There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the basic rights of transgendered people to use the bathroom that aligns with the gender they identify with, not the gender they born with.
Although President Obama’s transgender bathroom decree for public schools was a game-changer, there is still a long way to go before public bathrooms follow suit across the nation, which is exactly what teenage Hunter Schafer has been experiencing in her home state of North Carolina.
“Every time I use a public bathroom, I have to make a choice,” she writes in a moving essay on Teen Vogue. “Do I break the law, or do I disregard my comfort and face the risk of harassment and violence?”
The question isn’t an easy one to answer. For Hunter, 17, who started transitioning from male to female at age fourteen, she’s still forced to use the bathroom that is contrary to her identifying gender. The recent House Bill 2 responsible for all of this completely unfair treatment, which promotes the (false!) stereotype that transgendered people are somehow a danger to society.
To make matters worse, the bill banned anti-discrimination protections from the LGBTQ+ community. Without a doubt, a major, major change is necessary.
Hunter is now doing her part to raise awareness about this inhumane treatment in North Carolina. After the bill passed, she joined a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union that aims to reverse the bill. As Hunter wrote in Teen Vogue, “I did this not only in the hope of reversing it but also to represent other transgender youth in North Carolina who are as hurt as I am, and to raise awareness and acceptance for transgender individuals.”
The good news is that progress is already underway, as the U.S. Department of Justice recognizes that the bill is a violation of civil rights. And there are overwhelmingly positive role models like Hunter for the transgendered community to rally with, because despite all obstacles, she continues to move forward with confidence.
Or as she puts it: “We deserve equal treatment — that is common sense to me.” It makes sense—so much sense—to us, too.