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ep“Everyone Poops”, a 1977 children’s book by Taro Gomi, is a story I remember being read to me growing up. Looking back on the text of the book, it’s actually kind of interesting. The whole point of the story is to de-stigmatize the idea of defecation in the minds of children who may not yet realize that this is a completely normal bodily function, experienced by all living things.

An elephant makes a big poop.
A mouse makes a tiny poop.
A one-hump camel makes a one-hump poop.
A two-hump camel makes a two-hump poop. Only kidding!

A number of incidents have come up over the past few months that make me wonder: do the people who oppose letting transgender people use the correct bathroom understand the moral of Gomi’s story? From Fox News to Roseanne Barr to recognized hate groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, it seems as though these individuals have forgotten that, yes, transgender people poop, too.

Fish poop.
And so do birds. And bugs too.
Different animals make different kinds of poop.
Different shapes, different colors, even different smells.

They brand efforts to provide equal public accommodation rights to transgender people as “bathroom bills.” They support legislation that would bar us from the bathroom that best matches our gender, putting us at an elevated risk of rape, assault and murder. They push for a “separate but equal” approach of letting schools and businesses says, “sure, you can use the bathroom, but it’s going to be one further out of your way, across campus, or maybe even in an old storage closet.”

Which end is the snake’s behind?
What does whale poop look like?
Some stop to poop.
Others do it on the move.

In March of this year, Arizona State Representative John Kavanagh introduced SB1432, a bill that stated: “a person commits disorderly conduct if the person intentionally enters a public restroom, shower, bath, dressing room or locker room and a sign indicates that the room is for the exclusive use of persons of one sex and the person is not legally classified on the person’s birth certificate as a member of that sex,” carrying with it a $2,500 fine and up to 6 months in jail. Additionally, he presented the bill as “an emergency measure that is necessary to preserve the public peace, health or safety.” A transgender-specific emergency? Really?

Some poop here and there.
Others do it in a special place.
Grown-ups poop. Children poop too.
While some children poop on the potty, others poop in their diapers.

The common argument brought up by these individuals is an obscure hypothetical situation, usually along the lines of, “we’re not doing this to stop people who actually are transgender; we’re doing this to protect women and children from a man who might throw on a dress just to go in and assault them.” Where do I even start with that one?

  1. Even if restrooms were gender-neutral and there was nothing stopping men from entering, assault would still be illegal.
  2. Someone terrible enough to assault someone in a bathroom isn’t going to let a sign on a door stand in their way.
  3. In the 174 cities and counties where transgender people are explicitly protected in terms of public accommodations (like bathrooms), I cannot, for the life of me, find a single instance where a man has thrown on a dress and assaulted a woman or a child. This is a case of a solution in search of a problem.
  4. While their “man in a dress” argument isn’t based in reality, transgender women forced to use men’s restrooms do find themselves targets for that kind of abuse.

Some animals poop and pay no attention.
Others clean up after themselves.
These poop by the water. This one does it in the water.
He wipes himself with paper, then flushes it down

Is the well-being of transgender people really so inconsequential? Do you really not care whether or not we’re raped, assaulted or murdered? Do these same people who argue that it’d be pointless to have stricter gun laws because “criminals will break the law, anyway, because they’re criminals” realize the hypocrisy in taking the exact opposite side of that argument by suggesting that would-be attackers are deterred solely by a sign on a bathroom door?

Assuming I use a public restroom twice a day for the past year, if I were in a world where Kavanagh’s law was in place, I’d find myself in a position where I’d be liable to serve up to 365 years in prison and over $1.8 million in fines. Still, it’s better than fearing for my life, which is what would happen if I was forced to use a men’s restroom.

All living things eat, so
Everyone poops.

I am a human being, and I poop.

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Thought Catalog

A number of conservative news outlets are fuming about their perceived difference between the mainstream media’s coverage of the filibusters of Wendy Davis and Ted Cruz.

As you may recall, Davis, a state senator from Texas, took to the floor of the Texas legislature in June of this year to speak out against Senate Bill 5, a bill designed to severely restrict access to reproductive care. Cruz, as United States senator,spoke out against a continuing resolution that had come across from the House of Representatives, that he eventually voted in favor of. Some conservatives seemed to believe that Davis received significantly more coverage than Cruz, though in actuality, both politicians’ spotlight moments were covered roughly the same amount.

