Targeting six-year-olds

When school districts treat trans and gender-nonconforming kids as “different,” requiring that they use special bathrooms, is it any surprise when the other kids follow suit?

Trans adults face legal discrimination in everything from housing to medical care to employment to getting a driver’s license. You know who is much more likely to face verbal harassment or even physical assault for using the bathroom? Trans people. You know who is probably going to be totally fine using a bathroom? Cis people. Yes, even if a trans person is in that bathroom with you!

I’m pretty much fine with letting people use the bathroom that matches their gender. Unless you want a genital inspection before you walk into the restroom, I’d suggest you also let people use the bathroom that matches their gender.

And of course, if I ran the world, we’d also have a universal third bathroom option open to whoever wants to use it. Mom and dad need to go in together to take care of babies who need changing? Go for it. Dad and dad need to go in with their daughter? Do it. You have a full beard and felt like dressing super-femme that day but don’t want to decide between the “male” and “female” signs? Come on it. The line is shorter so I’d like to use that bathroom please? Enjoy.

166 comments for “Targeting six-year-olds

  1. Donna L
    March 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    The Times article is generally OK — although I think it could have made clearer that Colorado law specifically prohibits the kind of discrimination that occurred here — but the first two sentences made me cringe:

    Coy Mathis was born a boy. But after just a few years, biology succumbed to a more powerful force.


    Anyway, I just can’t with this case. Even though I know both Michael Silverman and the lawyer in charge of the matter at the big firm helping out pro bono, it upsets me too much to read the details.

    • March 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Yeah, wtf on that first sentence. One is not born a woman, one is not born a boy either.

    • PrettyAmiable
      March 18, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      I feel like I would like it better if it read like this:

      Coy Mathis was born with male sex organs. But after just a few years, biology succumbed to a more powerful force.


      • bookshopcat
        March 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

        Delurking to say that I’d like to see an end to the “penis = guy!parts, vagina = gal!parts” trope altogether. I’m male and since my body is mine, it’s male too. I know that the ob/gyn assigned me a sex based on 5+ decades of cissexist indoctrination and a cursory glance at my crotch, and I know that a lot of people think that “X-bodied” or “Y sex organs” is a neat way to acknowledge trans people while simultaneously indicating what kind of genitals we have, but it’s still really problematic for all sorts of reasons.

      • PrettyAmiable
        March 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm

        I’d always differentiated between sex and gender, but upon re-reading (and Donna’s comment below), I think I’m falling into a sex dichotomy that doesn’t (or maybe I mean shouldn’t) exist.

        Thanks to both of you for the education – it’s giving me the ammunition I need to be more thoughtful about my privilege.

      • Donna L
        March 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm

        Personally, I’m not a big fan of the “I’m female, so my genitals are female no matter what they look like” concept. That’s all well and good if you don’t feel you need to have genital surgery, and/or don’t plan to have it for any one or more of the many possible reasons. But I always did want and need it, and if I had said that I already saw my genitals as female prior to surgery, it would have left me extremely vulnerable to being attacked with the extremely common rejoinder, “well, if your genitals are already female, why do you need to mutilate yourself with surgery; why not be happy with those already-female genitals, blah blah blah.” Obviously there are responses to that, but the fact is that I didn’t see my genitals as “female” prior to surgery, even after I had already transitioned socially and certainly saw myself, and was generally perceived as, a woman. Not that they were exactly male, either.

        To try to avoid this issue, if it’s absolutely necessary to characterize a trans person’s body, or any portion of it, in such terms — and it almost never is truly necessary — I prefer to use words like “male-coded” and “female-coded,” rather than “male” or “female” per se. I see this as a reasonable alternative.

      • bookshopcat
        March 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        Good point, Donna. I’m certainly not suggesting that anyone should use language that doesn’t work for them and I’m sorry if that’s how I came across.

        That said, please don’t assume that seeing my genitals as male means that I don’t need or want something other than what I currently have, or that I’m not planning to get lower surgery when my situation allows. Reclaiming my body as male is the only thing that’s permitted me to even *try* to inhabit it right now instead of continuing to dissociate 24/7 for the next five or ten or fifteen years. If I hadn’t had the ‘female-sexed’ trope used against me by a succession of abusive care providers and the parent who got away with molesting me for years, things might be different; as it stands, I can either try to reframe my body as something I can live with despite its defects or, well… not. While I agree that ‘x-coded’ and ‘y-coded’ are likely the best options available right now for general discussion purposes, the emotional consequences of attaching ‘female’ to any description of me are far too high for me to be okay with being described in those terms.

      • Donna L
        March 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm

        Understood, bookshopcat. These are all things that every trans person has to decide for themselves, and are nobody else’s business. Which is one of the many reasons why discussions of trans people’s genitals should generally be off limits unless the trans person themself wants to engage in such a discussion.

      • Mallory
        March 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm

        You should definitely write for the The New York Times.

    • Donna L
      March 19, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Ideally: “Coy Mathis was assigned male at birth.” Nothing about genitals. Seriously.

      • Emolee
        March 19, 2013 at 11:59 am

        Right. Why should the public, or the school, care about the appearance of the genitals of a child?

  2. Donna L
    March 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I’m pretty much fine with letting people use the bathroom that matches their gender.

    Why are you just “pretty much” fine, Jill? Is there some line you’re drawing?

    • March 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      Nope, no line! Sorry that was unclear; was a conversational way of writing, not an indication that I think there’s some situation in which I would not be fine with letting people use the bathroom that matches their gender.

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm

        Thanks — that’s good to know!

      • March 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm

        Actually wait, I take that back: If we’re talking about an institution where it’s the same people using the bathroom every day (a school, a workplace) and there’s someone in that institution who has a habit of being intimidating or harassing or violent to others who use the bathroom, I am fine with barring them from using it. In other words, if someone lady at the elementary school wants to pick on a six-year-old girl for using the bathroom or harasses a trans co-worker for using the bathroom, then I’d be totally fine with the institution telling that lady, “you are no longer allowed to use the girls/womens bathroom.” That’s not what I was thinking when I wrote that line — I wasn’t thinking much beyond, “People should be able to use the bathroom that matches their gender, duh, come on” — but on a second look, there are circumstances under which I would be ok with banning a person from using the bathroom. Or just firing them, actually, for harassing a coworker or student.

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm

        Well, I don’t think that will ever happen. What’s more feasible, I think, is a form of not allowing a “heckler’s veto” to the exercise of civil rights. In other words, if anyone has a problem with a trans person — of any age — using the bathroom they feel is most consistent with their gender and/or are otherwise most comfortable using, then the person with the problem should be the one offered an opportunity to go someplace else, such as an available single-person bathroom. Rather than forcing the trans person to do so. Believe me, I wish I could have done something like that the first year or so after I transitioned, when one woman at my office, every time she saw me in the women’s bathroom, would make a face at me as if she had just seen the Devil, and ostentatiously walk out and slam the door behind her. Which was rather humiliating, especially when anyone else was present. I never complained, though, because I didn’t want to make waves.

      • Emolee
        March 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm

        the person with the problem should be the one offered an opportunity to go someplace else

        Yes, this. And perhaps this is even too generous, especially if the objector is an adult. Someone doesn’t like trans women (or black women, or lesbians, etc.) in the bathroom? Then the bigot can discontinue use of the bathroom. I don’t really think we need to offer the bigots an alternative. But if someone should move, it should be the bigot.

  3. conflicted about story
    March 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I’m always conflicted about stories like this.

    Are bathrooms (and spaces in general) about gender, or sex? There’s a huge distinction between the two. Sex is biological, gender purely social.

