South Dakota’s fixation with children’s penises

Yesterday, a bill discriminating against transgender children passed the South Dakota state senate. Of course, the bill didn’t mention trans people specifically. It simply stated that use of school restrooms and locker rooms is limited to people of the same “biological sex… as determined by a person’s chromosomes and anatomy as identified at birth.”

As I’ve pointed out before, chromosomes are not routinely tested at birth, and the appearance of our “anatomy” when we are born has little to do with our appearance later in life. Regardless, what this bill comes down to is what I stated in the title. The people supporting this bill really don’t want anyone with a penis to be in a girls’ restroom. The idea that these adults are even thinking about children’s penises should be seriously disturbing to anyone who cares about safety, privacy, and autonomy.

The bill is awaiting the signature of the governor, who has apparently claimed he’s never met a trans person and doesn’t want to, in order to not influence his decision. Because of course, the people who are actually negatively impacted by this legislation — the girls and women who are bullied, beaten, and killed for attempting to live their authentic lives — don’t count.

Transmasculine people like myself are harmed by trans-antagonistic legislation too, of course. I still fear using men’s rooms, over two years into my transition, and seek out gender-neutral accommodations whenever possible. But I am not generally seen as a threat.

It’s trans women who conservatives and TERFs are convinced are men posing as women in order to spy on, sexually harass, and rape cis women. They have presented no actual evidence of this harassment happening, but continue to promote these hateful lies, which they are projecting onto children as well as adults.

Cis allies sometimes ask what they can do to help trans people. Here’s something you can do. Speak out against trans-antagonistic restroom bills, loudly. If your school or workplace has gendered single-occupancy restrooms, lobby to make them gender-neutral. Call out anyone making jokes about a trans person’s appearance or “anatomy”.

We need to stop this fixation on the genitals of strangers. We just need to pee.


Originally published at funcrunch.org on February 17, 2016.