What To Do About Toddler Terror
It’s true: You’re more likely to be attacked by a toddler with a gun than a transgender person in a restroom
You may have seen this point made in the context of a meme: More people have been killed by toddlers in the United States this year than by terrorists. This happens to be true and verifiable with actual data. It’s also true that toddlers have killed more people than transgender people have attacked cisgender people in our public bathrooms.
Let’s look at some specific statistics:
- 23 people have been shot by toddlers this year in the United States
- 21 people died at the hands of toddlers in 2015, greater than the number of people killed potential or suspected terrorists in the United States
- 6 people have been shot by dogs in the past 5 years, 10 since 2004
- 3+ GOP legislators have been arrested for their bathroom misconduct
- 1 person was killed by a shark attack in the U.S. last year, 59 were attacked
- 0 transgender people have been charged with assaulting people in public bathrooms
As far as I can tell, yes, that’s zero transgender people *ever* — which is pretty amazing when you think about it. Perhaps that’s because transgender people actually prefer to keep to themselves in public restrooms. You know to maintain their privacy. There’s plenty of data to prove that, too.
In fact, transgender people are much more likely to be the victims of assault.
- 12 percent of transgender youth report being sexually assaulted at schools by their fellow students or educational staff
- 22% of homeless transgender people report being assaulted while staying in shelters
- 15% of transgender people report being sexually assaulted while in police custody or jail, a figure that leaps to 32% for African-American transgender people
- ~50% of transgender people experience sexual violence at some point in their lives
But who would many of our political and religious leaders have us fear? If we don’t have any rational reason to fear the average toddler, we certainly don’t have any reason to fear transgender people. (And we should consider the threat of terrorism and shark attacks in the context of real data on the subject, too.)
Far right-wing activists used similar “bathroom panic” fears of unisex bathrooms to prevent the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. It worked at the time. Thankfully, we seem to be making real progress in learning about our transgender friends in the 21st century. So let’s not be so gullible as to fall for these irrational, fear-based arguments this time around. If we do, we’re just allowing politicians to pull the same old levers they pulled in the past in order to scare up enough votes to keep themselves in office.
If you see people spreading transgender panic on via social media, point them to actual data like this. Because transgender people are far more likely to be physically harmed due to this rising fear and the spread of transphobia. And that’s a verifiable fact.