By Adam Joseph Taylor
MI First Election
Michigan legislators are considering a bill modeled after a new North Carolina law requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond with the gender stated on their birth certificates in schools and state buildings.
Advocates of LGBTQ rights and transgender people say that the new law discriminates against them and it is unnecessary.
Representative Sam Singh, said I understand that they are using religious freedom as a backdrop but North Carolina legislators and the governor have unfortunately tried discrimination into their laws.
Singh said a new bill was proposed by Sen. Tom Casperson preventing the transgender community from using the bathroom that they identify with and Singh has fought this in the past and will continue to do so if needed he said.
Erich Pitcher, co-facilitator of TRUE LGBTQ Group Gateway Division, said that there is a sense of backlash in transgender people after being in the media so much.
“There is this sort of backlash that’s starting to occur and part of what you’re seeing is North Carolina first sort of taking a lead on this issue and what I think it means is that transgender people are fighting and winning in some places in terms of their activist work and organizing work.”
Meaghan Good, an MSU student who is a part of the LGBTQ community, said “It’s really unfair because a lot of transgender people worked really hard and for them to have come this way to have their rights stripped away so quickly like that is very hard. I think it is a violation of human rights.”
Supporters of the proposed law say that it protects our youth and girls in bathrooms everywhere while others say that there is no connection between transgender people and crimes in public venues.
Kelsi Briana, an MSU student who is involved with LGBTQ organizations on campus, said there is no proof of crimes that happen in public venues of transgender people.
And she is right. There is statistically no evidence to support that transgender people have higher crime rates than non-trans people.
But an MSU student and supporter of the North Carolina bill has a different opinion on the issue.
William Stewart said that transgender people should have to deal with this on their own and not put it on other people.
“It puts the wellbeing of kids at expense and that to me as a grown up, someone who has chosen to be a new gender should have to deal with, kind of suck it up and if you choose to be this new gender, go into your old bathroom and at the very least do it for the benefit of the kids at the expense of this law.”
Pamela Smith, a visiting sociology professor at MSU, said that we have not been completely socialized to really understand and accept the transgender community.
“It feels somewhat uncomfortable for people and for others who have always only been able to focus on two genders because gender is a socially constructed dichotomy. But there could be more than one gender in our society. People who are transgender are actually someone who not always have medical surgery but they identity as the other sex.”
Ashley Chaney, for the Department of Residence Education and Housing Services on MSU’s campus, said that they take the safety and security of all students very seriously.
“We offer housing options for transgender students. A transgender student looking for a supportive living arrangement in the residence halls can work with staff in the Housing Assignments Office and the LGBT Resource Center to explore options.”
Alex Lange, the assistant director of the center, said “We do educational programs on campus, like our QuILL program, to better help educate students, faculty, and staff about how to be more inclusive of those within the LGBTQ+ community. We often really focus on education about gender and trans identities because it is often the area folks have the least knowledge in. We also have our Trans@MSU page on our website, where we’ve compiled all of the policies that concern transgender students. Included on that list is the locations of all of the all-gender restrooms on campus that students can access.”