Ishy Valdez, a high school student in Fort Worth, TX, had to use the bathroom during a field trip to Tarrant County College on Wednesday. But when she tried to go to the women's room, her teaching assistant stopped her, she told Fox 4 News. And her reason was unfortunately all too common: Because Valdez was assigned male at birth, the TA believed she should be using the men's room.
"She said, 'Ismael, don't start because I already have an issue with you using the women's restroom,'" Valdez recalled. "'The point is this is the women's restroom, and you're not a girl.' It became very personal." The TA even said she was bringing the issue to the principal.
Valdez filed a complaint against the TA with the Castleberry Independent School District, which is currently investigating the case. The aide is still working at the high school but isn't supervising the buses anymore.
"She cannot just go around and judge them because she doesn't agree with it,” Valdez's mom Blanca Rodriguez said. "I feel like if she goes into the men's restroom there’s more of a possibility of somebody hurting her."
National debate over the right to use the bathroom that aligns with one's gender identity ignited in 2015, when North Carolina passed a bill prohibiting people from using public bathrooms that don't correspond to the sex on their birth certificate. Texas is currently considering a similar bill, ABC 13 reports. And now, President Trump has lifted President Obama's previous guidelines protecting trans kids' right to use the school bathroom that matches their true gender.
According to the 2016 National Center for Transgender Equality survey, 59% of trans people in the U.S. have been afraid to go into a bathroom. And despite the concerns of some conservatives, trans people are not the ones putting others in danger in public bathrooms; as of 2015, no such incidents had ever been reported, according to Mic. More often, as Valdez points out, trans kids are the ones who are targeted — and who need the protection of schools and laws alike.