RSS Feed

Yes Already, I Am Going to Talk “Bathroom Issue”

If you ever want to get an outraged earful from a trans woman, simply go up to her and say, “But, you don’t use the ladies room, right? That would be immoral!” Honestly, I want to smack myself just for having written that. The bathroom issue, as so known, is one of the top 100 issues trans people are a bit prickly about. If you can’t understand why, take advantage of the endless refills at McDonalds and try to imagine not knowing where to pee without risking a beating. The issue has little to do with us just being fussy.

You might be surprised to learn that I’m not the first person to bring this up, nor did I coin the term “bathroom issue”. In fact, this has actually been done almost to death. ‘Almost’, because if it was taken all the way, it would no longer be an issue. I want to take a moment and give my spin on why it is an issue to begin with, and then why that thought paradigm is wrong in some very basic assumptions. I doubt this is new, but you can’t have too many search results in our favor when Sully down at the Department of Public Works goes and tries to get himself informed.

Why should trans women be discouraged from using the ladies room? The oppositions answer seems to make sense. People feel universally unsafe performing, um, elimination activities. Women feel particularly unsafe doing such in the presence of men, particularly because on a historical basis, unclothed vulnerable women have a much higher risk of something heinous happen if men are within grasping distance. While it is acknowledged that trans women also feel vulnerable and unsafe around men for the same and very different reasons, there are way, way more cisgender women than trans women. Why should cisgender women be made uncomfortable to accommodate a population miniscule by comparison? This almost seems to make sense, but really doesn’t.

The logical fallacy of the above is in the wording and a glossing over of a key piece of information. Yes, some cisgender women may feel at risk with transwomen in the bathroom, but trans women actually are at risk in a men’s bathroom. Given that there is no record of a trans women assaulting a cis woman in the bathroom, and countless records of trans women being assaulted, it’s fair to say that only one of the groups is actually at risk. The group that is at risk, I think anyone would agree, is the one that should be offered protection, even if it makes some uncomfortable.

In case this isn’t clear, let’s look at an example from our recent past where some pretty ridiculous notions prevailed. White society objected to minority use of common rest rooms under the unfathomable notion that they were less sanitary. Since then a modicum of wisdom prevailed and declared this separation moronic and obscenely inane. The trans bathroom issue is the same, except the general public hasn’t yet been educated enough to understand that we not only pose no threat, but in fact, are under grave threat.

“Whoh there Michelle! Won’t bathroom access just encourage would be rapists to put on women’s clothes to take advantage of the situation?” In a word, no. Anyone who has taken any interest in the subject, which really should be all women, or even watch non-Fox based news knows that rape is way more often a crime of power than it is about sex. Be that the case, stick any non-CD cisgender man in a dress and see how powerful he feels. Probably not so much. Like wearing you Weight Watcher’s tee shirt to the Old Country Buffet, what you have on is going to affect performance. In the event that someone, and I’m sure he’s out there, does have a particular fetish for doing this, he’s probably going to do this anyway and pick somewhere seldom frequented to avoid notice, and not the loo at the Regal Cinema.

To sum it all up: We who consider ourselves women are extremely unlikely to pose a risk; if we are on HRT, we likely can’t even if so inclined, which we are not. At worst, we make some people who are uninformed feel uncomfortable. In the wrong bathroom, however, we are at grave risk. Men feel just as antsy and uncomfortable when peeing, and far more likely to meet a perceived threat with violence. The notion that legal and socially condoned access would encourage potential rapists to take advantage fails to take into account the malevolent mindset of such perpetrators. Putting on a skirt set and make-up is not how they are going to enact their need to dominate and subjugate women. We need the protection, pose no risk, and with a little social adjustment, everyone is safer and happier in the long run. One would think this would be simple.

Advertisements

About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

18 responses »

  1. Pingback: Again With The Trans Bathroom Issue | Michellelianna

  2. Pingback: Radfem and the Anti-Transgender Agenda « Michellelianna

  3. My take on this awhile back. There hasn’t been an issue in almost a decade now …

    http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2005/11/10/views

    Reply
  4. I just wish people could see past themselves.

    Reply
  5. It seems to me that the so called problem is mainly a fantasy lodged in the minds of those transphobic types that wish to make an issue of anything that their narrow minds latch onto. Over the last five years I only experienced any sort of negative reaction twice and the most significant was actually a male who knew me pre transition.

    Reply
    • Ugh, that’s so wrong for him to throw you under like that! I know what you mean though about the transphobes. We are different and therefore must be filled with voyeuristic malevolence. I suppose there are people out there who can get turned on by attempting to pass as a woman and watch someone go to the bathroom, but dear god, I hope their numbers make ours look huge!

