surrendered my cisgender privilege, I also gave up my right to use a bathroom when I need it, apparently.

So is it a good law, the so-called “Bathroom Bills” being proposed across the United States? I actually have no idea. Contrary to popular belief, not all transgender individuals are experts on all political issues. It annoys my activist friends that I only pay attention because I want to visit friends in North Carolina and, until this whole thing is resolved, I stay safely this side of the Mason-Dixon line.

And I can’t believe I’d ever have to think about something like that. I didn’t sit at my school desk as a child imagining I’d someday have to fear for my life just to use a restroom or that my country would actually have it on a list of things to deliberate.

Even more surprising is the lack of collaboration and cohesion from the “community” of LGBTQ-identified individuals. A friend of a Facebook friend posted recent news of the HB2 law in North Carolina and was distressed. Some transgender folks take this all rather personally. I myself, don’t. I’ve seen how things go in our country for people of marginalized identities and I take politics with a grain of salt. It’s easy for me to say that because my existence is relatively easy compared to others. But the person commenting on this post on this day reminded me that some still have it easier than me, and don’t seem to notice or care. This friend of a friend who replied with the most vitriol to the Facebook post wasn’t some straight, cisgender dude from the bowels of the Deep South, but a progressive white gay man from…Boston. That’s right. His stance being the “bathroom issue” only generated major distraction from the more important current civil rights movement. I can only assume he meant gay rights? Something else? I’m not sure. I could have asked him but I didn’t read past the short-sighted and self-absorbed nature of his perspective. Ironically, he called the transgender person’s advocacy self-absorbed. When pressed about his lack of compassion, he replied, “Your needs don’t concern me.” I asked him if he knew the definition of self-absorbed.

I wish I could say his opinion was rare. I wish I could fault only ignorant cisgender individuals for why we’re even having this inane conversation about restrooms. I wish passing this law could actually guarantee that everyone of every identity would be protected from physical harm every moment of every day. I wish a law like this instantly helped all people understand gender identity as a spectrum of presentation that doesn’t need to match biological sex to be legitimate.

Listen to me, sounding like an expert. It only happened as a result of having to explain it so many times to so many people, many of whom are still fighting for their own sense of self-respect or legitimacy in some form or fashion.

It is a good law? If it does more good than harm for the benefit of most, yes. If every person could accept that the collective whole benefits from the liberty of the individual, yes.

Does the acceptance happen before the law passes or vice-versa? Let’s pass it and find out.

Dillan DiGiovanni is an internationally-certified health coach for conscientious people and companies.

From Vermont

Is the Bathroom Bill

a Good Law?

by Dillan DiGiovanni