I would like to applaud ‘South Park’ for attempting to spread awareness of issues facing queer and transgender people in society through one of their episodes titled ‘Cissy’. Despite the fact that they have not explored such issues well in the past, they are trying to make a difference now. That step forward is worthy of applause. I also found a great opinion article on areas ‘South Park’ could improve on and wanted to highlight some of the quotes I liked best.
On a more mundane level, “Cissy” handles bathrooms brilliantly: All-gender restrooms are necessary, because they’re the only safe and dignified place for many non-binary and genderqueer trans people to do their bathroom stuff. But a scene from Randy’s subplot aptly demonstrates the problem when people expect—or worse, force—binary male- and female-identified trans people (like myself) to use them: All-gender restrooms aren’t “the transgender bathroom,” they are bathrooms for everyone. Men’s is still just for men, and women’s is still just for women; but since most trans people are men or women, you can see why it’s wrong to assume someone should have to use the third option just because they’re trans. The episode subtly salutes this misconception by labeling the third door in the school as “Other.”
Yes, it’s time to acknowledge one crucial point: Trans men are men and trans women are women. Please acknowledge them that way because that is the way they want to be treated. If people are at a stage where they wish to question their identity, give them space. If someone does not want to be one or the other gender, let them be free to do so. No one should ever feel pressured or forced to be someone they are not. No one should be forced to go into a toilet environment where they will be forced to conform just to do their business.
I love the idea of 10-year-olds questioning their gender. Here’s the thing about questioning your gender: It doesn’t actually change the way you feel inside, it just helps you look deep enough to know yourself best. The only reason we associate questioning with transition is because society punishes, so brutally, any variance from cis, that most people would avoid publicly revealing that they’re questioning themselves
I sincerely hope there will come a day, when people will become more educated about queer and trans identities, to the point where it will be perceived as something normal as the binary gender identities. Then, if people do come out come out, I hope they will no longer receive unwarranted treatment like stares and abuse. Queer, transgender and people who are questioning should be treated like normal people, because they are. There’s nothing wrong about questioning gender identities and there’s nothing wrong with people who experience gender dysphoria. They should not be discouraged from being who they are.
Some people may think it is abnormal because they haven’t experienced it themselves. I implore those people to open their minds and start acknowledging the fact that there are people out there who feel that way. There is a reason why these issues are receiving more and more attention now, even in a show like ‘South Park’. Queer and transgender identities obviously exist, so people should stop denying it. Even the latest version of the diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM-5), developed by the American Psychiatric Association, never said all transgender people have perverted desires. People shouldn’t assume that all transgender people are perverts or mentally ill, because they are not.
I think Principal Victoria puts it best, when in her announcement to the school after explaining why they’ve eliminated “the transgender bathroom,” she says: “Anyone who has a problem sharing a bathroom with people who might be transgender will have to use the special designated bathroom designed to keep them away from the normal people who don’t care“
Having unisex, gender-neutral, or all-gender toilet facilities available is a crucial step forward and necessary, not only because queer and transgender people will no longer have to feel excluded, but also because such toilets expose people to different gender identities. These toilets should not be eliminated, as ‘South Park’ suggested.
The mistreatment queer and transgender people face in toilets can make them feel uncomfortable to be who they are and discourage them from coming out. It’s time to stop making toilets an obstacle. ‘South Park’, thank you. Thank you so much for improving your attitude and I hope you continue to improve!