Why not let a six-year-old girl use the girls’ bathroom?

My Guardian column this week is on the Coy Mathis case, which we’re discussing in a thread below. It’s much more 101 than the post here, since it’s targeted to an audience that may not be familiar with trans issues. A bit:

Coy Mathis is six years old, and she just wants to use the bathroom at school. For a year and a half, it wasn’t an issue. But in December, Coy’s school informed her parents that she would no longer be permitted to use the girls’ restroom. She would have to use the boys’ room, the staff bathroom or the one in the nurse’s office. Why? Because Coy was assigned male at birth.

Coy is one of many transgender and gender-nonconforming children in the United States who face discrimination, harassment and bullying – from adults and kids alike – simply for existing. Coy’s school didn’t report any problems with her using the girls’ room; they barred her from it nonetheless, singling her out for a special bathroom. According to a letter from the school’s lawyer, published by the New York Times:

“As 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.”

Putting aside the creepiness of the school’s concern for one of its student’s genitals, and that in 29 years of using women’s bathrooms, I have never once caught a glimpse of anyone else’s bare crotch, it’s worth asking: why should the potential future discomfort of yet-to-be-discomfited students or parents trump the right of a six-year-old kid to be treated like everyone else?

Discrimination against transgender people is real, pervasive and often legal. And it often builds from ignorance and bias – things that start young.

“What we generally see is that most people support transgender rights,” Michael D Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense Fund, told me. He continued:

“Most people don’t think that a person should be fired from a job because they’re transgender, or thrown out of their home because they’re transgender, or discriminated against at school because they’re transgender.

“When we do see resistance, it’s often something that can be resolved through education and discussion. One of the things we see in transgender rights advocacy is that people just don’t know a lot about transgender people and what it means to be transgender. One of our most effective advocacy tools is education.”

He’s right. While transgender people do face widespread mistreatment, the discrimination doesn’t make much sense. Who, exactly, gets hurt if folks match their physical appearance to their gender identity? Why is it such a problem for a six-year-old girl to use the girls’ bathroom?

The full piece is here.

Author: has written 5268 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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158 Responses

  1. Heather
    Heather March 20, 2013 at 11:02 am |

    People get so uppity with trans-people, its weird. Who cares whether or not Coy wants to use the girls’ bathroom? Why is this even in issue with schools? Unfortunately, I think this is only the beginning of a sh*tstorm.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L March 20, 2013 at 11:26 am |

      Let’s hope we can avoid any need for giraffe calls here. Not that I think there’s much to say that hasn’t already been said.

      The Guardian comment sections, of course, could use a whole herd of giraffes, and I have no intention whatsoever of reading the comments to your column. I could probably write most of the awful ones — which I have no doubt will be made — myself.

  2. Mariucel
    Mariucel March 20, 2013 at 11:35 am |

    The guardian commentariat is delightful as always

    Surely this could have been brushed off with a simple “no you’re not”, same as if the kid claimed to be a dog or a car.

    Jesus h christ.

    1. Emolee
      Emolee March 20, 2013 at 11:49 am |

      Maybe let’s not republish hateful comments here. I know you are not endorsing it- just the opposite- but for many trans people, hearing these ideas, even though they are familiar with them, is very, very painful.

      1. Mariucel
        Mariucel March 20, 2013 at 11:56 am |

        Yes, sorry. >.< I didn't consider that. I was stunned by the comments. I didn't want to hurt any readers. Gah. Privilege. I apologize.

    2. Donna L
      Donna L March 20, 2013 at 11:51 am |

      Without looking, I would guess that there are probably also — already — a series of comments along the lines of, “how could a 6-year old possibly know something like that?”; “the parents are behind this”; “what if he [sic] decides to show off his willy?”; “what happens when he [sic.] is a teenager”; and so on. Plus, what with its being the UK and all, the usual stellar contributions from the Bindel-Jeffreys-Burchill acolytes.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune March 20, 2013 at 11:55 am |

        “what if he [sic] decides to show off his willy?

        …now, I didn’t do this myself, so I speak from strictly theoretical perspective, but don’t kids compare genitalia? Isn’t that like a thing? Nobody needs to tell a girl to use the boys’ bathroom in the interest of preventing something that happens in places with bathrooms that number 0-infinity.

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl March 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm |

          My kids have done this with one another (junk comparing, that is) but only when they were already naked at bathtime or during potty training type scenarios. Otherwise, they wouldn’t want to be caught dead naked in front of others.

          Anecdata, but I also remember being horrified about nakedness around other people, and my family was actually pretty cognizant of not doing body shaming.

        2. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah March 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm |

          Yeah, kids have been known to do that…definitely doesn’t need to involve bathrooms.

        3. Donna L
          Donna L March 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm |

          When I was 4, in kindergarten, a little boy in my class named Christopher came over to my apartment to play, and decided to show me what he could do with his willy. I didn’t know from erections at the time, had no idea what they signified, and was neither traumatized nor particularly fascinated by it. Still, I was sufficiently intrigued to call out to my mother something along the lines of “Mommy, come look what Christopher can do!”

        4. Mel
          Mel March 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm |

          Anecdatally, my friends and I did a *lot* of genitalia-comparison at certain ages, and not in situations where we already happened to be naked (common situations included Truth or Dare and “Playing Doctor,” but an excuse was not always required). Depends on the kids. And yeah, who’s using what bathroom is irrelevant to whether kids will play you-show-me-yours-I’ll-show-you-mine.

        5. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl March 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm |

          LOL, Donna, that’s hilarious!

        6. konkonsn
          konkonsn March 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm |

          I have a sister and brother, and we have several cousins who area all around the same age. We’re a big mix of sexes, and our parents never had trouble giving us all baths together or being naked in the same room as they tried to dry us all off from snow/pool/getting muddy. This is even after one of my male cousins poked my urethra in a bathtub out of curiosity.

          I told my mom afterwards (because it hurt), and she said, “Next time he or anyone tries to do that, you tell them to stop.” His mom was also there, and she may have said something to him later. Either way, it wasn’t a repeat issue, and we continued being naked around each other.

        7. Ylva
          Ylva March 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm |

          I know it was a different era anyway, and shame was the overriding response to who I was, but when I was a kid I never ever showed anyone my junk. I was trans. I was most definitely not anxious to show off my birth gender.

      2. Mariucel
        Mariucel March 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

        You are very (and sadly) correct.

        It’s stunning, really, and clearly a sign of how privileged I am. I don’t encounter these comments personally, and what online time I spend, I spend in mostly same spaces like this one, so seeing this barrage of horribleness was stupendous.

        What is it with all these bigoted stupid people. And the Guardian is not a rag like the Sun. And still they crawl out, reliably enough that you could (and did) predict their horrible arguments.

        This is a depressing world.

        1. Mariucel
          Mariucel March 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm |

          *safe (not same) spaces

        2. SophiaBlue
          SophiaBlue March 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm |

          It’s not just news sites, unfortunately. Really, any space that isn’t explicitly trans-inclusive I consider to be not a safe space for trans people.

        3. mxe354
          mxe354 March 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm |

          It’s not just news sites, unfortunately. Really, any space that isn’t explicitly trans-inclusive I consider to be not a safe space for trans people.

          I concur. In my experience, even spaces in which many people espouse views considered socially liberal can be extremely transphobic. GameSpot is a good example – I frequent that place, and it’s very common for me to face transphobic attitudes there whenever I mention I’m trans*. Most notable is the fact that they censor the word “gay” yet “tranny” is perfectly acceptable there.

      3. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help March 21, 2013 at 5:27 am |

        Yup, pretty much filled the bingo card there, Donna. :(

    3. matlun
      matlun March 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm |

      Yes. For articles on trans children, you will get some horrible comments. Without fail, it seems.

      Even in the earlier thread here at Feministe, the giraffes are visiting…

  3. chataya
    chataya March 20, 2013 at 11:48 am |

    I lived in a coed dorm in college. The women’s restroom in my floor even had urinals. Men with penises were regularly in there using them. Not once was I exposed to the sight of one of these horrible corrupting penises.

    I think they’re just afraid their kids will learn to treat trans* people with respect.

    1. Computer Soldier Porygon
      Computer Soldier Porygon March 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm |

      I lived in a coed dorm with coed bathrooms. Never saw anyone’s junk. Actually enjoyed everyone being mixed in together, found it ‘refreshing’ or something.

  4. Emolee
    Emolee March 20, 2013 at 11:52 am |

    at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls’ restroom.”

    Why should these unspecified people’s future, hypothetical discomfort trump the actual, current discomfort of this specific six year old student?

