Transgender women in women’s restrooms: A purely imagined harm

This August, California passed the School Success and Opportunity Act, a law mandating that transgender students must be included in school activities on the basis of their identified gender rather than their assigned sex. This includes playing on sports teams consistent with their gender, as well as the use of facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms.

Conservative groups predictably painted this as an outrage, raising the terrifying possibility that trans girls might use girls’ restrooms – which is supposed to be a problem for some reason. Frank Schubert, a strategist behind numerous state campaigns against marriage equality, is now leading an initiative to overturn the law. The National Organization for Marriage, following a lengthy series of failures to achieve any of their marriage-related aims, has decided it would be easier to attack trans kids.

But of all the groups that have lined up to oppose this law, perhaps none have been as vocal – and as dangerous – as the Pacific Justice Institute. On their website, Pacific Justice immediately began seeking plaintiffs who felt they were somehow wronged by this new law, and were willing to challenge it in court. Having apparently no success in their search, they had to go all the way to Colorado to find the supposed victims they needed as the face of their campaign.

On October 13, the Christian Broadcasting Network published a story claiming that a transgender girl had been harassing other girls in restrooms at Florence High School in Colorado. From the very beginning, this story was suspiciously light on details. No further information was given as to the specific nature of the alleged harassment. No individuals involved were identified or even quoted. No evidence was provided that any of this had actually taken place. The “story”, if you can call it that, came down to nothing more than a vague allegation – and half of the very short article was devoted to grandstanding and self-promotion by Pacific Justice.

Following its publication, this story was uncritically syndicated by news outlets around the world, including Fox News and the Daily Mail. Fortunately, Cristan Williams of took the time to contact the school superintendent, Rhonda Vendetti, and find the facts surrounding this supposed incident. When asked about the story, Vendetti stated: “to our knowledge and based on our investigation, none of those things have actually happened. We do have a transgender student at the high school and she has been using the women’s restroom. There has not been a situation.” She further added: “There has not been an incident of harassment, or anything that would cause any additional concern.”

In other words, the Pacific Justice Institute’s story appeared to be more of a non-story, and likely nothing more than a false accusation. The Daily Mail subsequently removed the article from their website. But the exposure of their fabricated story didn’t stop Pacific Justice from continuing to pursue it anyway. Within days, they issued a very revealing clarification of their earlier claims: “It is our position that the intrusion of a biological male into a restroom for teenage girls is inherently harassing and intimidating.”

This is not a minor detail. As soon as their false accusations of harassment were revealed, they tried to claim that what they meant all along was that her mere presence was the same as an act of harassment. This is a significant backtracking from their original allegations, and essentially an admission that nothing had actually happened. Cristan Williams subsequently interviewed the student’s family, and found that she’s only 16 years old, that she had transitioned two years ago, and that she was now on suicide watch following the campaign against her.

What really happened, according to the cis “victims”

But even that wasn’t enough to convince Pacific Justice to back down. Last week, they posted a video of the “victims” talking about how traumatic it is that a trans girl would use the women’s restroom. If you can stand to watch the video, I highly recommend that you do. What the students actually had to say about their experiences is really surprising.

Throughout the video, three girls recount what it was like to use the bathroom, or not use the bathroom, while a trans girl was there, or was not there:

“It kind of makes me a little bit nervous about if I run into him. … I was going into the bathroom, as I was just walking in, I see him there, and I just turned around and walked out of the bathroom. … I just don’t go to the bathroom as much anymore.”

“I feel uncomfortable because I know that he doesn’t have the same parts as me, which I do not think that’s right that he could go into the same bathroom as me. … I actually only use the bathroom probably once a day, and that’s when I’m in gym and I don’t have the same gym class with him, so I’m trusting that he won’t walk in there while I’m in there. … Me and my friend were in there, and all of a sudden we see him walk out of the stall, and I felt really weird and we just walked out.”

“I believe if you want to be gay or a girl if you’re a guy, you have the right to do that but you don’t need to put everyone else in a position where they’re uncomfortable to do that. Things are meant to be private and kept for you and only for you.”

Here’s the most striking thing about their stories: All that they’re talking about is how they used the restroom while a trans girl was there, and nothing happened. At no point in any of their stories is there any instance where this girl did or said anything inappropriate – indeed, there are no instances of her doing or saying anything at all.

If she had conducted herself in any way that was even remotely possible to construe as harassment, you can be sure that it would have been brought up in this video. But nothing of the sort is mentioned at all. Literally the only event they talk about is: a trans girl used the restroom.

Note also how much of this is about them. They are the ones who are nervous. They are the ones who are uncomfortable. They are the ones who “felt really weird”. They are the ones refusing to use the restroom. How is this the fault of one student who’s done nothing wrong? She’s not the one being weird around them – they’re clearly the ones being weird around her.

Yet their parents, and Pacific Justice, are all too willing to treat this as a compelling reason to attack a student who hasn’t done anything inappropriate. Against a background of dramatic music, three parents ramble aimlessly and veer off into utter incoherence:

“You’re kind of wired, as a mom, to protect your kid. And when you’re unable to, it’s scary. … I feel sorry for this little boy, but at the same time, I need to respect him, he needs to respect me. And I do that. Why can’t he do it? Why can’t we teach him, you know, respect others? … This is not the school’s problem or my daughter’s problem that he has decided to do this. But it is my problem when they’re uncomfortable, and not safe at school. I feel as if they’re not safe at all.”

“The school pretty much told us, your daughter has no rights. … When the school told us, there’s no rights, I was like, there has to be rights for these girls. … You have private parts for a reason, you know, and now they’re not private anymore. … We pray for this boy every night, as a family we decided we’re going to pray for this boy and, you know, he’s a confused boy.”

“From day one, you protect your kid from electrical outlets, you put things on your cabinet so they can’t get into the medicine, it’s your job to protect your kid because they can’t protect themselves yet.”

Again, these parents are talking about protecting their daughters in a situation where all parties admit that nothing has even happened. Moreover, they do this while, in the same breath, turning one innocent girl’s life into a media firestorm. After this girl has been on suicide watch, they now claim their daughters are the ones who aren’t safe.

They talk about “rights” as they try to kick her out of a public restroom. They talk about “respect” when they can’t even bring themselves to respect her gender. They talk about “private parts” while making international news out of someone’s anatomy. They offer their meaningless and condescending prayers while refusing to do anything that could actually help this girl. They call it a “problem” when their daughters are “uncomfortable” in the face of no harassment and no inappropriate behavior, yet they have no problem with harassing one girl until she’s almost too uncomfortable to go on living. They don’t even care.

And that’s really the heart of all this. The closest thing resembling an argument in this video is the contention that cis people’s discomfort should be the only reason needed to exile trans women from women’s restrooms – even if these trans women have never done anything inappropriate. They seem to believe that if cis people are ever uncomfortable with the mere idea of this, then trans women need to leave immediately and just never use women’s restrooms.

But no thought is given to how uncomfortable trans women might be about this, or whether trans women’s discomfort should compel cis people to act differently. They don’t seem to think this is worth considering at all.

In light of this, I contend that the mere discomfort of cis people at the simple presence of trans women in women’s restrooms should not be a compelling argument for anything. This is not a sound justification for excluding trans women from women’s facilities. And there should be absolutely nothing wrong with seeing yet another case of cis people complaining about nothing, and telling them, “who cares?”

Use of women’s restrooms by trans women is normal and common

The discomfort of cis people is not some inherent feature of trans women using the women’s restroom. It does not need to be seen as a completely understandable reaction: a great many cis people are just fine with trans women using women’s restrooms, and these cis people do not make an issue of it at all. It is not an inevitable consequence of our bathroom use – there’s nothing about our presence that forces people to feel this way. So this is not about what we are doing, it is about how they choose to react to that. Given that so many cis people don’t see this as a problem and don’t try to ban us from bathrooms, what’s their excuse?

Moreover, even if every cis person was uncomfortable with trans women using women’s restrooms, their discomfort would be totally unwarranted. This anxiety is completely unsupported by the facts at hand – there is nothing to be anxious about, and so this baseless reaction shouldn’t be considered a compelling argument for anything.

In an absolute sense, trans women using women’s restrooms is an incredibly common occurrence. A 2011 study from the Williams Institute at UCLA analyzed multiple surveys, and found that about 700,000 people in the United States are trans. Let’s assume half of these people are trans women – about 350,000. If these trans women only use women’s restrooms an average of 3 times a year – some of them more, some of them less – there are over a million instances of this every year.

There are over a million instances of something that Pacific Justice wants us to believe is “inherently harassing”, over a million cases of what they see as cause for a melodramatic, teary video about how traumatizing it is just to be in our presence. Yet the reality of our bathroom use clearly does not support such an assumption. On top of that, 77% of trans women haven’t even had any genital reconstruction – most of us indeed do not have “the same parts”. But are we to believe that every time we use a public restroom, this ends with shocked and weeping cis women running from the stalls?