      Love, Michelle

      Reply
  6. It’s past now, all those worries, because I am fully transitioned. But it once scared the pants off me (hee hee – pun)

    Seriously? It turns our to be such a non-issue. When you ARE a woman and act like you should be there in the Ladies restroom – it automatically causes the other women to smile and look right past you! I mean they are there to take care of business just like you.

    The difference is there are sometimes lines (aughh I gotta pee so bad) but then – clutch your purse to your chest, and look irritated (like everyone else). But small talk? VERY common in the ladies room – go for it. And eye contact? Some but just a smile and then looking away.

    And the idea of a disguised man checking out the women? HA! It’s all behind closed stalls! Don’t the critics get it? We women are private creatures -men pee in open urinals – which is the civilized way?

    Lizzy

    Reply
    • Thanks Lizzy,
      I think you hit the nail right on the head (excuse MY pun). Act like you belong there and no lady will give you a second glance unless, of course, you try to talk to her, heaven forbid!
      Deanna

      Reply
    • Agreed with Deanna! It’s a rule of thumb I learned way back in military training. Act like you are supposed to be there, and it’s a rare, rare day that anyone will even ask. Of course now that we have poo-poo’d the idea of a man in a dress peering over stalls using a handy portable stool, 5 cases are going to pop up in the next week. Just like the time I made fun of the notion of drugged out face eaters and then look what happened! 🙂

      Love, Michelle

      Reply
  7. The main concerns with the bathroom issue, as it’s stated, tends to be the foggy way the legislation is written. As it stands, much of the legislation could allow men into the women’s restroom. Transgender women, however, are not men.

    I have yet to come up with a solution to the above problem that wouldn’t be a gross violation of our privacy regarding our medical history, however.

    And any number of radical feminists will have a handy list of cross-dressing men peeping in or attempting sexual assault in, the women’s restrooms. Though this shouldn’t be used as a basis to ban transgender women, it does serve as a reminder that the legislation must be carefully crafted.

    -Lyn

    Reply
    • Hi Lyn! Is there even such a list? I didn’t think so, but I also have to admit that the time I spend researching my posts, hastily written either very early in the morning, or while I eat lunch, is just a tad less than ideal. The ‘tad’ that is equal to three bushels; not the other one. I think the only reasonable solution is education on the subject. Mandating third gender bathrooms is even less logical than the brief separate air supplied and segregated smoking areas they had here in NYS for like a year. Lots more smokers than there are of us still I’m afraid, so if that didn’t work, this has no chance. If we can reduce fear and discomfort through facts, we might stand a chance of everyone being unafraid to order the Venti Carmel Machiato. 🙂

      Love, Michelle

      Reply
  8. Clare beat me to the punch. The UK and especially Scotland are very open minded about this. I have been using ladies rooms in public since I began going out dressed properly. It would be for less sensible for me to walk into the men’s room, than the ladie’s.

    I have been told, though I have not checked it out, that it is actually written into the laws over here that you use the restroom of the gender you are presenting.

    Really, I think I am the only one who is really uncomfortable, and that has faded quite a bit.

    Another reason why I am glad that I am currently in Scotland and not trying to complete my transition back in the US.

    Love,

    Becky

    Reply
    • I have to say Becky, the more I hear about Scotland from you, the lovelier it sounds! I know, the person discomfort of worrying about invading someone elses space is the hardest thing to get over. Most never notice we are even in there.

      Love, Michelle

      Reply
      • If you ever have a chance to come over here, you will receive a warm welcome (from me, not the weather).
        I think you actually said something here that another of your commenters covered really well. We have to stop thinking that we are invading someone else’s space, and claim our equal entitlement to that space. It’s ours too and we won’t be rejected if we act like we belong.

        Love,
        Becky

        Reply
        • Thanks so much Becky! I think I might just take you up on that one day! As for the weather, look, I’m from Buffalo, so bring it on Highlander! 🙂

          Love, Michelle

        • Coming from Buffalo, you would be over prepared for the weather here, as I was coming from Wisconsin. First thing I got was a snow shovel. Never used it. What makes the weather suck here is the long stretches of cool, wet weather, and lack of sunshine. Today was mostly cloudy with highs in the low 50’s and I heard people talking about what a lovely day it was.

          Love,
          Becky

  9. In the UK, no problem. I go in, use a cubicle, wash my hands, check hair and makeup, leave. Just like everyone else.

    Reply
    • Actually, it’s really the same thing here for the most part, although many or even most of us here in the States have a story or two about times it didn’t go so smoothly. I’d love to pop over to the UK and use the restroom there, but I’d never be able to hold it for the trip. 🙂

      Love, Michelle

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: