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New Study Debunks Safety Hysteria Over Trans People Using Bathroom Of Choice

New Study Debunks Safety Hysteria Over Trans People Using Bathroom Of Choice

Research has confirmed that women are not in greater danger of sexual assault or privacy violations when transgender people are allowed to use the public restrooms of their choice.

Psychiatrists who conducted a recent study found that anti-trans groups like the Family Research Council, American Family Association and Liberty Counsel are raising concerns not borne out by the data.

“A thorough review revealed that only a small number of cases actually involve perpetrators who were transgender, perpetrators who falsely claimed to be transgender, or perpetrators who attempted to disguise themselves as a member of the opposite sex to gain restroom access,” the researchers wrote.

One of the psychiatrists, Brian Barnett of Cleveland, Ohio, reported in an op-ed for The Huffington Post: “We found only one instance — one! — of a transgender perpetrator in an alleged sex crime in a changing room. Likewise, we found just one case where a man ... allegedly entered a women’s locker room without disguising his gender in any way and stated that a new local law expanding transgender bathroom access allowed him to be there.”

The incident prompted the Washington State Human Rights Commission to stress that the law does not condone such behavior.

The study was not the first time researchers have debunked claims that transgender people pose a danger in restrooms. A review by Media Matters also uncovered no proof that expanding equality in public facilities results in more physical attacks or privacy issues.

ThinkProgress noted that although bigots frequently use as a scare tactic the specter of men cross-dressing so they can go into women's restrooms, Media Matters identified only 13 such cases in the United States in the past 14 years.

“The safety concerns of those opposing the expansion of transgender bathroom access aren’t based in reality,” Barnett declared. “With millions of Americans using public facilities daily, there is simply no reason to be concerned about sharing bathrooms with the country’s 1.4 million transgender citizens or worry about what might happen if they are legally permitted to use the bathroom of their choice.”

While anti-trans activists have cited more than 100 supposed instances to justify their claims, most of the cases involved no criminal actions. Some cisgender men have entered women's restrooms, which current laws already prohibit.

The facts are not discouraging conservatives from persisting in their campaigns against the LGBT community. In Massachusetts, they are trying to repeal legislation that banned discrimination against transgender people in public places. A poll in May showed that 52 percent of the state's voters backed the law, but another survey the following month found just 49 percent support.

LGBT-rights advocates point out that the real victims of violence and intimidation are transgender people.

The new study, published in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, noted that “the debate over whether transgender individuals should be allowed to use the public restrooms (including locker rooms and changing rooms) that correspond to their currently expressed gender rather than their biological sex has been of recent interest nationally.”

The researchers recalled that in 2016, North Carolina legislators approved the first state law stipulating which restrooms transgender people could use. That led to other states also considering legislation requiring their residents to relieve themselves in facilities that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates. None of the bills has become law, although their proponents have succeeded in spreading lies and misinformation.

North Carolina overturned its statute last year, but President Trump's administration repealed federal regulations banning restroom discrimination against the trans community.

Barnett wrote that “many transgender people spend a lot of time thinking about bathrooms and give serious consideration to which set of toilets they are going to use each time they need one.” He continued: “It’s a game of bathroom calculus. Should they go in the room designated for the gender they know themselves to be, or should they go in the one designated for the gender that other people say they are? Either decision risks harassment and violence.”

The psychiatrist warned that prejudice is harming children, as evidenced by a recent incident in Oklahoma. Maddie Rose, a transgender girl, was the target of threats on Facebook after she used a girl's restroom on the first day of school. Her family has been forced to look for a more friendly community. They have raised more than $50,000 on a GoFundMe page to fund their move.

“Transgender people are still having to waste time and lose sleep over which bathroom they’ll spend at most a couple of minutes in,” Barnett wrote. “The impact this worry has on their lives is profound. A survey of nearly 28,000 transgender participants revealed that 59 percent avoided using a public restroom at least once in the previous year due to confrontation concerns. Ignorance and fear of the transgender community repeatedly interfere with people’s ability to simply choose and use the bathroom that best suits their needs.”