No. The inherent harassment postulated by Pacific Justice is, in truth, neither inherent nor harassment, and “parts” clearly aren’t a problem here either. Their president described this as an “ordeal” for these girls, who have apparently “gone through a lot, mentally and emotionally”. I think this would come as news to the millions more cis women who use restrooms alongside us without issue.

Admittedly, cases of trans women using restrooms do occasionally become newsworthy. We see dozens of such “incidents” make the news every year – but not thousands. The fraction of cases where this becomes an issue is so small as to be negligible. And when it does become a problem, it is almost invariably caused not by the actions of trans women, but by the actions of cis people. These are not instances where trans women have misbehaved, acted inappropriately, or harassed anyone. Instead, these incidents happen when cis people identify someone as trans and seek to exclude them from public restrooms for that reason alone.

In Florida, a nursing student was told she would face charges if she continued to use the women’s restroom at college. In Idaho, a woman was issued a no-trespass order for using the women’s restroom at a grocery store. In Colorado, a 6-year-old girl was told she couldn’t use the girl’s bathroom at school anymore. Almost every one of these supposedly newsworthy events comes down to the same story we’re seeing here: a trans woman used the women’s restroom and nothing happened – except for cis people causing problems. It’s obvious that we’re subjected to this not because of any behavior on our part that would merit such treatment, but simply because of who we are.

Trans women are at high risk in restrooms – because of cis people

If the harassment of women in public restrooms is something these people are concerned about, they could start by worrying about the harassment of trans women. In a survey of trans people in Washington, DC, 59% of trans women reported being verbally harassed in bathrooms. This included being “told they were in the wrong facility, told to leave the facility, questioned about their gender, ridiculed or made fun of, verbally threatened”, as well as having the police called or being followed after they left. 17% of trans women were denied access to restrooms outright, and 14% were physically assaulted in restrooms.

This is not a case of people “inherently harassing” us just by being there – they are actively harassing us by beating us, yelling at us, and denying us entry. This danger creates a climate of fear: 58% of trans people reported avoiding public places because they weren’t sure if a safe restroom would be available, and 38% avoided places with only gender-separated restrooms. And 54% suffered some kind of physical issue from waiting too long to use the bathroom.

One person explained how much planning goes into using public restrooms:

“Stay out in DC for short periods of time. Scout bathroom options. If men’s and women’s entrances are very close and the bathrooms are not currently in use, I will use them. If there is a line to use the restrooms, I will not. Standing in line usually always results in verbal abuse or denial of access.”

Does that sound like something cis people have to think about every time they need to go to the bathroom? Pacific Justice is happy to trot out stories of cis girls who avoid using the restroom while a trans girl is there, simply because they “felt weird”. What they don’t seem to realize is that this is a daily reality for trans women – and not merely because we feel “weird”, but because we face a very real threat to our safety. And that threat does not come from trans people. It comes from cis people.

Given the attacks we suffer from them on a regular basis, expecting us to view our own simple presence as somehow harassing to others is the height of entitled cis ignorance. Cis people harass us with extraordinary frequency, but nobody sees all cis people as the problem here. Yet trans people do nothing, and we’re subjected to campaigns to bar us from using the proper restroom. Does Pacific Justice have any data on how often we’re beating cis women in restrooms, threatening them, and telling them they have to leave? Or just some more videos about how nothing happened?

Cis people’s bathroom fears do not matter

These groups are trying to make an issue out of what is, in reality, the biggest non-issue imaginable. And the sickening irony of it all is that campaigns like these, where cis people’s unreasonable fears are inexplicably treated as valid, are exactly why we as trans women have every reason to be afraid. When their discomfort over nothing is elevated to a no-questions-asked veto power over our restroom access, this teaches people that they’re right to see us as a danger, and that they’re justified in taking action against us. It encourages cis people everywhere to appoint themselves as bathroom vigilantes, policing restrooms for any sign that a trans person might be trying to use the facilities.

And they think they’re the ones who are uncomfortable? They’re the ones who are “a little bit nervous”? We’re the ones who have to live in the constant fear that just using the restroom might mean encountering someone who doesn’t like how our faces look, how our voices sound, how our necks are shaped, or how tall we are. We have to live with the possibility that at any moment, no matter how unimpeachable our behavior may be, cis people can single us out, question the legitimacy of our gender, and make such an issue of it that it becomes a worldwide headline. And the world will think we’re the ones who did something wrong. We fear this because it’s actually happened countless times before, and it’s certainly going to happen again. Each of us fears that we might be next.

So let me be clear: When cis people talk about how unsafe they feel around us, I do not care. Just because they’re distressed at simply being around someone who’s trans, that doesn’t mean anything has to be done about this. It doesn’t mean we’re the problem here. Their discomfort with something harmless does not need to be accommodated at the expense of others – it doesn’t create any sort of moral imperative to be imposed upon us, and it doesn’t obligate us as trans women to cater to their baseless anxieties.

They have the luxury of being taken far too seriously when they fear a nonexistent threat. Meanwhile, we’re faced with suspicion, harassment, global media exposure, and even violence – for no reason at all. Campaigns like these are not just groundless, they are not just wrong, they are precisely backwards: Cis people are not the ones who are threatened by us. We are the ones who are threatened by them.

Transgender women in women’s restrooms: A purely imagined harm

177 thoughts on “Transgender women in women’s restrooms: A purely imagined harm

    1. 2.1

      Some are horrified by the idea.

      My fundie mother, despite knowing I’m now an atheist and secularist, tried to convince me to sign the petition to get this thing on the ballot to vote out, and acted as though unisex bathrooms would a horrible alternative or the terrible conclusion of this slippery slope of liberalism.

      Which is ridiculous considering unisex bathrooms are already a thing for kids: hell, our old church had one.

      Anyway, her argument for what we should do with transkids instead, when I said they’d be more likely bullied going to either gender bathroom for not conforming, and not doing the bullying, was a trans bathroom. Yeah….separate but equal was her solution.

      1. I can’t imagine why anyone would object to unisex bathrooms. I’ve seen plenty: all onesies, where you get a little room (with real walls) to yourself, complete with a small sink for washing up afterward.

        Do these idiots think “unisex bathrooms” means a bunch of prefab, poorly-assembled stalls with big gaps under and around the edges of the doors? WTF?

        What do these people have in their homes? Separate bathrooms for the males and females?

        1. Oob

          And if it WAS a row of those prefab stalls, so what?

          That’s is at the crux of the matter. These women are reacting as though someone who identifies as a man walked into their bathroom. Further, these women are reacting that way because a bathroom is one of the few places a woman can “escape” from an unwanted encounter with a man. The fear stands all around that in the end.

          What I see here are two groups of people, both oppressed, and both with arguments that are beyond reproach, but which unfortunately run against each other. It is the darkest fear when it comes to civil rights, that every now and then, two entirely reasonable and, I should say, RIGHTEOUS requests for basic dignity can actually contradict each other, but sometimes, that’s exactly what we get. In the one case, women ask that when they are in a bathroom, Schrodinger’s rapist doesn’t come walking in. A men’s right’s activist would say “so what, just BEING there is a threat?”, and this would be seen as insensitive, because yes, it WOULD be considering the history of misogyny in this world. Some women don’t see or care about how one mentally sees oneself or gender identity at all, but rather just that a biological male, a potential rapist and potential liar, has violated what should be a safe space. It is hard to argue against this from that particular perspective and still support things like women-only train cars. However, obviously not impossible! Caught in the crossfire are the trans-gendered, who need to go SOMEWHERE, and would be as despised going into a men’s bathroom as a women’s. (For what it’s worth, a trans-male might still prefer to go into a women’s bathroom out of a sense of safety. I am not sure how these particular women view this situation. Do they hypocritically say they shouldn’t go in either? I’m curious about such reactions.) I can’t find a single fault in what a trans gender individual wants here either.

          Unisex bathrooms (that is, a collection of individual and private bathrooms) are, ultimately, the best solution to this apparent conflict of interest. The only problem is cost, but that’s ultimately a small barrier. In this very specific case, we don’t need to request ANYONE give up something. EVERYONE can win here, and the solution, oddly enough, would be infrastructure. We just must be very careful in how we put them forward. To suggest this as a solution in the most politically “expedient” way would be to “agree” that trans people in “normal people’s” bathrooms are an inherently “bad thing”.

          1. Some women don’t see or care about how one mentally sees oneself or gender identity at all, but rather just that a biological male, a potential rapist and potential liar, has violated what should be a safe space.

            You seem to have left out the cis in front of women in this statement and the phrase “for cis women” at the end. I’m sure this was merely an oversight.

          2. Some women don’t see or care about how one mentally sees oneself or gender identity at all, but rather just that a biological male, a potential rapist and potential liar, has violated what should be a safe space.

            I think it should be noted that when trans women medically transition, that is not a matter of “how one mentally sees oneself” – it is an actual physical change, not simply something in someone’s head or a question of “identity”. A trans woman who is medically transitioning is not “a biological male”.

          3. Oob

            Don’t really get the word “cis” myself (sounds like cyst?), but I get your point. Sorry for the oversight.

