By Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD and Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R
$16; Beacon Press; 182 pages
In 2017, a book about myths and misconceptions about trans people could seem like a tool mostly useful for those outside the LGBTQ community. That would be a misconception, too. In just 182 admittedly often heady yet still readable pages, You're in the Wrong Bathroom smartly dissects concepts that even the trans community has been attached to for decades, and shows why they don't always ring true.
For instance, there's the "born in the wrong body" storyline. Schroth and Jacobs both provide a history and scientific context for both how that narrative took root as an explanation for trans people and why it's often incorrect. This global approach results in credible, thoughtful analysis that still stays approachable. The range of myths—from "never ask someone's pronouns" to "trans people are lonely" to "trans people are sex workers" to "hormones are readily available" is a testament to the various levels of education needed.
Special credit goes to the authors for including discussions of various nonbinary identities, such as genderqueer and agender, and including them under the trans umbrella. They're also willing to tackle thornier issues such as the idea of "trans-exclusionary radical feminists" or TERFs and the idea that LGBTQ+ community is a united front. Inclusions of topics like these makes You're in the Wrong Bathroom a timely text that could provide much-needed insight into issues that the younger queer and trans population center while older folks remain mostly unaware of the debates.
It's hard to find a criticism of You're in the Wrong Bathroom, which draws on a multiplicity of sources and has an incredibly comprehensive resource list ranging from organizations for and by trans people to works of fiction and film reflecting trans experience. Those alone would make this book invaluable. At least one of the authors, Jacobs, is trans, and the pair's backgrounds as clinicians and activists should satisfy readers looking for credibility.
It will be interesting to see if other perspectives emerge on this book with time—but, for now, You're in the Wrong Bathroom is an incredibly impressive text.