In August 2013, after surviving a cancer diagnosis, I finally found the courage to stand up and be who I really am. I am a Christian, and I am transgender. I was elated until I got home and a neighbor who’d been kind to me began to harass me. I moved.

The bathroom bills had just happened in North Carolina, and the fight was gaining momentum. Can we be allowed to use a bathroom that corresponds to our identified gender? Donald Trump’s administration has just made it harder to do so by repealing Title IX protections against trans students.

The bathroom bills are a distraction from much larger issues. Let’s look objectively at some evidence. Seventy-eight percent of trans folks will make a serious suicide attempt, according to the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute.

The statistics of violence against us are grueling. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported in 2013 that 72 percent of victims of anti-LGBT homicide were trans folks, of whom 67 percent were trans women of color. Already in 2017, seven trans folks have been murdered.

Ninety percent of trans folks experience job discrimination. In dozens of states, it is still legal to discriminate against people who are trans. Many criminal defendants still can legally use fear as a defense to hurt and even kill a trans person.

We don’t even talk about transgender men in regard to bathrooms or violence. The statistics are kept on the down low. Our suicide rates are 7 percent higher than those of transgender women – must be our “privilege.”

Can I change safely in a changing room? Do the women want me in their bathroom? If the issue is one of safety, then let’s address that and make trauma-free bathrooms and changing rooms. No discrimination, period, and not in the name of a God who loves us all.

Matthew Francis

Falmouth