            I was referring to all trans gender, not just those post-op, so I didn’t go into that. I was in the understanding that when it comes to this sort of thing, even before the operation we shouldn’t be using absolute labels. I follow a “there are a bunch of definitions of the word gender, all valid within their own domains but they shouldn’t be used as a bludgeon against other definitions” style of thought, as it is the only way for one such as I to really “grasp” things. Again, sorry for the confusion.

          4. Oob

            Thank you ibb, though I must confess I’ve only seen “cis” used as a word all by itself, and never really “got” it as looking it up usually just got me a wiki page about chemistry.

            What is it called when someone, rather than feeling “like their born gender” or “not like that”, instead doesn’t really have ANY sense of that? For my part, any sense of gender identity is purely born of physiology and society. Those are powerful indeed, but there is apparently something beyond just “wanting to do things society says only one gender should do”, or “wanting to have a different body” or even “wanting a different role in society”, and beyond sexual orientation, there’s some sort of “inner” gender view that isn’t ANY of those things. I can’t dismiss it considering how widespread this particular explanation is, but it is beyond my understanding of exactly what that means. I’ve seen analogies that go so far as to say that EVEN if our species was sexless, gender identity would crop up (or something like it) anyway, and frankly that’s something I can’t even begin to see happening, not if gender was ENTIRELY absent from a species. As a result, I’ve been trying to see it on the only terms I can understand, but I admit they are woefully inadequate. End result? I suspect that I don’t actually HAVE a built in “gender identity”. I’ve thought of it, and frankly I could do without flesh and bone if given the option. Certainly I get the SOCIAL gender assignment, but if it goes beyond that, I’m not sure I understand. So, at the end of my rope, all I can say is, sorry, I lack the ability to understand it, as it has been put to me at least. I thought I did when I interpreted it as one of those other things, or a combination of them, but this hidden variable may well be forever outside my reach.

          5. “Cis” and “trans” have become complete word adjectives, on the basis that using them as prefixes seems to imply that a person’s gender is modified by whether they’re cis or trans. So whereas a few years ago you would have been more likely to see “ciswomen and transwomen”, now the same phrase would be written “cis women and trans women”

          6. Oob

            I see, an interesting evolution and it makes sense. However, I would caution that at the moment I think that word is still very niche, and I don’t think most people are even aware of it or would understand its meaning if told it. I myself certainly have never heard it anywhere outside forums such as these. As a word itself, my only objection is a rather silly and self serving rejection of it’s aesthetics, much like how I can’t stand the sound of the word “blog”.

          7. Oob

            I’ve also seen a few people around here using “ze” as a third person gender neutral pronoun. As much as I want a gender neutral pronoun, I don’t think this particular variation has any sort of staying power, or at least no “point of entry” wherein people would actually start saying it.

            I’m personally in favor of using a naked “e” as a pronoun unto itself, much like how A and I are words by themselves. A variation for using after a verb would be “em”, and to shown ownership, “es”. Em is already used as slang shorthand for “them”, so it would be coopting slang into a fully fledged word with an alternate singular definition. In fast, to start with, I would suggest leading all of these “words” with apostrophes, such as ‘e, ’em, and ‘es. That allows some sort of penetrative point in common speech, something that sounds a bit more natural than that alien letter no one really trusts, “z”. (I don’t think that letter’s from ’round these parts.)

            I guess what I’m saying is if we’re going to change language, it has to be subtle and sound natural. It can’t just be something a few people just start saying and HOPE it catches on, like a teenager trying to “invent” slang by just saying their new slang phrase around as many people as possible. (Mine was “key”, and no, it never once caught on.) We gotta be clever about this.

    2. b

      I’ve heard various organizations and groups advocate for non-gendered restrooms that have more than one stall, but I’d hesitate at that. There is matter of economy and safety that dictates why gendered restrooms are still necessary; but since that binary presents problems, unisex bathrooms should also be an option everywhere (not just for those with an undecided or undefined gender, but also those who are disabled and require assistance from the opposite sex, or have children).

      It actually seems like none of this should be a problem at all, if these obvious accommodations were already widely available in public spaces and people weren’t so insecure about those who don’t fit into easy, well-defined boxes.

      I imagine it can be worse for female to male transitions as the men’s restroom can be much more hostile. I’ve heard stories of physical violence. So much hypocrisy and intolerance — just blows my mind.

  1. 3

    Co-signed. All of it.

    Until I got my ID matching, I simply waited til I got home, in any place that wasn’t a queer-community venue or someone’s home. That was 12 years between transition and matching ID, 12 years in which I just held it. Period. Because it was safer to risk bladder and urinary tract infections than to use gendered bathrooms in public. And even when I did use them, I used them as minimally as possible: in, do my business, wash my hands QUICKLY, don’t dry them, and leave. No using the mirrors, no makeup check, no chatting with friends, just OUT. The shorter the time I’m in there, the less chance I will have of encountering another Bad Night at the Toilets.

    The only good side to all of that is that I developed amazingly strong pubic muscles.

    This is not a sufficient trade-off.

    Great post, ZJ.

  2. 4

    Compelling post. Here’s a question I would ask: accepting just for the sake of argument their (obviously bollocks) premise that trans women are men, does anything about this change?

    I feel like if I, being actually-a-man, walked into women’s toilets and used the cubicles inauspicious without doing anything unusual, then left, I could probably expect to hear from women that my presence there was itself harassment, or at least intrusive. I think I’d also expect to hear anti-feminists say some of the things that you say here, which I’ve heard from them before in contexts everyone here should recognise. (‘He didn’t actually do anything’, ‘It was all in her head’, ‘she called [his] mere presence there harassment’ etc.) I don’t know that I wouldn’t have some sympathy for the women involved.

    (Again, I’m obviously not trying to equate the two scenarios, but your argument from what I understand doesn’t seem to hinge on the trans women and girls in question here being women and girls‘, so I’m curious to know whether and why [not] you think it could be made elsewhere.)

    1. 4.1

      Very much my thoughts, I (cis woman) often use the mens toilets when clubbing, in straight clubs, cos the queues are smaller, the world doesnt end. If a cis man used the womans toilets, so what….I honestly cannot see the issue here. Many countries like France have unisex toilets, they dont explode.

        1. We have enough of an upskirt-photography issue with pervy guys in this country, without making it acceptable for men to walk into bathrooms where women are dropping trou/hiking skirts.

          For folks who aren’t American: the typical American public bathroom is a bunch of prefab stalls with doors that only nominally offer privacy. There are huge gaps (up to 2″) on the sides of the doors, usually at least a foot (if not more) gap under the door, and often the doors aren’t more than 6 feet high. It would be trivially easy for someone to gawp at (or photograph) another person who is using the toilet.

          I don’t understand how such a prissy country still has these horribly uncivilized things EVERYWHERE.

          A European friend once asked me how we Americans deal with this. I said, “We learn not to look.” Every American woman knows that when you’re in one of these bathrooms, you just keep your eyes off the cracks around the doors. It’s the unspoken code.

          1. Oh, and I should be clear: I consider transwomen to be women, and they can share the crappy public toilets with me anytime.

            What I don’t want is for cis-men to use those same toilets. Most of those guys would be fine, but those few horrible pervs gotta ruin everything.

          2. Banning photography without consent to prevent these photos in restrooms is infeasible. Banning cis men from women’s toilets isn’t any hardship. Men’s toilets have shorter queues, and they have urinals specially designed for men.

            It’s like having a law allowing 18 year old people in pubs but saying you can’t drink until you are 21. Not a rule I support, but I also admit that simply restricting access to those over 21 is the only way to actually prevent underage alcohol consumption.

            Why is access to the women’s room such a huge deal for some cis men?

            O wait, you’re the guy who said you would *do whatever you felt like* and didn’t care who was uncomfortable.

          3. “Banning cis men from women’s toilets isn’t any hardship. ”

            And how would you know, you womansplainer? 😛

            “Why is access to the women’s room such a huge deal for some cis men? ”

            Reasons vary. Cleanliness. Convenience. But who cares? If a cis man wants to use the women’s toilets, for whatever reason, he should be allowed. It doesn’t harm anyone.

            “you’re the guy who said you would *do whatever you felt like* and didn’t care who was uncomfortable.”

            Yes, and I will double down on that. I also think black people should be allowed to use the white drinking fountains without shame no matter how many people feel uncomfortable about it. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT NOT TO FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE. That’s YOUR problem, NOT mine.

          4. I don’t understand how such a prissy country still has these horribly uncivilized things EVERYWHERE

            Agree 100%. You could, I think, solve a huge part of this problem simply by designing your public toilets so that they’re not, well, PUBLIC. There are public toilets in major cities in continental Europe which consist of two places to put your feet either side of a hole in the ground, but even those barbarians have managed to get with the idea that when using such a facility it’s better to do so in private, i.e. behind a functioning door.

            On my first visit to the US, and specifically when I first realised that you can put a man on the moon but you can’t make a toilet door that fits, my very first reaction was “what is WRONG with these people?”.

            Is this as much of an issue for trans women outside the US?

