On September 20, 2018 Blade News published an article titled Massachusetts Anti-trans ad Renews Fear-mongering Over Bathroom Use. It is about an ad for the state of Massachusetts which is displayed through a video to convey one specific message and try to persuade viewers opinions of what appropriate behavior should include in public settings and shared spaces for specific people. The s tory highlights the nondiscriminatory laws towards transgendered people, specifically in public places such as restrooms. People were not happy with this law as it is a big debate and currently being re voted upon. Being transgender is becoming a more common term today, as we are seeing more and more of it. Being Transgender relates to a person whose gender identity does not match wither their birth sex. This means someone can be born as a male with all male features but they feel as if they are born the wrong sex so they transform to their true identity which could be female This goes both ways.
The Issue at Hand
Massachusetts fears that the laws of welcoming transgenders into the restroom sparks all sorts of safety issues. The video is based off of an ad for the state of Massachusetts demoting this law. The 30 second ad is very one sided and conveys the message they intend very clearly. The ad uses a voice over of a woman to show how they are being seen as targets. It opens by stating that “any man who says he is a woman is able to walk into any restroom, locker room, dressing room at any time- even convicted sex offenders”. Hearing this statement as a woman, is frightening when they are sure to address the fact that a sex offender has the capability to come in and violet me or my space at their own convenience. The idea of striking fear in woman is certainly there and they succeed in that sense at conveying that point. The voiceover then goes on to say that if you accuse someone for not being in the appropriate bathroom that you will be fined up to 15 thousand dollars. This also comes off as a threat and something that should be feared because it is a lot of money. The video then focuses less on the narration and more on the footage. They show a young blond girl in a public changing place, possibly a locker room unbuttoning her blouse and looking dead at the camera in complete fear as if her life just flashed before her own eyes. The video concludes by telling the audience to vote no for allowing transgenders to use restrooms and ends with the statement “this bathroom bill puts our privacy and safety at risk- it goes to far.”
The Real Problem
The male gaze is a term that comes to mind when reading the article and watching the advertisement. It relates to a man objectifying or sexualizing a woman. The word can be associated with the article because these people think that the bathroom policy’s in their state are promoting only woman to be taken advantage of by men. They make it clear that woman are no threats to men and that men are simply trying to assault woman. This is the only negative stance against the law and it simply subjects men to all want to take advantage of woman. The likeliness of what the ad is claiming will and is happening is so slim and just throws men under the bus as an entire gender. For a woman to walk into a men’s bathroom and assault them or even steel from a man in a men’s bathroom is even easier than the opposite. Being a woman not even in the state of the issue I can safely say I have entered a handful of bathrooms/ locker rooms that are specifically for men’s use only and I wasn’t even looked at twice. Possibly this has to do with the fact I am a young woman and men wouldn’t question me and if they did, they most certainly would not see me as a threat. However, in the article it is extremely clear that the video captures the message that if it were the other way around and there was a man in a women’s bathroom they are up to no good and have bad intentions. The idea that men and women have to use designated bathrooms and know which to use goes into the category of gender roles. Gender roles are behaviors or learned habits that are deemed appropriate to their gender determined by the norms. This could be anything from the way different genders dress to the bathrooms they use which applies in this case.
Kasey Suffredini is co chairman for the Yes on 3 campaign which is the side that supports welcoming transgenders into the bathroom. He states in the article “This law simply protects transgender people from discrimination in public places and that is why law enforcement leaders from across Massachusetts and the leading sexual assault prevention groups support upholding this law,” Suffredini said. “The ‘no’ campaign has no data to back up their claims, and yet is attempting to scare voters, which is truly unfortunate.” This quote shows clear mindset that he is fully open to welcoming the bathrooms to transgenders. He makes a point that this is a way for these people to feel safe and protected where they will not be harassed and can simply use the restroom when they have to in public just as any regular person would do. However, for most people, including myself, we don’t think twice about what bathroom we will be using or ever feel as though someone would judge us. Unfortunately transgender people do come across this issue a lot which is actually quite sad.
The Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles came forth with a study which showed that after the laws that allowed prohibited discrimination towards transgenders, there were fewer incidents of privacy and safety violations than before the law was created. Therefor this law actually lowered crime and assault rates. From the aspect of a transgender living in Massachusetts, there was a video release of multiple transgenders and their families saying without these laws in place they would feel subjected to discrimination. This goes to show these laws are withstanding their expectations and are positively impacting lives.
The Final Decision
It appears that transgenders are looking to feel more and more secured and welcomed as these non-discrimination laws remain intact. A 73 percent vote favored keeping the law as it is, and 17 percent wanted the law repealed while an entire nine percent went undecided. This means transgender’s are still able to freely use the bathroom they see themselves to be no matter what they look like or physically are composed of.