Trump and the transgender student: A lesson in hypocrisy

Posted on Mar 7 2017 - 8:01am by Daniel Payne

Donald Trump isn’t working to protect the youth of America. Not all of us, anyway.

The Trump administration withdrew the Title IX protection of transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender a few weeks ago, and while this is of great concern for many students, it received little public attention.

This is probably due to the fact that the new administration does so many shocking things in a single week that the media, much less the public, can hardly keep up.

The inability to constantly comprehend the decisions from the White House creates a need in the average citizen to reflect on the consequences and implications of Trump’s actions.

Like far too many of the new policies, this one is not grounded in reality, but false perceptions.

One of these false perceptions is transgender students are a danger to other students. The narrative that transgender people are more likely to harm others in the restroom is not only a false one but a dangerous one.

Transphobia presents a real threat to those who simply want to go into the bathroom that matches their gender. More than one in 10 in the people in the transgender population have been verbally harassed in a public restroom in the past year. One percent has been physically attacked, and one percent has been physically assaulted.

These figures are not surprising, given the widespread support of transphobic policies such as Mississippi House Bill 1523, the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act.

What is surprising, however, is a president who would openly disregard the facts to receive support from a particular faction of the country. Party before nation in deed – but not word – is Trump’s plan, positioning himself as a candidate not confined to the partisan lines that are so hated. All the while, he turns his back America’s process in pursuit of the approval of a single faction.

This position, of course, is very strange coming from the man who admitted to going into the changing rooms of the pageants he once owned and “inspecting” the naked teenagers. As Trump paints a picture of transgender people as dangerous in public restrooms, he himself proved to be the dangerous one and was even proud of his inappropriate behavior.

Ironically, if society were to judge individuals based on their actions as opposed to stereotypes associated with them, we would see more bans on Donald Trump using the restroom than transgender people.

It’s time to be honest about transgender people around us: They are being attacked. Attacked disproportionately in bathrooms and by the president. Even attacked disproportionately in the streets — four transgender people were murdered in a single week.

We need to discuss these facts and put the dangerous stereotypes to death. We need to stand up for one another, even if that means standing up against the policies, ideas and fears that have long tormented those who are not that different from ourselves.

Daniel Payne is a freshman integrated marketing communications major from Collierville, Tennessee.

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