The Shared Danger of Supporting anti Trans Bathroom Bills

 Fiordaliza Pichardo

Fiordaliza Pichardo, an attorney and city councilwoman from Bonao in the Dominican Republic taking the oath of office. Image / noticiassinlimite

A Dominican woman who was detained with men when entering the states three years ago is is suing for 5 million dollars. Fiordaliza Pichardo was arrested at Miami’s international airport on what attorneys say was a decades-old drug trafficking charge that was later dismissed. The $5m suit names the Miami-Dade corrections department as a defendant.

This story illustrates perfectly how anti-transgender bathroom bills affect ALL women negatively. This 50-year-old cisgender (not transgender) woman apparently didn’t look female enough. The police said that she exhibited “non-traditional male characteristics and male reproductive organs.”

Fox Latino reports that the correctional staff made judgments about her appearance. They asked her repeatedly if she’d had a sex change and she answered no emphatically every time. But they wouldn’t believe her because they were sure that they had themselves a transgender woman.

 Fiordaliza Pichardo

FIOR PECHARDO (PHOTO COURTESY MIAMI-DADE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS)

So they threw her in a jail cell with 40 men and one of the guards said to her in Spanish, “Suerte si te veo viva manaña.” (You’ll be lucky if I see you alive tomorrow.”). You see, they were kind of hoping that their suspected trans woman would meet their version of justice for transgender women in that jail cell.

I have been trying to explain to the female commenters on right-wing websites that supporting these laws is going to bring abusive men into the private spaces that they’re trying to keep transgender women out of. That they were LESS safe by supporting these laws even if trans women freaked them out.

That  statistically, transgender women were less of a danger to them that they are to each other and the real danger is being afraid of transgender women in ‘private’ public spaces and legitimizing transgender vigilantes who are looking to catch trans women entering bathrooms.

They screw up a lot and an innocent cis woman usually pays for it with a bloody face or they find themselves in a situation like this one. So I’m sorry, you resistant women who are trying to keep yourselves safe or preserve your ‘privacy’. That’s not going to work. The safest play for us all is seeing transgender women and girls as women and girls, welcoming us, and putting an end to this stupidity.

 

Mara Glubka

Mara Glubka is a transgender woman in Minneapolis, MN and a parent to three grown sons. She is one of the historic 28 transgender delegates to the DNC in Philadelphia this year.

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7 Responses to The Shared Danger of Supporting anti Trans Bathroom Bills

  1. Person September 18, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    I feel bad for this woman. The way she was treated was wrong.

    However, “pick your gender” bathroom laws would only amplify this sort of problem. What’s to stop a man from claiming he’s a woman and ending up detained with 40 women? If staff can not make any judgement calls then there is nothing to stop this. A man could claim he’s a woman that hasn’t had a sex change operation yet, and that he likes dressing in gender neutral attire. What’s to stop him?

    I don’t know the solution to this complex problem, but keeping genders separated is a worthy objective that even Fiordaliza wanted, she just wanted to be sorted correctly. This is difficult in a society that is working very hard to remove all meaning from what it means to be a man or woman. There has to be some way to define between the two besides a non binding stated preference. Correctional staff should use some discretion and be respectful, things they both needed to have done a better job at here.

    • Taylor September 18, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      You think if a man were to say he was a woman and ended up detained with 40 women, that he would be in danger? Staff are not qualified to make judgement calls, they are Prison Guards, Police Officers etc., they do not have the proper training to be the people who decide another person’s fate, particularly in this case where “Staff” were obviously Transphobic! Exactly, what is to stop anyone identifying as their actual gender without having had a sex change operation … you don’t need to have an operation to be a particular gender, gender is not determined by your genitals, it has more to do with, and yet is not exclusive to, your Chromosomes. You don’t know the solution to this because you don’t understand the issue!!! What does it mean to be man or woman? Those binaries are constructed by society, so let’s reconstruct them! We need to acknowledge that gender is a spectrum and proper support needs to be provided to us all in regard to where we sit on that spectrum. There is no “pick a gender” situation to be addressed, there is a “How to treat Human Beings” situation that needs to be addressed however … Given your comment, that needs to start with a huge dose of Education!

    • Person (B) September 18, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      This is not a complex problem! Look back at history!

      Transgender people have been around a lot longer than before this issue made the news headlines.

      It is only people who acknowledge that it’s a problem that are making it a problem.

      The solution is easy! Ignore the news, “don’t empower the people who are making this an issue by acknowledging it in the first place”, use common sense, and continue to do what we always have.

  2. Gidget555 September 19, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Something definately went wrong with law enforcement here. Why was this woman not at least xrayed or even strip searched for possible controban if officers throught she had something on her. Is not all that done before they out you in a,cell for safety of inmates and officers in any prision or detetion facility. I know,it would have been uncomfortable for anyone especially someone who inmcocent like this woman but it is usual procedure to all things above which anyone of them would have proved her biological gender as a woman. This is not the fault of antitrans laws but police officers not doing their jobs.

    • Andrew Smith September 19, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Wouldn’t be the first time and I’m sure not the last. So long as humans are involved there is always the possibility of error.

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