A Compromise in the Bathroom War

Walter Olson writes:

The new compromise is being met with peals of outrage from some of the predictable ultras on both sides. But it looks to me like a more careful attempt to respect the legitimate rights of both sides than we’ve seen in this controversy up to now.

One problem with ordinances that require restrooms and locker rooms to be open to all regardless of gender, in an effort to end discrimination against transgender men and women, is that you get situations like this: Large Burly Man’ Lurking in Disney Ladies’ Room Should Make Everyone Stop and Think:

If this had been 5 years ago, you bet your ass every woman in there would’ve been like, “Ummm what are you doing in here?”, but in 2017? The mood has shifted. We had been culturally bullied into silenced. Women were mid-changing their baby’s diapers on the changing tables and I could see them shifting to block his view. But they remained silent. I stayed silent. We all did. Every woman who exited a stall and immediately zeroed right in on him…said nothing. And why? B/c I and I’m sure all the others were scared of that “what if”. What if I say something and he says he “identifies as a woman” and then I come off as the intolerant asshole at the happiest place on earth? So we all stood there, shifting in our uncomfortableness…trading looks. I saw two women leave the line with their children. Still nothing was said. An older lady said to me out loud, “What is he doing in here?” I’m ashamed to admit I silently shrugged and mouthed, “I don’t know.” She immediately walked out, from a bathroom she had every right to use without fear.

29 Comments for “A Compromise in the Bathroom War”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Let’s see if I’ve got this right about the ” Large Burly Man’ Lurking in Disney Ladies’ Room Should Make Everyone Stop and Think” account.

    A “Large Burly Man” lurked in a woman’s restroom at Disneyland. The man made no claim to be transgendered, nor was he dressed as a woman, nor was there any indication at all that he was transgendered and using the restroom for that reason. In fact, quite the contrary:

    So there lingered this unspoken doubt everyone had….that .00001% chance this wasn’t a man. Let me be clear. This was totally a man. If this wasn’t a man, this was a woman who had fully transitioned via surgery and hormones into a man and had also gotten an Adam’s apple implant, chest hair and size 9-10 shoes ….and at that point, wtf are you doing in the women’s restroom? And let me be clear, my problem wasn’t JUST that there was a man in the restroom. Its that he wasn’t even peeing, washing his hands or doing anything else that you’d do in a restroom. He was just standing off to the side looking smug…untouchable… doing absolutely nothing. He had to have noticed that every woman in the long line was staring at him. He didn’t care. He then did a lap around the restroom walking by all the stalls. You know, the stalls that have 1 inch gaps by all the doors hinges so you can most definitely see everyone with their pants around their ankles and vagina clear as day.

    And from this, I gather, we are to garner some lesson about the danger of laws permitting transgendered men and women to use bathrooms appropriate to their appearance and/or gender identity.

    But what in the hell is the lesson?

    Reply
  2. posted by Jorge on

    “A Compromise in the Bathroom War”

    *Checks the date.

    It’s still 24 hours and 3 minutes early.

    Reply
  3. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    One problem with ordinances that require restrooms and locker rooms to be open to all regardless of gender, in an effort to end discrimination against transgender men and women, is that you get situations like this …

    Either way (allowing transgender men/women to select appearance-appropriate and/or gender identity-appropriate bathrooms, or requiring transgender men/women to use bathrooms based on birth-assigned gender identity), the nut-case element will always be with us.

    From the “Large Burly Man’ Lurking in Disney Ladies’ Room Should Make Everyone Stop and Think” article linked by Stephen:

    Call me whatever name you want, but if you’re a man … stay out of my bathroom or face the consequences. I won’t be cowed into silence or inaction by the threat of name-calling. Any man going into a ladies’ room (especially in a carry state) is taking a very big chance that he will not come out alive. If the government isn’t going to do their job and protect us from predators, it’s time to protect ourselves.

    Frightened, irrational people can be dangerous, and frightened, irrational people who are locked and loaded doubly so. We have enough transgender killings as it is without encouraging people like the author of that article.

