Study: No Actual Link Between Trans-Inclusive Policies and Bathroom Safety

Looks like bigots will have to find another argument to defend anti-transgender "bathroom bills."

A new study from The Williams Institute at UCLA is shaking up the very ground transphobes stand on: Researchers have found no observable link between non-discrimination protections for transgender Americans and safety concerns in public restrooms.

The study, first published earlier this summer, compared criminal incident reports related to “assault, sex crimes, and voyeurism” from matched pairs of bathrooms or changing rooms in Massachusetts locations with and without non-discrimination laws in place.

Researchers determined that there was no tie between the passage of trans-inclusive policies and an increase in number or frequency of safety-related complaints in such spaces.

Additionally, researchers found that reports of criminal activity in public restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms were “exceedingly rare,” suggesting that the favored argument of anti-transgender “bathroom bill” proponents—that allowing trans people to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity endangers cis people—is totally unfounded.

To some, this might seem like common sense, especially after years of back-and-forth surrounding GOP-led bathroom bills around the country, North Carolina’s HB2 being perhaps the most infamous. Trans students in American public schools, including Virginia’s Gavin Grimm and Wisconsin’s Ash Whitaker, have escalated the bathroom bill debate to the federal level, successfully fighting in court for their right to use the correct restroom.

Findings like this could provide concrete evidence to support the rights of the transgender community, especially trans youth, since some 49% of American educators still believe trans students shouldn’t be allowed to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.