    2. 4.3

      Men already have a restroom designated for them, so if a cis man wants to use the restroom he already has a completely safe option. Trans women do not; they either face possible harassment and even hassling from police if they use the women’s (and are read as trans), and face obvious outing and possible violence if they use the men’s. For cis men this argument is academic, for trans women it’s a problem of everyday reality. There are probably lots of solid arguments for unisex restrooms in general, but this is not the time to deal with that; we should make sure that trans people have safe options for daily living first.

        1. Sure, but it’s also a much wider change that would take years to implement, so I’m not going to hold my breath or my pee waiting for the US to suddenly become super progressive and make all the bathrooms unisex.

  3. 6

    You are addressing this, but not explicitly:

    People conflate “comfortable” and “safe”. If I am in solitary confinement, I might be “safe” but I would certainly not be “comfortable”.

    The productive work of social change cannot be done while “comfortable” is conflated with “safe”. Thus, although it is almost certainly not a thoughtful strategy, conflating comfortable with safe should be seen as a tactic to maintain existing oppressive power structures.

    This conflation deserves not merely disambiguation, but disdain.

  4. 7

    So… let’s say that the ‘solution’ promoted by these people is to have trans women use the men’s restroom. Of course, what happens then is that trans women will be uncomfortable, be harassed and likely outright violently attacked, and I’d be fairly sure that some cis man would complain that this made him uncomfortable.

    That solution is clearly no solution, which makes it fairly obvious that the real goal is to just make trans women outcasts in society who don’t even get a bathroom they can use and where they safety doesn’t count.

    1. 7.1

      I’ve seen this argument come up on radical feminist websites, and their response is to say that violence by cis men against trans women in the men’s bathroom is rare, so it’s not an issue.

      1. I’d be interested to see if that’s actually the case, given that violence by cis men against trans women *not* in the men’s bathroom is so common. But even if it’s true, they’re wilfully ignoring the fact that violence by trans women against cis women in the women’s bathroom is even rarer, if not unheard of.

          1. Yup, that occurred to me. I was giving the benefit of the doubt that they were talking about a proportion of visits to the men’s room that resulted in being attacked or something, rather than an absolute frequency of incidents with no reference to proportionality. But yeah, the latter seems more likely

      2. Given what I know, I don’t think that’s true. I do know of one trans woman who uses the men’s toilet, but I’m living in an unusually liberal area where people’s attitudes might be different.

  5. 8

    “You have private parts for a reason, you know, and now they’re not private anymore.”

    Huh… Odd, but I don’t seem to recall ever exposing any of my “private parts” to anyone else (presumably excluding my parents and other caregivers, though I can’t remember back that far) while using any bathroom. Lots of people with penises I’m sure have exposed their genitals to others while urinating, but frankly that’s (1) not unavoidable, as any ‘mensroom’ I’ve seen has also included stalls, and (2) nothing a small wall couldn’t fix.

    Every time I hear about this issue I’m left wondering why schools (well, and all public places) don’t just switch to unisex and/or private bathrooms. (Why the hell the Starbucks around here insist on separately labelling their two identical, private bathrooms as each being for one gender (sex?) only is beyond me). Some do already exist, in North America and elsewhere… has anyone bothered to look at whether they’re related at all to, say, rates of harassment, for any group of people? Active harassment I mean, not this ‘you’re harassing me by existing!’ BS.

    There are plenty of practical reasons for insisting on unisex bathrooms, and as far as I can tell the only real ‘con’ is that some folks think it’s icky. Am I wrong? Are there real, non-cooties-related reasons against unisex bathrooms?

    More to the point of this post, do (or would) unisex and/or private bathrooms hurt or help trans* people? It seems to me like such setups could help decrease harassment, but is there a downside I’m ignorant of? Do (or would) such setups contribute to erasure, or to acceptance? (or both, or neither?)

    1. 8.1

      I’ve often wondered about this too- however as a man I’m at much less of a risk to sexual assault by men than women are.

      I can imagine that in bars pubs and clubs there’s a line of thought that treats the ladies toilet as some kind of safe haven from sexual predators- counter to right wing fantasy logic, this would indicate that given the increased rate of assault against trans* people it should be Imperative they get equal bathroom rights ASAFP.

      but I’m sure this is riddled with all kinds of heterosexism (sex-segregated toilets wouldn’t prevent sexual assault between the same gender) and probably a healthy dash of victim blaming and misogyny too.

      I also feel kind of weird about the notion of toilets fulfilling the role of foxhole in the event of being a vulnerable member of society. Surely this is an indication that bars pubs and clubs are just generally shitty places for people who aren’t sexual predators?

      I dunno- I’m probably taking a lot of unexamined baggage to the table here.

      1. I also get the feeling that it’s cheaper to install urinals than toilets (one of my most common vexations is having to postpone poopy time when the only cubicle in the bar is occupied, and all the urinals are empty), so it’s probably capitalism leading the way again. If venue owners could, they’d probably install urinals in the women’s as well.

  6. 9

    This post is so excellent. Literally nothing happens other than a trans woman using the appropriate washroom, even in the most fevered, media-frenzied claims. OH NOEZ. The idea that this is anything other than cis people’s need to get over their idiotic bigotry is ridiculous. Trans women are at risk for the heinous crime of having to pee, and it’s about the delicate feels of morally vacant cis people now? Fuck a bunch of that. I feel the same amount of sympathy as I do for the terrible old white racists whose sphincters clench the at the sight of a POC on the same sidewalk as them.

  7. 12

    The bit about “private parts” is all the more nonsensical since no one sees another woman’s private parts in a women’s room unless for some reason they’ve gone out of their way to share a stall with her. And even then they’d still have to deliberately look at her naked crotch. I could see getting an accidental eyeful of private parts in a men’s room, what with the urinals and all, but not in a women’s room.

    Also, not all cis women have the “same parts” as other cis women, and I don’t just mean the wide variety of vulvae. I had to have my urethra reconstructed from cheek tissue, for instance. Other women have disfiguring scars from pregnancy or accidents or FGM. Some women piss through catheters or shit into colostomy bags. So why is it supposed to matter if transwomen don’t have the same parts?

  8. 14

    [snark]Wait, I’ve never used a bathroom in the US, but, don’t you have like doors and walls?[snark]
    Because honestly, I haven’t ever seen somebody else’s genitals in a public restroom, apart from the times I used the men’s restroom and walked past the urinals.
    The whole argument is based on “I think I know what’s down there?” I don’t know, did I ever share a restroom with a trans* person? I have no clue. And I don’t care either.
    The only reason I like gender-segreated restrooms is because still many men think that sitting down while peeing will make their thingy drop off and that makes everything disgusting.

    You’re absolutely right: cis folks need to deal with it. Period.

  9. 17

    They weren’t getting enough traction with “gays in the shower will destroy the military” so now they bravely go after … children.

    Some of us learned that getting along with people different from us is part of growing up.

    I wonder, if a person with a very visible disability makes their fragile children uncomfortable, should that person be kicked out of the toilet? This is so sad, raise kids on hate.

  10. 18

    (This is in the USA.) At work, I am told I must use the unisex bathroom until I can get surgery, which is not covered under our company’s health plan. Over the past year, I’ve freaked out numerous times about not being anywhere near getting surgery, so I’ve been hospitalized with the men 3 times in the past year and now I’m deep in medical debt, so I’m even further away from getting surgery. I really really need surgery, and it’s very painful not to be able to get it, but no one will concede anything. I’m considering abandoning this state and heading for California and getting on Medicaid, where it will be covered.

    Going back to the bathroom issue, I’ve tried protesting, but I’ve been chewed out enough by the people around me to know that fighting the issue would be futile and off and on I’ve begun believing that I, neither any other non-op or pre-op trans woman, should use the women’s restroom. Right now, I’m on the fence about that.

      1. I did discuss this with the Transgender Law Center and they cited federal policies regarding bathroom use for their employees, saying my company should follow their example. They recommended that I speak with my supervisor/HR first, and if that doesn’t work then to file a complaint with the EEOC.

        The only thing is I’ve tried multiple times, and I’m not really comfortable reopening the matter with my supervisor/HR, so that stops the process in its tracks.

  11. 19

    Also, on the issue of safety vs. comfort, I think that can be turned back around on trans people as well. When I was hospitalized with the men, I was uncomfortable, but never was I unsafe, except when that one gay man kept harassing me, talking dirty to me, and demanding that I wear certain clothes, but since I never reported it, no action was taken, so I have no room to complain. I would have a been a danger to the women, because I was still capable of impregnating them.

    Same with the unisex bathroom, it’s been kinda uncomfortable having to walk that distance to get to it and often having to wait for the person ahead of me–for some reason, people love taking their time in there–, but never have I been unsafe. Luckily, for me, I live close enough to wear if the unisex bathroom is compromised (like someone urinated on the toilet seat or something) or closed, I can drive home to use the bathroom.

    1. 19.1

      I would have a been a danger to the women, because I was still capable of impregnating them.

      Yes, trans women are well-known for their fertility. And their erections.