    Rage.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl March 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm |

      Well, this is how the issue came to a head, sadly. Some of

    2. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl March 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm |

      Well, this is exactly how the controversy blew up. Some of the parents of Coy’s classmates made a stink about their precious snowflakes being confronted by her genitalia in the girls restroom *cue handwringing and vapor having.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think those people are assholes and that the school administrators are as well for not standing up for Coy. But there is a whole lot of over-active imagining of Coy being some brazen little attention seeker instead of the little kid trying to go about living her life reality.

  5. a lawyer
    a lawyer March 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm |

    why should the potential future discomfort of yet-to-be-discomfited students or parents trump the right of a six-year-old kid to be treated like everyone else?

    But that’s the genesis of the problem, isn’t it?

    If “treated like everyone else” means “the person is required to use the bathroom which matches their genitalia, or a unisex bathroom” then the kid IS being treated like everyone else.

    As a practical matter, this is usually how it works. There’s no sense to it (a stall is a stall; what’s the problem?) but I don’t think that demanding adherence to standard is effective here. What we need is a new standard.

    FWIW, I think this is also about money and security than anything else. The ideal solution is to install multiple standalone individual toilets but that costs a ton of money; bathrooms are hideously expensive to install and build.

    That said: part of the problem is that you have two conflicting goals here. On the one hand you want to support the concept that people can define their own safety limits and that, in a personal space like a bathroom, people should be entitled to demand what makes them feel safe. Imagine that I said “a group of women shouldn’t be allowed to tell me that they think I’m creepy; it should be judged objectively, and they’re objectively wrong.” That would never fly, right? The general rule is that you can’t define “safety/comfort” for someone else.

    OTOH you want to make an exception for safety/comfort claims which have the effect of excluding certain transfolk.

    There’s a good reason to do so. But it makes the argument very tricky, because you’re aiming to preserve the fairly difficult “it’s ___ if she says so” concept that avoids objectivity, while simultaneously trying to enforce objectivity.

    It’s not clear whether the best solution is to cast this as an exception, or whether it’s to acknowledge that the entirely-subjective model may be causing some problems.

    1. Past my expiration date
      Past my expiration date March 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm |

      If “treated like everyone else” means “the person is required to use the bathroom which matches their genitalia, or a unisex bathroom” then the kid IS being treated like everyone else.

      Oh, has anybody ever asked about your genitalia before letting you use the bathroom? Nobody has ever asked about mine.

      And please do read some of the comments from the real actual (virtual) people you are having a nice abstract intellectual discussion about.

    2. Kierra
      Kierra March 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

      If “treated like everyone else” means “the person is required to use the bathroom which matches their genitalia, or a unisex bathroom” then the kid IS being treated like everyone else.

      The problem is that no one is checking genitalia to make sure you are using the “correct” restroom. They are checking your outward gender presentation, ie whether you “look” like a girl or a boy. This little girl, if forced to use the restroom that matches her genitals, is going to have to be seen using the “incorrect” bathroom as far as her outward gender presentation. As far as the criteria that everyone else is judged on (outward appearance), she’d be more correct to use the girl’s bathroom.

      The only reason anyone would ever be uncomfortable with her using the girl’s bathroom is if someone made a big deal about the fact that her genitals aren’t the correct type. In effect, her genitals are being policed in a way that no one else’s are just because it’s apparently public knowledge that she’s trans.

    3. KAJ
      KAJ March 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm |

      Of course, you could define the “rule” as “everyone uses the bathroom which matches their gender presentation” or “everyone uses the bathroom which matches their gender identity” or even “everyone uses the bathroom which matches society’s general understanding of that person’s identity.” All of these could fit. There isn’t really a clearly defined pre-existing rule here, as far as I know, and when people or institutions do come up with one, it’s generally in the context of wanting to prevent someone from making use of the particular facility — so it’s not exactly a bias-free rulemaking process.

    4. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl March 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm |

      Ffs, genitalia does not equal gender. Coy is a girl because she identifies as agirl. The end.

      Coy and every other trans person in the world do not need you or anyone else telling them who or what they are to know their own truth. Nor are they asking to be made an exception to the rules or get special treatment. Demanding a gender check prior to peeing in the public loo is all about the prurient imagining of people like you, and it only serves to further encourage bigotry and discrimination against trans folks.

      1. Mariucel
        Mariucel March 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm |

        This is what scares me most about the Arizona law. I can just imagine all the bigots staring down anyone who seems to be “suspicious”, imagining their genitals and asking for…for what, really? I checked transequality.org and people in Arizona can change the gender on their driver’s license. So…what? Will bigots be able to force people to undress? God this proposed law seems so freaking scary.

        Let’s hope it will never be actually signed into law.

    5. matlun
      matlun March 20, 2013 at 12:50 pm |

      I don’t think that demanding adherence to standard is effective here. What we need is a new standard.

      In a way basically correct, but perhaps not really helpful. Historically the de facto standard was that for bathrooms, changing rooms, communal showers etc we have a “gender segregation” with the two categories
      1. Boys/Men – This refers to cis men
      2. Girls/Women – This refers cis women

      Anyone not fitting into either of these categories was just SOL, and would have to try to sneak in wherever they thought they could get away with it.

      Most reasonable people recognize that this is not a good system and so we need to change this into something inclusive. This work has started and I would say that in most places today it is at least a little better.

      One of the more annoying parts about this specific case is that it is such a non-issue. The girls bathrooms have stalls and she is six years old, FFS. If we were having a discussion about teenagers sharing a changing room and shower, then at least it would be more of a real issue.

    6. LotusBecca
      LotusBecca March 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm |

      If “treated like everyone else” means “the person is required to use the bathroom which matches their genitalia, or a unisex bathroom” then the kid IS being treated like everyone else.

      You’re right that this is standard by which restrooms have historically been segregated, which is why I don’t think schools and hospitals and restaurants and offices should be able to persist in their sanctimonious, prissy code words and hypocrisy. They should have to replace all restroom signs that say “women” with signs that say “vaginas” and all restroom signs that say “men” with signs that say “penises.”

      Oh, and it’s a standard principle in the social justice community that the safety/comfort of privileged bigots isn’t worth shit. It’s cool for black people to say the don’t want to be around white people, but it’s not cool for white people to say they don’t want to be around black people, for instance. The transphobic safety needs of cis women in cis women’s restrooms is worth less than nothing to me.

      1. matlun
        matlun March 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm |

        You’re right that this is standard by which restrooms have historically been segregated

        Is it really the case that it has been more acceptable for a trans person to go into the bathroom matching genitalia than the one matching presentation? I would I have thought not matching presentation would have been at least as controversial, but perhaps it is just due to it being fairly easy to “sneak” in when presentation matches?

      2. Donna L
        Donna L March 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm |

        The transphobic safety needs of cis women in cis women’s restrooms is worth less than nothing to me.

        They aren’t cis women’s restrooms. They don’t say “cis” or “non-trans” on the door. They’re women’s restrooms. I agree — obviously — that trans women and all other people who identify and/or present as women belong in women’s restrooms, and that there should also be plenty of single-person gender-neutral restrooms for anyone who wants to use them (rather than for anyone to be forced to use). But the underlying reason for having gender-segregated restrooms in the first place has nothing to do with excluding trans women from women’s bathrooms; it has to do with excluding men. Women’s fear of men in general is not a “transphobic safety need” of privileged bigots; it’s real and justified and has to be respected. And it makes no sense at all to me to advocate the elimination of gender-segregated multiple-person public bathrooms (which isn’t about to happen anyway) unless you also advocate taking steps to address those justified fears — such as, as others have pointed out, constructing multiple-person bathrooms in a way that gives people actual privacy, by having walls and doors that actually are sturdy, actually lock, and actually go down to the floor and up to the ceiling (or close enough to make people feel secure).

        None of this really has much of anything to do with trans women, or trans people in general. To suggest that it does sounds to me almost like an argument that in order to permit trans women (or girls) to use the appropriate bathroom, you have to eliminate gender segregation entirely.

        1. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca March 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm |

          Thanks for your response, Donna. I do think that to permit trans women and girls to use the appropriate bathroom (and not experience the threat of harassment while doing so) we do need to eliminate gender segregation entirely. Trans females are victims of transmisogyny. . .eliminating transmisogyny requires eliminating patriarchy, which would involve the end of all gender segregation, too. In other words, as long as there is coercion and violence that serves to keep men and women separated, trans women and girls will often be collateral damage. We won’t be safe in public restrooms until women feel safe around men (even though we aren’t men).

