In today’s world, individuals who identify as transgender have made great progress in terms of gaining more public and legislative support to be recognized as their preferred sex and not be persecuted for it. However, the transgender community once again finds themselves on the receiving end of discriminatory legislation as President Donald J. Trump reversed federal protections on transgender-accommodating public restrooms on Thursday February 23, 2017. The Obama administration had ensured that no public funding would be allotted to public institutions that did not let transgender Americans use the restroom that they feel best corresponds to their true gender. Trump’s overturn of his predecessor’s mandate has led to nationwide pro-transgender and LGBT demonstrations.
The debate over transgender-accommodating restroom use has been prevalent even in the years before Trump took office. The discount-retail giant Target received heavy criticism for its decision in spring 2016 to mandate that transgender customers could use whichever restroom they wanted to in over 1,700 Target stores across the United States. Target stuck with their decision however and other corporations such as Apple began to divert their business from partners with a history of transgender-discrimination. That state of Texas has been the apparent national leader in hindering transgender-American rights as the Texas state senate voted 21-10 in favor of a bill that requires individuals in public schools, universities and government buildings to use restrooms/bathrooms that match their “biological sex” on Tuesday March 14, 2017.
However, liberal-leaning states, cities, and enterprises have fought back by implementing cutting-edge technology to help transgender individuals conveniently find “Gender Neutral Restrooms” near them. Yelp, the internet’s foremost restaurant reviewer, has now added a filter on their mobile application that let transgender users know if a restaurant they are interested in trying out has a gender neutral restroom or not. Google has also created a nationwide map of gender neutral restroom locations in everything from university campuses to Airbnb hostels.
Just as African Americans had to fight to end race-based segregation, the transgender American community will have to continue to organize and protest for their right to use the restroom of their choosing.