Specialisation: Transgender Rights

Transgender Rights and Access to Restrooms

Recent gender equality and civil rights discussions have focused on transgender rights and restroom access. It addresses whether transgender persons should be allowed to use public restrooms that match their gender identification or confined by their birth sex. This issue has become essential due to legal battles, presidential decrees, and public conversations, raising issues about safety, privacy, discrimination, and civil rights interpretation. This article will cover the historical context, both sides of the issue, current legal developments, research findings, and proposed remedies to provide an objective and complete analysis of this challenging topic.

Historical Background

One historical milestone was the 20th-century LGBT rights movement, which framed gender and sexual identity discussions. The Stonewall Riots of 1969 marked the beginning of the LGBTQ+ rights movement when LGBTQ+ people demanded legal equality. Remember that transgender people of color have been essential protagonists in this movement, fighting for sexual orientation and gender identity rights. Legal advancements in the US helped start the transgender rights movement. Minneapolis was one of the first US communities to pass a transgender-inclusive civil rights ordinance in 1975. Additional towns and states followed suit in subsequent years, creating a transgender rights patchwork.

In 1972, Title IX was established to address sex-based discrimination in education, but it became a cornerstone of transgender rights claims. Courts interpreted Title IX to include transgender student rights because gender identity discrimination was sex discrimination. Transgender rights history changed in 2015 when the U.S. Department of Education policies allowed transgender youngsters to use gender-appropriate restrooms (Hurley, 2021). This directive was challenged in court and continues to influence the conversation. The transgender rights and toilet access debate is on whether transgender persons should be permitted to use public facilities that match their gender identity rather than their birth sex. This topic has garnered attention and sparked heated disputes, often over competing ideals and concerns.

Arguments in Support of Transgender Rights

The primary arguments for allowing transgender persons to use public toilets that match their gender identification are:

  1. Ensure Safety and Dignity: Advocates say forcing transgender individuals, particularly women, to use gender-inappropriate restrooms puts them at risk of discrimination, harassment, and violence. Allowing transgender persons to use their preferred toilet is crucial to their safety and dignity in public.
  2. Legal and constitutional precautions: Advocates assert many legal and constitutional safeguards for transgender restroom access. They emphasize Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in education, and how courts have interpreted it to safeguard gender identity. Additionally, the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause supports transgender equality.
  3. Mental and Emotional Health: Advocates argue that denying transgender persons the right to use gender-appropriate restrooms may harm their mental health. Forced toilet use by birth sex may cause anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Allowing transgender persons to use gender-specific restrooms improves their mental health.
  4. Data and Research Supporting Transgender Restroom Access: Advocates refer to research findings disprove that transgender restroom access is dangerous. According to research, trans-inclusive legislation does not raise public toilet safety issues. Safe and inclusive washrooms reduce transgender violence.
  5. Human Rights and Inclusivity: The rationale for transgender restroom access is compatible with human rights and inclusion. It emphasizes honoring an individual’s self-identified gender, creating a varied society, and promoting equality.

Arguments Against Transgender Rights

Opponents of transgender rights, particularly in the context of restroom access, present several arguments to support their stance. It is important to note that these arguments reflect the perspectives of those who oppose transgender restroom access and do not necessarily represent a consensus view. The critical arguments against transgender rights in this context include:

  1. Safety and privacy concerns: Transgender persons using gender-specific bathrooms may cause discomfort, safety risks, or privacy invasions. They think letting individuals use facilities based on gender identification may be uncomfortable or harmful for cisgender persons.
  2. Religious and Moral Beliefs: Opponents of transgender restroom access claim religious and moral concerns. They argue that religious or moral beliefs may conflict with gender identity rights regulations and limit transgender acceptance.
  3. Impact on Women and Children: Opponents typically worry about the impact on women and children. They think transgender women (born male but identifying as female) using women’s lavatories may violate cisgender women’s and girls’ privacy and safety. These concerns originate from the belief that transgender persons are not “biologically” feminine and should not use women’s toilets.
  4. Policy Misuse or Abuse: Opponents worry that individuals may fake transgender identities to use restrooms for voyeurism or sexual harassment. Even though such occurrences are rare, they fuel transgender toilet access hatred.
  5. Parental Rights: Opponents may argue that transgender restroom usage restrictions violate parents’ right to decide what is best for their children. They believe families, not the government, should make such decisions.
  6. Traditional gender classifications: Some transgender rights opponents hold to birth sex categories. They may oppose gender identity and argue that bathroom use should be based on birth sex.

