For several years, there have been tensions and arguments throughout the U.S. over transgender bathroom policies that are being enacted.
In 2016, one woman went viral with pictures she took to make an argument against policies that allowed transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choice. Her posts gained enough notoriety that even the BBC wrote an article about her and the reaction that she was getting.
Kristi Merritt, from Washington, posted some pictures to Facebook which quickly resulted in more than 70,000 people sharing the images.
In the pictures, Merritt posed with a sombrero, tortilla chips and a Corona beer and held a sign that read, “Does this make me a Mexican?”
In another picture, she posed in a Seattle Seahawks jersey with a sign reading, “Does this make me Russell Wilson?”
She then compared the images to being transgender. She took a picture with a dress, heels, a hand bag and a sign that read, “Then how can this make a man into a woman?”
“A man in women’s clothes does not make him a woman. Men should not get to be in our bathrooms or lockers!” the caption that accompanied her posted pictures said.
Her stance against transgender bathroom usage garnered a lot of criticism online.
Should transgender individuals be allowed to use their bathroom of choice?
Pink News, an online U.K.-based newspaper that is marketed mainly to the LGBT community, also picked up Merritt’s story. From there, the harsh criticism against Merritt exploded.
“Perhaps she should learn how to be a decent, kind, considerate human being. Granted, that might be a bit of a stretch for her,” one comment on Pink News read.
“What it makes her is a bigot, a racist, a transphobe, a hate-monger, and above all else, an idiot. She took no time to actually research the point and find out what being transgender is all about. She did the typical bored housewife/soccer mom thing and decided ‘I don’t like this. I am going to rail against it with everything I have. Except for facts. I don’t need those because they may invalidate my blind hatred,’” another commenter wrote.
Notably, Merritt is not alone in her arguments that transgender bathroom policies could create a loophole for sexual predators.
In 2016, when North Carolina was debating House Bill 2, which came to be known as the “bathroom bill,” many made the argument that opening bathrooms to transgender individuals would cause problems and potentially lead to sexual harassment.
“He could be there to look at the anatomy of the opposite sex. He could be there because he’s a sex pervert. He could be there to bring damage to a young girl,” said Ron Baity, president of Return America and pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, according to NPR.
North Carolina became a battleground over this issue in 2016, but transgender activism and policy-making has continued in the years since across America.
Ballotpedia reported that while some states have adopted anti-discrimination laws, there are plenty of other lawsuits still at play.