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This Drawing By A Trans Teen Has Become A Symbol In The Fight For Trans Bathroom Rights

"I didn't want confrontation. I just wanted to pee."

Posted on February 28, 2017, at 9:23 a.m. ET

Jason Gross is a 22-year-old writer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He uses the Tumblr page, artdweeb, for his drawings and commissions.

Jason Gross / Via

In 2012, Gross drew a comic to express his frustration at the bathroom policy of his high school and how he, as a trans person, was treated by staff. He shared the image to his Tumblr.

"I was really just frustrated," he told BuzzFeed. Gross said his high school's policy was to tell him to use the bathroom in the nurse's office, on the other side of the school.

"I also hated going out in public because unless I was extremely lucky there wouldn't be a gender neutral or single stall bathroom anywhere," he said. "It was a constant source of anxiety for me knowing that if I pass I'll look like a boy in the girls' room, if I don't pass I'll look like a girl in the boys' room, and either way this is inviting confrontation. I didn't want confrontation. I just wanted to pee."

While Gross's original post wasn't hugely shared, over the past few years, the image has been used frequently, often uncredited, when there has been news around gender-neutral bathrooms.


When it's used, Gross's work receives hundreds of shares, and is commended for honestly addressing trans bathroom rights.

This is a situation no #transgender child should have to face. Speak up and #ProtectTransKids. #LGBT

The drawing has recently resurfaced after the US Department of Justice rescinded guidelines that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity.

The issue of which bathroom trans people should use has been fiercely contested among politicians, pundits and the public. Last year, then President Obama sent guidelines to public schools, stating they must not discriminate against trans students and allow them access to facilities, such as bathrooms and housing, that are "consistent with their gender identity." President Trump withdrew these guidelines last week.

Gross said he is glad that image has become as significant as it has, but had he known it would get so big, he might have added a signature.

This photo sums up what our trans youth go through. Must not forget: this isn't about bathrooms. It's about transph…

"'It's good to know that this isn't just me being a baby and actually resonates with others," he said. "So if it can help further the movement the way it seems to be doing I'm happy to let it go."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.