A new study suggests that transgender and non-binary teens in the United States are at higher risk of sexual assault in schools where they are prohibited from using the bathrooms or locker rooms that match with their sexual identity.
Researchers conducted a study of 3,000 US kids ages from 13 to 17 where students who have been told by teachers or school staff that they are restricted from using the restroom that matches their sexual identity. 25% out of the 3,000 children reported being a victim of sexual assault within the last 12 months.
This study by the Journal Pediatrics shows that the students with restricted access to their preferred restrooms had a higher chance of experiencing sexual assault by 36%. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, the rates of sexual assault for non-trans US kids is 15% for girls and 4% for boys.
“That is honestly so heartbreaking to hear. This shouldn’t be a political issue or anything of that sort,” Says Eric Barrera, a trans student at UC Davis. “It is awful to think these children must go to school and be restricted to a bathroom of their sexual identity. Let alone be at higher risk of experiencing a sexual assault.”
Many people say restricting students from using the restroom that matches their sexual identity does more harm than good if any. Bathroom restrictions may bring unwanted attention to those trans children that could potentially make them more likely to be a victim of abuse.