Still, though, these two events aren’t the same, and shouldn’t necessarily be compared to one another. Here’s a quick breakdown on the top 4 reasons Wendy Davis’ filibuster wasn’t the same as…

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Thought Catalog

We have a problem when it comes to the relationship between women and sports marketing.

Yesterday, the Houston Astros, the worst team in Major League Baseball at 43 games out of first place, announced that September 27th would be “Astros Ladies’ Night” at the ballpark. Here’s how they promoted it (emphasis mine):

Presented by State Farm, is a women-only event that allows our female fans to get the inside scoop on the Astros, learn about the game of baseball, and meet some of the Astros staff and players. The event starts at 4:00 pm with a ‘Baseball 101‘ talk, followed by a happy hour event themed ‘Diamond, Bling and Glittery Things’ with music, specialty drinks, exclusive Ladies Night gift courtesy of State Farm, group photos with Astros players, and complimentary beauty treatments.

Now, I like a good complimentary beauty treatment as much as the next gal (and I’d love to meet…

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Thought Catalog

Dear Cassidy Lynn,

First off, congratulations on being crowned homecoming queen! That’s such an amazing accomplishment!

I just finished watching your heartbreaking YouTube video, “I Should Be So Happy…” and there aren’t words to describe how much it breaks my heart to see someone so young, someone so true to herself become the victim of such bullying.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the world, it’s that people will lash out at what they cannot (or choose not to) understand. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an online article written by or about a transgender person that wasn’t filled with at least a few vile, transphobic, hateful comments. This, in itself, is saddening. When it comes to a story like yours, though, it’s absolutely tragic.

You didn’t do anything to deserve the type of hate you’re experiencing now, and hopefully, someday, you won’t have to.

In your…

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Survivors of the working class

September 20, 2013

Sweaty, shaking, I’m on my back, home from work. It shouldn’t be so emotionally draining to make it through a simple work week, but it is. My mind has endured the mental version of a marathon, doing its best to complete this endurance challenge. More and more, my anxiety gets the best of me, driving me to keep focus on every little task.

Am I breathing to loud? Am I walking okay? How does my voice sound? Do I feel like me?

In silence, in my apartment, alone, the ringing in my right ear from a concert last Saturday night persists. A high pitch with gradual decay, I try to block that noise out, but relent after I conclude that the mental energy required to ignore the ringing is more than I have left in me to spare.

I reach for a few prescription bottles, glancing at the labels. Digging an into the orange container labeled Sertraline, I pull 2 oval pulls from the bottle, snapping one between my index finger and thumb. With a mouthful of Diet Coke, I take the whole pill along with one of the halves and choke them down along with a circular pill from the bottle labeled Spironolactone and another from the bottle of alprazolam.

I rest my head back, allowing the ringing to take my complete attention, and I drift off to sleep with hope of finding the strength to survive another work week.

Get it out of your system. All of it. Random people of the internet, please take all the negative comments about transgender people, take all the slurs you plan to pepper into my future articles and just toss them in the comments section of this piece.

It’s frustrating to write something about suicide prevention or the pope or free speech and scroll down to the comments section to see people calling me a “freak,” “ugly,” “narcissistic,” and a host of other things completely unrelated to the post in question.

So let’s just get it all out of the way, all at once. Say whatever you want, no matter how hateful it may come off. Go ahead, just get it out of your system so next time you read something of mine, maybe you’ll actually be able to keep your comments related to the subject matter. 

We found a bunny: help us get him the medical care he needs

Julia and I found a rabbit this past weekend. He seems to be a pet who was abandoned. He needs somewhere in the ballpark of $700 to get healthy. Can you help? http://igg.me/at/save-the-bun/x/4786808

Thought Catalog

Can we stop praising Pope Francis for being “progressive?”

When it comes to social issues, the Catholic Church still bars women from taking leadership roles within the church, still opposes marriage equality, and still opposes changes to employment discrimination laws worldwide.

In 2010, when his home country of Argentina was debating whether or not to pass legislation that would allow same sex marriage, then Cardinal, he condemned marriage equality as a “destructive attack on God’s plan.”