    Reply
  4. posted by Kosh III on

    Ignored by Quisling and Co. is that the NC bill would keep in place the ban on local authorities(Charlotte) passing non-discrimination laws.
    So when will Miller move to Mt Airy so he can experience conservative values and be abused and mistreated by those whom he sooo loves from a distance?

    Reply
  5. posted by JohnInCA on

    So we have a man that shouldn’t have been I’m the women’s room, and people didn’t do anything because he might be trans?

    Ok, let’s flip this. If transmen were required to use the women’s room, and transwomen required to use the men’s room, this still happens. The question changed from “maybe it’s a transwoman” to “maybe it’s a transman”, but so long as you let trans folk use public restrooms, you can’t about this so easily.

    That said, and I really don’t understand why this keeps getting ignored… What that man did was wrong, *even if he had been a cis-woman*. For that matter, if he wasn’t being a creeper, but had just been isn’t waiting for a stall like everyone else? The “creeper” levels would have been lower.

    The behavior is the problem. Sex/gender is incidental.

    Reply
  6. posted by TJ on

    The intended “lesson” is that transsexuals are whiny pc thugs who are probably out to drink the blood of children. Basically, Transsexuals are vampires, who should only pee or change in their own house

    Reply
  7. posted by Lori Heine on

    I agree that this is about behavior and not gender identity. Creepy or aggressive behavior is a totally different matter than how one identifies.

    Transgenders are such a tiny portion of the population that in any case, all the hysteria is unwarranted.

    Reply
  8. posted by Jorge on

    If anything I think the lesson is one against doing partisan, one-ideology reform, as if you can “wave a magic wand” and solve problems. Bad things happen when the opposition is not heard. To control it, you must hear it, channel it.

    Why don’t men care about transgender people? Why do men have such aggressive tendencies? I mean, okay, sure, I engage in plenty of cannibalism (online), but good people should do the best things. This tribalism is dangerous.

    Reply
  9. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    One problem with ordinances that require restrooms and locker rooms to be open to all regardless of gender …

    Two small notes:

    (1) Ordinances and laws permitting transgendered men/women to use identity-appropriate restrooms and locker rooms do not “require restrooms and locker rooms to be open to all regardless of gender …” The laws/ordinances permit transgender men to use men’s facilities, and transgender women to use women’s facilities, notwithstanding birth-assigned gender. Properly drafted, such laws and ordinances do not permit cis-men to enter/use women’s facilities or cis-women to enter/use men’s facilities.

    (2) Lori is right when she notes that “Transgenders are such a tiny portion of the population that in any case, all the hysteria is unwarranted.” I would add that (1) almost all transgender men and women now use bathrooms and locker rooms without incident, using appearance-appropriate facilities, and (2) transgender protection ordinances have been in place in several of Wisconsin’s larger cities for several years at this point without incident.

    Reply
    • posted by Jorge on

      (1) Ordinances and laws permitting transgendered men/women to use identity-appropriate restrooms and locker rooms do not “require restrooms and locker rooms to be open to all regardless of gender …” The laws/ordinances permit transgender men to use men’s facilities, and transgender women to use women’s facilities, notwithstanding birth-assigned gender. Properly drafted, such laws and ordinances do not permit cis-men to enter/use women’s facilities or cis-women to enter/use men’s facilities.

      Would you agree that, properly drafted, such laws and ordinances do not permit transgender men to use women’s facilities, or transgender women to use men’s facilities?

      Reply
    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Would you agree that, properly drafted, such laws and ordinances do not permit transgender men to use women’s facilities, or transgender women to use men’s facilities?

      No, I don’t. I think that you have to take into account that the sex reassignment transistion is a process, and gender identity is not necessarily the best criteria at all stages of the process.

      Taking Kaitlyn Jenner as an example, there was a time in her transition (most of her adult life, I suspect) when, although she is a transgender female, she lived as a male, looking like a male, dressing as a male and, I assume, using men’s restrooms and locker rooms. At some point during the gender reassignment transition, she began to live as a female, looking like a female, dressing as a female and, I assume, using women’s restrooms and locker rooms. I think that was appropriate, and I don’t think that laws and ordinances should be rigid determinative, based on either birth-assignment gender or gender identity.

