This article originally appeared on 03.31.15
This is a man named Michael Hughes.
Why is he in a women’s restroom?
Michael is protesting a series of bills across the U.S. and Canada that, if passed, would ban men like him from using men’s restrooms and leave him no choice but to use the women’s room.
Bizarrely, these laws have been proposed as a way to protect the privacy and safety of women.(I know. It doesn’t make sense, but hang with me.)
Michael is a transgender man, meaning that when he was born, the doctor looked at him and labeled him a girl.
As Michael can tell you, he’s not a girl and he’s not a woman.
Inspired by a woman from Canada, Michael has been snapping selfies in women’s restrooms to show people just how out of place he looks.
If these types of bills become law, people like Michael and other trans men would be forced to use women’s restrooms.
Is this the type of guy you want in your restrooms and locker rooms, ladies?
Several states have proposed laws legalizing discrimination against transgender people this year alone.
The main focus of these bills has been whether trans people should be allowed to use public restrooms, though they’re often part of a larger effort to deny rights to trans people.
Texas’ bill would have denied trans people entrance to public restrooms, showers, or changing rooms.
The penalty for using a restroom that doesn’t match the gender “established by the individual’s chromosomes” is up to a year in prison and a fine up to $4,000.
Even worse, the bill stated that an “operator, manager, superintendent, or other person with authority over a building” who willfully allows a trans person to use restrooms that match their actual gender will be charged with a felony and could serve a minimum of 180 days in prison and be fined up to $10,000.
The bill remains in committee awaiting action.
Florida’s language would have established gender as one’s “biological sex, either male or female, at birth.”
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Frank Artiles, brushed off backlash by arguing that going to the bathroom is a choice.
The punishment for a trans person who uses the correct bathroom in Florida would have been up to a year in prison and a fine up to $1,000. The bill died in committee, and did not become law.
Kentucky’s bill would have denied trans students the ability to use the correct restroom.
The bill came in response to a Louisville school’s decision to allow a trans student to use the restroom that matches their gender.
While the bill didn’t specify punishment for using the “incorrect” restroom, it did put what some are calling a “bounty” on catching trans students in the “wrong” restroom. The bill did not become law.
The groups pushing to deny trans people the ability to use restrooms simply spread misinformation.
Opponents of trans-inclusive environments argue that allowing trans people to use restrooms that match their gender invites and allows men into women’s restrooms to leer and assault women at will.
Their arguments aren’t based in reality.
(Still with me? The laws are pretty ridiculous, but now you know why they’re being proposed.)
It’s just as ridiculous for a trans woman to have to use the men’s restroom as it is for Michael to have to use the women’s restroom.
Trans women are not men, and Michael is not a woman.
When it comes down to it, trans people just need to pee. That’s all.
Watch Michael Hughes’ appearance on MSNBC’s “Out There” with Thomas Roberts below: