We all know that going to the bathroom is a basic human right, and that it’s something we all do, but it matters even more when you’re disabled.
Disabled people often have to use special stalls that fit their mobility devices, or have room to empty their ostomies, or change their feeding tubes. If they don’t have access to these, it could result in infection, sepsis, or other complications.
Finding these stalls is hard in the first place. Many times, people use disabled restrooms who don’t need them, taking valuable space from us, and making us wait more time. This even happens when there are plenty of restrooms open and no one needs to use the disabled restroom.
Make that a little more complicated when you’re transgender.
I have the distinct pleasure (and I do think it’s a pleasure) of being disabled and trans, two things that profoundly effect my life. In North Carolina, a law called HB2 made it illegal for me to use the restroom of the gender I identify with. This is not the only state that is proposing this type of legislation either, many states from Kansas to Mississippi are trying to pass this right now. Not only does this make me, and so many other people (especially trans women of color) more susceptible to violence and harassment, but it also endangers my health.
Not having a safe bathroom to use means I could contract a UTI, which I am already more prone to because of my bladder prolapse, It means I might not have a place to take my medications, which could threaten my life, and if G-d willing I ever get a feeding tube, I wouldn’t have a place to change my feeds.
I bet you’re thinking, well you’re the only disabled trans person I know, this doesn’t effect very many people. Well you’re wrong. There are so many disabled trans people I know. I could list 10 right here.
But this bill doesn’t just effect trans disabled people, it effects ALL disabled people. Disabled people who have “opposite” gender care attendants, disabled young people who need to stay with their parents at all times, disabled people who are intersex, disabled people of all shapes and sizes.
So if you are a disabled person or a disability advocate who says “These laws dont effect me” YOU’RE WRONG.
So the next time you’re thinking about this legislation, think intersectionality, think disability.