          That said, I’m fine with women trying to avoid men, given the way things are now. I understand why many women are afraid of men, and in fact, I’m pretty afraid of men in a lot of ways, too. I may prefer gender-neutral bathrooms personally, but I don’t condemn any woman who has safety concerns around men and feels more comfortable in a gender-segregated bathroom. When I said the “transphobic safety needs of cis women,” I was specifically referring to those safety “needs” which ARE transphobic and DO involve the exclusion of trans women. I wasn’t referring to cis women who have safety concerns about men.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L March 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm |

          Thanks for clarifying, Becca. I’d hate to think of somebody taking your comment and twisting it around to try to prove that “trans women don’t care about women’s safety, blah blah blah.”

  6. Dante
    Dante March 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm |

    I had this conversation with my dad, a few years ago when a story about a different child with the exact same issue came out (sorry, don’t know who it was). My dad’s opinion was that this child, who was IIRC 6 years old, just like Coy, was just pretending to be a girl in order to get into the girls’ bathroom and check out girls and look up their skirts or something. He figured that if this one child was allowed to use the girls’ bathroom, all the [other] boys would do the same thing.

    I had to stare at him a little, because of course this is ludicrous, but this is the kind of thought process he immediately had. I like to think of my dad as a window into the collective mind of a certain population of traditionalists, so I wonder if a lot more of them think the same way.

    1. LotusBecca
      LotusBecca March 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm |

      Your dad sounds like a giant ass, no offense.

      1. Dante
        Dante March 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm |

        None taken. I agree with your assessment.

    2. Anon21
      Anon21 March 20, 2013 at 6:17 pm |

      I like to think of my dad as a window into the collective mind of a certain population of traditionalists, so I wonder if a lot more of them think the same way.

      If the Guardian comment section is any guide, yes, they do think that way (or at least pretend to think that way).

    3. karak
      karak March 21, 2013 at 7:31 am |

      If a child is 6, and does a complete, dedicated show of being trans*, of dressing like a girl, referring to herself as a girl, doing girl stuff and whatever else makes you a girl, 24/7, as a way to get in the girl’s bathroom, and that child carries on the facade for weeks, months, or years, in order to peek on the little cis girls in the potty…

      we’ve got a very, very serious problem on our hands and a very disturbed child.

      1. GallingGalla
        GallingGalla March 21, 2013 at 9:52 am |

        Please clarify something for me:

        Are you making an OH NOES MEN IN THE WOMEN’S BATHROOM argument? That is, are you claiming that trans* women are men / trans* girls are boys?

        Because the scenario you describe is a straw argument.

        1. Mariucel
          Mariucel March 21, 2013 at 10:29 am |

          Not knowing karak, I can only guess, but I think it was an attempt to satirize/comment on Dante’s dad’s position, which it is a reply to. I.e. saying that if something happened the way dante’s dad imagines it could, it would be a freak/unlikely case. Karak basically spelled out all the things that would have to be true for Dante’s dad’s scenario to happen.

          But it IS weird, isn’t it, how quick white cis hetero men are to assume that stupid scenario to be true. It’s almost as if their brains go: “women have a safe space – HOW DO WE GET IN THERE?” or see laws like this as opportunities for other white cis hetero males to invade said space. I discussed it in the office today and the men had the exact same reaction as Dante’s dad.

          What the fuck is wrong with these people? It’s like they assume they are entitled to be in/control every space.

        2. GallingGalla
          GallingGalla March 21, 2013 at 10:37 am |

          Well, it’s possible my sarcasm detector needs adjusting. But I’m just on edge based on the transphobic comments being made in this article and the other earlier one.

        3. Emolee
          Emolee March 21, 2013 at 11:17 am |

          But it IS weird, isn’t it, how quick white cis hetero men are to assume that stupid scenario to be true. It’s almost as if their brains go: “women have a safe space – HOW DO WE GET IN THERE?”

          I know! Ideas like Dante’s dad’s are horrifying not only because of the transphobia, but also because they give a window into a certain type of cis straight male mind that apparently assumes it is a given that other “males” will scheme to get access to women/girls without their consent. Terrifying this is the first place their minds go.

  7. ibbica
    ibbica March 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm |

    Frankly I’m amazed that we still have gender-segregated public rooms. I’ve been in plenty of places (outside of the US, natch *eyeroll*) that have co-ed bathrooms (with urinals! the horror!) or co-ed changerooms (to clarify: changerooms in clothing shops, I don’t frequent gyms so I don’t have as much exposure there), where each person has their own private stall. What exactly is the hangup here?

    And by that, I don’t mean “what’s with all those people who want to maintain (apparent) gender or sex segregation?” I’ve seen those arguments, and I remain unconvinced. Rather, I mean: why isn’t there more of a push towards getting rid of segregation? Why am I not seeing more of that discussion? Am I just really sheltered, or am I the only one who thinks that this sort* of gender segregation is silly, or what?
    (*I do understand that there exist circumstances under which gender segregation may be desirable. But I see no reason to treat public bathrooms as different from other public spaces. The need/desire for privacy is served by individual stalls – which we already have.)

    1. speedbudget
      speedbudget March 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm |

      When I lived in Germany and went to the public pool, it was all co-ed changing rooms. Entire families used the same area to change into bathing suits! Nobody passed out with pearls clutched firmly in hand.

    2. snorkellingfish
      snorkellingfish March 20, 2013 at 5:56 pm |

      There are two issues that I can think of off the top of my head.

      One is that people don’t trust the privacy of the individual stalls. That could be fixed by design changes that ensure that no stalls have gaps near the floor and ceiling. So, not insurmountable.

      Another issue, that I haven’t seen discussed as much, is the needs of people who need a gender segregated space for religious reasons. For example, some Muslim women might want a private place to adjust their headscarf in front of a mirror or space to remove their burka before going into an individual stall. Without discussing the merits of people’s religious beliefs, I think it’s okay to acknowledge that removing these spaces will affect women who belong to minority religions, especially when society as a whole doesn’t really see their religious beliefs as worthy of the respect offered to members of majority religious groups. (Though, I’m not religious, so I’m happy to be corrected by people who’d actually be affected by a move to get rid of segregated bathrooms.)

      Though none of that justifies avoiding moves to make bathrooms more accessible for trans and non-binary people – this is really a side issue.

    3. karak
      karak March 21, 2013 at 7:36 am |

      Two reasons, for me:

      1. I don’t fucking trust men around me when I’m vulnerable. The last thing I need is an entitled male cutting in line, or telling me that touching up my makeup won’t help, or mocking me for shitting/pissing, or hitting on me, or escalating into violence. I understand that Germany or wherever may be awesome, but it is not awesome here.

      2. I refuse to share a bathroom with people who stand when they piss. I don’t care about gender, or sex, or genitalia, if you stand when you piss you piss-mist everywhere and it’s disgusting. Unless everyone is mandated to sit, I don’t want to share a bathroom with men, who usually piss standing.

      1. Emolee
        Emolee March 21, 2013 at 11:31 am |

        I don’t fucking trust men around me when I’m vulnerable. The last thing I need is an entitled male cutting in line, or telling me that touching up my makeup won’t help, or mocking me for shitting/pissing,

        I really feel this. I am not worried so much about violence in the bathroom, because I feel that if a man wanted to rape me, he would come in anyway, whether he was allowed to or not. But I am concerned with being around men while I’m in a vulnerable state. Bathroom activities are sometimes not simple for me due to my disability, so this can make me feel extra vulnerable. Honestly, I prefer the single bathrooms. But, due to past experience, I have very little trust for men, and definitely feel more comfortable around women.

        However, this has nothing to do with trans women and girls using the women’s restroom!! They are women and girls.

      2. Angie unduplicated
        Angie unduplicated March 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm |

        Seconded. The same men who will utilize any excuse to claim rhat a targeted female’s vag is just too large and that it’s all her fault, is the same damned dude who can’t hit a toilet hole and pees down the front and on the floor. Or, middle finger up to Van Heusen Chattanooga and Big Lots, they pee or jerk off on the walls for sport.
        On the other hand, I can see a bullied child headed to theoppositional room to avoid violence.
        But holding a wingnut pissing contest over a child is ridiculous. They should thank their deity of choice that the kid is continent and then stfu.

        1. Mariucel
          Mariucel March 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm |

          the same damned dude who can’t hit a toilet hole and pees down the front and on the floor.

