To Whom It May Concern:
I write to you today to express my disappointment in your 01 June 2016 issue of The University Star. Jessica King’s opinion piece entitled, “Transgender people in women’s bathrooms spark safety concerns,” incited anger and frustration. Numerous freshmen and their families undoubtedly read this issue because it had “New student orientation guide, Summer 2016” emblazoned on the front page. An obscene amount of space was allocated to local business advertisements and the Allies of Texas State program and the Office of Diversity and Equality were altogether ignored. While this issue welcomed new students by educating them on a selection of campus resources, it simultaneously shunned incoming transgender students.
“Just because a few people outside the societal norms have issues using a bathroom according to their biological gender, doesn’t mean we should cater to them.” Have you ever thought to consider that transgender discrimination transcends even to the formulation of national statistics? The U.S. Census Bureau and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention do not survey if Americans identify as the gender to which they were born. The estimate most frequently cited equates to approximately 700,000, or 0.1 percent of the American population. However, this estimate is likely incorrect because there are many who fear revealing their true gender identity.
In her article, King also branded the incorporation of transgender bathrooms as a “trend,” as though we should somehow equate them to craft beers and kale. Superficial labels like this perpetuate stereotypes of “otherness” when the LGBT community simply wants inclusion and equality. Ultimately, King advocates for the incorporation of altogether segregated bathrooms for the transgender community. Huh. How would the door be marked? With a question mark? With a half man-half woman combination? Again, this only promotes the idea that members of the transgender community are societal outcasts who should be avoided. Last I checked, the doctrine of separate but equal—the former slave-holding states’ socio-political response to the abolition of slavery and ultimately legalized racial segregation following Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)—was abolished with The Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In the summer months, as new and prospective students traverse the campus and climb the steps to the LBJ Student Center, they are led by university staff who welcome them unconditionally. As a collective, we should all do the same.
Sincerely, An Advocate for Unconditional Acceptance
(Heather M. Haley, M.A. History)