In an attempt to prevent this law from going into effect, the future Pope penned this letter to Argentina’s cloistered nuns:

In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given…

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Sometimes the Game is Rigged

September 19, 2013

Sitting in the room, I shift in my seat, trying to find the chair’s sweet spot. I fidget with the side knobs, identical to the configuration on my own desk’s chair. Why did I get here so early?, I ask myself. Co-workers walk past the door, grabbing momentary glances at me, sitting here alone. Increasingly anxious, I began to sweat through my compression-sports bra and baggy men’s dress shirt.

I look down at my phone. “3:02.” The meeting was at 3, right? How sure am I? And this is the room, I think. Panicked, thinking that maybe I was the one late to this meeting as it went on without me in an adjacent conference room, I punched in my credentials on my phone, pulling up my calendar’s “Day at a Glance” function.

Looks like this is the time & place, I thought with a sigh of relief.

At that moment, Steve and Darcy, two of my supervisors, walked into the room, sitting across from me at the glossed maple conference table.

Steve hands me a paper. “This is your performance review through the end of 2012. As you can see here at the top, you’ve gotten a score of ‘excels’, making you one of the top performing individuals at the associate level.”

For the next few minutes, I skim the review, getting clarification from the managers on individual items as we went along.

“We really think highly of you here, and hopefully as we start to see some expected shifts in positions over the next 6 months, we’ll be able to find you a place as a supervisor,” Darcy said, smiling.

“I’m really proud of the work you put in this year, man,” Steve said with a hint of congratulations in his voice.

The two of them seemed to gather their things, ready to move on to their next review.

“Actually!,” I interrupted. “There was one more thing I wanted to talk about if you have a minute or two.”

The two of them stopped, a bit of concern across their faces.

I hadn’t prepared what I was about to say, but it was necessary. “I’m transgender.” I paused, looking back and forth between my two supervisors, waiting for some sort of reaction.

The two looked at me with blank faces. They’d been told something completely unexpected by one of their team’s top performers.

“And by ‘transgender,’ I mean that basically, I’m really a girl. I’m in the process of transitioning from male to female. Over the next few months, I’ll begin presenting as the ‘real me’ at work.”

“Congratulations,” squeaked Steve, clearly unsure of what the right response to having one of your subordinates divulge their trans status to you was.

I confirmed with them that none of this would interfere with the trajectory of my career, and that I could still count on significant advancement within the next six months or so. “Of course! Nothing will change,” Darcy assured me.

The meeting closed. I had finally told someone at work about the real me. I couldn’t help but wonder what truth there would be to the reassurance that I was on track for a performance in the following 6 months. I suppose this was just one of those things that I just needed to trust them on.

6 months later

Stumbling out of my department VP’s office, I rushed to my desk. Pressing myself into one of the more hidden corners of my cubicle, I began to cry. My mascara ran down my cheeks, my heart raged.

Things had changed since I transitioned at work. Things got so much worse. It felt like a completely different place of employment than what I had once been a part of.

What little belief I had in the idea that I’d have an opportunity to advance in the company was dashed. Months of watching others around me climb the corporate ladder, I found myself back where I’d started, but worse: in the days to follow, I’d be given an official plan sanctioned by our Human Resources department.

Whatever hoops they have me jump through, which are to be determined by the same people who left me back as they promoted those around me, I fear these will be set so that I am unable to achieve them.

Once I fail, once this HR-approved plan of goals goes unreached, I’ll be let go.

These may be my final days hanging on to the dream of success within my field. The game was rigged, but it doesn’t matter. A loss is a loss, whether justified or not.

Thought Catalog

Outside the Supreme Court this past spring, a Human Rights Campaign employee allegedly told a transgender activist that marriage equality “isn’t a transgender issue.” Someone should tell that to Nikki Araguz, a trans widow in Texas who is currently slogging her way through lengthy legal proceedings after a court voided her legal marriage to the now-deceased Thomas Araguz.

The laws surrounding marriage vary from state to state, making it difficult to know just exactly which sex our potential spouse needs to be a member of in order for it to constitute a legal marriage. The case of Nikki Araguz is particularly confusing. Born in California, Nikki legally changed her legal documents to reflect her identity at the age of 18. At 31, she underwent sexual reassignment surgery. Her original birth certificate was updated to reflect her correct gender. Again, this was her original birth certificate, not an amended one, as…

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