Bathroom access protest bleeds ignorance

I had no high hopes or great expectations for this Board of Trustees meeting. All I knew was that I was going to have to sit through argument after argument based on nothing but irrationality and prejudice from protesters.

The larger-than-usual crowd that gathered for the meeting on Jan. 22 consisted mostly of protestors who were upset over flyers posted around the school. The flyers in question explained that gender-diverse people could use the bathroom of their choice. 

“Give him a slip. Or her. Or…” Aaron Mason, chair of the Board of Trustees, fumbled awkwardly with pronouns before fizzling out. The board meeting, which centered around transgender bathroom issues, was off to a great start.

Mick Valentino

I was informed that a typical meeting ends with public commentators, but because of the supposedly controversial subject at hand it is decided that the public commentators will start off. I was disappointed but not surprised that citizens of Monroe were treating equality as a controversial topic. 

For protestors, they were quite tame. I must admit I was expecting more. But the rules were followed by everyone and each public commentator had the chance to speak up about their concerns surrounding the trans bathroom “controversy.”

I noticed that a majority of the protestors who spoke against the trans bathroom issue used the same wording. “Men in women’s bathrooms.” There was never a mention of ‘trans women’. Just ‘men who want to be women.’ Was it out of ignorance or malice? Either option was a repulsive showing of backwardness.

 A few protestors made their true feelings more well known than others. In reference to the flyers and the fact that trans people can use the bathroom of their choice, one woman said she was “appalled that this was being allowed.” Appalled that students could go to the bathroom peacefully? I find it appalling that this is considered a controversy.

Another woman spoke up and said “biological sex exists-and in certain situations, it is vitally important-such as a bathroom, where sex and gender are not the same, and must not be conflated.” 

How does someone know that a trans person is in the bathroom with them? Do they peek around the stall to see what ‘biological sex’ the person next to them has? Are they lurking in the bathroom and staring at every single person who walks in? To me, that sounds much more predatory than the trans people they’re worried about. 

I think that every opinion surrounding the trans bathroom issue is based around the same argument. That trans people are predators. This ‘predator’ argument has been around for ages and used on different minority groups. The argument was used in the 1950s against homosexuality. It has been used to describe immigrants coming across to America. It was used when dealing with the Civil Rights Movement. It’s just the same old fear mongering argument draped over the current minority group of choice. 

There is no rationality in the argument. No logical thinking. Just an overly emotional response to an ever-evolving society. Disgust. Outrage. Fear. The kind of feelings that hold us back. 

This argument bleeds miseducation. It screams about a refusal to learn and grow. It’s just a blanket for prejudice and discrimination and we cannot fall for it. 

This is a college campus. This is a place to be educated. To learn. To evolve. With this ridiculous, fear-baiting controversy consuming the community, I’m not seeing any sort of education though.