Bathroom Wars

So now we are having a national discussion about which gender is allowed to use which bathroom and when—a topic that frankly boggles my mind. If someone comes into a ladies’ room who appears to be a woman, I am not going to peer into the stall to make sure she has the right equipment. I don’t know of anyone who would. So now we are having a national discussion about which gender is allowed to use which bathroom. States are passing laws that generate boycotts and damage the state’s economy. Editorial writers wax wroth on both sides. People demonstrate and wave signs. These bathroom wars frankly boggle my mind.

If someone comes into a ladies’ room who appears to be a woman, I am not going to peer into the next stall to make sure she has the right equipment. I don’t know of anyone who would.

You may ask, “What if she isn’t really a woman but is really a man who identifies as one?” Well, if he/she identifies as a woman, I have nothing to worry about. In my experience, Women’s rooms are pretty non-violent places where no one cat-calls, gropes, or makes propositions. No one lurks, waiting for an assignation or possible partner to appear. They are not places where illicit sex goes on and no one flashes their genitalia at another person. No one peeps. Mostly, we just go in, perform the appropriate bodily function behind closed doors, wash our hands, brush our hair and leave. Maybe we put on a little lipstick, too.

The Women’s bathroom doesn’t contain open urinals so what you have under your clothes stays your own business. No one wonders and no one cares. It’s all pretty straightforward. Besides, we’re usually too busy to waste time on such things — and often in a hurry.

Who uses the Women’s room is simply not a matter of religious liberty. There is no eleventh commandment that says, “Thou shalt not use the public bathroom of the opposite sex.”

The Dude Screws Up

But here’s a personal story that I think of when I read about yet another “religious freedom” law passed by some state whose legislators would rather waste their time on this hyper-emotional nonsense than deal with the real, important issues affecting their constituents.

As usual, the Men’s and Women’s rooms in Terminal B were right next to one another with Men to the left and Women to the right. I went right into the empty Women’s room.In February I decided to go to the loo before getting on the plane to Arizona. We all know what airplane bathrooms look like after about 15 minutes and I prefer to avoid—or at least minimize—any time spent in one. As usual, the Men’s and Women’s rooms in Terminal B were right next to one another with Men to the left and Women to the right.  I went right into the Women’s room, which happened to be empty.

While exiting the stall, I was startled to see a rather burly dude with long hair going into a stall on the other side.  He didn’t look like a woman. He didn’t look like he was transitioning to being a woman. He didn’t look like someone who had ever entertained the idea of becoming a woman. My glimpse was brief but he appeared firmly set in his dudeness. What did I do?

Nothing.

I just decided to wash my hands and boogie on out of there. While I was at the sink, he came around the corner, saw me and stopped dead.

“Am I in the right room?” he asked.

“Nope.”

“Oh, my God, I’m so sorry.  I don’t’ know what I was thinking.”

“it’s okay. Who knows what defines a woman these days? You might have been transitioning.”

“No, no I just screwed up.” He laughed. “You’re right about that, though.”

He then apologized about five times and I left to catch my plane.

Foreign Territory

Did I feel threatened? No.Did I feel concerned? Yes, I did. That’s why I decided to leave quickly. But it wasn’t because the other occupant was a transgender person who identified as a woman. It was because he was a card-carrying male of the species who happened to have walked into the wrong place. (It happens.)

Note for dudes: If there are no urinals and the machine on the wall sells tampons, you’re in the wrong room.

I just wish everyone would chill out on this issue. Trust that men don’t want to go into the Women’s bathroom any more than women want to go into the Men’s bathroom. Those places are foreign territory that both genders would rather avoid. If the person next to me at the sink does her business in private and minds her own business in public, I just don’t care. I wish our lawmakers, media outlets, pundits, and editorial writers would do the same.Did I contact my Congressional representative to demand a law keeping dudes out of the ladies’ room? I did not. Did I feel outraged in any way? I did not. He was clearly embarrassed and I felt sorry for him. What I did do was get on my plane and fly to Arizona to have a good time.

I just wish everyone would chill out on this issue. Trust that men don’t want to go into the Women’s bathroom any more than women want to go into the Men’s bathroom. Those places are foreign territory that both genders would rather avoid.

If the person next to me at the sink does her business in private and minds her own business in public, I just don’t care. I wish our lawmakers, media outlets, pundits, and editorial writers would do the same.

12 thoughts on “Bathroom Wars

  1. P.S. The general public think of transwomen as transsexual, that they’ve had sex change surgery and committed to living as a woman. The truth is that 80% of transwomen still have a penis, information that comes from the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. See

    So 4 out of 5 of these guys who want access to locker rooms used by women and little girls have male genitals. And that’s the transgender ones. Let’s not forget the cross-dressers who will also be covered by changes in the law, unless transgendered people are obliged to carry ID confirming their gender identity.

  2. It’s all fun and games until some guy who “self-identifies” as a woman feels up a pre-teen girl. (Occasionally, when food shopping with my daughter, she needs the bathroom. Some guy wants to go in there, sorry; I’ll “self-identify” as a woman go in too to keep an eye on things and if he so much as breathes at her the wrong way he won’t need to get “lop-a-dick-off-me” surgery by the time I’m done with him.)

    And I find it highly amusing, in an ironic sort of way, that companies and organizations that are so needing smelling salts over NC’s law do business in places like Qatar, which executes gays. File under “Standards, Double.”

    • Well, it could happen, David. But it has never happened to me, any of my friends, any of my family or anyone I know in all my life. I know someone who was raped in a women’s bathroom but the guy just burst in and did it. He did not pretend to be a woman. This all smacks of the hype about “protectin’ our wimmen-folk” that goes on when ever there’s a big cultural change or one of the parties wants to raise a red herring to distract attention from what’s really important. I do agree with you about Qatar and other Muslim countries that execute homosexuals, though. It is a double standard — although we expect better of the United States. We don’t need to create a Christian sharia law here to match the one they have.

        • And you’re right to be protective. Thing about the bathroom bills is that they’d allow a whole range of males into what have always been, for very good reasons, woman-only spaces. Cross-dressing is a really common kink among sexual predators.

          There’s a very powerful video on Youtube: Women decide for yourselves. People pressing the trans agenda always say no transwomen have ever committed sex or violent assaults on women. This simply isn’t true. Transwomen are 18 times as likely to commit violent crime than women.

          I have nothing against individual transwomen, but I don’t agree that women should be expected to increase their vulnerability in bathrooms or any other public all-women setting for males of any type.

          • Sophie: Can you tell me where that “18 times more likely” number came from? I’d like to look at the research.

          • Sorry about the delay. That’ll teach me to post from my phone. I’ve been away from my PC for days, but here I am to present a longer post, providing a couple of references and explaining the figures.

            Pretty the only long term study so far on trans people is this Swedish study, “Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden”:
            http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885

            The study covered far more than criminal behaviour. However when it examined crime it found that males who transition commit crimes at the same rate as men, while females who transition commit crimes at a higher rate than women. Transwomen are no less likely to commit serious offences than men, so to claim that they pose less risk to women if allowed to access what have been female-only spaces is clearly untrue.

            I got my figures from sex crime and murder statistics. I used Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_crime#Statistics), but there are lots of place to find these figures. Males are massively more violent than women. Males commit 98% of rapes and they were convicted of the vast majority of homicides in the United States, representing 90.5% of the total number of offenders, and when women are murdered their killers are nearly always male. And transitioning doesn’t change this. As a group, transwomen are just as violent as men. Changing their gender doesn’t affect their male pattern violence.

            Then there’s cross dressers. If people think predators won’t use nondiscrimination laws protecting gender identity to sexually assault women they must be very naive indeed. Many bathroom bills depend on users simply stating their gender identity and having that accepted or, indeed, not being asked about their gender. But many male sexual predators who prey on women and girls enjoy wearing women’s clothing. Bathroom bills and other laws protecting gender identity will give these guys easy access to women and children when they are most vulnerable. If there’s no gatekeeping, no demand for some ID that indicates the transperson has medically transitioned and lives full time as their chosen identity, then it’s crossdressing heaven and the lunatics are in charge of the asylum. There’s a great video on Youtube, Women: Decide for Yourselves, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzwMJAFWLtQ) which catalogues the dangerous criminals who will benefit from campaigns to get unquestioned access for biological males to private women-only space, not just bathrooms, but spas, saunas, changing rooms, spaces where women and children are naked and vulnerable. I appreciate that transwomen don’t like be lumped together with transvestites, but the bathroom bills expose women to both.

            Introducing males on the basis of their say-so alone is dangerous. There’s a site, Alison’s Law, that catalogues the crimes committed against women and children by transwomen and crossdressing men. The site’s main objective is to ban rapists & violent predators from changing their legal gender and name. I don’t think anyone could object to this: it seems simple common sense. The site is at https://allisonslaw.wordpress.com/. Be warned, it’s not cheerful reading.

            MtFs seldom pass among natal females because recognising someone’s basic biology is a life and death matter to us. If someone’s a bit off in presentation, or their body language isn’t right, we spot it, because we learn very early that males pose a potential threat whereas females do not. No one is scared of the lesbian in the dark alley.

          • Sophie: Thank you for your detailed, well-reasoned and unbiased response. I will read these reports, as grim as they might be. My only question is who is going to “allow access” to women’s bathrooms. I have never seen a doorkeeper asking for ID nor have any bathroom attendants inside ever asked me or any other woman in the room to prove our gender. And since we use stalls instead of public urinals, how are women to know if the person in the next stall has a penis? Unless she’s Caitlin Jenner, of course. Are public places supposed to hire people to police the gender of those using the women’s room? As to recognizing transgender MtF women, I agree with you completely. See my previous post on transgender socialization at https://aknextphase.com/transgender-socialization/. Male violence is, sadly, well documented. As Margaret Atwood said, “Men are afraid women will laugh at them and women are afraid men will kill them.” Recognizing a male in disguise can indeed be a life-or-death skill.

          • Hi Aline. Your previous post, on Transgender Socialization, very much resonated with me. May post there separately.

            I don’t know about you, but women’s bathrooms for me, especially when I was young, were a place of refuge. Blood all down your skirt? Some guy harassing you/scaring you? Break up? Head straight to the women’s room. Indeed several times when I worked in a bar as a student, we used the women’s room as a literal place of safety when men either started an all-male fight, or some abusive boyfriend started being either violent or just nasty. I remember having to bar the door to some lowlife while his girlfriend sobbed hysterically in one of the stalls.

            Men have no place in women’s bathrooms. We can’t trust them and we sure as hell don’t want to expose our vulnerability around them. When a woman miscarries in the women’s bathroom she wants other women.

            I get what you’re saying about stalls in bathrooms, but there are stalls in men’s bathrooms too if anyone wants a bit more privacy. There are disabled bathrooms too, which women often use for baby-related stuff.

            I just don’t see why men who identify as women get to endanger women. There’s this argument that if they’re gender non-conforming they have to use women’s facilities or else the men may assault them. My position on this is that men, whatever their gender identity or clothing, present a risk to women and I don’t accept that women have any obligation to expose themselves to that risk. The demand in itself is full of male entitlement.

            Also, my issue is to do with boundaries. If transwomen get access to bathrooms, it won’t stop there. Far too many transwomen I’ve encountered online clearly won’t stop until they get access to all women-only spaces, in fact they don’t accept that natal women have the right to meet to discuss feminist or reproductive health issues; issues that don’t affect transwomen.

            I definitely believe some transwomen suffer from narcissistic disorders. Being excluded or not considered female seems to trigger the most astonishing rage. Lesbian friends tell me they’ve even taken over Dyke Marches.

            I’m sure this is not true of all transwomen. There are people online, and people I’ve known in real life, who just wanted to look like slightly odd looking women and live a quiet, non-abrasive life as women. These guys cause no problems to anyone.

            But being trans has become super fashionable. Used to be that a male midlife crisis showed itself in buying silly cars and chasing young girls. Now a lot of them decide they’ve “always been a woman”, ditch the wife and kids and set out on a misery-creating cycle of hormones and lingerie… It’s sad, it’s kind of funny, but it’s also very damaging for all concerned.

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