Local transgender women speak out against HB2

Posted at 10:19 PM, May 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 00:19:08-04
After a recent directive from the Obama Administration stating that public schools must permit transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity, politicians from around the country, including right here in Idaho have blasted the decision.
In a statement released Friday, Governor Butch Otter said this was another example of federal government overreach and disregard for state rights.
On Your Side spoke with two women who say they disagree.
"The bathroom has become such a focal point in this argument. It goes beyond a bathroom in a grocery store or a restaurant," said Ashley, a transgender woman from the area. "This really sets the precedent that we deserve rights and equality, and not rights in terms of something we are not entitled to, just the rights that everyone else enjoys."
Both women said they have purposely avoided using public restrooms in fear of harassment, violence, or worse.
"To be honest, when I go to use a restroom my sole thought is I need to get out as fast as I can," explained Ashley. 
"I remember being in school myself and it's pretty scary when everybody dislikes you when nobody has your back when you are just completely alone and afraid," said Nicole, also a transgender woman.
Nicole said she hopes the guidelines can serve as a reminder that there are consequences to not treating all citizens as equals.
"I know you guys would rather that we didn't have this discussion, that we just stayed quiet and out of the way, but it's time. We can no longer hide because we get murdered, either way, we get raped and assaulted and harassed either way whether we are hiding or not," said Nicole.
Nicole said one of the common things she hears is that there should be a third restroom for transgender people, but she said that could create more problems than it solves.
"Right now these people that hate us and want to hurt us or are going to hurt us if they run into us, they don't really know where to look. There is no one place where we all go, but by making a unisex bathroom and making only us use it you tell them where we are going to be," explained Nicole.
For Ashley, she said she prefers that it be less about bathrooms and more about educating people.
While she understands it will take time, understanding, and for a lot of people putting aside the way they were raised, but with that she has hope for future generations.
"This is the United States of America. I should not feel threatened for doing something that people take for granted," said Ashley.
The women said that if anyone is having a hard time dealing with transgender issues, there is a full network of support in the Boise area. For more information click here.