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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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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