    One can be a girl gender wise and still a male biologically (sex). You cannot change sex. Do females (sex) or girls (gender) have a right to spaces free of male sex, regardless of the gender associated with the male sex?

    • Past my expiration date
      March 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      One can be a girl gender wise and still a male biologically (sex). You cannot change sex.

      You might want to read up on this.

      And then explain how, even if it were true, it would be relevant to a bathroom that has stalls with doors.

      • conflicted about story
        March 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

        Sex is a biological fact. And yes, there are more than two biological sexes.

        Gender on the other hand is a social construction and can change.

        What specifically is wrong in those statements?

      • March 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        I suggest you read this.

    • GallingGalla
      March 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Hi, trans woman here. So where would you suggest I go to the bathroom? The men’s room? Where I’m at high risk for being assaulted?

      You couch your statement as a question, but I know what answer you’re looking for, and I’m not going to give it to you.

      Also: WTFBBQ?!?!?!

      • conflicted about story
        March 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm

        We are obviously speaking in hypotheticals/ideals here. I don’t know the answer. Maybe we should have third-gender restrooms that are single occupancy. Or make all restrooms single occupancy gender neutral.

      • C.D.
        March 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm

        “We are obviously speaking in hypotheticals/ideals here. ”


        I love people who are like “oh, these situations are totally hypothetical.”

        Uh, there are a lot of people for whom these situations are not hypothetical AT ALL.

      • EG
        March 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm

        No. We’re speaking about actual people, such as the little girl whom this post is about, and several beloved commenters here. Real people. Not hypotheticals. Actual people and their right to be treated as such.

      • BabyRaptor
        March 18, 2013 at 10:24 pm

        I’m a hypothetical now?

        I had no idea…

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm

        Maybe we should have third-gender restrooms

        Again, a comment based on the premise that trans women aren’t women, and trans men aren’t men. Instead, we are hypothetically relegated, in this purely academic discussion, to a mandatory “third gender,” and to “third gender” bathrooms — whether we like it or not. What a lovely idea.

        I also suspect that comments such as these are based, consciously or otherwise, on the dubious premise that all trans people are “visibly” trans, and can easily be identified, and excluded and/or segregated, as such. Perhaps “Conflicted” has special powers that enable her to detect all trans people, like the woman who once informed me online, in all seriousness, that she could always spot trans women, and had never seen one she couldn’t identify as such. I tried to explain what a quintessentially circular argument this was, but it was a waste of time.

      • piny
        March 19, 2013 at 11:36 am

        Yes–or that they already are separate from “real” people, such that there’s zero civil-rights problem with forcing them to segregate themselves on pain of arrest. Nobody who actually thinks about this could support Ladies, Gentlemen, and TRANS THIS PERSON IS TRANS HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT THE TRANS PERSON bathroom options. Men/Women/Other is a terrible idea. It’s the opposite of a solution. It means that every single trans person has to submit to formal outing in order to use the goddamn bathroom or stand guilty of a status crime if one of the normal people thinks they don’t conform.

      • March 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm

        Chances are, anyone here has already shared washroom space with any number of trans persons and were none the wiser. I’m willing to bet it has a lot to do with the distinct lack of genital waving that goes on in public washrooms, regardless of one’s cis- or trans- status.

        I agree that, based on the potential of being targeted for violence, a separate bathroom “trans” bathroom is a bad idea. Either embrace gender-neutral bathrooms, or accept that trans people are A) sufficiently self-aware enough to know what gender they identify as (including non-binary folk) B) just there to use the can like you, pal.

        The only organs anyone should give a shit about in a public washroom is the bladder and the colon. YOUR OWN BLADDER OR COLON.

      • March 21, 2013 at 10:36 pm

        What you’re implying here is that we’re not really women, that we’re something else, and it is appropriate to require us to go elsewhere.

        And you’re wrong on all counts.

        If someone says zie is a third gender, then zie is. But if someone say’s she’s a woman, then she’s not any third gender and it is not appropriate to demand she leave women’s spaces, no matter how unsettling you find the idea of a person who exists outside of a strict binary to be.

    • josielemonpie
      March 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      can we get a giraffe here please? we don’t need “hypotheticals” hurting people.

    • March 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      There’s actually not as huge a distinction as you think when it comes to biological sex. There’s a ton of variation when it comes to the human body, including genitalia, secondary sex characteristics and chromosomes.

      I’m also not sure where you would want to draw the line. Do we want to base bathroom use on a person’s genitals? Their chromosomes? Their gender presentation? Whether or not X individual in the bathroom believes that Y individual is the same gender/sex as the bathroom they walk into? How exactly are we going to police any of that?

    • EG
      March 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      There’s a huge distinction between the two. Sex is biological, gender purely social.

      Sure. I mean, it’s not like human biology is a complex group of intertwined systems that are in themselves complex and not yet fully understood, that create identities and sexes far more intricate and complex and interconnected than we allow for in our culture. Nope. Biology is cut and dried and based on the state of one’s genitals and THAT’S IT. Hormones, development, experiences in utero, they have nothing to do with it. It’s just all genitals, all the time.

      Bullshit. Sex is the name we in our culture give to the product of a number of different interacting and interlocking systems, any one of which could operate differently from the way it usually does.

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm

        But don’t forget! It isn’t always just genitals, because a trans woman is still a man regardless of the current state of her genitals. “Biological sex” is really all about the chromosomes! It’s scientificalish, immutable fact! Never mind that 999 out of 1000 people who say that have no idea of their (or anyone else’s) chromosomal configuration, and wouldn’t recognize a chromosome if it bit them.

  4. conflicted about story
    March 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    And your last paragraph makes it sound like you’d allow people to choose day to day which bathroom to use. That seems inappropriate.

    • GallingGalla
      March 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Why is it inappropriate?

      We all, cis, trans* and gender-non-conforming, go to the bathroom to go to the bathroom, not to make underwear checks. Bathrooms have these little private rooms called stalls. Ever hear of them?

      Shall I tell you of the club I went to last year that has a multi-stall non-gendered bathroom? OH THE HORROR!!!!11elevensies!!! Owate, every one of the 200 people packed into that club somehow survived the experience.

      • conflicted about story
        March 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm

        I don’t know if most women are comfortable with men invading their restrooms. That’s the implication of what Jill wrote.

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

        Right. Because trans woman = man. That’s the foundation of your weltanschauung, and of all your comments. Get lost.

      • GallingGalla
        March 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm

        Right, because trans women are really men. Gotcha.

        I am getting sick of this.

      • conflicted about story
        March 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        Nope, donna, that’s not what I said or implied. I was responding to something Jill specifically wrote, to wit:

        You have a full beard and felt like dressing super-femme that day but don’t want to decide between the “male” and “female” signs? Come on it.

        You seem eager to get outraged, but that is what my comment was directed at: letting dudes who like to occasionally wear a dress into the women’s restroom. It had nothing to do with trans* people.

      • GallingGalla
        March 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        We need a giraffe here.

        [Moderator note: thank you for sending a giraffe alert.]

      • GallingGalla
        March 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm

        You seem eager to get outraged

        Ah, yes, the tried-and-trued “why are you [insert minority here] so angry all the time” diversion. Next, you’ll be telling us trans* women that we take up too much space.

      • March 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

        Ok. Conflicted about story, we register your objections. They’re things we’ve heard many times before, and they’re transphobic. You are welcome to run some google searches or look at the “trans” tag on this blog to see where they’ve been raised and addressed many times over. This is not the place to discuss them again. End the line of hypothetical bathroom inquiries now, please, or I will ban you from commenting. Thanks.

        (Also I am sorry for the delay on this. I’m on a train, the wifi sucks, and this comment keeps NOT GOING THROUGH).

      • Kristen from MA
        March 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm

        And there it is. You are a douche.

      • number9
        March 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        I am totes not comfortable with anyone invading my bathroom! Are they coming with pitchforks? I’m not ok with pitchforks.

        This bathroom-related panic comes up every fucking time. GTFO with that bullshit already.

      • LotusBecca
        March 19, 2013 at 7:46 pm

        Well, I’m a woman, and I’m not comfortable with separate bathrooms for men and women even existing in the first place. Come to think of it, I am not comfortable with any legal definitions of sex and gender existing at all. We should be regarded as human beings. So I welcome men invading my restrooms.

      • trees
        March 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

        If there wasn’t gender segregation in public restrooms (rooms with small stalls having partial walls and sometimes wide gaps), I probably wouldn’t ever use a public bathroom.

      • LotusBecca
        March 19, 2013 at 8:31 pm

        I can’t get behind gender segregation in public restrooms because I can’t behind the coercive mechanisms through which that gender segregation is maintained, especially having been personally victimized by those mechanisms.

      • trees
        March 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm

        I can’t get behind gender segregation in public restrooms because I can’t behind the coercive mechanisms through which that gender segregation is maintained, especially having been personally victimized by those mechanisms.

        I deal with a lot of unwelcome attention from men. The public restroom stalls that I frequently use are not terribly private. I already feel vulnerable when I’m eliminating in a public space, so possibly being available to some of the overly entitled assholes who regularly harass me is just too much for me. I would just wait until I got home, or maybe go to the bathroom in packs with other women (cis and trans) with whom I feel comfortable.

      • Emolee
        March 20, 2013 at 11:00 am

        I will admit that I feel more comfortable in a women-only restroom. Trans women in the women’s restroom don’t upset this idea at all, though, considering the fact that THEY ARE WOMEN. And if some of the women in the restroom have penises, that doesn’t bother me either. My desire for a women-only bathroom is not gential-based.

      • March 20, 2013 at 11:12 am

        I get that, but then I don’t. I’ve pissed in all the bathrooms. I think there should just be more one-holers in the world.

      • LotusBecca
        March 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        I think I can get why many women would want women-only spaces, especially for something that feels as private as going to the bathroom. If a woman gets assaulted or sexually harassed in public, odds are very high a man will be the perpetrator. So I more just wish there were more gender neutral single stall bathrooms to augment the existing infrastructure of gender segregated multi stall bathrooms. I may be a woman in my own personal opinion, but socially and legally my status is more nebulous and debatable, so I prefer to be in situations and locations where my gender is irrelevant.

      • Emolee
        March 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm

        I prefer to be in situations and locations where my gender is irrelevant.

        Becca, I totally get this, and I wish more of the world was like this.

        And even though I do prefer women-only bathrooms, I would give them up freely if they are actually (as so many people seem to claim) the reason that we can’t have laws that do not discriminate on the basis of gender identity.

      • miga
        March 22, 2013 at 3:51 am

        I lived in a college where almost all dorms had all gender restrooms. In women oriented spaces we had women-only restrooms (for all who ID’d as women), and in dorms that had been updated and made accessible we had single restrooms. I think it was the best solution for all parties involved.

    • March 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      lol oh you

  5. Donna L
    March 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Re “conflicted about story.” Do we really, seriously, have to deal with someone like this EVERY SINGLE TIME there’s any kind of story about trans issues? And do I always have to be the one to do it? To respond to someone spouting platitudes about how “biological sex” can’t be changed, and gender is purely social (with no distinction between gender identity and gender expression), yada yada — the logical conclusion of all of which is that no trans woman should ever be permitted to use a women’s bathroom, and that because being assigned male at birth is apparently the mark of Cain, even genital inspections at the entrance to every bathroom won’t be sufficient, and everyone will have to present original documentation showing how they were assigned at birth? And which is based on the usual knowing lie that “females” (not including trans women like me, obviously!) are somehow endangered by the presence of trans women — and, I guess, 6-year old trans girls! — in women’s bathrooms, despite the total number of trans women who’ve ever assaulted anyone in a women’s bathroom in states with legislation protecting trans people in public accommodations being zero?

    I can’t help wondering if this commenter is a regular commenter who assumed a new name for the purpose of making these bigoted assertions, because they were too cowardly to do so under their regular user name.

    • conflicted about story
      March 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm


      All I said was this:

      You have a full beard and felt like dressing super-femme that day but don’t want to decide between the “male” and “female” signs? Come on it.

      Is not necessarily cool because the implication is that a straight up dude who merely likes wearing an occasional dress is entitled to the women’s restroom.

      I also questioned whether bathrooms are about sex or gender, which nobody had answered.

      • GallingGalla
        March 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        Aw, fuck it. I’m tired of feeding trolls.

      • March 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        Ok. And I have presented you with your options going forward. (1) Continue with this line of inquiry/discussion when people have told you it’s offensive and that it’s been gone over many times before, and get banned. Or (2) Stop with this line of inquiry/discussion, and be permitted to comment further on this website.

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm

        Baloney. That’s not all you said. You said this:

        One can be a girl gender wise and still a male biologically (sex). You cannot change sex. Do females (sex) or girls (gender) have a right to spaces free of male sex, regardless of the gender associated with the male sex?

        A little broader than what you’re claiming now that you said, I think.

      • March 18, 2013 at 6:44 pm

        Yeah. The only even halfway reasonable argument from a person about why they’d want “gender-segregated” spaces of any kind I ever heard was a survivor of long-term incest and rape. Her take was basically that she would avoid a (naked) Pagan ritual which included pre-op trans women, NOT because they’re not women, but because “male” genitalia, even on a woman, are a major trigger and would send her into panic attacks and dissociative episodes. And even she wasn’t saying trans women shouldn’t be included in those gatherings, just that she herself couldn’t go to them if they were, and that she felt awful about that but she couldn’t help her triggers. I would make an argument that that person wasn’t transphobic, just traumatised. But that’s such an extreme case, rather like the “all creepy stalky guys are secretly autistic” meme is probably true here and there, but hardly across the board.

        And like I mentioned below, it’s not like any women’s restroom I’ve ever seen has naked women running about flailing their arms. So, not remotely an issue.

      • miga
        March 22, 2013 at 3:54 am

        *Snort* you obviously didn’t go to my college. :p

      • miga
        March 22, 2013 at 3:56 am

        Er, sorry Donna. That last was at mac’s “it’s not like any women’s restroom I’ve ever seen has naked women running about flailing their arms. ”

        I don’t know how to edit :/

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm

        As I said: every single time. Without fail.

      • yes
        March 21, 2013 at 1:47 am

        Oh, I think I see some fail in there.

      • March 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm

        Is not necessarily cool because the implication is that a straight up dude who merely likes wearing an occasional dress is entitled to the women’s restroom.

        You know what, fuck you, that doesn’t even make sense. Trans men (biologically female according to your ass-backwards definitions) might have a beard. Hell, my glorious south Indian genes mean that I have the potential for a decent ‘stache, and I’m female-bodied, by the way. Oh, and my gender can’t exactly be boiled down to “an occasional dress”. Some days I feel female, some days I really don’t. Usually I’m more comfortable using women’s bathrooms because they reliably have stalls wtih doors and I’m bladder-shy like you wouldn’t believe, but if I could have gender-neutral restrooms I’d take that in a heartbeat.

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm

        a straight up dude who merely likes wearing an occasional dress is entitled to the women’s restroom.

        Crossdressers and other people in that position already use the bathroom consistent with their gender presentation at any given time, and have been doing so for decades. Even if you’re applying a purely utilitarian analysis, someone like that is infinitely more likely to be physically endangered if they use a men’s bathroom — and to be assaulted by security guards or cops if they use a women’s bathroom — than they are to endanger anyone else in a women’s bathroom. And if anyone does engage in inappropriate behavior, that’s already illegal.

        The whole “man with a beard wearing a dress who decides he’s entitled to use the women’s room one day at work and the men’s room the next” is such a straw man I’m not even going to address it. These hypotheticals do nothing but distract attention from real issues that affect people’s real lives, like the life of the little girl in Jill’s original post.

      • trees
        March 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm

        @conflicted about story
        Some women (both cis and trans) can grow full on beards.

      • Ledasmom
        March 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm

        Seriously, conflicted about story, did you even read the post or did you just quote-strip-mine it? Jill’s hypothetical bearded guy in a dress (a hypothetical actual guy, need it be said) was using Jill’s hypothetical third, open-to-all restroom. You appear to have missed this point. I am not at all surprised that you have missed this point.
        I for one do not give a damn who is using the restroom I use, as long as whoever makes a mess makes a good-faith attempt to clean it up.

    • SophiaBlue
      March 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      Agreed 100%. I wince a little bit whenever I see articles on trans* issues on feminist sites, even here when I know that Jill is really supportive, because even though I want there to be more focus on trans* issues from mainstream feminism I know that SOMEBODY is going to come and vomit a bunch of transmisogyny all over the comment thread.

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 5:33 pm

        I have the same reaction every time I see a post like this one. I appreciate them, believe me, but one of my first thoughts is always “uh-oh, here it comes.”

  6. March 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    …is there some deep philosophical need why all bathrooms can’t come equipped with stalls with doors? No I mean seriously is there?

    And of course, if I ran the world, we’d also have a universal third bathroom option open to whoever wants to use it.

    YES PLZ. Always a universal bathroom option. More family bathrooms, more disabled-access bathrooms, more all of it. I don’t see why only-male, only-female (and I include trans men as male and trans women as female) and gender-neutral bathrooms can’t be implemented on a 1:1:1 basis at least. It works out fine in my college.

    Honestly, I don’t see why even the transphobes are so opposed to this. Do they want 6yo boys using the men’s bathroom while women wait outside? (Insert obligatory “all men are not pedophiles” statement here.) What about pre-teen girls (like me) who’ve been horribly sick in bathrooms while their fathers had to wait around outside helplessly, unable to take care of them?

    • March 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      Also for fucking serious I have never seen anyone in a women’s bathroom running around stark naked, why do they think a trans woman would suddenly decide to Because Lol? Particularly since that would, you know, wind up being a criminal offense.

      Also, again for fucking serious? This straw cis man who’d dress up as a woman to enter a women’s toilet on a regular basis? I defy anyone to find me ONE cis straight guy with the guts to do that. AFAICT they’re the most delicate little flowers of all the genders/sexualities when it comes to anything that might compromise their men-men-men-men-manly-men-men-men theme music.

      • matlun
        March 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm

        This straw cis man who’d dress up as a woman to enter a women’s toilet on a regular basis? I defy anyone to find me ONE cis straight guy with the guts to do that.

        Meh. Someone, somewhere is probably already doing that. You should not underestimate the strange kinks that are out there. Still – who thinks this is a common enough problem to base policy on?

      • Lolagirl
        March 18, 2013 at 9:43 pm

        See also, women running around starkers in the locker room. Or is it men comparing their penii with one another in the men’s locker room? I get those specious arguments all confused, it’s hard to keep track sometimes.

      • Emolee
        March 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm

        I also hate the common argument that men in the women’s restroom could harrass or rape women. Any man who is entering the women’s restroom with a nefarious purpose will most certainly do so anyway, regardless of what the law states about which gender presentations, or genitals/chromosomes (ridiculous!) are allowed in the restroom. How the hell is keeping trans women (who are women!!) out of the women’s bathroom going to stop men who want to hurt women from going in there?

    • March 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Er, and the ‘like me’ means I was horribly sick in a bathroom as a pre-teen. Not that I’m currently a pre-teen. Wow, I cannot linguify today, it seems.

  7. Miss S
    March 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Jill, can you answer the question I’ve asked repeatedly? Why didn’t you post anything for Black History Month? Tigtog and Caperton responded, but you haven’t, even though I’ve addressed the question specifically to you.

    On topic: I’ve actually seen gender neutral bathrooms in malls in my area, so people can choose to use the men’s, women’s, or neutral one. As for the sex/gender issue, I feel like everyone is saying something different, so I can’t comment on that. I’m surprised more places don’t have that gender neutral bathroom- it’s also really ideal when you have to take kids of a different gender into the bathroom, for like the situation mac described above when she was sick.

    • March 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Honestly? For the same reason I didn’t write about the 900 other important things that happened last month. I don’t get around to writing about everything. I tend to blog about whatever piques my interest at the particular 30-minute timeframe I have to write on any given day. That method is really the only one available to me right now, given my employment situation, and so it makes for a lot of imperfect blogging and coverage.

      • IrishUp
        March 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm

        I do not want to derail a thread that has already had it’s share of clownhorns, so I will post a reply to this on the spillover thread.

      • Miss S
        March 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

        Honestly? For the same reason I didn’t write about the 900 other important things that happened last month. I don’t get around to writing about everything. I tend to blog about whatever piques my interest at the particular 30-minute timeframe I have to write on any given day. That method is really the only one available to me right now, given my employment situation, and so it makes for a lot of imperfect blogging and coverage

        I’m aware that you can’t write about everything, but BHM is a pretty big deal. It would be nice if this space did more to cover issues specifically relating to black women. I realize that you aren’t a black woman, but there are so many black women blogs, and bwe (black woman empowerment) blogs, that you could take your cues from. I feel like you try really hard to make this space inclusive for other marginalized groups, but not so much for black women. Feminism has a terrible history of excluding black women, and I feel like I keep seeing history repeat itself. Certainly not just here, but with most feminist websites.

        I totally get that you’re one person, but I feel like you really dropped the ball with this.

      • Miss S
        March 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm

        I will also head over to spillover thread.

  8. Lolagirl
    March 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    I was wondering if this story was going to make it over to Feministe.

    I’ve been following Kathryn (Coy’s mom) on the internets since her MDC days when she was pregnant and homebirthed Coy and her triplet sibs 6 plus years ago. What is doubly shitty about this whole thing is how the school in question changed its tune after initially agreeing to let Coy use the girls restroom with the rest of her classmates. One has to wonder what was going on behind the scenes at the school to make the Administration stop being supportive of Coy, it sounds like some of her classmates parents tried to make trouble and definitely succeeded in that mission.

    Since this controversy blew up the Mathis’ have been harrassed terribly by bigots and transphobes, I wouldn’t be surprised if “Confused” is part of that nasty horde.

  9. EG
    March 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Perhaps things have changed in this loose age of ours, but when I was six, particularly in the girls’ bathroom, we entered, chose a stall, locked the door, and took care of what we had to take care of. Who cares what Coy’s genitals look like? Who’s going to see?

    The only time I saw at that age was when my close friend J— and I went into the large stall for people using wheelchairs and showed each other our tushes and our vulvas. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t endorsed by the school administration, but that it was harmless, and that nobody would have considered barring one of us from the girls’ bathroom to stop it.

    I’m generally unclear on the purpose of sex-segregated bathrooms anyway, particularly pre-puberty. What, precisely, are people afraid of? Boys hanging out in the girls’ bathroom and harassing them? Well, what’s preventing that from happening now? My school certainly didn’t have bathroom monitors stationed at the door, and it was reasonably well-funded for a public school.

    • Tim
      March 18, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Some weird shit (pun intended I guess) used to happen in the boys’ bathrooms of my grade-school years. If boys had been allowed in the girls’ bathrooms, some of them definitely would have harassed the girls; as it was, there were boys harassing other boys. Stall doors were no protection either; boys would climb up and look down over the partition at the kid inside trying to shit and say stuff. Others would come up behind the boys at the urinal and try to see what color their urine was. “Who’s the Mountain Dew maker of the day?” one of these was fond of saying. Because of this and other stuff, I would never do a number two at school to save my life, not from K right through 12; I held it in until I got home no matter what.

      • EG
        March 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm

        That can’t be the reason for gender-segregated bathrooms, though, because it’s not like it’s OK to harass boys like that. Or, it shouldn’t be.

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm

        The difference may be that boys harassing boys in the bathroom is one of those things that people used to think should be ignored. It builds character, right? The stories I could tell about repeated harassment of certain kinds of kids in the boys’ room when I was in 7th and 8th grades, including holding them upside down and flushing their heads in the toilet . . . . Oy. At least there were doors on the stalls; there were some schools where boys’ bathrooms had no stall doors, supposedly to discourage homosexuality and other frowned-upon activities. A lot of men’s rooms had no stall doors in the bathrooms back in the day.

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm

        Perhaps needless to say, given that in 7th grade I was only 4’3″ and weighed about 70 pounds, and that I was never the most masculine child, I had my own share of incidents, in and out of the bathroom, that year and subsequently. Fortunately, I gained an undeserved reputation for toughness late in 7th grade by managing, on a stairway landing in front of a whole lot of people, to pull down my most regular tormenter (who was more than a foot taller than I was and had been harassing me the entire year both in school and off school grounds) and hold him on the ground in a headlock for about 15 minutes — I was terrified of what would happen if I let him up — and after that I was spared the worst of at least the physical aggression, except for the time someone emptied a fire extinguisher on me.

      • EG
        March 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm

        I think I will never stop being newly horrified at how toxic tradition, mainstream masculinity is. I am so sorry for everybody who suffered through that.

      • tomek
        March 18, 2013 at 9:52 pm

        [Paraphrase: misses point entirely, now WATM? ~ Mod Team]

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 10:14 pm

        Thanks, EG. I’m afraid that my school (a private school that was [supposedly!] all boys when I was there) was particularly “Lord of the Flies”-like in my first few years, both individually and on a mass basis, as in groups of larger boys lining up on either side of the corridor and forcing smaller ones like me to “run the gauntlet,” and in the regularly-held, traditional, pitched battles between the 7th and 8th grades, who would gather in mass groups at either end of a grassy area behind the building, and then charge each other and engage in hand-to-hand combat (i.e., beating each other up). I would always pick someone I knew on the other side, and we would pretend to fight. The teachers and administration, of course, were always mysteriously absent. I guess they were too busy with other things, given the more recent public revelations that over a period of decades, the school’s culture was such that a rather large number of “beloved” teachers — and at least one of the headmasters — were able to function as serial child molestors, and that attempts to report what was going on were ignored and/or actively covered up.

        All that aside, it was a really great school, and I learned a lot!

      • Tim
        March 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

        Right, I wasn’t saying that was the reason, just that stalls and stall doors sometimes aren’t sufficient protection. I have been in public bathrooms occasionally that have stalls with actual, solid, floor-to-ceiling walls and doors that also close and completely cover the doorway, like an actual door. Often these are in the nicer hotels. If all public bathrooms were like that, we could have unisex toilets with no problems.

      • suspect class
        March 20, 2013 at 10:17 pm

        My experience was that girls did this too. There were a couple years where I found the locker room and bathroom to be really awful specifically because of the group of girls I had to share it with.

  10. igglanova
    March 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I fucking hate how quickly people zero in on genitalia re: trans* issues. Especially when the person in question is six damned years old. Sexualize, scandalize, dehumanize. An enduring formula.

    • LotusBecca
      March 19, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      I mean. . .I hate it, too, and it does suck. . .but I don’t think adults really zero in on a trans child’s genitals any quicker than they zero in on any child’s genitals. Obsessing about the genitals of children is a pretty integral part of what supports the entire sex/gender system. The younger a child is, the more important it is to determine what their genitals look like. It starts prior to birth when ultrasounds are used to determine genitalia appearance so parents can pick out the right name for the kid, the right color for the babies room and possessions, and so on. And of course the most important moment is right after birth, where the doctors’ visual impressions of the infants genitals will be integral in determining that child’s legal, social, economic status for the rest of their life. Because genitals=sex assignment and sex assignment=gender. . .most adults are constantly asking about a new infants’ genitals so they can know the correct form of socialization to enforce on that infant. They are constantly asking “is it a girl or a boy?” which is really a coded question about gentialia, even if they aren’t aware of it. 99% of time. . .the adults who initially determine whether a infant will be a girl or a boy base their decision on no factor other than genitals, so, effectively, gender of the infant=genitals of the infant.

      • LotusBecca
        March 19, 2013 at 8:09 pm

        Re-read my comment and realized parts of it weren’t sufficiently clear. Just to clarify, I wasn’t saying that an infants’ genitalia appearance determines their gender identity or brain sex. I don’t think that at all. I was merely describing the logic of how the system operates. I completely oppose the system and its logic, however.

      • March 19, 2013 at 8:10 pm

        This. Though I totally get igglanova’s annoyance, too.

      • igglanova
        March 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        I think this is true, but the coded nature of questions like ‘girl or boy?’ is at least one step removed from a graphic statement like:

        [A]s Coy grows older and his male genitals develop along with the rest of his body, at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls’ restroom.

        I usually don’t give a shit about decorum, but this is a case in which it seriously matters. There is at least an attempt to preserve the privacy and dignity of the infant in your example by referring to genitals in an oblique way (however cissexist and flawed). The asshole statement in the blockquote is simply crass, hurtful, and…violating. I would be disturbed to read a similar description of my own body by a hostile stranger, and I’m a grown-ass adult.

  11. Marlene
    March 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Urinary segregation is fucking stupid to begin with.

    Guess what? There’s people with genitals just under their clothes standing close to you almost everywhere you go. Somehow a stall door is less protective than clothes?

    • Past my expiration date
      March 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Somehow a stall door is less protective than clothes?

      Well, actually, I do feel like a stall door is less protective than clothes, especially when my pants are down.

      I don’t know if it’s like this everywhere, but typically in public bathrooms in the US, the stall walls and doors do not extend to the ceiling and floor.

      But, again, this is not relevant. If my six-year-old girl peeked under the stall wall at school and saw somebody’s boy bits, my issue would not be that she saw boy bits, but rather that she should know better than to peek under the stall wall.

      (And, really, at least based on my own experience, I think that the concern is mostly about girls seeing boy bits.)

    • Tim
      March 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Somewhere, maybe on an NPR piece years ago, I remember hearing about an ancient public toilet in some Roman city that was unisex (not sure how they knew, but they apparently did) and just holes to sit on like in an outhouse, no privacy at all. There have been and I suppose still are a lot of different standards in the world than what we are used to.

      • Donna L
        March 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm

        I remember seeing what I recall as a 15- or 20-seater when I was in Ostia Antica a few years ago — with the seats lined up next to each other in an L-shaped configuration, and with each hole shaped exactly like the opening of a public toilet bowl today — but don’t remember whether or not it was gender-segregated.

      • ch
        March 19, 2013 at 2:56 am

        I actually think that’s a pretty controversial question, whether those public latrines were single sex or co-ed– after all, there’s no way of telling from the archaeological evidence, and we don’t really have any texts that address it specifically.

  12. konkonsn
    March 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    I know I’m really late to the party, but:

    Last month in Batesville, Miss., a group of high school students protested after a transgender classmate was permitted to wear women’s clothing. The students felt that their classmate was being given preferential treatment given the school district’s gender-specific dress code, according to local news reports.

    What the fucking fuck? Just…god, fuck those kids.

    • igglanova
      March 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      Group of young upstarts urging people to OBEY THE RULES? God, are they ever doing it wrong.

      • konkonsn
        March 18, 2013 at 9:41 pm

        It was probably immature for me, as an adult, to say that about a group of teenagers, but I just have serious issues with bullies who think they’re just so clever. I wasn’t really bullied myself, but I just knew so many of these people growing up.

    • Sarah
      March 19, 2013 at 9:52 am

      The rules are dumb. They should not say: “girls may wear this, boys may wear that”.

      They should say: “students may wear either this or that”.

      Problem solved.

      • March 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm

        Yeah, gender-specific dress codes are fucking stupid too.

  13. Renee
    March 18, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    As someone who fought for two years for full restroom privileges from work, only to lose that job (and a career of 14 years), I have a couple of things I want to say.

    Not being able to use a restroom of your choice can be wildly damaging. It’s not just inconvenient, and it’s not just an issue of principle or ideology. After six months of only being able to use the one single-occupancy gender neutral restroom at my workplace (a busy retail outlet) I developed a near-persistent UTI that lingered for the next 18 months (until I lost my job and no longer had to wait 20 minutes every time I needed to use the restroom). It cost me probably an hour or more of productivity every workday just waiting to pee. It reduced my mobility to a couple stores (I was a corporate employee who was sometimes required to travel), meaning I wasn’t always able to participate as a member of my team, or to show others the ways in which I could excel at my job. I have anxiety problems to this day centered around public restrooms and still struggle with occasional health problems because of that.

    Transpose that onto a six year old child. Is the school relatively large? How many gender neutral restrooms does it have? Are they only single occupancy? If the answers are “decently-sized” to “large”, “one or two”, and “yes”, then I have every reason to suspect that Coy will have difficulty accessing restrooms in a timely fashion. She could suffer health problems and emotional distress as a result, both of which could have longterm (maybe even lifelong) effects. She may miss out on valuable classroom time, social time, or even have to compromise her lunches and recesses to fit in restroom usage. And what happens when there are field trips or visits to other schools for events? The compromises she’d be required to make could unfairly predispose her to underachieving, and even if she proves outstandingly successful, she’s still having to leap hurdles others don’t to get there. The notion of segregating from her peer group, divorcing from a normal childhood and an opportunity for healthy emotional development, should be enough to knock down these terrible notions but if not, there are all these other, really tangible consequences that someone somewhere should care about. And it’s not like Coy Mathis is the first child to weather this…not by a longshot.

    Secondarily, I just want to throw out my disdain for the “male”vs “male”/”female” vs. “woman” argument. I’m glad to see some people here shooting that down; these days, “male” and “female” have about as much scientific validity as “elf” or “hobbit”. We’ve spent decades using them interchangeably with “man” and “woman”, to the extent that they now have social, political, and legal meaning apart from any scientific meaning they may have originally carried. they are as much a construct as “man” and “woman”. I mean, for crap’s sake, my passport says “female” and my driver’s license says “male”. It’s depressing that the only time I see this come up is in feminist circles, where it’s used to double-down on trans* peoples’ otherness. Having a penis does not make someone “male bodied” as far as I’m concerned…more over, it’s not recognized as an important factor legally or socially in lots of places.

    • Li
      March 19, 2013 at 3:15 am

      I went to university with a number of people who would often just avoid going to the bathroom entirely rather than risk the harassment going to a gendered bathroom could entail. People having to hold on for six hours at a time is pretty unacceptable to me and it astounds me that it’s not an immediate and convincing reason for cis people to abandon the bathroom panic thing. Everyone needs to pee.

    • Lolagirl
      March 19, 2013 at 11:31 am

      The first part of your argument is the primary one Coy’s parents have made to the school. Especially since she’s only six, when a six yo needs to go, they gotta go! Making her walk across the school past the girl’s bathroom to an approved by the school facility is just stupid and unhealthy for Coy.

      And that the school is doing this because of parental hand wringing about other kids freaking out over being exposed to Coy peeing in the same rom as them? I have nothing suficiently insulting to describe how stupid and ignorant that is.

  14. Alara Rogers
    March 18, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    To be honest, given that women can be raped in women’s bathrooms where the rapist did *not* pretend to be a woman to get into the bathroom… what exactly are we trying to protect people from by segregating bathrooms? We’re not protecting women from rape, because cismale rapists have *gotten* into women’s bathrooms to commit rape, and they didn’t do it by pretending to be trans. We’re not protecting women from harassment, if we’re allowing cis women to harass trans women. And if boys harass each other, MAYBE SCHOOLS SHOULD MAKE THEM CUT THAT SHIT OUT.

    I am more and more inclined to the belief that probably there should not be segregated bathrooms. Maybe a segregated urinal room, because I can easily imagine that penis people would rather that non-penis people not be gawking at their penises, and urinals are not very useful to non-penis people. But vulva people, penis people and everyone who doesn’t fall in either category are already using private, lockable stalls and not stripping down until they are in them. So why can’t we all do that?

    A lot of bathrooms in nice eating establishments have floor-to-ceiling stalls. Maybe we need more of that. Give everyone a private bathroom inside a common washing area.

    • all cats are beautiful
      March 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      I agree that we’re not protecting women and girls from rape by banning non-gender conforming and trans women/girls from women’s restrooms.
      That makes me think of a news story about a little girl who was raped in a bathroom stall at my former school just last year. Of course that rapist shit didn’t need to ‘dress up’ as a woman to enter the girl’s restroom.

      But honestly I think segregated bathrooms are a good thing, especially in setups like schools. Thinking back of the time I went to that school, I spent all my break time at the girl’s restroom to hide from a boy that was harrassing me for four years. Of course it would have been the duty of my teachers or his parents to make him stop harrassing me, but well.. they just didn’t. To this day I still prefer to use the women’s bathroom even if there is a unisex restroom available even though I know it’s illusive to think they’re safe.

      On the other hand, my girlfriend, who is trans, made some horrible experiences in public women’s restrooms in the past and only feels safe at unisex restrooms and always prefers them if they’re available (sadly, most of the time they aren’t where we live). So I guess having segregated AND unisex bathrooms at all public buildings would be the option I prefer.

      • EG
        March 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm

        I take your point, but where does that leave girls–cis or trans–who are being hounded and harassed by other girls?

      • Donna L
        March 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm

        I admit I like having a women’s bathroom at work; it’s the one place my boss can’t follow me! And I know other women with male bosses from whom they need occasional respite, who feel the same way.

        And I agree that ideally, there would be sufficient numbers of single-person, gender-neutral bathrooms [I’ve never understood the point of labeling a single-person bathroom, in a restaurant or elsewhere, as M or F], and gender-specific bathrooms, so that everyone could use the kind of facility that makes them the most comfortable. I have been unbelievably fortunate in never having had a problem with anyone in a women’s restroom, back to the first time I did so in April 2003, but I’ve heard more than enough horror stories from other trans women to last a lifetime. Sometimes, being a brave advocate for social progress, withstanding all the slings and arrows anyone may hurl at you for exercising your rights, is not something you feel like doing when all you really want is to pee.

      • Donna L
        March 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm

        Adding the following to respond to EG: you’re absolutely right that the real solution is to end harassment in schools (and elsewhere) entirely, so that anyone can use any bathroom in peace. Short of posting monitors in every school bathroom, though, it would be nice if single-person bathrooms were readily available to anyone who wants them (as opposed to forcing someone to use them because they’re trans). Unfortunately, “it would cost too much” is always the objection.

      • EG
        March 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm

        I am a big fan of single-person bathrooms as well.

      • March 19, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        I’ve never understood the point of labeling a single-person bathroom, in a restaurant or elsewhere, as M or F]

        Same here. We have them in the sales department at work and no one gives a flying crap.. We pretty much use whichever one is available.

        I’e thought about (and may still) sneak in and replace the Men’s and Women’s signs with signs that simply say Washroom.

  15. Sarah
    March 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

    A huge yes to “people” bathrooms from me. Bathrooms tend to have separate one-person stalls anyway, and it’s not as if it is a big deal to wash your hands in the same sink used by people of whichever gender. Also would lead to shorter lines since you’d get rid of inefficiencies like a line at one genders bathroom while there’s free stalls in the other genders bathroom.

  16. pheenobarbidoll
    March 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    The only 3rd bathroom I want is one for fellow germaphobes who are equally squicked out by the idea of public bathrooms. The bathroom hoses itself down with disinfectant, triggered by a motion detector outside the door. So when you open the door, you get a completely disinfected bathroom. No worries about touching toilet seats, handles, bathroom door handles or sink faucets.

    Or walking across a sticky floor.


    *shudders again*

    I care far more about the hygiene of fellow bathroom goers than I do about what is or is not between their legs.

    • Safiya Outlines
      March 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm


      On of the worst things about being out and about with a toddler is having to use public toilets a lot. Some of the things I have seen…

      On topic, I agree with what the the sensible, non-hateful people have said.

    • Mel
      March 20, 2013 at 1:13 am

      I actually used a public restroom like this in Iceland once. It was disgusting (in that hygienic way, I guess), stank of disinfectant, and also sort of terrifying when I couldn’t figure out how to open the door to get out for several minutes.

  17. March 19, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    the head of a giraffe against a bright blue sky: its mouth is pursed sidewaysY knw t’s nly jst ltly thngs sm t hv gt cmplctd. Fr cntrs wmn hv bn pprssd smply fr bng wmn (.. ‘XX’) Fml s nt n dntty, fml s blgy. Nn-fml s n brrtn, mttn (ny cmbntn f ‘X’ nd ‘y’). Gndr s bllsht. Y cn b ‘mscln’ fml, ‘fmnn’ ml, ‘gy’, ‘strght’ ‘trns’ ‘ntrsx’ whtvr, bt stll y’r fml r y’r nt; tht’s th rl, mmtbl dchttmy. f y’r ‘XX’ y crry th ftr f hmnty n yr gns; ny cmbntn f ‘X’ nd ‘y’ nd y’r dth n tw lgs, nd f. Thr hv bn gndr nn-cnfrmsts snc th yr dt – bcs gndr s fls – bt Trns* s rltvly nw d nd n tn yrs t wn’t vn crry crrncy, grnt t. Ths s why lwys trn t rdfm sts (lk Gndr Trndr) fr clrty nd blnc. Blgy wll wn t; whch s prscsly why ptrrchy (f whch ‘m ndbtbly prt) hs bn wgng wr gnst wmn snc vr. W’r nfrr; nd n mnt f srgry r strds wll sv s. Srry t b th brr f bd nws…

    • GallingGalla
      March 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      OMG, I can’t even, with this.

    • EG
      March 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      We need a giraffe here.

      We may need all the giraffes.

      [Moderator note: thank you for sending a giraffe alert.]

    • trees
      March 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      There have been gender non-conformists since the year dot – because gender is false – but Trans* is a relatively new idea and in ten years it won’t even carry currency, I guarantee it. This is why I always turn to radfem sites (like Gender Trender) for clarity and balance.

      False. Your assertion contradicts our human history.

      • trees
        March 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm

        Opps! The emphasis should have been on “but Trans* is a relatively new idea “.

    • March 19, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      NO. Get the fuck out with this.

    • Librarygoose
      March 19, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Seriously, fuck this shit.

      Go back to your rad fem transphobic hole then.

    • Donna L
      March 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Loathsome POS troll is not only stupid, but ignorant. Where’s the giraffe?

      For anyone who’s wondering, every word about trans people in that so-called comment — just like everything his fellow gender-Stalinists say on that fetid cesspool of excrescence he cites — is a lie, as a matter of fact, history, and everything else. Including “and” and “the,” as Mary McCarthy once said about Lillian Hellman.

      Trans people — and no, I don’t simply mean gender non-conformists — have always existed. This has always been one of the favorite lies of people like this commenter. Go back 120 years and read Magnus Hirschfeld and Havelock Ellis’s case histories. Go back 2000 years and read about the Galli.

      And we’ll always exist. Even when the feminist revolution comes and we all live in Utopia.

      10 years? You guarantee? What do you give us when you’re proven wrong? A promise never to open your mouth again?

      By the way, my memory for user names is terrible, but come on, this guy has been here before. Mr. Men Are Evil, All Heterosexual Sex Is Rape, Blah Blah Blah. Can’t an IP address be banned?

      • Donna L
        March 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm

        Every single time, as I said before.

        But “transphobia” doesn’t exist, right? That’s the party line of these people, isn’t it?

      • Donna L
        March 19, 2013 at 11:21 pm

        By the way, if this is really this shmuck’s picture, please take a good look so all you fine people in the UK can run in the other direction if you ever see him:

      • amblingalong
        March 19, 2013 at 11:45 pm

        DonnaL- I know it doesn’t mean much and it’s wholly inadequate, but I’m so overwhelmingly sorry that you have to put up with this shit, in general but especially in a place that should be safe.

      • Donna L
        March 20, 2013 at 12:36 am

        Thanks, amblingalong. Nobody should have to put up with this, here or anywhere — not me, not any other trans person, not you, not anybody. I keep thinking that I shouldn’t let the drivel of some worthless scheisskopf on the Internet bother me, but it always does.

      • Emolee
        March 20, 2013 at 11:19 am

        I keep thinking that I shouldn’t let the drivel of some worthless scheisskopf on the Internet bother me, but it always does.

        Yeah. I go through this process, on just about a daily basis, about another issue that people can be so vile about. It’s really painful. Even though intellectually I know better. Sorry you (and everyone) had to hear the hateful words.

    • Radiant Sophia
      March 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

      We’re inferior;

      No, just you.

    • LotusBecca
      March 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      Huh. It’s like you took an argument that didn’t make sense, and then added a bunch of bizarre tangents that also don’t make sense into that original nonsensical argument.

      • March 20, 2013 at 12:52 am


      • EG
        March 20, 2013 at 1:06 am

        The immaculate nonsenseception.

    • Radiant Sophia
      March 20, 2013 at 12:11 am

      That type of “radical” feminism is no different than M.R.A./Male supremacy. The only difference is which side of the supposed “war” you support. Both are exclusionary, and exist only to hurt the “opposing side”.

      Somewhere along the way you lost your humanity.

      • EG
        March 20, 2013 at 12:21 am

        I’ve always thought it was like fundamentalist Christianity. It’s people so fervently and blindly committed to an ideology that, when faced with evidence that their ideology doesn’t account for something, they cannot conceive of changing their ideology, so they deny the evidence–what actual people are telling them about their own lives.

      • Emolee
        March 20, 2013 at 11:25 am

        That is a great analogy, I think.

        they cannot conceive of changing their ideology, so they deny the evidence–what actual people are telling them about their own lives.

        This is a thing that people do SO MUCH. And it is so frustrating, and at times truly painful. I deal with it all the time in the form of hate and stereotyping of fat people.

      • March 20, 2013 at 12:51 am

        Humanity is a patriarchal construct! WE ARE FLESHLESS BEINGS OF MOTHERLY LIGHT I TELL YOU

      • Donna L
        March 20, 2013 at 1:12 am

        I wish I could make fun of this stuff, but it just makes me want to vomit. And makes me unspeakably angry, which of course is exactly what these people want.

    • Li
      March 20, 2013 at 12:22 am

      Unless chromosomal testing appeared way earlier than I thought, I am almost certain women have not been being oppressed “for centuries” on the basis of having an XX status.

      • March 20, 2013 at 12:33 am

        What are you talking about??? I for one take all my scientific knowledge from books written 2000+ years ago, and if you’re going to say that’s not viable, I’ll just tell you to take a walk right off the edge of the earth, sir.

    • March 20, 2013 at 1:14 am

      Apologies for delay in rounding up The Giraffe.

      Now: a hearty round of derisory side-eyes for Guls as xe enters the dread halls of the permanent moderation queue.

      • Donna L
        March 20, 2013 at 1:16 am

        Thank you! Good old Giraffe.

    • Mike
      March 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      this really makes me curious as to what the comment actually said, though I understand why you would remove it

      • March 20, 2013 at 6:52 pm

        …it’s not been removed, though. You can still read it if you want to take the time/effort to sift through the disemvoweled words.

  18. GallingGalla
    March 20, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Ah, the attacks never stop coming. Now I see that state legislators in Arizona wants to force trans* people to use toilets corresponding to their sex assigned at birth, and to criminalize those who don’t. The bill was apparently introduced after the city of Phoenix passed an anti-discrimination ordinance that included gender identity. Given the state of politics in Arizona, I feel that sadly, the bill will pass easily.

    • Radiant Sophia
      March 20, 2013 at 9:46 am

      …which will, in all likely-hood, result in more attacks on trans* people. My question: How would they even enforce this?

      • March 20, 2013 at 10:52 am

        “Welcome to Phoenix airport. Please stop at the upskirt genital recognition station for your bathroom assignment.”

        “I’m sorry. Your genitals cannot be recognized. Please hold it until you get home.”

        “Have a nice day!”

      • Emolee
        March 20, 2013 at 11:39 am

        The article says that people will have to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate. So, now everyone will have to show their birth certificate before they pee? Of course not. This will be another one of those “show me your papers” Arizona laws that is selectively enforced against a marginalized population. Obviously, many trans people are not “visibly” trans, and some cis people may get targeted if they are very gender-nonconforming. But, what a hateful, transphobic idea.

    • Li
      March 20, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Yeah, that’s just officially knocked me past the rageface event horizon. Partially because I can just *see* them classifying transgressions as sex offenses. Cis people, what even is y(our) fucking problem?

    • Emolee
      March 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

      I just don’t get this obsession with what sex someone was assigned at birth. Why does that matter so much? Actually I do get it, it’s transphobia. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t get transphobia. Or something. It is really upsetting.

  19. Maki P
    March 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Me? I’d get rid of the Men/Women bathrooms altogether, I really don’t see the point, I mean that’s what the stalls are for. I’ve heard something about protecting women, but let’s be real: if a man wants to assault a woman in a restroom he won’t care if it’s the lady’s room, not to mention women can be assaulted by other women.
    I’m sorry, but for me gender-segregation is just stupid, even without taking Gender-variant people into consideration.

  20. March 21, 2013 at 4:00 am

    The one thing I feel hasn’t been mentioned her is the educational angle.

    Most all of us have said we’d have no problem with sharing a bathroom with a trans person. However, can we expect 6-year old girls to have the same sort of sophistication? Are they to understand why someone might use the boys room one year and the girls room the next without any sort of education on the matter?

    I think the ‘third bathroom’ is a way to avoid giving that sort of education more than anything else.

    • Emolee
      March 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      If Coy presented as male and used the boys room last year, and now she is presenting as her true gender and using the girls room, then, yes, the school should educate the students on the matter. But if this is Coy’s first year at school, and the majority of the kids never knew her when she was presenting as male, then there is no need to single her out.

      I also don’t see how having her use a “third bathroom” avoids the need for education… there are other markers of gender that kids will notice.

      • Donna L
        March 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

        there are other markers of gender that kids will notice.

        I’ll go back to what everyone else has said: barring genital exposure, why should they? Does anyone seriously think that a 6-year old trans girl is likely to be “visibly trans” in any other way?

      • Li
        March 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm

        Donna, I think Emolee is saying that in the case that Coy has transitioned while at school, her transition will be visible in ways other than just her preferred bathroom (changing hair and clothing for instance), and so Steve’s hypothetical in which the school has Coy use a third bathroom to avoid having to talk about her transition is nonsensical.

      • Emolee
        March 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm

        Yes, Li, that is exactly what I meant, thanks.

      • Donna L
        March 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm

        OK, I get it now. Sorry for the confusion. Of course, according to the article, Coy transitioned halfway through kindergarten, and it seems that nobody made an issue of it at all until she was in first grade. I imagine that her fellow kindergarteners took it all in stride as simply one of many new things that are always coming up in their world.

      • miga
        March 22, 2013 at 4:20 am

        Exactly. I don’t really understand the pearl-clutching at: We have to TEACH? young children?! In a SCHOOL!?! About something they don’t already know and might not understand right away?!?! Even though they’re used to having their worldviews change?!?!?!?!?! Heavens, no. Let’s just discriminate and ignore the issue for the next 12 years. That’ll fix it.

      • (BFing)Sarah
        March 22, 2013 at 10:55 am

        Yeah, I can see kindergarteners at some schools going crazy about this (like that one post a week or so ago where the little girl kicked a parent because she was wearing combat boots and was dressed for work in her uniform)…but I don’t really see the kids at my son’s school really caring about it at all. There was a child in his old preschool that was exploring zir gender and the only thing my son said about it was one time he mentioned that so and so had a “boy name” but was “really a girl I think.” At least in my experience, children are still kind of unsure and questioning/exploring sex, gender, and presentation of gender at the ages of 4 and 5 (don’t know about 6- we are not there yet), and I can see them just kind of taking in a transition as just a matter of course.

        I also think that it all kind of depends on how you present things to your child. If you spend your time telling your child things like, “when you grow up you will marry a [person of opposite sex]” “children have a mommy and a daddy” and “do you LIKE her/him [about opposite sex child]??” then of course they will be upset by something that doesn’t fit in this worldview, like a same sex couple parenting a child in their school. If you don’t do that, it doesn’t upset them. Same thing with gender and presentation of that gender. I do think its hard to teach a child about gender being about identity, because that is not a word that most 2 – 5 year olds understand…but, you can say that you should respect other people and what they want to be called and how they want to be treated. That’s pretty simple and I don’t see how its hard to understand or explain.

      • matlun
        March 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm

        I also don’t see how having her use a “third bathroom” avoids the need for education

        In fact, just the fact that she uses a separate bathroom means that there is something that needs to be explained to the kids, so some sort of education about the issues would still be needed.

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