T BATHROOM BILLS
VIOLENCE OR FEAR
WHO DOESN’T WANT A SOLUTION
For me: I switched in 1981, transsexual. I’ve never had a problem with this in any bathroom or shower facility, even when I’m obvious. Why? If I’m guessing, I’d say that even when people did “read” me in the ladies’ room, they could see my sincerity, and no one ever asked me to leave—not in Kansas (where I’m from), Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama…not even in North Carolina where I’ve been with the ban in effect.
Many trans people won’t want to hear about this, but we can’t ask conservatives to admit truths if we aren’t willing to do the same.
For Transgenders to note:
(1) One of the TG paradigm’s basic tenets is that we are whatever we say we are (Tenet #2), but we’re not. That perfection of self perception is rare and leaves no room for mistakes, denial, fantasy, games, or even out-right lying to gain access. I’ve seen it, and so will you if you stick around long enough: A male puts on a wig, maybe a dress, claims he’s a woman, says he belongs in the ladies’ room… I’m not talking about cross-dressing; I’m talking about impersonating transgenders for access as a woman. This kind of thing happens, is abuse of a legitimate transgender phenomenon and should be decried—but transgender leaders don’t complain much because Tenet #1 says anything goes and radicals will slam, refuse to buy books, seek you as a treatment provider…and there goes the car payment. Some of them would eat their young.
(2) Then there are others who move to a place on sex or gender continua with no intention of approaching a binary result, yet who demand acceptance as binary, something they don’t even want to be. This appears to many to be a logical inconsistency, and it discredits. Where-so, it’s easy for skeptics to form the opinion they’re being gamed. Not knowing what’s in a person’s mind can mean that someone is genuine even when they don’t appear to be, but it can also mean someone is not genuine when they say they are. These things do happen, and as trans people of all kinds, we need to begin to admit it, not live in denial blaming skeptics for balking.
For skeptics to note:
(1) Sometimes people who have no intention of being binary, do, nonetheless, fit the opposite gender. It is real that sometimes people who prefer male genitalia have also a woman’s mind-set, or who prefer not to have a penis but have a distinct man’s mind-set (masculine gender). This is transgenderism. It’s not about being binary; it’s about the focus of gender. Virginia Prince, Ph.D., identified it as,
“…people like myself who have breasts and live full time as a woman, but who have no intention of having genital surgery…” (Gender Blending, 1997, p. 469).
(2) Transsexualism is not transgenderism, opposite where physical sex issues are concerned and worthy of recognition. The larger group, transgender, promotes the movement that what matters is the change of gender, but that is not salient to transsexualism. Please don’t judge a book by its cover. Where a transgender may be happy living in society as a woman with male sexuality, a transsexual will be miserable, require SRS, perhaps even to survive, because her need is to be the other physical sex which includes genitalia.
T BATHROOM BILLS
Liberal areas of the country pass laws for bathroom/shower access. People with a penis may use the ladies’ room. Then many people express a sense of victimization being forced to allow males into the ladies’ room because of a few overt adjustments and a claim of identity that no one can verify.
Then we get conservative legislators who rebel, pass laws against it, seeking some way to deal with the above. Penis-free zones for ladies. Transgenders scream victimization.
VIOLENCE OR FEAR
Because of non-reporting, no one really knows, but maybe half of all females have been a victim of violence from males somewhere in life—assault, battery, molestation, rape—and the thought is fear-inducing or abhorrent to even consider being
- in a vulnerable place,
- a room with only one exit where partial disrobing occurs
- where minors may be present, escorted or no,
- behind stall doors that are not intended for a whole lot of privacy,
- with a man in there who also intends to partially disrobe, maybe in the next stall.
Trans person assertion of safety with a lack of violence from T’s in bathrooms is misdirective and without empathy—not a good enough repsonse. It can be quite threatening in feeling for a cisnatal female, even with no aggressive action taken by a trans person. And we can’t socially demand women give this fear on an ongoing basis because men cause this violence on an on-going basis in society. Even if violence is not present in a ladies’ room, the condition of fear is still something we shouldn’t enable by structure. It’s not just physical safety we need; lets be humane, also.