      1. That makes sense, but the reality of the situation is based on different things. Where I’m at right now, what you advocate will probably not come true for a long time. I remember when I took a trip with my family, including my sister, I knew I could not use the women’s bathroom with my sister present as she would raise hell if I did. She told me I wouldn’t make a good girl and that she’s ashamed to have a man-woman for a sibling.

        I hate my life.

          1. I honestly don’t know hwo to feel about this statement. One of the things that I’ve been really dysphoric about is my genitals and honestly I don’t think I will be comfortable at all until that’s been taken care of.

  12. 21

    Nail. Head. Bang. Flush to the surface in one stroke, without splitting the wood. And the crowd go wild. Lau-ren! Lau-ren! *slides on knees across the field*

    The simple fact is, it’s easier for them to learn not to feel icky about something utterly minor and trivial, than it is for us to learn not to have to pee. The needs of the few outweigh the whims and caprices of the many.

  13. 22

    If someone sees your private parts while you’re in the bathroom, ur doin it wrong.

    Are they worried that someone will look at them lustfully while they’re in there? Then why aren’t they worried about lesbians? Not that they would either, but if their only criterion is “I don’t want someone who is attracted to women in the women’s restroom”, then they would have to go the whole way. And then is it ok if the person is transgender but attracted to men? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

    Or, ya know, they could just spend a little extra money for single-serve bathrooms and be done with it.

  14. 23

    “I feel uncomfortable because I know that he doesn’t have the same parts as me, which I do not think that’s right that he could go into the same bathroom as me.”

    “I believe if you want to be gay or a girl if you’re a guy, you have the right to do that but you don’t need to put everyone else in a position where they’re uncomfortable to do that. Things are meant to be private and kept for you and only for you.”

    Things are meant to be private, right up until we’re talking about a trans girl’s genitals. Then we have a right to dictate what genitals are and are not allowed. /sarcasm

  15. 24

    Alex Gabriel @4

    The reason a place such as Starbucks may have two identical gendered toilets may be because men tend to piss standing, some of them they get it all over the toilet seat and that grosses women out.

    1. 24.1

      Some women act like flesh-eating bacteria will instantly strip the meat off their asses if they set them down on the seat, so they piss hovering over it, with similar effect as messy guys. Other times, the force of the flush splashes piss water back out onto the seat. And, thanks to periods, sometimes it looks like someone ineptly sacrificed a small animal over the toilet. Any woman grossed out only by men is fooling herself.

      Also, there’s nothing wrong sticking a urinal in a unisex bathroom. They do with porta potties.

  16. 26

    A true story: I was at a NFL football game in the late 70s and, as I entered the men’s bathroom, a woman was walking out. None of the other men seemed to notice (and I don’t think I gawked). I knew the lines for the women’s toilets were long and just figured she was in such need and was brave enough to just march in. A nano second or two later (I’m not the brightest bulb on Broadway) I remembered I was at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Doh!

    On the other hand, I was even more impressed with the non-reaction of the other men there after that.

    One other thing: that 6-year-old Colorado girl who was told she couldn’t use the girl’s bathroom at school … her case was taken to the Colorado Civil Rights Division and she won.

  17. 27

    I really don’t get how pathological some people can be about using public restrooms. I hardly even look at other people while I’m in their, let alone spend time wondering what’s going on in their pants.

    Two thoughts:

    First, in Washington, DC, there are regulations against discrimination based on gender identity, which means that establishments with multi-stall bathrooms are supposed to ensure that no one is harassed for using one or the other based on their gender presentation. It also means that establishments with single-stall restrooms are breaking the law if they are labeled by gender. As you may guess, compliance is very spotty. I always feel a little happy when I visit a bar bathroom without gender designation. I also make a point of using the male-designated bathroom if its empty and there’s a line for the ladies.

    Second: for the poor little dears worried about “private parts”, I have to wonder what the hell they are getting up to in the bathroom. I mean, I *guess* I could understand squeamishness on the part of the people who do routinely expose their genitals where others can see them in the restroom… but these people aren’t of that gender, so…. If they wanna worry about “parts”, they should try a public squat toilet. At least, those in Central Asia never had stall doors and the squats were oriented so you have to pee looking out. Lots of fun walking past all the other pissing ladies (and their lady-junk) to get to an empty stall, *especially* at highway pit stops. And that’s note even to get into the complete lack of any toilet paper ever at all.

    Let’s have these speshal snowflakes of California try those public restrooms for a little, then come back here and complain about what “parts” their stall-mates may or may not have on the other side of decorously closed and locked doors. Jerks.

  18. 29

    Excellent, excellent, excellent blog post. Of course, as I always point out, this wouldn’t be a problem if we didn’t segregate toilets or sports teams or anything else by sex in the first place.

  19. 30

    All of my dittos, ZJ. All of them. I just wish I could express to these people how it’s just NOT THEIR DAMN BUSINESS what my genitals are just the same that it’s not my business what theirs are. Gah.

  20. 33

    Christopher Hitchens noted that prudery and prurience are often found together. This obsession with what transwomen have in their underwear seems to be same principle at work.

    There should be indeed be two classes of restroom, but the categories should be different. There should be a “normal” category for anyone who just wants to use a toilet, and a “weirdo” category for those obsessed with other people’s genitalia, like TERFs and upskirt photographers.

  21. 34

    I live together with a cis gay man who, when he was at our equivalent of your junior high and middle school, was officially permitted (=school administration and female students were ok with this) to use the girls’ bathroom.
    You see, he pees sitting down and the male students …were filthy swine, lol! So rather than make my roomie clean up other guys….traces (ahem!) before taking his seat, they let him pee with the girls who knew how to wipe. Nobody was harmed, nobody felt threatened, everybody just got on with it.

  22. 35

    This post reads like a rant from a position of male privilege, especially the third bolded section. You camouflage the target of your ire by saying “cis people’s bathroom fears do not matter” yet in this case you really mean “women’s bathroom fears” or even more specifically “women who were born women.” You are dismissing out of hand the concerns of women and demanding we pay attention to yours.

    I started reading the RadFem sites after encountering the slur TERFs on FTB. They have plenty of documented examples of trans bathroom interactions that are far from harmless yet you don’t acknowledge this, instead you try to extrapolate from this one harmless example to everyone.

    Here’s a case from just last month about someone who, by their own admission, refused to use the unisex bathroom provided even when requested to do so.

    I’m trying to be fair here, I’m linking to lily’s site directly and not the snark filled commentary pages, but please try and look at this objectively. Would you feel safe using the ladies room with Lily sitting on the floor and refusing to leave?

    This isn’t just about bathrooms either, here’s the recommendations of Lambda Legal for trans rights in regard to hospitals.

    This is all about accommodating the discomfort of trans people at the expense of, well, everyone else.

    1. 35.1

      I don’t care about your aspersions of “male privilege” because that has nothing to do with the content of my argument. I could just as well accuse you of enacting “male privilege” by trying to silence trans women’s voices via transphobia and implied misgendering. But if you’re a woman, you’re no more a recipient of such privilege than I am – and as a trans woman, I sure as heck don’t have men around the world lining up to elevate me over women and insist that my voice matters more and that everyone should shut up and listen to me. I don’t have the backing of such privilege any more than you do.

      “Concerns” mean absolutely nothing when those concerns are without merit. Simply shouting “we have concerns!” proves nothing at all. So you have concerns. Great! We’ve looked at those concerns and it turns out there’s no substance to them. So there should be nothing wrong with dismissing them as baseless. The fact that you continue to have these groundless “concerns” doesn’t compel us to do anything about that.

      There is absolutely no reason why a trans woman should give in to a demand that she use a unisex restroom rather than a women’s restroom. I feel safer as a trans woman knowing that Lily took a stand for our rights. Were I present during the event – again, an event caused by cis people, once again demonstrating the larger point of my argument – I like to think I would have had the courage to join her in her passive resistance.

        1. If this is just about going to the bathroom then why not be accommodating and use the room suggested? That’s what reasonable people do, unless they somehow need validation from the label on the bathroom door.

        2. “There is absolutely no reason why a trans woman should give in to a demand that she use a unisex restroom rather than a women’s restroom.”

          Or even a cis man.

          Yes, there is, for a cis man.

          I can’t help it; sometimes, I feed the trolls.

          But let me make something clear, since you obviously don’t get it, from your later post:

          That’s like asking a black person to “be accommodating” and use the drinking fountain suggested.

          Quick clue: You’re comparing cis men, who are on top of the power structure, with black people, who are not. This should show you your problem.

          If you don’t see it, then I’ll go back to collecting to buy you a bridge.

          1. If anything, that’s WHY cis men SHOULD be allowed to use women’s toilets. My approach to women’s rights is the same as my approach to animals’ rights.

          2. If anything, that’s WHY cis men SHOULD be allowed to use women’s toilets. My approach to women’s rights is the same as my approach to animals’ rights.

            At best, a total non sequitur. At worst, comparing women to animals.

            Here’s a nickel, troll, go buy yourself a bridge and sit under it.

          3. No, it’s not a non sequitur. You said people on top of the power structure should be accommodating to people not on top of the power structure but not the other way around. By that logic, humans should be accommodating to animals. Do you believe animals should have more rights than humans?

