There is no shortage of opinions when it comes to laws concerning who should or shouldn’t be allowed to enter public restrooms. Though both sides of the debate each offer compelling arguments, there is one population that remains vastly overlooked– the disabled community. With the debate concerning bathroom laws heating up, many within the disabled community remain in a grey area of uncertainty.
Sharisse Tracey, the mother of an 8-year-old boy with autism says sending her son into a men’s restroom alone just isn’t possible. “I wouldn’t send him in anywhere alone, let alone a men’s room,” she says.
Josh Holmes, another unintended victim of HB2 finds himself in a similar predicament. His youngest daughter, Maura, requires assistance to use the restroom. However, because of her age, the law requires she use the ladies’ restroom—unassisted.
Josh and Sharisse are not alone. For more than 56.7 million Americans, the bathroom wars have only further complicated their daily struggle to participate in normal routines. When asked, some caregivers admitted to canceling plans and staying home in the event a bathroom isn’t present to accommodate their needs.
Julia Sain, executive director of Disability Rights & Resources, in Charlotte, North Carolina, says HB2 is frustrating and confusing. “This creates more isolation and concern for persons with disabilities, and if bathrooms had stalls and everybody has a stall, this wouldn’t be an issue,” she said.
As the bathroom debates continue to wage on, the disabled community and their caregivers are left hanging in an uncertain predicament, wondering how the outcome will further impact their struggle to lead normal lives. In the meantime, disability advocates are doing their best to shine the spotlight on the unintended victims of the bathroom debate.
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Image Credit: Charles Starette