This woman's must-watch speech just settled the whole 'bathroom bill' debate.

The story of one woman's brave stand against anti-trans myths.

Madeline Goss is a software engineer from North Carolina, and she has one simple request: to be able to use the bathroom.

Believe it or not, her state's legislators called a special session (at a cost of $42,000 to the taxpayers) to pass a bill that says women like Madeline aren't allowed to use public bathrooms.

Seriously.


GIFs from Human Rights Campaign/YouTube.

Why? She happens to be transgender, so those legislators think she should be forced to use men's restrooms.

But before the bill became law, Madeline worked up the courage to make her case in front of state legislators.

She shared an emotional story about growing up in Hickory — a city of about 40,000 people located 57 miles northwest of Charlotte — and what it was like for a woman like her to be forced to use the men's room.


In telling her story, you can hear her voice fill with a swirl of emotion. There's desperation, frustration, exhaustion, and sadness.

Recounting her assault, Madeline verges on crying, but she pushes onward so as not to go down without a fight.

Hearing about the law, "felt like a one-two punch to the stomach."

In a blog post for the Human Rights Campaign, Madeline described how it felt to learn that North Carolina's elected representatives had deemed her less a person than she truly is.

"I couldn't believe my home state would pass such a discriminatory bill into law," she wrote with more than a hint of despair. "They ignored the public outcry from trans people, allies, business leaders, celebrities, as well as representatives from HRC, Equality NC, and the ACLU."

And before the House of Representatives, she shared a chilling truth: Being forced to use the men's room puts her and others like her in grave danger.

GIF from Human Rights Campaign/YouTube.

Nearly 70% of transgender people have been harassed or assaulted in a public bathroom — so Madeline has every right to be afraid.

A 2013 study found that 68% of trans people had experienced verbal harassment and 9% had been physically assaulted. By telling women like Madeline that she should use the men's room, they're sending her into a very dangerous and scary situation.


17 states and more than 200 cities offer protections that ensure trans people can use restrooms in alignment with their gender identity — without incident.

Even so, those insistent on passing laws blocking nondiscrimination ordinances peddle the fiction that trans-inclusive protections are a radical concept. They're not, and Madeline got that point across as tears welled in her eyes.

GIF from Human Rights Campaign/YouTube.

"This is the moment when a hero stands up, reeling from just being clobbered, and fights back for the greater good," she wrote, describing her testimony.

Madeline spoke out even though she had to know that there was little hope of her testimony getting through to those intent on making her a second-class citizen. Still, she stood up with a brave face to stand up for what's right.

The world needs more heroes like Madeline.

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Women around the world are constantly bombarded by traditional and outdated societal expectations when it comes to how they live their lives: meet a man, get married, buy a home, have kids.

Many of these pressures often come from within their own families and friend circles, which can be a source of tension and disconnect in their lives.

Global skincare brand SK-II created a new campaign exploring these expectations from the perspective of four women in four different countries whose timelines vary dramatically from what their mothers, grandmothers, or close friends envision for them.

SK-II had Katie Couric meet with these women and their loved ones to discuss the evolving and controversial topic of marriage pressure and societal expectations.

SK-II

"What happens when dreams clash with expectations? We're all supposed to hit certain milestones: a degree, marriage, a family," Couric said before diving into conversation with the "young women who are defining their own lives while navigating the expectations of the ones who love them most."

Maluca, a musician in New York, explains that she comes from an immigrant family, which comes with the expectation that she should live the "American Dream."

"You come here, go to school, you get married, buy a house, have kids," she said.

Her mother, who herself achieved the "American Dream" with hard work and dedication when she came to the United States, wants to see her daughter living a stable life.

"I'd love for her to be married and I'd love her to have a big wedding," she said.

Chun Xia, an award-winning Chinese actress who's outspoken about empowering other young women in China, said people question her marital status regularly.

"I'm always asked, 'Don't you want to get married? Don't you want to start a family and have kids like you should at your age?' But the truth is I really don't want to at this point. I am not ready yet," she said.

In South Korea, Nara, a queer-identifying artist, believes her generation should have a choice in everything they do, but her mother has a different plan in mind.

SK-II

"I just thought she would have a job and meet a man to get married in her early 30s," Nara's mom said.

But Nara hopes she can one day marry her girlfriend, even though it's currently illegal in her country.

Her mother, however, still envisions a different life for her daughter. "Deep in my heart, I hope she will change her mind one day," she said.

Maina, a 27-year-old Japanese woman, explains that in her home country, those who aren't married by the time they're 25 to 30, are often referred to as "unsold goods."

Her mom is worried about her daughter not being able to find a boyfriend because she isn't "conventional."

"I really want her to find the right man and get married, to be seen as marriage material," she said.

After interviewing the women and their families, Couric helped them explore a visual representation of their timelines, which showcased the paths each woman sees her life going in contrast with what her relatives envision.

SK-II

"For each young woman, two timelines were created. One represents the expectations. The other, their aspirations," Couric explained. "There's often a disconnect between dreams and expectations. But could seeing the difference lead to greater understanding?"

The women all explored their timelines, which included milestones like having "cute babies," going back to school, not being limited by age, and pursuing dreams.

By seeing their differences side-by-side, the women and their families were able to partake in more open dialogue regarding the expectations they each held.

One of the women's mom's realized her daughter was lucky to be born during a time when she has the freedom to make non-traditional choices.

SK-II

"It looks like she was born in the right time to be free and confident in what she wants to do," she said.

"There's a new generation of women writing their own rules, saying, 'we want to do things our way,' and that can be hard," Couric explained.

The video ends with the tagline: "Forge your own path and choose the life you want; Draw your own timeline."

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