Supreme Court needs to protect transgender rights

By Breanne Williams, Columnist
On October 30, 2016

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case next year regarding transgender rights. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

When the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage was constitutional on June 26, 2015, it took a stand to protect the rights of millions of Americans who had previously been neglected by both federal and state laws. 

Now the Court is taking on another impactful case, vowing to decide once and for all where the line for transgender rights is drawn. Despite a 4-4 split — the result of the Senate’s failure to even consider President Barack Obama’s nominee following Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February — the Court needs to come together to protect the rights of all transgender students and citizens of this nation.

On Friday, the Court announced it would be taking the case of Gavin Grimm, a student at Gloucester High School in Virginia who was designated female at birth but identifies as male. Grimm is forced to either use the female restroom or use a private one, which has “turned him into ‘a public spectacle’ before the entire community, ‘like a walking freak show,’” according to the American Civil Liberties Union’s, which represents Grimm, brief.

The brief also detailed the many struggles Grimm has had to endure due to the restrictions placed on him at the high school including avoiding consuming fluids and developing a severe urinary tract infection. Because Grimm was singled out and forced to comply to regulations not imposed on any other students he began to feel “distracted and uncomfortable in class,” according to the document.

When North Carolina’s extremely oppressive governor Pat McCrory decided to play God and delegate bathroom usage in his state based off of what sex organs a person had at birth, the nation responded in an uproar.

A few latched onto his haughty rhetoric and began to protest establishments like Target that refused to enforce such tyrannical restrictions. Picketing and attacking the corporation online, a handful of people were able to create a nationwide conversation regarding the issue. 

Ultimately, Target chose to spend $20 million to add a private bathroom at each of its stores across the nation. 

The protesters used fear tactics to convince citizens allowing a transgender person to go into whichever restroom they choose would increase rape and violence across the nation. This ignorant logic is completely unfounded. 

North Carolina politicians used illogical arguments to justify the passing of their bathroom law

“He could be there to look at the anatomy of the opposite sex,” said Ron Baity, president of Return America and pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. “He could be there because he’s a sex pervert. He could be there to bring damage to a young girl.”

I hate to break it to Baity, but the reason “he” is in that bathroom is because “he” is a woman and she has to pee. There isn’t a diabolical scheme underway. There isn’t a sinister underlying motive. 

“Over 200 municipalities and 18 states have nondiscrimination laws protecting transgender people’s access to facilities consistent with the gender they live every day,” according to a coalition of over 200 national, state and local organizations across the nation that deal with sexual assault and domestic violence. 

“None of those jurisdictions have seen a rise in sexual violence or other public safety issues due to nondiscrimination laws. Assaulting another person in a restroom or changing room remains against the law in every single state.”

Transgender citizens are not causing violence, but they are falling victim to a disturbing amount of brutality. Sixty-four percent of transgender people will experience sexual assault in their lifetime, Laura Palumbo, communications director at the National Sexual Violence resource center, told ABC News, citing a study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality.

The Supreme Court needs to take a stand to protect the citizens of this country who have, for the most part, been entirely ignored.

Breanne Williams is a senior majoring in mass communications. 

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