In an age of improved inclusion and open-mindedness, this generation has been confronted with a very puzzling question, “What exactly is human?” I do not mean to say that we are facing a special crisis but more so that we are facing a cultural phenomenon of change in gender expression. Humanity is a complex bunch, we are animals, but not quite in the sense that we have opposable thumbs and highly evolved brains. We are able to see past survivalist instincts to make decisions based on morality and personal conviction. Because of this innate human ability, it has fallen upon our populis a series of issues regarding expression; of self, of mind, of thought, of ambition, our kind struggles to understand the complexities of our own human condition and has subsequently clashed and fought over these indescrepencies for centuries.
Over the centuries, civilizations who have risen and fallen have sporadically endowed upon their citizens differing values, some flourishing in individual expression and others dismantling and destroying it for the sake of conformity.
Recently, our country, has been particularly challenged in the field of expression as members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community [LGBTQ for short] and many others have strived for acceptance and their rights to express sexuality and gender. Gay marriage for example has been a controversial contingency point where both sides passionately fight for what they believe in. While some claim “Same Love”, others claim blasphemy. Either way it is becoming harder and harder to sweep these issues under the rug.
Recently, a controversial law has been passed allowing for the placement of transgendered bathrooms to exist within schools. Many claim this legislation is far too vague and possibly detrimental to the moral fabric of our society. You may ask yourself “Is it ok to be gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, asexual or anything else in between,” you may question the freedoms of this country and try to understand what exactly the boundaries are to, ‘being yourself’.
The single best way to deal with those who identify with or as these seemingly innumerable gender identities, sexualities and lifestyles is to treat them as what they are; human beings. They have a heart that beats, blood that runs through their veins and a mind just as advanced and limitless as our own.
Within a school setting, many parents and students have raised a brow and spoken out against the establishment of these bathrooms, claiming they may in fact lead to the disruption of privacy and safety of students. When confronted with these arguments, one is forced to ask if they considered that these bathrooms may lead to the inclusion and assimilation of students who otherwise have been marginalized? Many critics seem to forget that schools have made small adjustments to accommodate all students, whether it be wheelchair accessibility, braille on classroom numbers, co-taught classrooms, differing class schedules or special education departments, educational facilities have always sought to include all members of the student body. While the transgender population may differ from school to school it is important to remind ourselves that these students are still humans, they are still entitled to the same educational privileges as anyone else, so why can they not have the ability to choose a bathroom?
Our own school is home to transgender students, luckily our relatively relaxed campus atmosphere has resulted in minimal discomfort for these brave Barons. In order to comprehend and empathize the predicament transgendered individuals are faced with, it must first be understood the difficult circumstance and gradual evolution into finding ourselves that we all go through. Boy or girl, gay or straight or anything in between, we all have our struggles in finding who we are and what we’re meant to do. Although unconventional, the journey to becoming a transgendered person is the same as anyone else’s journey to becoming a fully realized individual. Imagine not being allowed to express your sexuality or way of existing that makes you feel the most comfortable, makes you feel the most whole. No one wants to be put in a box or left on a shelf to be a marginalized member of society. If you are not hurting anyone by expressing who you are and it makes you happy, then there is no good reason not to allow that individual to live. As Americans we are promised certain unalienable rights, “to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Our founding fathers crafted a constitution expressing the truest freedoms and forged a government for the people. Transgender’s are people.
As if it were not hard enough to grow up in a world with pre-existing conditions such as intolerance when you fit what is considered, ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal’, imagine what it must be like to have a natural affinity for going against the grain; that your idea of self is unacceptable, even a sin.
The steps being taken today will help ensure a more accepting tomorrow. Hopefully, there will be a day when we no longer referred to certain bathrooms as ones meant for transgender people, but just as bathrooms. From the elementary to high school level now, schools must provide adequate resources to include all students within their educational facility.
Bathrooms are inclusionary, the efforts being put forth by the government are at their core good, although the law may be vague it is a step in the right direction and there are always room for improvements. The bottom line is people are people regardless of their individual beliefs or how they choose to exercise their free-will, we should support our fellow Barons and accept and assimilate them into the whole of the student body if they haven’t been already. Accept your fellow man. Be kind and be open-minded.