      1. Sorry Zinnia, your privilege doesn’t go away when you take hormones. You’ve been conditioned since birth as a male and you’ve missed all that wonderful conditioning that women get. The privilege is now inside you. You were never taught to be accommodating and deferential the way girls are. “I am woman, hear me roar” isn’t a personal revelation for you, you were brought expected to roar and you’re roaring that way right now.

        Statistically MtF trans are just as violent as other men, if there are reasons for women to have bathrooms away from males then those same reasons apply to MtF trans people too, eighty-eight percent of whom still have male genitalia.

        I feel I have been far too confrontational in my replies so far, I read all your blog posts and I really do have sympathy for your situation. Everybody should be able to go to the bathroom when they need to without having to worry about it. Everybody includes you and me and the women who fear men as well.

        1. “I am woman, hear me roar” isn’t a personal revelation for you, you were brought expected to roar and you’re roaring that way right now.

          It’s great when women overcome being conditioned into submission, isn’t it? Well, except when they’re trans, because for some reason that’s just horrible and… you’ll have to excuse me, my eyes have started rolling and I can’t seem to make them stop.

          Statistically MtF trans are just as violent as other men, if there are reasons for women to have bathrooms away from males then those same reasons apply to MtF trans people too, eighty-eight percent of whom still have male genitalia.

          I’m glad you took the time to extensively cite all these incidents of trans women violently assaulting cis people in restrooms. I admit I was pretty negligent in not including any sorts of studies or data on how the exact opposite happens. Oh wait that’s exactly what I did and it’s exactly what you didn’t do.

        2. Are you sure that statistic is not actually involvement in violence, rather that instigation of it? I know that people of the aforementioned variety tend to get killed a fair bit more than normal people of either default sex., so if you counted every act of self defense or simple involvement in a fight, there would be a lot of “violent” transgender persons. And why is a few years of social conditioning more relevant than proven information concerning neurological structure? That’s like saying that if Einstein had been raised by unemployed Geordie layabouts who just sat at home and watched reality TV , then he would not have been a genius, brain anomaly be dammed. The human condition is one of constant defiance of circumstance, and people are not so shaped by their surroundings as you think they are. Rather, the true grandeur of mankind is its ability to change the world to suit itself.

          1. Your claim about “proven information concerning neurological structure” is on very shaky ground. One of the two main researchers on that paper is adamant that the data doesn’t prove what people are claiming it proves.

            The quest for a physical difference in trans people is much like the search for Christian relics. You are trying to find facts that fit your beliefs and clinging to any that give you hope that this isn’t all in your head.

            It doesn’t matter (or at least it shouldn’t) if this is biological or psychological, you have a right to live your life however you choose. You just shouldn’t do it at the expense of other people.

      2. I want to highlight this quote from Zinnia.

        So you have concerns. Great! We’ve looked at those concerns and it turns out there’s no substance to them. So there should be nothing wrong with dismissing them as baseless. The fact that you continue to have these groundless “concerns” doesn’t compel us to do anything about that.

        This line of your stuck with me after I first read your post yesterday, I had to go back and reread it this morning just to make sure I really read what I thought I read. Silly me for trusting the opinion of these women over yours.

        Those words of yours would sound right at home tripping off the tongue of a frat bro as he explains what happened to the girls at last weekend’s party. I can also imagine hearing them from a uniformed police officer at a press conference (say from the town or Maryville, to use a not-so-random example) as he explains why rape charges were not fired. Every damn rape apologist on the planet has said something very close to this sentence.

        This is exactly the sentiment of the white male power structure, dismissive and destructive. By your own words you are indistinguishable from the white male oppressor you claim not to be.

        Just so you we are all clear here, these are women’s concerns you are dismissing. Only when these women tell me that their concerns are baseless will I agree dismiss them as baseless.

        1. Only when these women tell me that their concerns are baseless will I agree dismiss them as baseless.

          That doesn’t even make any kind of sense. Only when the people who are claiming these “concerns” tell you they’re baseless will you agree they’re baseless. You’ll only agree to something if it’s unanimous among cis women.

          Also, your likening of trans women using the bathroom to rapists and rape apologists is disgusting. It just shows you’re lying when you say that trans people have “have a right to live your life however you choose”, because you really don’t mean that if you’re willing to sink so low. What you really mean is “you have a right to live your life however you choose as long as the people who hate you get veto power over it.”

          1. It is called “building consensus” and is often found in groups run by women. People with concerns share them and solutions are found that everybody can live with. When a consensus is reached then the women will either agree that their concerns have been adequately addressed or that they may have been baseless to begin with.

            Perhaps I did unintentionally lie when I said I believe you “have a right to live your life however you choose” if your choice is to forcibly subjugate women who disagree with you. I didn’t expect you’d want that option.

        2. I’m sure I already explained to you at length that I’m willing to consider such concerns. I’m ready to accept any evidence you can find that this concern is a warranted one. That was largely the point of what I originally wrote. If there were any indication that this were an actual problem, then yes, there would clearly be some substance to these concerns. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of this, unless you believe you’ve found some that the rest of us have missed or ignored or neglected.

          I want you to explain to me why the simple fact of someone having a “concern” should compel us to treat that concern as valid even when, after considering it with an open mind, it appears not to be warranted at all.

          I provided data showing that 59% of trans women are harassed in women’s restrooms. You made a series of far-reaching claims, but you provided no data on cis women in women’s restrooms allegedly being harassed by trans women.

          Your arguments about “trusting opinions” do not support any such claims of violence done by trans women against cis women. Your ramblings about frat bros and police officers and rape apologists do not support this. Suggesting I’m a “white male oppressor” does not support this. Your choice to openly and shamelessly ignore reality does not support this. None of this is anything approaching a compelling reason why anyone should believe cis women are at any risk from trans women in restrooms.

          Can you please provide evidence of this at a level of quality similar to that which I included in my original post? If not, can you explain why this is not possible for you?

          1. You continue to prove my point. Your language and actions are indistinguishable from a frat bro called out for misogyny. You’ve just gone from claiming that you’ve already done the research and it’s a solved problem, to blaming others for not providing you with what you want, exactly how you want it, all rapped up with a bow.

            I gave it a lot of thought before saying you were using the language of a rape apologist, I realize that’s an very incendiary claim here on FtB, but I need to stress that point. You are using your claims of trans oppression to continue the subjugation of women. You’re not calling them women anymore, instead they’re cis-people who need to once again move over and accommodate you because of what, your dysphoria over unisex bathrooms?

            I’ll listen to your cries of oppression when you get your boots off the necks of the women you are so busy “othering.” Damn, that sounds harsh but I’m angry.

            One reason I’ve refrained from linking to sites with opinions different from yours is that they are under attack. Check out how many RadFem sites have gone dark or been set to invitation only. Views opposing yours are met with packs of trans people asserting their rights to be women while acting very much like men.

            OK, If I’m right about you still professing the view of the white male power structure then you really might be blind to the harm your movement is causing. If that’s true then simple guidance and compassion should work better than the anger I’ve been channeling so far.


            That site is a good place to start learning, follow the people and links from there to learn more.

          2. Thanks for the link. Ja. There is some effed up crud some members of the trans community get up to, like that Colleen Francis case. I mean, WTH? I’d hate to have my current genitals out at all, much less in front of a bunch of women and girls. I personally stay the heck away from such spaces. Thankfully, I’ve been looking at my situation and find that I may be able to get surgery soon.

          3. EBUTLER: The Colleen Francis case was as much a trumped-up hoax as the Jane Doe one:

            FOIBLE: Are you aware your choice of “learning site” belongs to someone who has been recorded time and time again harrassing, silencing, and even suing women – trans AND cis – who disagree with her, and has come out time and time again in favor of extremely biological essentialist policies? Zinnia’s point stands, you haven’t managed to point to even a single actual instance of a trans woman harrassing anyone.

            Zinnia didn’t say she hasn’t done the research. She says she HAS and there isn’t one single shred of evidence to support the hypothesis that ‘bathroom incidents’ have ever occurred. EVER. Do you have any such evidence? Kindly present it. Evidence would be links to news articles or even (let’s be kind) personal first-hand accounts of harassment of cis women by trans women.

            Please note, the following things are not evidence:

            – Reasserting the claim
            – Calling Zinnia (or anyone else) names, such as “frat bro”
            – Claiming persecution by trans women (this is another claim that requires evidence)
            – Claiming persecution by the general patriarchy (this is not in dispute)
            – Links to websites that themselves do not contain the evidence (as indeed genderidentitywatch consists entirely of the preceding things which are not evidence)

          4. Thanks. That document that Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford sent to the UN, I believe, set a hormonal standard for gender identity, such that someone on hormones can for the purposes of bathroom use be considered the sex of their gender identity. Perhaps that is more restrictive than many trans activists would like, but I don’t think that counts as “strictly biological essentialist.”