Recent Legal Developments

Recently passed US laws have greatly affected transgender rights and restroom access. These incidents demonstrate cultural debate and transgender equality: a turning point, the U.S. The Supreme Court ruled in 2020 in Bostock v. Clayton County that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination “because of sex,” also prohibits gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination. This verdict paved the way for transgender federal employment rights. After taking office in 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order titled “Preventing and Combating Discrimination based on Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation” to protect LGBTQ+ people, including transgender people, from gender identity discrimination in education, housing, and healthcare (Biden, 2021).

Meggan Sommerville, a transgender woman, won a 2021 Illinois appellate court victory against Hobby Lobby for not letting her use the women’s restroom. The court found that Ms. Sommerville’s employer discriminated against her gender identity, violating the Illinois Human Rights Act (Bagagli & Fontana, 2021). This verdict stressed the need for state-level transgender protections. Transgender kid Gavin Grimm sued Gloucester County School Board in Virginia for six years after being refused access to the boys’ restroom. In 2020, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case, confirming a lower court ruling that the school board had erred. This verdict affirmed transgender students’ Title IX and U.S. rights—a constitutional right to use gender-specific restrooms. Constitution (Moreau, 2018). Various states have passed transgender restroom access legislation with mixed success. Some states have enacted “bathroom bills” restricting transgender people’s lavatory access, while others have passed laws upholding their rights (Kurth & Anderson-Carpenter, 2021). These state-level developments have created a patchwork of legal protections across.

Possible Resolutions

One idea is to provide more accessible toilets. Public and commercial entities may invest in gender-neutral or all-gender restrooms instead of gender-specific ones. Individual stalls with lockable doors and shared sinks would provide user privacy and safety. This technique would allow people to use the loo that matches their gender, reducing discrimination and discomfort. Gender-neutral restrooms also accommodate transgender and disabled people who may require a different-gender carer. This strategy may need early investment but can increase diversity and reduce bathroom access issues.

Broad education and awareness initiatives are another excellent option. These workshops would emphasize transgender rights to the public and organizations. Transgender and toilet access myths may be dispelled through education. Retail, hospitality, and education employee training programs may help create safe and inclusive toilets (Moreau, 2018). Public awareness can promote empathy and understanding, removing stigma and discrimination. Education and understanding can reduce bathroom access disputes and help society accept transgender rights.

In conclusion, transgender rights and restroom access are complex issues that society faces. This article analyzed the historical context, conflicting opinions, legal developments, research findings, and possible solutions. While transgender rights have improved, the issue remains contentious. To close knowledge gaps and ensure transgender people may use restrooms in a way that confirms their gender identification while respecting others’ concerns, action, education, and communication are needed. Balancing these objectives is challenging but necessary for social equality, safety, and inclusion.


Bagagli, B. P., Chaves, T. V., & Zoppi Fontana, M. G. (2021). Trans Women and Public Restrooms: The Legal Discourse and Its Violence. Frontiers in Sociology6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsoc.2021.652777

Biden, J. (2021, January 21). Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination based on Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. Retrieved from The White House website: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-preventing-and-combating-discrimination-on-basis-of-gender-identity-or-sexual-orientation/

Hurley, L. (2021, June 28). Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal. Retrieved from Reuters website: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-supreme-court-declines-hear-transgender-school-bathroom-case-2021-06-28/

Kurth, A. E., Puckett, Jae. A., & Anderson-Carpenter, K. D. (2021). Legislation restricting access to public restrooms and changing facilities for transgender individuals in Texas (US): A qualitative analysis of testimony. International Journal of Transgender Health, pp. 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/26895269.2021.1905580

Moreau, J. (2018, September 19). No link between trans-inclusive policies and bathroom safety, study finds. Retrieved from NBC News website: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/no-link-between-trans-inclusive-policies-bathroom-safety-study-finds-n911106