          This is a bit of a detour, but as I find this thing super icky, and my hygiene alarms went off here: the correctly termed “piss-mist” will also arise when hitting the hole. Standing up and pissing downwards half a meter will mean there is spray, no matter how accurate your aim is, not to mention all the stuff that is reflected by the bowl or the water. Men should not pee standing up. Period. It’s icky. ICKY. Sit down, damn it.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl March 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm |

          I hear you about the bad pee aiming. Although as someone who has potty trained two penis owners and is trying to do the same with my almost 3yo, I can vouch for the non-panacea that is sitting down to pee. Any way one goes about it, teaching and learning good aim is highly tricky, and as one of my kids told me as I was having him clean up his puddle off the floor, apparently penii are unpredictably wiggly during elimination.

          Still, not an excuse to not pay attention and take charge of one’s own situation.

        3. matlun
          matlun March 21, 2013 at 2:26 pm |

          This is a bit of a detour

          Quite. It is still about bathrooms, though, so perhaps we could call it on-topic?

          …the correctly termed “piss-mist”…

          I am not quite convinced it is the established terminology ;)

          Scientifically speaking, urine is basically sterile, so it should not be that much a health hazard. If you are worried about aerosols, flushing without closing the lid is probably more of a real problem.

          Here is a very serious treatise on the subject

        4. Ledasmom
          Ledasmom March 22, 2013 at 10:08 am |

          Urine is generally sterile, but there are a few diseases that can be spread by urine. The smell, if not cleaned up promptly, is enough of a reason to discourage urine spread.
          Since I did most of the potty training around these parts, both boys sit to pee except when camping (as far as I know – I’m certainly not holding an inquest if I find the seat’s been sprinkled). Knowing how to aim while standing is a useful skill when one’s not at a campsite with facilities. I must say I envy them when the morning’s a bit chilly.
          From a grossness point of view, the rather aggressive flush common to most publicly-accessible toilets would be a problem, I should think, considering that they don’t generally have lids.

  8. clockwork erin
    clockwork erin March 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm |

    One thing I noted is that you have kind of erased abit that the abuse trans people get is mainly aimed at trans women and other camab trans people, even saying “transgender people accounted for 44% of victims” while the place you linked from actually said “44 percent of them were transgender women”. This seems somewhat transmisogynistic to me, with trying to teach and fight transphobia without combating transmisogyny is silly, even possibly dangerous to trans women.

  9. speedbudget
    speedbudget March 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm |

    Who are these people going into bathrooms and disrobing right in the middle of them? I think that’s the problem, not the girl using the girls’ room.

    I mean, seriously, I have about nine more years’ experience with restrooms than Jill does and have seen nary a genital. Even when there were doors missing from stalls. Guess what? I didn’t stand there and stare, waiting for a glimpse.

    I’ve even had to use men’s rooms at times. Never saw a genital in there either. There are these magical things called “stalls,” you see…

    1. matlun
      matlun March 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm |

      I’ve even had to use men’s rooms at times. Never saw a genital in there either. There are these magical things called “stalls,” you see…

      Urinals?

      1. SophiaBlue
        SophiaBlue March 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm |

        A lot of urinals have barriers between them, and even if they don’t you really have to be looking to see someone else’s genitals. In 25 years of using men’s restrooms I have never seen anyone else’s penis.

        1. matlun
          matlun March 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm |

          Ok. Here in Sweden you very seldom find a variant with barriers between them. The most common version is the very wide “urinal through”.

          Anyway: This is totally off topic to the thread. You just surprised me since it did not fit my mental image of what a public men’s bathroom looked like.

        2. ibbica
          ibbica March 20, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

          @matlum: …and elsewhere in Europe there exist troughs and urinals outdoors for public use. They’re reasonably common at public fairs. No privacy to speak of, and yet one can easily manage to catch narry a glimpse of anyone’s genitals at such events.

          Admittedly, that sort of setup seem more common in places where (at least some) people seem happy to pee in the street openly, others’ sensibilities be damned…

          None of which precludes a more sensitive person from using a stall, of course.

  10. Miss S
    Miss S March 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm |

    -I wouldn’t feel comfortable using the bathroom with men. I don’t understand why some commenters think it’s strange… it’s not like men and women are on a level playing field with violence and sexual assault. Even behind a stall door, you’re pulling down your pants and underwear, or lifting your dress/skirt, so it’s not strange that you wouldn’t want to do that with strange men outside the door. So, I’m all for gender segregation with bathrooms.

    -It’s my understanding that transwomen do not identify nor present as men, so they should fall on the women side of gender segregation. It seems weird that “allowing transwomen in women bathrooms” is being conflated with “ending gender segregation in bathrooms” when it sounds (at least to me) that transwomen are asking for the former, not the latter. If you identify and present as a woman, why can’t you just use the women’s bathroom? Why does you wanting to use the bathroom mean we need to end gender segregation? So I agree with Donna’s comment above.

    - That said, I think presentation matters more than identity. Someone who is presenting as a woman probably wouldn’t get a second look, because who would know? Someone who identifies as a woman but presents as male would probably make people uncomfortable.

    -There should be a third, neutral option for people who don’t feel comfortable using men or women’s bathrooms. So, let’s give people more options, not less.

    1. Miss S
      Miss S March 20, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

      Transwomen = trans women. I don’t know how to go back and fix it. I realize I’ve made this mistake before, but for some reason, in my mind it’s one word, so that’s how I type it. I realized after I submitted that it wasn’t right.

    2. ibbica
      ibbica March 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm |

      Well, plenty of places already have mixed-gender bathrooms, but do not have higher assault rates. Should we play the trick of replacing gender with race, in the arguments here?

      I’d actually suggest that having a single mixed-gender bathroom would be safer than segregation, since it would be more likely that someone(s) else would be present – that is to say, it is more likely that there would be witnesses to any assault attempt. Does anyone have any numbers handy on such issues? By definition it would certainly eliminate any “hey, you’re in the WRONG bathroom” issues.

      I want to clarify here that none of that negates your concerns.There’s nothing preventing the inclusion of an additional, separate bathroom with its own toilet, urinal, sink, mirror, etc. Plenty of places with large public bathrooms already have such separate rooms (designed for people who need more space than a typical bathroom stall provides). There’s nothing stopping anyone from using those rooms if they’re not comfortable being around members of the opposite gender.

      And of course plenty of places without “large public bathrooms” have rooms with a single stall anyway; there’s no good reason to not change the signs on those doors to ‘toilet’ and be done with it.

      People who don’t feel comfortable using a stall in the same room as someone of another gender should be given the option to use a private room. But consistent gender segregation should not be treated as desirable.

      1. GallingGalla
        GallingGalla March 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm |

        FYI … I don’t know how it is in other states / countries, but in Pennsylvania, single-stall restrooms in highway rest areas are designated ONLY for family and disabled use, and trans* folk are prohibited from using them. So even when separate facilities are provided, there’s transphobic bureaucratic nonsense around them. Naturally, this also impacts people who just want a private place to pee.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L March 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm |

          How would anyone necessarily know? Are all non-visibly-disabled, individual persons excluded, or just trans people?

        2. GallingGalla
          GallingGalla March 20, 2013 at 6:41 pm |

          Are all non-visibly-disabled, individual persons excluded, or just trans people?

          I believe that the law is written as you say (all non-visibly-disabled, individual persons excluded). Or actually literally as “for the use of families and disabled persons only”.

      2. trees
        trees March 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm |

        Well, plenty of places already have mixed-gender bathrooms, but do not have higher assault rates.

        Please, could you provide some examples.

        Should we play the trick of replacing gender with race, in the arguments here?

        WTF! Where are you going with this?

        1. ibbica
          ibbica March 20, 2013 at 7:47 pm |

          Examples? I wasn’t really keeping track of specifics, but I’ve been in co-ed public toilets in Paris, Brussels, and Antwerp. Most? all? of the clothing store changerooms in Belgium and France are co-ed. Groups of porta-potties at concerts, festivals, and fairs, are “co-ed”; there’s only one toilet in them, but there’s just the one door between you and the waiting line, and everyone washes their hands at the same sink contraption. At fairs in south Belgium, they use open-air urinals that look sort of like very wide rain barrels with holes in the sides at an appropriate height for peeing into (for anyone who can aim their pee while standing). Co-ed wash/changerooms are less common in more ‘touristy’ areas, but even there the outer doors to the restrooms are often propped open (if they have an outer door at all…), leaving the urinals and stall doors in full view (that’s in Belgium and the Netherlands).

        2. trees
          trees March 20, 2013 at 8:02 pm |

          @ibbica
          Yeah I’ve seen all the things you describe, but I’m talking specifically about the style of public restroom where multiple small stalls with short walls and gaping cracks are crammed into a small space. This is the type of gender segregated public bathroom that I commonly use.