      It is because of that complexity (learned from the experience of transgender friends, one male, two female, over the years) that I suggest that properly drawn laws and ordinances should take into account both identity-appropriate and appearance-appropriate use of facilities, and be sufficiently flexible to accommodate reality.

      The transgender men/women I know are intelligent, and use common sense. I suspect, given the small number of incidents that involve transgender men/women using restrooms and locker rooms (as evidenced by the fact that almost all of the half-dozen horror stories hysterically touted by social conservatives, like the “Large Burly Man” saga cited in this post, involved cis-gendered males behaving badly), the laws/ordinances should be designed to protect transgender men/women at whatever stage in the sex-reassignment process they may be.

      Foolish rigidity is the enemy of common sense, in law as in all things, and almost always creates more problems that solutions.

      Reply
      • posted by Jorge on

        That is well said.

        I am sure there is something more besides male aggression that protects straight men from gay men in male restrooms. (Well it seems to me homophobic straight men seem to think they need protection.)
        Otherwise as more gay men come out, you’d be hearing a lot more about bathroom incidents. There is an etiquette of exaggerated non-attention to people in very close quarters–you also see this in crowded trains and ATMs. Not to mention around people who stand out because of their race or religious garments.

        So, we’re already seeing that decent, law-abiding non-trans people know how to pull that off, but what they don’t recognize is that they’ve done it unconsciously. People need to be more open to what they are doing and thinking. Then CREEPY MAN incidents will be reported to the police or other authorities. Creepy behavior is actually illegal almost everywhere, after all.

        Reply
        • posted by Houndentenor on

          There’s a simple answer for that. The behavior that the religious right is claiming to fear from trans people would still be illegal. There is no record of trans people sexually assaulting anyone in restrooms. This is fear-mongering at its worst. They are preying on a tiny, misunderstood minority for their own financial and political gain. It’s revolting. To watch gay men like Stephen willingly participate is especially disgusting since we were the targets of those same groups not that long ago (and sometimes still are). This is a simple matter. People have to pee. If you live in a big city chances are you have been in a restroom with a trans person and never knew it. This is not a problem except for people needing to stir up bigotry to win elections.

          Meanwhile…

          https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/01/world/europe/chechen-authorities-arresting-and-killing-gay-men-russian-paper-says.html

          Reply
      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        I am sure there is something more besides male aggression that protects straight men from gay men in male restrooms.

        It is called basic decency and respect for other people.

        Reply
        • posted by Jorge on

          It is called basic decency and respect for other people.

          Ha! The LGBT rights movement deep-sixed that a long time ago.

          In the US, anyway.

          Reply
          • posted by Kosh III on

            Not true.
            But if it was, it was only AFTER years of police harrassment, being demonized daily by politicians, pulpit pounders/celibate pedophiles, Fox News and others.

            Got Aids Yet
            Kill a Queer For Christ
            AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality
            etc etc etc

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        Jorge: I am sure there is something more besides male aggression that protects straight men from gay men in male restrooms.

        Tom: It is called basic decency and respect for other people.

        Jorge: Ha! The LGBT rights movement deep-sixed that a long time ago. In the US, anyway.

        I have no idea what to make of this response, Jorge, unless is it is a clumsy attempt to set up a non sequitur.

        Reply
  10. posted by Lori Heine on

    This is just the latest attempt to make LGBT people look scary, alien and “other.” Shame on gay conservatives for helping to perpetuate this.

    There are certainly some good conservatives. But there are also some really, really, really, REALLY bad people in their movement. What they’re doing is pretty transparent. Someone has to want to fit in and be accepted by them pathetically badly to go along with this.

    I don’t want to be accepted by devils. In my opinion, that’s what some of these people pushing this moral panic stuff really are.

    Reply
    • posted by Houndentenor on

      “There are certainly some good conservatives.”

      I can’t even think of five. Evan McMillan, David Frum…I’ve been retweeting Bill Kristol lately (you aren’t any more surprised by that than I am). I can’t think of any others. The rest are either complicit in the treason of the Trump crowd or silent as it happens. Good? We must be using different dictionaries.