WHO DOESN’T WANT A SOLUTION
These feelings on both sides of the bathroom argument are real. It’s denial to pretend the other side’s views are bunk.
So what can we do about it?
“Third sex” or gender-alternate bathrooms is so horribly not the way to go. I don’t mean those who want to be “X,” neither M nor F; I mean grouping and segregating all non-binary as X against their will. The notion of segregating bathrooms for those not binary is not only inhumane, it’s impossible to work. Think it through: How would we decide who uses the binary bathroom and who uses the alternate bathroom? All persons would have to be inspected, skeptics and trans alike, “to get out the fakers.” The “obvious ones”? Obvious to some might not be obvious to others. Doctors’ letters are notoriously inaccurate, writing more out of political view than phenomena. So we lift skirts to see? Look for scars? Are we kidding? Or how about using government-issued ID that states the physical sex marker (M and F mean Male and Female, not masculine and feminine). But it’s already common that such opposite sex markers are issued to people who don’t have or want SRS, even those from other states or countries, so that won’t work—and didn’t we learn about segregation from concerns with other minorities in decades past? Have we learned nothing about human equality?
Transgenders don’t generally want the below solution because most transgenders actually want to keep the binary system, leveraging validation of new sex, gender or fantasy from authorities.
Intersex generally don’t want this solution. Why don’t intersex help trans more often with these social problems? I think it’s because most everyone wants to distance from trans people, even intersex.
Skeptics also don’t want the below solution. I find myself thinking it’s because they don’t want to
- imply or confer approval of trans lifestyles with a workable solution,
- don’t want to use any tax revenue money to make it happen, and
- I’ve talked with some cisnatal women who, in refusing to admit trans can actually be women, want the state to validate their role as women/females, also.
Fortunately, there is an easy fix—all groups get to like some of it and dislike other things about it.
STEP 1 (TGs will hate this one): Transgenders begin to sell their true nature (woman keeping a penis) and decry fakers to help prevent some of the valid concerns that skeptics fear. Move to a middle ground. It truly is impractical in this context to say that all humans are inter-gender or that it’s defined by what a person states she feels. No one can know the truth of that.
STEP 2 (Skeptics will hate this one, but it’s temporary): Look to states where rights of transgender admission are granted. What problems do we seem to have? Extremely few on the surface. This is an accommodation that needs to exist until we can implement Step 3 below. To that end, let me try to help with a view: If anyone caused a problem in a bathroom, a trans person in there would likely be one who would defend you, not cause the problem, herself. Admit legitimate transgenders to the ladies’ room while we do Step 3.
STEP 3: Change the model of bathrooms so that all persons are treated equally and safely, where no one is put in a position of fear, where no one can use bathrooms to seek validity or feel they’re losing validity: Redesign to individual stalls and area hand washing.
I’ve seen this model at places like Renaissance Fairs, County Fairs, other public events for decades. Instead of lawsuits, jails, legislator time, arguing over who is a bigot or a radical, redesign public bathrooms to fit non-binary people and everyone.
Example: You go to the movies. Instead of having two bathrooms, redesign that same space into one large room open to the lobby (perhaps separated by an intermittent glass wall) with multiple exits, so that there are individual stalls that are actually private and lockable with real doors, each with an exhaust, no urinals at all for males so no one can expose self to others, have a bank of hand washing sinks by exits. No one sees anything other than people going into closets or washing hands. (Extra Boon: We could also see who doesn’t wash hands.)
People in the lobby can see. All are safe. Modesty is assured for all. Intersex is cared-for as well as any trans, neutrois, agender, gay, straight, Martian, Muggle—anyone.
How to pay for it:
- It can be required of new construction.
- It can be phased in over time to existing public locations.
- It’s cheaper than dealing with lawsuits that can crop up.
All this is a fight we don’t need to have.