        3. It is called “building consensus” and is often found in groups run by women.

          I wonder what you think of the consensus in the case of Jane Doe that Zinnia mentioned above, where all the young women at her school save three (who admit she didn’t do anything wrong and they just think she’s icky) like her and support her using the appropriate restroom. Yet in that case you have a right-wing anti-gay group as well as a prominent anti-trans feminist dismissing all of the young women who support Jane Doe because it doesn’t favor their rhetoric. I’m willing to bet you’re going to give “consensus” the new definition of “all the other women’s views don’t matter as long as one transphobe is unhappy”

          Perhaps I did unintentionally lie when I said I believe you “have a right to live your life however you choose” if your choice is to forcibly subjugate women who disagree with you.

          And you continue to reframe trans women existing into purposeful attacks on cis women. I also notice you steadfastly refuse to answer Zinnia’s request for evidence of your claims.

          1. According to Foible, I believe, such women and girl supporters are nothing more than “funfems,” who are simply exercising the indoctrination imposed upon them by society that they must strive to please men and boys, a category Foible likely believes includes the trans girl in Colorado. That they support the trans girl in Colorado is a sign they are striving to please men and boys, as indoctrinated, so the logic goes.

    2. 35.2

      “You camouflage the target of your ire by saying “cis people’s bathroom fears do not matter” yet in this case you really mean “women’s bathroom fears” or even more specifically “women who were born women.” You are dismissing out of hand the concerns of women and demanding we pay attention to yours. ”

      Wait, what? If something causes fear to both genders it’s OK, but if it causes fear just to women then it’s wrong?

      So if it affects less people, it’s worse, according to you.

      YOU are ranting from a position of FEMALE privilege.

      1. My point is not that it affects less people, my point is that it obfuscates who it really affects. It is like using ghetto when you mean “the neighborhood where black people live.” Zinnia’s target here is with women born women, who until very recently were a protected class of people too. Zinnia is once again marginalizing these people and dismissing their concerns as unimportant.

        That is exactly what men have been doing since forever.

        1. There’s a difference between dismissing concerns as unimportant and dismissing them as unwarranted. Dismissing them as unimportant is saying that we shouldn’t care whether or not there’s substance to them. Dismissing them as unwarranted is saying that the evidence fails to demonstrate that there’s any substance to them (or even demonstrates that there is none). Deferring to unwarranted concerns can have the effect of actually increasing the net harm done to people. (For instance, deferring to concerns about vaccines causing autism has led to a sharp increase in the incidence of measles and whooping cough – including an increase in the number of deaths – in the US.) Since Zinnia has directly pointed out the harm that is done to trans women when the concerns you are expressing are deferred to, you would need to demonstrate that those concerns are not unwarranted for there to be a reason to even discuss deferring to them.

          1. The harm Zinnia has pointed out is not mitigated by the fixes in place. In San Francisco you just have to self identify as a female to use the ladies room. Anyone who wants to beat up a trans person in the toilet can simply follow them in and do so. As the story of Lily inadvertently illustrates any attempt by management to protect said trans person before violence is committed could get them sued.

            In trying to make women’s bathrooms safer for MtF trans we have instead made them just as dangerous as the men’s room. (however dangerous that may be) If the only barrier to entry is self selection then there is no barrier to entry at all.

          2. The responsibility is on you to defend yourself as an individual. We have laws to protect society has a whole, but no law must suppress any individual who hasn’t done anything wrong. Collateral damage is not acceptable.

      2. Sounds more like cis-gender privilege than female privilege actually. I also noted in the link that Foible posted the only people who had a problem with at trans woman in the ladies room were the MALE security guards.

    3. 35.3

      “This is all about accommodating the discomfort of trans people at the expense of, well, everyone else.”

      That’s like saying desegregation of schools is accommodating the discomfort of black students at the expense of everyone else.

          1. Equality doesn’t scare me at all. Equality scares YOU. You are worried that on a fair playing field, women will lose. That’s why you advocate giving women unfair advantages.

          2. I do NOT advocate giving men unfair advantages. I want the playing field to be LEVEL. NO benefits to EITHER gender.

            YOU are the one who supports women only areas. YOU are the one who supports giving women advantages in employment and other areas. YOU advocate these things because YOU KNOW WOMEN ARE INFERIOR and can’t admit that their lower numbers in STEM and other areas is due to their inferiority.

          3. Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. All of which are, according to statistics, practised and developed at their most advanced levels by a group of people who predominantley identify as men. To point this out is not sexist, although sexism may be one of the reasons for this to be the case.

    4. 35.4

      Your argument:

      I feel uncomfortable with the biological configuration of some people in the toilet even though actually knowing what their genitals look like or their chromosomal makeup or whatever which is really far too fucking intimate for two random strangers in a public toilet, really. (And yeah, there are plenty of AFAB female-presenting people who look like ‘men’, so your argument falls really flat there.)

      Our argument:

      WE HAVE TO PEE! And we’d like to do it safely in toilets where we aren’t threatened and which does not cause dysphoria. And seriously, trans people are at much higher risk of bladder infections because public toilets are unfriendly to us, so… yeah, sorry, your widdle discomfort kinda fades in the wake of UTIs and the risk of being assaulted and murdered just for wanting to fucking piss.

      Also: there are plenty of men in the ladies’ loos. For instance, any trans man who gets periods – which is a fairly large number of us – has to use the ladies’ loo in most places because the mens’ has no place for us to dispose of our tampons and pads. I mean, I guess we could wrap it up and carry the blood-soaked products to an external public bin but to be honest that’s really kinda gross.

      And finally, on the subject of ‘the unisex toilet is an option’ – why should trans people be othered? Trans women have just as much right to be treated like women as any other women, and the same for trans men. And Lily wasn’t refusing to leave. Lily was too scared to leave because the giant intimidating security guards infringing on her legal right to piss in peace. I think anyone would be terrified of the security guards standing outside the toilet being aggressive. OK?

      1. Also: there are plenty of men in the ladies’ loos. For instance, any trans man who gets periods – which is a fairly large number of us – has to use the ladies’ loo in most places because the mens’ has no place for us to dispose of our tampons and pads. I mean, I guess we could wrap it up and carry the blood-soaked products to an external public bin but to be honest that’s really kinda gross.

        Sorry, I don’t believe you. I looked but could find no evidence to support this incredible claim.

    5. 35.6

      I’m sorry, if it is ok to require trans women to use unisex bathrooms, why have gender differentiated bathrooms at all? If trans women should have no fear of unisex bathrooms, why should CIS women?

      In a somewhat inappropriate metaphore: goose, gander, sauce.

    6. 35.7

      Foible:You are dismissing out of hand the concerns of women and demanding we pay attention to yours.Your concerns amount to nothing more than “ewww, gross” (and in any case are culturally dependent; cross the Channel, and you will find mostly non-gender-segregated bathrooms). Our concerns include the right to perform a necessary bodily function.

      Can you really not see how one might just outweigh the other?

    7. 35.8

      Bother. Blockquote FAIL.


      You are dismissing out of hand the concerns of women and demanding we pay attention to yours.

      Your concerns amount to nothing more than “ewww, gross” (and in any case are culturally dependent; cross the Channel, and you will find mostly non-gender-segregated bathrooms). Our concerns include the right to perform a necessary bodily function.

      Can you really not see how one might just outweigh the other?

    8. 35.9

      So, your example of a harmful interaction is… women tries to use the women’s toilets, gets yelled at and intimidated by security. I mean, I’d agree that that’s harmful, but I really don’t see how it’s the cis people who are being harmed.

  23. 36

    Ja. I can tell you the psychiatric hospital I stayed at 3 times in the past year would not buy what Lambda Legal is selling. Now, on the 1st stay, following a suicide attempt at not being able to get anywhere in getting money or coverage surgery, I expressed displeasure at having been placed with the men, even though I had changed my name, gone full time, and was on hormones, on the basis of not yet being able to get surgery. I experienced this as insulting, because the whole reason I was there was being unable to afford or get coverage for surgery. However, the staff pretty sternly slammed me back down (verbally) each time I protested. My views started changing a lot, so that during the 2nd and 3rd hospitalizations, I made nary a peep. I learned to respect the people around me and swallow my pride–also, because I knew it wouldn’t do any good.

    1. 36.2

      Come to think of it, a few months back I knew a trans man with schizophrenia who spent time at the same hospital, who had had top surgery but not bottom surgery. He said one time at a doctor’s appointment that he was having trouble putting things together in his head (or something like that) and he was struggling to speak because he was struggling to find the words, and his doctor noticed his problem and had him hospitalized for it. At first he was placed with the women, because he hadn’t had bottom surgery, but then the women complained about a man being placed with them–the guy did look pretty gruff–so he got placed with the men (!). (Apparently, factors like passability do come in!) While there, though, he started having delusions that he was being attacked and raped by all the male staff members and all the other male patients each lining up to get a piece of him, so it was still pretty traumatic for him.

      My guess is now, in retrospect, that passability is also a major factor and the hospital administrators want to avoid having the women complain about there being a man with them; I guess they’d figure the men would complain less about having a woman with them. I guess that doesn’t reflect well on me. -_-

    1. 37.2

      Because obviously if anyone who calls themselves a feminist ever made any false accusation on any topic whatsoever that would completely invalidate feminism. By contrast nothing any mens’ rights activist (or more accurately white, heterosexual, cis-gendered men’s rights activist) ever said could ever invalidate the anti-feminist movement.