        3. ibbica
          ibbica March 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm |

          Ah, yeah I really don’t like that stall style either; those make me uneasy regardless of whether they’re segregated I’d love it if public bathrooms would be redesigned so that people could actually fell comfortable using them, and not nearly so exposed, but that seems to be too much to ask :/

      3. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune March 20, 2013 at 6:21 pm |

        Should we play the trick of replacing gender with race, in the arguments here?

        I… what? No. No, no, no, no. No. Have I mentioned no?

        BECAUSE NO.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 20, 2013 at 6:23 pm |

          …I mean, are you implying the greater innate criminality of white people or non-white people? Should I be mortally offended on my wife’s behalf or my own? I MUST KNOW.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L March 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm |

          Is Ibbica possibly referring to the fact that in the days of racially segregated public bathrooms under Jim Crow, an alleged fear of crime was often raised as an excuse for keeping them that way?

          Can we please not analogize that situation to gender-segregation in bathrooms, and the fear that many women have of allowing cis men to use women’s bathrooms? Because they aren’t analogous, at all. One wasn’t based on reality, and the other one is.

          What is at least arguably analogous is keeping trans women out of women’s rooms. There’s no more valid justification for doing so than there was for keeping black women out of “white women’s bathrooms” 50 years ago.

        3. tomek
          tomek March 20, 2013 at 6:32 pm |

          [Paraphrase: Hey everybody, why aren't we all talking more about how this affects tomek? ~ Mod Team]

        4. tomek
          tomek March 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm |

          [tomek does not believe women's reports of their own beliefs/feelings. I know, you're all shocked. ~ Mod Team]

        5. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm |

          @Donna, that’s definitely how I read ibbica’s comment. And I disagree virulently.

          And there is no comparison to trans women and cis men in terms of risk to women in co-ed bathrooms. I trust trans women exactly as much as I do cis women (which is to say, “more or less implicitly, while acknowledging rare exceptions”). Cis men? My trustmeter for them only doesn’t hit zero because of, oh, maybe six men I’ve known.

        6. trees
          trees March 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

          Is Ibbica possibly referring to the fact that in the days of racially segregated public bathrooms under Jim Crow, an alleged fear of crime was often raised as an excuse for keeping them that way?

          Yes, that’s where I thought zie was going, and that is an utterly and completely preposterous analogy.

        7. Donna L
          Donna L March 20, 2013 at 6:54 pm |

          I agree with you. Which is why, as I mentioned earlier, I’m made extremely uncomfortable by any attempt to tie the cause of allowing trans women to use the goddamn women’s bathroom just like other women (and the same for trans men and men’s bathrooms), to the cause of ending gender-segregation in public bathrooms entirely. It sounds too much like putting trans women and cis men in the same category — let everyone in! — even if that’s not anyone’s intention.

        8. tomek
          tomek March 20, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

          [tomek does not believe women's reports of their own beliefs/feelings. I know, you're all shocked. ~ Mod Team]

          it is such contraversial to [Moderator paraphrase: content that belongs on spillover].

          ::: When your comments are redacted as inappropriate on a particular thread, that’s always a sign for you to take further discussion on that matter to spillover and see whether it’s acceptable there. Start learning and applying this, or you will be banned again. ~ Mod Team.:::

        9. ibbica
          ibbica March 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm |

          I agree with you. Which is why, as I mentioned earlier, I’m made extremely uncomfortable by any attempt to tie the cause of allowing trans women to use the goddamn women’s bathroom just like other women (and the same for trans men and men’s bathrooms), to the cause of ending gender-segregation in public bathrooms entirely. It sounds too much like putting trans women and cis men in the same category — let everyone in! — even if that’s not anyone’s intention.

          I apologize for co-opting the desire for recognition of one’s gender to an alternate cause. I was trying to accommodate multiple groups’ desires under one all-too-pat solution.

          I suggested something that (1) would avoid drawing explicit attention to anyone’s gender, while (2) allowing anyone access to personal segregation from other people, regardless of their reasons for wanting that segregation, and (3) side-stepping around the repellent “argument” that “if we allow people to self-identify, cis men will just access women’s bathrooms and claim to be transgendered”.

          For people whose gender is routinely questioned, I can understand how (1) may not actually be desirable.

          I don’t know how many transgendered individuals would prefer segregation to desegregation, or vice versa. I am willing to learn.

      4. ibbica
        ibbica March 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm |

        On my race comment:
        I am not talking about people having irrational and unfounded fears of other groups. I am talking about real concerns being accommodated while pursuing a specific goal of desegregation.

        Non-white people (/women) had violence to fear from white people (/men). Does mean that segregation should persist? No. It suggests that non-white people (/women) should be provided safe spaces, but that is quite different from suporting racial (/gender) segregation.

        Incidentally, I am well aware that the ‘private’ rooms are often assigned for use by members of certain groups of people, to the exclusion of others. I am suggesting a change to that policy along with desegregation of the main rooms.

        1. ibbica
          ibbica March 20, 2013 at 7:32 pm |

          Sorry for the double post. Cats + keyboard = errors.

          [Duplicate comment deleted :) ~ Mod Team]

        2. Donna L
          Donna L March 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm |

          Non-white people (/women) had violence to fear from white people (/men). Does mean that segregation should persist?

          You do understand, right, that you have this backwards in terms of who was trying to preserve and who was trying to end racial segregation? You don’t really believe that the justification for racially segregated public bathrooms was black people’s fear of violence from white people?

        3. trees
          trees March 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm |

          Non-white people (/women) had violence to fear from white people (/men). Does mean that segregation should persist? No. It suggests that non-white people (/women) should be provided safe spaces, but that is quite different from suporting racial (/gender) segregation.

          Proponents of segregation could give to shits about the safety concerns of colored folks. This is a matter of preserving white supremacy.

        4. ibbica
          ibbica March 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm |

          You do understand, right, that you have this backwards in terms of who was trying to preserve and who was trying to end racial segregation? You don’t really believe that the justification for racially segregated public bathrooms was black people’s fear of violence from white people?

          Yes, I do understand this. I understand that the situation is not the same. So why, then, would non-white people argue against racial segregation? Why should women not argue against gender segregation?

          It is possible to provide privacy and safe spaces for those who need them, while not enforcing gender segregation.

        5. ibbica
          ibbica March 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm |

          Dammit, HTML tag borked. First paragraph is quoting Donna L.

          ::: Fixed! ~ Mod Team :::

        6. trees
          trees March 20, 2013 at 8:43 pm |

          Yes, I do understand this. I understand that the situation is not the same. So why, then, would non-white people argue against racial segregation? Why should women not argue against gender segregation?

          Since public restroom gender segregation isn’t based on the supremacy of men, your analogy to race segregation really doesn’t work. Also, some POC sometimes argue in favor of segregation for similar reasons as some women may argue in support of gender segregation.

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm |

          So why, then, would non-white people argue against racial segregation? Why should women not argue against gender segregation?

          I think that there is a world of difference between arguing for lack of segregation in terms of resources, and the having of separate spaces for marginalised and vulnerable populations. I mean, fuck, can we think of a more vulnerable population than trans women, statistically? Also, may I remind you that racial segregation was “separate”, and ANYTHING BUT “equal”. So, uh, plz to not compare. I’m not even black, I didn’t even grow up on the wrong end of segregation and that’s still offensive as fuck.

      5. Miss S
        Miss S March 20, 2013 at 9:05 pm |

        Should we play the trick of replacing gender with race, in the arguments here?

        I can’t take you seriously because of this question, so I’m not going to respond to you.

      6. Miss S
        Miss S March 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm |

        Should we play the trick of replacing gender with race, in the arguments here?

        I can’t take you seriously because of this question.

        I’ll admit, I’m not personally invested in the idea that there are no differences between men and women. I do think there is a difference, and I know everyone here doesn’t agree. I do feel safer around women than I do men, so I see a need for gender segregation in certain spaces. I don’t think equality means identical everything.

        What I don’t see, is why trans women are asking for one thing and being offered another. If trans women are saying* they want access to women’s bathrooms, it suggests that they don’t want to use the bathroom with men. Why are we suggesting that they use the bathroom with men through desegregation?

        *I realize that some trans women are for desegregation, but that’s not what this article is about.

