When Caitlyn Jenner publicly unveiled herself on the cover of Vanity Fair last year, what it did to boost transgender visibility cannot be understated. The person who was America's symbol of masculinity and later the patriarch of the Kardashian clan transitioned into Caitlyn, and suddenly there was an awareness of the transgender community that had never quite existed before.
But her conservative politics often clash with that of the larger transgender community, the rift packaged in neat sound bites from her reality TV show documenting her transition, I Am Cait.
However, if there's one thing that Jenner agrees on with the rest of the community, it is that trans people should be able to use the public bathroom that matches their gender identity. In a video posted on her Facebook wall on Wednesday, Jenner is filmed entering Trump Tower as she declares, "Last week, Donald Trump said I can take a pee anywhere in a Trump facility, so I am going to take a pee in the ladies room."
The camera follows her to the restroom but remains outside until she emerges, thanking Trump.
The video's cheeky vibe is a lighter take on the ongoing issue of bathroom bills across the country. Conservative lawmakers in many states are pushing to ban transgender people from using public bathrooms based on their gender identity, invoking the fear that "grown men would be allowed alone in a bathroom with little girls," as Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said.
But is that argument based on fact? Statistics show that there have been exactly zero reported cases of transgender people harming cisgender people in bathrooms. In reality, the transgender community is one of the most grossly marginalized in society, often subjected to violence, abuse, and systemic discrimination simply because of who they are.
Within the reasoning for bathroom bills lies the fear that sexual predators will seize the opportunity to prey on women in restrooms. It is a valid fear that requires action, but what the "preventative measure" of bathroom bills actually does is obscure the real issue at hand — rape culture. If lawmakers truly want to protect women as they so often say they do, then it is not the transgender community's bathroom choices that are a threat, it is the deeply rooted and normalized culture of sexual assault and rape that our society has repeatedly failed to address.