“You’re invading my privacy!” yelled the woman as she live-streamed video of another woman behind a bathroom stall door to her Facebook page.
Jazmina Saavedra, a Republican candidate for Congress in California’s 44th district, paced outside the women’s restroom at a Los Angeles Denny’s. She shouted into the restroom, telling the occupant to get out.
The problem? The woman using the restroom was, Saavedra believed, transgender.
The video is uncomfortable to watch, with the restaurant’s manager siding with Saavedra’s open discussion of her willingness to attack the woman with pepper spray.
“I was with my pepper spray ready and I called the manager so he helped me,” she said in the video. “How can I be with a man inside of the ladies’ room just because he thinks he’s a lady? This is unbelievable. Only in California this happens.”
Factoring in that the only way to actually enforce policies designed to restrict trans people from using the restroom is for all people to be subjected to invasive genital checks before entering, the entire argument about “privacy” becomes absurd. In fact, the “privacy” argument has always been absurd, often involving wild hypotheticals or some sort of misguided notion of what actually happens in restrooms.
If you are in a women’s restroom and you’re seeing someone else’s genitals, you might be using the restroom horribly wrong. That’s got nothing to do with trans people.
Yes, assaults happen in restrooms. However — and this is important — the culprits tend to be cis men, not trans women, who have never argued that they should be allowed to assault people by pretending to be transgender. Assault and voyeurism in public restrooms will always be against the law, no matter whether there’s a policy for or against trans people.
If the argument becomes “Well, criminals don’t obey the laws, anyway,” then it’s time to stop pretending that rules and laws banning trans people from public spaces will have any effect on safety or privacy. After all, the only thing “preventing” people from walking into any restroom they want right now is a little plastic sign with a stick figure in a dress.
I care about restroom privacy, and if you do too, you should rebuke people like Saavedra.
Demanding to know whether or not someone is trans before they use a restroom is an invasion of privacy. Requiring trans people to out themselves as such in a public place to around a group of strangers is an invasion of privacy. Filming someone in the bathroom, posting it to Facebook, and then trying to fundraise off of the event is an invasion of privacy.
Take a stand for privacy and just let people pee in peace.