  11. Disemvoweled: because
    Disemvoweled: because March 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

    Myb w nd t rvlt th gndr bnry n r nstttns. skng t llw trns wmn n th wmn’s bthrm srt f msss th pnt ntrly. Trns ppl r ftn vctms f th bnry thmslvs – whch s why s mny f thm sffr frm bdy dysmrph nd wnt t srgclly ltr thmslvs.

    f w lmntd th gndr bnry, trns ppl nd scty wld ccpt thr bds s th ntrl, hlthy thngs thy r nd nt b frcd by th gndr bnry t rmv prts nd ndrg hrmn trtmnts fr lf. nstd scty prssrs thm nt dngrs trtmnt jst t cnfrm t n rtfcl dl.

    [Disemvoweled for erasure of the experiences of trans* commentors right on this very thread. ~ Mod Team]

    1. Donna L
      Donna L March 20, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

      Trans people are often victims of the binary themselves – which is why so many of them suffer from body dysmorphia and want to surgically alter themselves.

      If we eliminated the gender binary, trans people and society would accept their bodies as the natural, healthy things they are and not be forced by the gender binary to remove parts and undergo hormone treatments for life. Instead society pressures them into dangerous treatment just to conform to an artificial ideal.

      And . . . . here we go again! Troll # 3 here, the “feminist utopia = no more delusional trans people mutilating their healthy bodies!” kind.

      Enough is enough. Wo ist die Giraffe, bitte? (It just happened to be in my little German-language phrasebook.)

      [I happened to spot this because it's the most recent comment on the admin screen, but if you want quicker attention in future please use the full Giraffe Alert phrase? ~ tt]

      1. matlun
        matlun March 20, 2013 at 7:18 pm |

        Yes. Classical radical feminism trans denial indeed.

        Does it help if I as an additional poster add a Giraffe call or will the first one already have caused the mod team to be signaled?

        1. matlun
          matlun March 20, 2013 at 7:20 pm |

          Ok. Mod team: Since you already acted, you can nuke my post from the mod queue. Btw: Donna quoted pretty much the full post, so perhaps you should paste in the disemvowelment there to?

          (Btw: I have no idea what the “full Giraffe alert phrase” is. I will now try to look that up…)

        2. tigtog
          tigtog March 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm | *

          It’s linked in the Comment Policy page, matlun.

        3. tigtog
          tigtog March 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm | *

          I didn’t disemvowel or delete the quoted portions of the post in the responses because it feels like censoring the context of Donna’s and other responders. If the consensus is that it’s best to get rid of the quoted content as well, then I can certainly do that.

        4. Donna L
          Donna L March 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm |

          I’m personally OK with leaving it, so people can see what I was responding to, and because it falls more in the concern trolling category (poor deluded trans people, victims of the gender binary) than in the hate screed category like what Guls wrote. But if it particularly upsets anyone to see it there, go ahead and delete it, please.

        5. matlun
          matlun March 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm |

          Thanks, tigtog.

          And if the rest want to leave it, I certainly have no problem with that. I am not myself one of those closely affected or triggered, so that is not up to me.

      2. Emolee
        Emolee March 20, 2013 at 7:37 pm |

        Asking to allow trans women in the women’s bathroom sort of misses the point entirely

        No, that is the entire point of this article. A six year old trans girl wants to use the girls’ room. Anyone who says that this is not the issue is erasing the discrimination faced by this little girl, and that is not ok.

    2. tomek
      tomek March 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm |

      brain is wired for male or female. if body does not match the wires, dismorphia occurs. so dismorphia of trans people exist regardless of social attitudes. this is my understanding in the least.

      1. Emolee
        Emolee March 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm |

        I don’t believe that everyone’s brain is wired for either male or female. Please don’t misunderstand this to mean that I believe that no one’s brain is wired for either male or female, just that it is not that simplistic for every single person.

        1. matlun
          matlun March 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm |

          “Male or female brain” are not two complementary, clearly distinct categories, no. But remember, neither is for example physical genitalia (or really any other sex based characteristic).

          That human nature is complex does not mean that we do not have a physical type we classify as “male” and another as “female”. The state of the brain may not be as clear to see for an outsider, but the principle is there.

      2. Past my expiration date
        Past my expiration date March 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm |

        I like the mod team’s version of tomek’s comments better.

    3. trees
      trees March 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm |

      Maybe we need to reevaluate the gender binary in our institutions. Asking to allow trans women in the women’s bathroom sort of misses the point entirely. Trans people are often victims of the binary themselves – which is why so many of them suffer from body dysmorphia and want to surgically alter themselves.

      There are now, have always been, and will always be transgender humans, even in your feminist utopia.

    4. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia March 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm |

      First we had the “Trans* people aren’t real” rant (Guls)
      Now we get the “You’re not in a position to decide that” transphobic argument.

      Not acceptable.

    5. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune March 20, 2013 at 7:20 pm |

      If we end the patriarchy, no more trans people will be born!

      If we end white supremacy, no more black people will be born!

      Wait…

      Oh.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L March 20, 2013 at 9:08 pm |

        Don’t forget also that once the patriarchy ends, and men and women are entirely equal, and misogyny and gender both disappear, then by the same logic as this — no more lesbians! (Especially, no more justification for “political lesbians”!) Everyone would find their equal biological counterpart, and accept the fact that penises and vaginas fit together as the “natural, healthy” thing it is, and not be forced by misogyny and inequality and abhorrence for being subordinated to men, to defy nature by engaging in unnatural, unhealthy relationships and sexual juxtapositions.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm |

          Oh, god. Fucking political lesbians, I can’t even. And yeah, I know you’re setting up strawmen, but I’ve actually heard these arguments being put forward for serious…

      2. AMM
        AMM March 22, 2013 at 4:08 pm |

        I know I’m taking this more seriously than you intended, but…

        If we end white supremacy, no more black people will be born!

        If you modify this to say, … there will be no more ‘black’ (or ‘white’) people, but just people with various kinds of pigmenting, I would kind of hope it would someday be true. The color variation would still be there, but it would no longer be a socially significant distinction. It would be more like hair color is now.

        By the same token, one could mangle:

        If we end the patriarchy, no more trans people will be born!

        into: … then the categories ‘cis’ and ‘trans’ will cease to be socially significant categories. This would be because whether someone is “really” a man or “really” a woman (or “really” something other than those two) would cease to be such a BFD. And whether they chose to undergo some sort of modification of the bodies they were born with, and why, would become a merely personal matter, no more threatening to Western civilization than hair implants. Because “male” and “female” would cease to be not-so-complementary Procrustean beds, one of which one would have to be bound onto for a lifetime, but mere shorthand descriptions of a rather more complicated reality.

        And maybe future Coy Mathises could go to the d*** bathroom without half the people in the USA getting into her business (put intended.)

    6. GallingGalla
      GallingGalla March 20, 2013 at 7:20 pm |

      This, besides being utter bullshit, is odiously eliminationist.

      How do you know that in your radfem paradise, people won’t feel *freer* to medically transition?

      I’m almost getting to be afraid for Feministe to publish any trans related article, because this kind of shit gets thrown at us EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And every time, it shuts down substantive discussion that trans* folk and our allies are trying to have.

      You’ve made your g-ddamned points over and over again, now why cannot you tend to your communities and let us tend to ours?

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune March 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm |

        In any feminist paradise worth its salt, trans folk would be given all resources necessary to transition as easily as safely possible, and all resources necessary to help them cope as well as they can until they can. Or, alternatively, all resources necessary to support them and provide them with whatever mental health care etc they need, should they decide not to undergo medical transition. And either way, complete acceptance of social transition. My 0.02.

        1. GallingGalla
          GallingGalla March 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm |

          Prezactly.

        2. Aaliyah
          Aaliyah March 20, 2013 at 11:14 pm |

          Amen to that.

        3. Donna L
          Donna L March 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm |

          Hi, Aaliyah — nice to meet you!

        4. Aaliyah
          Aaliyah March 20, 2013 at 11:28 pm |

          You too, Donna!

          In case it’s not obvious to everyone: “mxe354″ and “Aaliyah” are the same person. I’m sick of the former username, so I changed it to my real name.

        5. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm |

          Nice to see you here uncloaked (so to speak), Aaliyah!

        6. GallingGalla
          GallingGalla March 21, 2013 at 9:36 am |

          Hi, Aaliyah! *waves*

      2. Li
        Li March 21, 2013 at 1:24 am |

        I’m almost getting to be afraid for Feministe to publish any trans related article, because this kind of shit gets thrown at us EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And every time, it shuts down substantive discussion that trans* folk and our allies are trying to have.

        I know it just feeds into exactly that problem, but I often find myself not putting energy into writing longer substantive comments because I think I need to preserve my spoons for tackling the influx of transphobes, even if they’re just “oncoming” in my mind rather than already here.

