New Web Series Uses Potty Humor to Dispel Trans Bathroom Myths

'Sitting in Bathrooms With Trans People' features people affected by restrictive regulations popping up across the country.
May 20, 2016· 2 MIN READ
Samantha Cowan is an associate editor for culture.

Just what do trans people do in public restrooms? A new web series from Seriously.TV features some atypical bathroom behavior, like making waffles or knocking back a beer, to break down common misconceptions.

“People are more receptive when they’re laughing,” Dylan Marron, the host of Sitting in Bathrooms With Trans People, said to TakePart about the show’s lighthearted approach. “Satire and comedy are such important tools when talking about really complex, really baffling issues that people [feel] torn about.”

In the premiere episode, Marron interviews Jackson Bird, a 26-year-old YouTube vlogger who came out as trans last year. Interspersed with playful scenes of the pair using urinals as tables or performing a Harry Potter ritual, Bird talks about his transition and the absurdity of trying to legislate bathroom use for trans people.

“You’re not going to, like, ask someone to take their pants off in a bathroom,” Bird tells Marron. “You don’t know what anyone’s got going on down there, just like you don’t for a cis[gender] person.”

Restrictive bills forcing bathroom segregation based on gender assigned at birth have cropped up in more than a dozen states, from Massachusetts to Missouri to Oregon. In March, North Carolina became the first state in the nation to pass a law forcing trans people to use public restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.

Those attempting to legislate trans people’s use of restrooms often warn that a trans woman or a man posing as a trans woman could exploit bathroom access to sexually assault other women and young girls. The fears are unfounded. There have been zero verifiable reports of a trans person harassing a cisgender person or of a man posing as a trans person to commit a crime, according to Media Matters for America.

“This is an issue that is so polarizing,” Marron said. “I find that people that are on the other side of the issue are really people who don’t know trans people. [The series] is saying, ‘Look at this human. They are funny and great and silly and just, like, a good person. Get to know them.’ ”

Marron made a name for himself last year by calling attention to Hollywood’s lack of diversity with the web series Every Single Word, which featured edited-down versions of films to showcase the minutes—or seconds—of dialogue spoken by a person of color.

“I have access to a microphone right now,” Marron said. “As a queer man, I feel like it is my duty and also my privilege to be able to share that platform so that I’m not commenting on the trans issues, but I am in fact letting trans people comment on it themselves.”

With new episodes airing weekly, Marron will chat with both trans men and trans women about their bathroom battles. He hopes to include gender nonconforming guests as well.

Marron said that he’s been blown away by the positive response he’s received from the LGBT community and its allies, but also that’s its resonating beyond his standard audience.

“I’ve seen on Facebook that people have started sharing the video to family members’ walls or just friends walls’ and just like, ‘Hey, I think this is going to open your mind to this issue,’ ” Marron said. “It gives me chills. That’s exactly why I’m doing this stuff. That means more to me than anything.”