0006 - We can't Pee in Tennessee

May 23, 2021 Tananda D. Season 1 Episode 6
0006 - We can't Pee in Tennessee
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Tennessee recently passed an anti trans bathroom bill that is aimed at making businesses and entities with trans positive bathroom policies rethink their support or force them to post signs with transphobic and humiliating wording aimed at making trans people feel unwelcome.

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Official notice this facility maintains the policy of allowing use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation of the restroom.


Does that thank make you feel a little bit uncomfortable? Or are you scratching your head wondering what the heck it even means? Well, if you're in Tennessee, sometime after July 1st, this year, you might see that in front of a bathroom near you. Spoiler alert: it is meant to make you feel uncomfortable. You're listening to transgressive a podcast about gender identity, LGBTQ, a social justice issues. Disclaimer:. I am not a lawyer and I am not providing any kind of legal advice. This is my interpretation of things as a trans woman and nothing more. Casting trans women as men, and as men who are invading women's bathrooms and spaces is nothing new. Bigots and transphobes have been doing this kind of stuff for many years. Back in episode three, the elephant in the room, we called out in general, some of the latest anti-trans legislation that was coming about in the United States. So here we are three episodes later, and the state of Tennessee has actually managed to pass and sign into law an anti-trans bathroom bill. Ironically, by law, this humiliating sign is going to be posted outside of bathrooms in businesses that are actually trans supportive. So what's going on? What this law doesn't do is outright ban trans women from using the women's room or trans men from using the men's room. It's my guess that lawmakers know that any such direct attack would be very quickly shot down by the courts. Instead, the law designates a very specific wording for the sign, which re-frames trans-inclusive bathroom policy as "scare words". This has two basic effects. One: for any trans person seeing this sign, they will feel very unwelcome and uncomfortable as that language is incredibly offensive. Two: it signals to people who are anti-trans that this business has a trans positive bathroom policy, but does so in a way that very clearly is calling out as something negative and to be warned about. Businesses and entities that are trying to be trans positive, have been very careful in using language saying we are trans inclusive or other phrasings that do not stigmatize trans people or portray trans people in a negative light. By forcing this offensive and humiliating language to be posted in a very large and prominent sign at the entrance of the business, trans people are disenfranchised while anti-trans people are riled up. When you look at the language of a genuinely trans inclusive bathroom policy, it usually just says something to the effect that people are free to use the bathroom that reflects their gender identity. And this is the thing... Words matter. Phrasing matters. If you ask many Americans, "Should people be able to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity?", They are much more favorable toward that. Then if you say, "Should men be allowed to use the women's room?" That is very loaded language. That's why this bill is a problem because it is effectively forcing businesses who wish to have a trans-inclusive bathroom policy to use very loaded language, very scary language on a big sign out front. This could have effects that include causing companies to think twice about having a pro trans bathroom policy. And that's kind of the point. Tennessee lawmakers will be very quick, I'm sure; to say, "Oh, we're not saying that trans people can't use the bathroom. We just want to warn people." However, I am also concerned that what's really going to happen is that that language is going to encourage a certain type of person to go out of their way to cause trouble. What I'm talking about here is that it seems like it is only a matter of time before some cis-gender hetero male goes into a women's bathroom and causes a scene specifically claiming, "...well, the sign said, I can do this". The idea is that the sign is provocative and those actions are almost inevitable from somebody. This will then give anti-trans folks a rallying point to say, "you see?! This is what happens when you let men into women's bathrooms!" The whole thing reeks of a solution in search of a problem. And that problem will predictably be provided by anti-trans people. Trans people have existed for a very long time, and to my knowledge, there are no recorded incidents of trans women assaulting women in bathrooms, or trans men assaulting men in bathrooms. However, there have been many incidents of trans women being assaulted in women's rooms or being assaulted by men on their way out of women's rooms. There are many stories of trans men being assaulted in men's rooms. The fact of the matter is trans people take a risk of being assaulted or harassed every single time they go into a public bathroom. Sometimes the only thing that protects us from assault or harassment is if our presentation in our gender is good enough that people don't recognize us as being trans. That concept is known as passing and will be the subject of a deeper dive in a future episode. But the point for right now is that not all trans people have that luxury trans people, especially in early transition, often go through an awkward phase where they neither really pass for the gender that they identify as nor do they really pass very well for the gender They were technically assigned at birth they're somewhere in between, and don't really fit in in either restroom. But here's the thing: It is absolutely inhuman to expect that a person is going to use neither the men's room nor the women's room and basically not pee. That's a biological function that every single one of us has to do several times a day. Everyone needs to pee, I know very few people, cisgender or transgender, who particularly care to use public restrooms. They're often smelly and crowded and pretty much every single person just wants to get in, do their business and get out on molested by anyone. And the big lie here is that somehow trans people are different. That we're predators that we want to go into women's spaces and be predators. No! we're there for the same reason everyone else is to pee and maybe fix our makeup before we head back out again. Negative effects of this law may very well include businesses rethinking trans-positive bathroom policies... That is not a unwanted side effect, that is basically the intent of this law. The intent is clearly to scare off businesses from having trans positive bathroom policies while simultaneously punishing those companies that do additionally, it is making openings for people to cause the very kinds of problems that the law is claiming. It is trying to protect people from. Furthermore, if this law is not challenged in courts and found unconstitutional, you can guarantee that it will spread to other states like a contagion. The most important thing you could take away from this episode is that you have probably shared a public restroom with many, many trans people over your lifetime were just fellow human beings who need to use the bathroom, wash our hands, maybe fix our makeup and get on with our daily lives. Our website is You can reach out to us We can also be reached at Twitter @transgressive21. Please consider leaving a five-star review on your favorite podcast platform. I'm Tananda, and this was transgressive.

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We can't Pee in Tennessee
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