      Reply
      • posted by Jorge on

        I can’t even think of five. . . I’ve been retweeting Bill Kristol lately (you aren’t any more surprised by that than I am).

        Um, wow.

        Most of them run for president. And are never heard from again.

        The only thing around Trump that bothers me at all is the Russia thing, and it’s an example of the coverup being worse than the crime. If the worst possibility comes to pass, even this isn’t bad enough that Congress can’t step up to the plate and mitigate it.

        This leaves a range of really good things to recommend about the Trump administration, from better illegal immigration enforcement, clear and consistent rhetoric on marijuana (though it’s probably a last hurrah before all the states legalize marijuana pills) to a more skeptical foreign policy. Even its really bad relations with Congress isn’t a bad thing.

        Reply
      • posted by Lori Heine on

        You’re thinking of politicians, and I’m talking about ordinary people. I can’t think of five good politicians, period. Doesn’t matter which party they belong to, or what philosophy they claim to hold.

        Reply
        • posted by Lori Heine on

          I HATE the order in which this “submit comment” system puts things. I was trying to respond to Houndentenor, and it stuck my comment under Jorge’s.

          Reply
        • posted by Tom Scharbach on

          Comments are organized into a tiered indent tree, Lori:

          POST

          COMMENT 1
          REPLY 1
          REPLY 2
          REPLY 3
          COMMENT 2
          REPLY 1
          REPLY 2
          REPLY 2A
          REPLY 2B
          REPLY 3
          COMMENT 3
          REPLY 1
          COMMENT 4
          REPLY 1
          REPLY 2

          Your reply to Houndentenor shows up as the second reply to Houndentenor’s comment, which I gather it was. This comment should show up right under yours, in position REPLY 2B.

          It takes some getting used to, but it is predictable once you understand the system.

          Reply
          • posted by Lori Heine on

            Thanks, Tom. I guess that makes sense.

            Of course I’ve been on Facebook for years now, and it still does things I find totally mysterious.

          • posted by Tom Scharbach on

            Thanks, Tom. I guess that makes sense.

            The problem is compounded by the fact that comment areas of various blogs and websites differ in the way that comments are presented. Many organize “newest first” (so that you scroll up from the bottom to read the comments in order) while others (IGF included) organize “oldest first” (so that you scroll down from the top to read comments in order).

            This reminds me of the calculator format war between “Polish Notation” and “Reverse Polish Notation” (operators follow operands, as in “57, then +”) and “Polish Notation” (operators precede operands, as in “+, then 57”).

            Polish Notation is the most common, but Reverse Polish Notation works better for complex operations, and is used by serious financial calculators like the HP-12C. It took me forever to get used to “2, then 2, then +, equals 4” rather than “2 + 2 equals 4”, but my ancient 12C remains my calculator of choice for anything more complicated than adding up a handful of numbers.

            FB is maddening. I check in once a week or so just to read the posts, but I make it a point to otherwise stay uninvolved with FB.

    • posted by JohnInCA on

      “There are certainly some good conservatives.”
      Sure.

      But they vote the same as your “bad, bad ones”. So either there are so few “good” ones that they can’t get any representation that isn’t “bad, bad”, or they consider the “bad” to be acceptable.

      That is to say… we all know that however we vote, there’s going to be collateral damage. To “conservatives”, whether they’re “good” or “bad”, LGBT folk have always been acceptable collateral damage. Until that changes – until the “good” conservatives are unwilling to accept attacks on LGBT folks – then whether a conservative is “good” or “bad” will be irrelevant.

      Reply
      • posted by Lori Heine on

        Their choices are so bad, they don’t seem to think they can do anything but vote for creeps. Until they decide they won’t vote for creeps anymore, that’s all they’re going to get.

        The voters who are creeps like the current situation just fine.

        Reply
  11. posted by TJ on

    The UK and Canadian Conservatives have made progress on LGBT rights, seperate from other issues, they have backed civil rights, accessible health care and even marriage equality.

    In the U.S., the conservative strategy seems to be

    Reply
  12. posted by TJ on

    ….”don’t upset the religious right because we need their support in order to play well in places where our other policies will probably hurt voters in said places.”

    Reply

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