  24. 39

    Personally, I think the California law overreaches. It would have been better to require evidence of medical transition. That I think would have better balanced the rights of trans girls and cis girls.

    1. 39.1

      Yes, becaue one can easily hold onto one’s bowels and bladder for the entire duration of the minimum of two years’ Real Life Experience required before surgery.

      Or you could have it written into law that bathroom door signs were just a suggestion, and that a peron’s mere presence in a bathroom was not, in and of itself, a crime — but anything they did in there that would be a crime anywhere else, would still be a crime.

  25. 41

    Foible: I’ve provided ample evidence of the risk trans women face in women’s restrooms due to cis people, but I certainly wouldn’t try to extend that into an argument that cis people therefore should be exiled from public restrooms. Yet you offer nothing more than cissexist insults and a link to a typically disorganized Brennan site, and you seem to think that’s a compelling argument for trans women being excluded from restrooms.

    We’re not even working on the same level here.

    1. 41.1

      Please reread your own words, the sexism is in your posts. On second thought don’t bother, I already shared a direct quote of the most privileged example of blatant sexism and you stood by your words. Failing to engage in self examination is also a luxury of privilege.

      You are having to hide behind made up words like “cissexist” to continue the illusion that you are being persecuted instead of doing the persecuting.

      Can you envision any solution where women who don’t associate with men or trans (for whatever reason, it isn’t for you or me to judge) still have that right?

      We’re clearly not on the same level if you can’t see the harm you do from your privileged position.

      1. No. I do not believe anyone has a “right” to be free from the presence of trans people of the same gender in public accommodations and facilities – no more so than I would claim I have the “right” to expect all cis people to vacate the facilities when I use them. What makes you think that we and we alone have to cater to something so ridiculous?

        Seriously – have your concerns. Be as concerned or worried as you want, whether there’s reason for it or not. That’s your prerogative. But don’t make it our problem.

        1. So a Women Born Women conference has to legally allow you?

          I have supported the unisex option throughout this discussion. Everybody should have a right to just go to the bathroom in peace. That’s not enough for you and your fellow activists, if it doesn’t say “ladies” on the door then “Dysphoria!”

          Your narcissism is both your problem and mine.

          I think we’ve each reached the end of any productive dialog here, you only seem interested in justifying your privilege.

          1. Yeah, it’s certainly not a manifestation of privilege when cis people demand that trans women should have to use a unisex restroom for no reason other than that cis people simply want it and we apparently have to cater to them. Why don’t you use the unisex restroom? I don’t feel safe with people like you in the women’s restroom. And apparently that’s the only argument that’s needed here.

          2. So…trans people have to use unisex bathrooms but everyone else gets to use both unisex bathrooms and gendered bathrooms? I dunno about you, but that sounds like inequality to me. Also segregation.

          3. It does kinda suck, cuz if the unisex bathroom is closed or something, there’s nowhere for me to go that I know of. If I asked, though, they’d probably point me to the men’s room.

          4. So a Women Born Women conference has to legally allow you?

            Well, if a bunch of cis women chose to hang exclusively with each other in a certain private location that didn’t have any trans people, chances are there wouldn’t be any trans women in the restrooms they’d be using at said location. What does that have to do with the original topic again?

        2. She wants a society where you can feel comfortable being yourself. The theory is that without social pressure making you ashamed of yourself you wouldn’t need “restructuring.” Please don’t put words in her mouth.

          While this may seem like “flogging that dead horse” to you, it is “fresh news” to some and an “important view that’s gotten steamrolled by trans activists” to others. Sharing it here gives everyone a chance to see it.

          It also puts a human face on the people you are trying to exterminate.

        3. Thanks for continuing this on the the end Zinnia. I’m sorry for my few deliberate attempts to be insulting along the way, anger isn’t an excuse.

          I certainly learned a lot.

          1. Note that according to the timestamps, this apology was posted three minutes before she accused me in the next comment thread of trying to exterminate TERFs based on absolutely nothing I’ve said. I suppose she’ll say that randomly accusing someone of attempted genocide doesn’t count as “attempts to be insulting”.

    1. 42.1

      Aww, she’s so compassionate! She doesn’t want us to be eliminated, she just wants society restructured in such a way as to prevent our existence. SO COMPASSION.

      Protip: there is not a single trans person who isn’t aware that it’s possible to be a man who likes “feminine” things or a woman who likes “masculine” things. Your idea of a genderless utopia would not stop there from being trans people, because it’s not about clothes and toys. The fact that TERFs are STILL flogging that dead horse just shows that it’s never been about any sort of compassion.

      1. [I meant to post this here but it ended up as a reply to Zinnia, sorry for the double post.]

        She wants a society where you can feel comfortable being yourself. The theory is that without social pressure making you ashamed of yourself you wouldn’t need “restructuring.” Please don’t put words in her mouth.

        While this may seem like “flogging that dead horse” to you, it is “fresh news” to some and an “important view that’s gotten steamrolled by trans activists” to others. Sharing it here gives everyone a chance to see it.

        It also puts a human face on the people you are trying to exterminate.

      2. As I understand, if you’re a trans woman who is not transitioning because she is too feminine, then according to Foible, et al., that means you’re just a dirty, pervert autogynephilie.

    2. 42.2

      Err yeah, don’t think I’d describe her as “compassionate”, obsessed with “male violence”? Yes. Obsessed with willies in the washroom? Yes. Horrible bigot? Yes.

      She suggested I was a bad father for taking my daughter into the mens loo, my wife should always do that… What great feminism! All because she might see a penis in there, which obviously would have some sort of face-melting effect like that in Raiders of the Lost Ark I assume. Let alone her and friends horrible opinions about trans women that arise from this bathroom panic.

      1. She suggested I was a bad father for taking my daughter into the mens loo, my wife should always do that…

        Well, what else are you supposed to do under the circmstances? The bogs are packed, so waiting for the Ladies’ room to be completely empty isn’t an option, you haven’t got a RADAR key, and it’s T – 30 seconds to puddle time.

        You have to have been there to appreciate it.

  26. 43

    Here is a post on the subject of trans…

    I know this isn’t the worst thing Foible’s posted, but ‘trans’ is neither plural nor a noun. Stop using it to mean ‘transgender people’.

  27. 45

    When I was a child, I went to the same bathroom as people of differing genital types and indeed differing genders. What manner of perversion and child abuse allowed this to happen to me?

    A conventional two parent family and just one bathroom in the house. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      1. Oh my gosh, Zinnia*, I am so jealous of your ability to be chill about assholes calling you your birth name (or at least acting chill).

        *What do you like people to address you by if they’re strangers/lurkers? Zinnia, Lauren, Ms. Jones, Ms. McNamara?

  28. 49

    Are there not doors and walls in the restrooms where you live? I grew up in a country where unisex toilets are common. It is certainly not unheard of to see both men and women in the same room. Even in some segregated facilities if the queue is full.

    I mean for christ’s sake we just come in to do our business and leave. If you are so paranoid that someone might look at you in the toilet maybe you should avoid it altogether. People who are raised properly do not peek on others because it is rude. If anybody does so then rightly I think they should receive a fine or some other penalty.

    If the idea is to prevent assault then …what? How often does it happen that the transgender persons harass somebody in the toilets? Is there a statistic to give weight to the claim?

    My point is if nobody is pushing themself into my _personal_ bubble, why do I care? We both go about our business and most likely we never even notice each other.

  29. 50

    It doesn’t matter that ‘nothing happened’.
    ‘transwomen’ feeling entitled to women’s identities, women’s spaces and to make their problems into ‘womens issues’ is a most sickeningly blatant example of male privelage. When they invade our safe space it is no longer safe, is it any wonder why they get ‘yelled at’ in bathrooms? ‘Cis’ people aren’t merely, ‘uncomfortable’, we’re triggered, we’re unsafe,our privacy is violated,we’re appropriated, and yet we get called the haters.

    What’s more, we end up getting lectures on gender from the you and trans people about what gender means, but if we so much as question your beliefs about gender again we get labelled the haters,the bigots, when FYI demanding your voice be heard while refusing to listen to others /actually is/ bigotry.

    1. 50.1

      You’re right Lawl, the bigotry against normals here is disgusting. When will the cis (sic) people get our say?! We all know the only reason “‘transwomen'” want to be women, be in women’s spaces and use women’s bathrooms is because they were socialized into being men. And yet when we speak this obvious truth we get called haters.

      It’s almost as bad as the hate directed against Christians when we speak out against the gay agenda (#ISTANDWITHPHIL), or against white people when we have the audacity to suggest that we need a white history month. When will this bigotry end?!

  30. 52

    Well written! Another thing that I found offensive is their perception of how homosexuality is a mental illness. Science has already proven that it’s genetic and the APA no longer considers homosexuality a mental illness. People need to be educated about the latest facts, including the idea that gender identity is separate to assigned sex.

  31. 53

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