  12. FYouMudFlaps
    FYouMudFlaps March 21, 2013 at 2:35 am |

    One very easy way to solve this “potty problem” shit would merely to have “Neutral” and “Women’s” instead of “Men” and “Women.” At quick glance this may resemble “male default” bullshit like “Deodorant” and “Women’s Deodorant,” but no it merely would effectively make gender neutral the default while keeping a women only space for any woman uncomfortable sharing the bathroom with men.

    Can you believe this poppycock is still around, and that it was a major factor in derailing the U.S. ERA???? It’s true!!! My little way of quietly fucking shit up is whenever a female friend and I have to use the restroom at the same time, if the place has single occupancy bathrooms we use the “opposite” room just because.

    1. BBBShrewHarpy
      BBBShrewHarpy March 21, 2013 at 8:35 am |

      How would this help the trans girls and women who want to use the women-only loo for safety/privacy/whatever reason and are prevented or discouraged from doing so, as is the case with Coy.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L March 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

        How would this help the trans girls and women who want to use the women-only loo for safety/privacy/whatever reason and are prevented or discouraged from doing so, as is the case with Coy.

        I don’t think it would help at all, and might make it even harder for trans girls and women to be allowed to use the women’s room — a lot of people would just say “go use the neutral bathroom and stop complaining.”

        1. Donna L
          Donna L March 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm |

          I should clarify by saying that using the word “allowed” is slightly misleading, because obviously trans girls and women already use girls’/women’s room unless and until somebody complains and gets them thrown out. The people who are really hurt by any kind of affirmative prohibition, as always, are the ones who are “visibly” trans or known to be trans for other reasons, whereas those who blend in are largely unaffected, other than by fear of being “found out.” And, other than for people who choose to be visible for whatever reason, being “visibly” trans or not is largely a question of luck and/or, for some, having the financial resources to pursue things like FFS.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl March 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm |

          Yep, what Donna said.

          I think the back and forth over sex/gender neutral restrooms doesn’t make all that much sense. So, what, a trans or cis woman doesn’t want to pee with a person identifying as a man one foot away and the response is suck it up? Too bad, wait and hold it until you get home? Because there seems to be an underlying judginess that these women are making much ado over nothing and just need to evolve their thinking on the matter.

          I’m just not down with that, no matter how one tries to deconstruct the argument.

    2. Emolee
      Emolee March 21, 2013 at 11:43 am |

      One very easy way to solve this “potty problem” shit would merely to have “Neutral” and “Women’s” instead of “Men” and “Women.”

      I hate to be all “what about the menz,” but I can actually see why some men would prefer a men-only potty, in the way that I prefer a women-only potty, which I explained above was not for safety reasons, but reasons of privacy and vulnerabilty. Usually, I would not defend a male-only space, but for bathrooms, even though it’s not the same as women needing a female-only bathroom, I can see the need. And to be extra clear: this would not exclude trans men from men’s bathrooms, because they are men.

  13. Andie
    Andie March 21, 2013 at 8:13 am |

    So, in slightly happier news, we just passed a transgender rights bill here, 149-137, including 16 conservatives who voted yes (not including our lousy PM, though. Surprise surprise)

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/03/20/transgender_rights_bill_passes_commons_vote_with_help_from_16_tories.html

    Via Ami Angelwings

    1. GallingGalla
      GallingGalla March 21, 2013 at 9:41 am |

      Yay! That is good news.

  14. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan March 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm |

    This is especially ridiculous because she’s a little child.* Isn’t that the age where you have to raise your hand and get a bathroom pass from the teacher? She’s not exactly going to be spending hours lingering around the loo trying to, I dunno, seduce cis girls into becoming trans girls. Or whatever she’ll theoretically be doing besides peeing and leaving.

    She can’t give other girls Y-chromosome cooties! Genitals aren’t that powerful! In other words, conservative douchewads still think penises are fucking evil magic wands, news at 11. So it’s separately transphobic, misogynistic, kinda anti-male, and transmisogynistic. Wow.

    *not that it wouldn’t be absurd at any age

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan March 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |

      (To clarify about the anti-male bit, what does it say about transphobes’ opinion of little boys that they think one would try to pull such a stunt to get slightly nearer naked girls? They must think all boys and men are conniving little perverts, even at age 6. So really they have managed to insult men, trans girls and cis girls all simultaneously.)

      1. bookshopcat
        bookshopcat March 21, 2013 at 11:44 pm |

        This is perhaps a candidate for the current spillover thread, but after the coverage of the Steubenville trial, I can’t help but see the transphobic stance on trans people in washrooms as a clear illustration of a particularly hideous double standard: even if they’ve incriminated themselves six ways from Sunday on several social media sites, no accused rapist could possibly have committed rape because [whatever the ridiculous excuse of the week happens to be], but as soon as the fact that trans people, which almost always means trans girls and women, are transitioning and using the appropriate facilities is brought to their attention, well, it’s logically because they have an overwhelming desire to commit predatory acts against defenseless cis people… evidence to the contrary be damned, of course.

  15. Donna L
    Donna L March 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm |

    And in the latest news about excluding trans women from “women’s spaces,” the oh-so-progressive Smith College, which is well-known for being supportive of students who identify as trans guys and allowing them to remain enrolled notwithstanding their male identification, has denied admission to a young trans woman who applied. Because she’s “not female at the time of admission.” I guess she doesn’t have the right genitals to be a Smith student.

    http://news.yahoo.com/transgender-student-denied-admission-female-smith-college-131606158.html

    Here’s an excerpt:


    “Yes, I was born into a body with typically male parts,” Wong blogged last fall. “But I identify and am living as female. Prevailing scientific and medical opinions support the fact that who I am identity-wise is different from the gender identity typically associated my physical body.”

    “I am not a rapist; I am not a criminal, and it is not fair to assume that I am such a person,” Wong also wrote. “Thing is, I’m a girl who . . . just wants her fair shot at Smith.”

    However, the absence of certain required lady parts looks to be an insurmountable problem for Wong, even under Smith’s decidedly progressive policies concerning transgender students.

    6, 18, whatever; it’s all about the genitals.

    I’ve felt for years that characterizing places like Smith as trans-friendly is highly misleading, and that I won’t buy it until they start admitting trans women. Which, clearly, Smith isn’t about to do. Hypocrites.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L March 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm |

      Warning: don’t even look at the comments to the story; there are more than 1,200 to date, and judging from the first page or so, a solid 100% are not only transphobic but gleefully so.

      But I guess they’re all celebrating over at that fetid cesspool I mentioned in the other thread.

      1. Emolee
        Emolee March 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm |

        I assume they are full of offensive “wong” jokes.

      2. matlun
        matlun March 21, 2013 at 4:40 pm |

        Wow. I was sure you were exaggerating, so I wanted to check how long it would take to find a counterexample comment.

        I gave up after 10 pages. The figure of 100% is still not proven wrong. Unbelievable.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L March 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm |

          Sad, but hardly unbelievable. Although I admit that 100% is a bit high even for a Yahoo News comment thread; usually it’s only 98% or so.

    2. matlun
      matlun March 21, 2013 at 4:34 pm |

      It is a bit hard to say to say how they should handle their woman-only requirement for trans people.

      Currently they seem to be going by the strictly legal interpretation. Ie Connecticut law according to the article: “The state categorizes Wong as male and would only recognize Wong as a female after expensive, complex sex reassignment surgery.”

      (Apparently they handle transitions by requiring the “right gender” at admission)

      The is just dissatisfying all around, but how would you handle the requirement of an all-woman college?

      1. Emolee
        Emolee March 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

        I would handle it by letting all women in…?

        If she identifies as a woman, she is one.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L March 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm |

          Especially since she transitioned socially some time ago, and lives as herself 24/7. Who cares if she hasn’t had genital surgery? What, she’s going to be walking around the campus naked?

        2. matlun
          matlun March 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm |

          I also think allowing everyone choosing the female gender would be the best policy. And having someone reasonable on the staff looking into the (presumably very few) border line cases where it might not be clear what the honest gender identification is.

          But there seems to be a rather general fear today to use common sense judgement, so I am not that surprised that they are instead choosing to go with the legal classification.

      2. Donna L
        Donna L March 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm |

        And, they let people students there even after they’ve transitioned and are living as men.

        All of this seems confirmatory to me of what I’ve long suspected, which is that Smith and other schools like them are “accepting” of trans male students only because they don’t think of them as being “really” men, but as girls going through a phase of some kind.

        1. matlun
          matlun March 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm |

          The test would obviously be to check if they accept students who have “officially” (ie legally) transitioned before applying. I have no idea what the actual situation is on this.

      3. Rhoanna
        Rhoanna March 22, 2013 at 9:03 am |

        It’s not even clear what they mean by “Connecticut law”. Are they talking about what gender a person has on Connecticut ID/driver’s license? Are they talking about birth certificates (assuming Wong was born in Connecticut)? And then they mention the gender she put down on her FAFSA, which potentially brings up what gender the SSA considers someone. So it’s not like their cover of “legal gender” is even that simple.

    3. Donna L
      Donna L March 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm |

      A link to the article in The Advocate:

      http://www.advocate.com/society/education/2013/03/20/womens-college-returns-transgender-students-application

      What a lot of people don’t seem to get is that the bar Smith sets — being “legally” female at the time of admission — is, as a practical matter, virtually impossible to meet by the age of 17 or 18, especially for someone living in a state where you have to have had genital surgery to change the gender designation on your birth certificate. Even if someone has a supportive family and has the financial resources to afford surgery, the whole process takes years, and isn’t exactly easy to get done by the time someone’s out of high school! (I believe there are only 2 or 3 states that don’t require genital surgery as a prerequisite, never mind the 3 states that don’t permit a birth certificate change under any circumstances.)

      Smith’s policy clearly has a hugely disparate impact on trans girls and trans guys — who can be admitted without any question, certainly so long as they don’t tell the admissions office about their identity, and probably so long as they haven’t changed their own legal status, something that’s equally unlikely for trans guys to have done by the time they’re done with high school. So this supposedly progressive, trans-friendly women’s college is actually discriminating against women, in favor of similarly-situated men, when it comes to trans people.

      1. GallingGalla
        GallingGalla March 22, 2013 at 11:13 am |

        It’s definitely not just Smith. A few years back, I worked at another of the Seven Sisters colleges (I’m uncomfortable naming the college). They had hired me as a “look how diverse we are” move – they actually sent reps to the Trans Health Conference (a large trans conference held annually in the US) and hired me from there.

        But, oh, did they go through such angst, ANGST I TELL YOU at the thought of having trans women *students*. At the time I was there, they pulled the same stunt as Smith – your ID had to state you were female, which effectively barred trans women from attending. Yet, I knew two trans men students, and neither was in any way pressured to leave (one did leave voluntarily).

        All the usual freakouts were present: “What do we do about trans women in the bathrooms? What about locker rooms? In the dorms? oh the HORROR!”

        I mean, I was treated pretty well when I was working there, and I used the women’s bathrooms with no issues beyond the occasional stare, but the whole angst about trans women students just grated.

        1. GallingGalla
          GallingGalla March 22, 2013 at 11:19 am |

          FYI, “Seven Sisters” refers to seven colleges in the northeastern US that were originally women’s colleges. They were founded in the mid-to-late 1800′s. One went co-ed, one kinda disappeared, but I believe there’s still five that are women’s colleges at least at the undergraduate level.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L March 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm |

          I’m not the least bit surprised at your story.

          For anyone else who’s interested, the seven were Smith, Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke, Bryn Mawr, Barnard, Vassar, and Radcliffe. Radcliffe hasn’t had a separate existence since it merged with Harvard a long time ago, and Vassar started admitting guys as far back as the 1970′s, I think. People always seem to think that Sarah Lawrence (where my mother went) was one of them, but it wasn’t.

      2. Aaliyah
        Aaliyah March 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

        That’s just horrible. :{

        I applied to UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz with my sex listed as male, and I’m 18. I hope I won’t run into too much trouble when I try to change my listed sex to female (assuming that I get in, that is). I’m worried about running into trouble now that I’ve heard of that story as the UC colleges are also called trans*-friendly by some organizations.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L March 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm |

          Aaliyah, I think the big difference between those schools and Smith is that they aren’t single-sex, women-only schools. Therefore, the sex you list on your application simply doesn’t have the same kind of relevance to them that it supposedly does to Smith, and “trans-friendly” doesn’t have the same kind of narrow definition that it does for Smith. So please don’t worry about it.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L March 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm |

          Also: it’s my understanding that none of the colleges that are trans-friendly to existing students require that the legal process of changing one’s identification documents (which, depending on geographic location, can require all sorts of steps that are very unlikely to be feasible at that age) be completed before recognizing someone’s preferred name and gender designation for day-to-day purposes.

      3. Donna L
        Donna L March 22, 2013 at 10:28 pm |

        An opinion column at Yahoo that’s very supportive:

        http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-livin…211812870.html

        The comments, of course, continue to be 100% hateful. And you can tell how much pleasure the people who make them are getting from being hateful — see, see, one of those disgusting freaks is finally getting his [sic] comeuppance!!

  16. gpb
    gpb March 22, 2013 at 6:19 pm |

    This is a genuine question. I am new here, and please understand I am from the South and not a cosmopolitan person with exposure to trans people (that I know of), and I haven’t simply chosen to remain ignorant. Why was the disemvowelled (lol!) comment so horrible? I am confused. I grew up very uncomfortable with being female, in fact I cried about it around once a week. Eventually I concluded that it was strict gender roles/stereotypes/whatever that caused that discomfort, and realized that I can be a woman and still do all the “boyish” things I was told girls couldn’t do as a child. It wasn’t easy coming to that conclusion, and I didn’t reach it until my mid-twenties. To this day, I still feel like my brain operates in a more “masculine” manner, but I have just come to accept that I am a little different, but still a woman. How is a trans person’s experience different from that? I assumed (I know!) that a person who identified as trans had not come to the realization that you can act in ways that are not consistent with society’s expectations for a person of your sex, but it appears I must be wrong. In fact, now that I think about it, I imagine presenting as a gender that doesn’t agree with your genitals would be even more out of line with society’s expectations. Would anyone please explain this to me, or point me to another place this question was addressed? I would appreciate that. My intention is not to get into an argument, but rather to find out something I didn’t know before that can help me empathize with others. Thank you.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune March 22, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

      Okay, this is really 101-level information on being trans that you’re looking for, gpb. Might I suggest these sites?

      http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/

      and http://www.shakesville.com

      Both have 101-level resources on gender, gender identity etc.

      The short answer I have is that there’s a difference between feeling that your gender is keeping you from doing things, and that your body is not representing your true gender. You clearly feel the former – which is, as you said, untrue, because gender isn’t about what you do, it’s about how you feel. This isn’t the same as being trans at all.

      1. gpb
        gpb March 22, 2013 at 7:35 pm |

        Thanks, macavitykitsune, I appreciate you trying to answer my question. I was reading other sites as I was waiting for my comment to pass moderation (I Googled “What is it like to be trans”), and I think this question might not exactly be answerable. Certainly not for someone who doesn’t know all of my experiences. I have experienced the same things as many trans people, including feeling that I should be a boy with a boy’s body. I don’t currently feel a huge discomfort with the femininity of my body, but I did up until my mid-twenties. So maybe I am actually trans, just dealing with it in my own way.

        1. Finn
          Finn May 4, 2013 at 12:11 am |

          Hi. I’m not sure if I can address this in a way that makes it any clearer to you, but I think the main difference you’re describing is that you felt restricted by your gender because it kept you from opportunities (via the social pressure to keep away from sports or certain jobs or socializing in ways you are comfortable with), where trans people (at least in my own experience) feel restricted by their assigned gender because it isn’t them.

          Which I understand isn’t as scientific or as logical an explanation than I think may be satisfying. I understand that; for full disclosure, I’m a non-binary trans person who struggled with the very question you’re asking. I assumed I was making shit up because I must just have been resisting gender roles that I found unfairly restrictive.

          Except I’ve never really given a second thought to stomping all over those.

          To put it as simply as I possibly can, transitioning eased anxieties about myself and my body that I could not ease any other way. I cannot explain to you scientifically why this is the case, and I don’t think it’s necessary to understand in order to accept that it’s true. I feel more like myself.

          If “feeling more like yourself” means being a kickass tomboy who is still a woman, then congrats, you are a kickass tomboy who is a woman. I can’t tell you you’re not trans and just working through a whole load of misunderstanding and social programming – because the narrative of “I’ve known since birth” is not true for everyone, and figuring this shit out can be incredibly difficult – and if that’s the case then I wish you the best in finding out who you are. But this: “a person who identified as trans had not come to the realization that you can act in ways that are not consistent with society’s expectations for a person of your sex” is just completely wrong. Don’t assume trans people are all just less aware of or educated on feminist ideas.

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