Trans Student at Columbus High Speaks Out

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A few quotes stuck with me when I read this article.

“The students don’t see me as a person,” said Damien Greenlee, junior.

On a daily basis, queer and transgender people have to deal with the risk of getting disapproving eyes and abusive remarks. I use the word ‘risk’ because while it doesn’t happen every day, it does have a higher risk of happening in gendered toilets, where people think that opposite sexes need their own private toilet space.

Of course, I do not object to the idea of gendered toilets. However, when these toilets put queer and transgender people in higher risk of facing discrimination and abuse, it’s up to authorities to take action and minimise these risks. Risk can be minimised with the installation of unisex or gender-neutral toilets, because people have no right to kick people of other genders out if they know they will enter a space with people of different gender identities. This would even increase their exposure to queer and transgender people. Exposure is key to attitude change. The idea that some do not identify with the sex or gender they were assigned at birth needs to be normalized.

“I had no bathroom that I could go to,” Greenlee said. “The bathroom that I’m going to now is a storage unit.” … no lock on the door and a leaking ceiling.

If I were treated like that as a queer person, I would feel like I have no place in society and that everyone is telling me to go in hiding. I ain’t Gollum for Pete’s sake, don’t force me into a cave. Queer and transgender people are normal human beings and they should be treated as such.

“The teachers have gotten mad at me because I have told them it was going to take me maybe ten minutes to go from class, to the bathroom and back,” Greenlee said.

First they force a student to go to a toilet that’s far away, then they get mad at the student for being too troublesome. Anyone sense some irony in this situation? They could have made life easier for the student and themselves by letting the student use gendered toilets in the meantime, then build unisex or gender-neutral toilets so that everyone’s happy.

We all need to pee, help us skip to the loo.

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