Transgender Bathroom Meme

This meme published on social networking site Tumblr appeared on the American Broadcasting Corporation’s Australian news site on April 3, 2017 with the caption “Transgender bathroom anxiety meme.” The cartoon depicts the back of the head of a transgender person of indeterminate gender identity facing a men’s and women’s bathroom. The sign on the women’s says “Get Yelled At,” while the sign on the men’s says “Get Beat Up.” This image highlights the choices that transgender men and women must make everyday when doing mundane tasks like using the restroom. The text reads, “Many trans people feel uncomfortable and unsafe using public toilets.”

discussion

What is the person in the cartoon trying to do? How does the image show an internal conflict?

What is the person afraid will happen to them if they go in the men’s room? What are they afraid will happen if they go in the women’s room? What can you infer about why some transgender people chose not to use multi-occupancy public restrooms?

Why do you think this became a meme?

What is the relationship between this image and the so-called “bathroom bills” that make it illegal for transgender people to use any public restrooms not for their gender assigned at birth? How might it be used to make an argument about these laws?