Why we should stop segregating public toilets by gender

There was recently discussion on my blog about problems that transgender people face when using public toilets. I have always supported everybody’s right to be treated equally before the law, and free from discrimination, but I didn’t know how best to apply this principle to the use of public toilets.

After some research, I have found toilet talk more fascinating than I expected. One book in particular proved very useful. Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing is a series of essays by various experts, published by New York University Press and edited by Harvey Molotch and Laura Noren.

The dynamic of using public toilets is complicated. It is entangled with personal embarrassment and prejudice, as well as the practicalities of sanitation and resources. And gender-segregated toilets cause problems for men, women, parents, carers and transgender people.

My conclusion

We should stop segregating public toilets based on gender. If we were today segregating public toilets based on race, we would immediately know that it was wrong. And many of the concerns expressed today about ending gender segregation, used to be expressed in the past about ending race segregation.

Any segregation should be based on how the toilet is used, not on who is using it. We could have single-toilet rooms for people who need or prefer comfort and privacy, and multi-toilet rooms for people who need or prefer efficiency or social interaction. We could have some rooms with only stand-up urinals, and different rooms with only sit-down cubicles.

It will take time to have such a change supported and implemented, partly because many people don’t even like discussing public toilets, never mind campaigning about them, and partly because the existing system is already physically embedded into so many public buildings as well as appearing in so many legal building codes.

So, until we reach that ideal, we should add an extra option of new single-toilet rooms that anybody can use, whatever their gender. This would include cis people, transgender people, disabled people with carers of different genders, and parents with children of different genders. In other words, anybody who values the privacy and practicality of going to the toilet in comfort, over either the speed or the problems of using a segregated multi-toilet room.

That would address the practical issue of everyone being able to go to the toilet with the minimum of discomfort in the existing imperfect system, if they want to merely go to the toilet rather than make a political stand. Meanwhile, we can also address the wider political issues of phasing out gender segregation, and making the existing rules more flexible to enable transgender people, disabled people with carers, and families with children, to use segregated rooms if they want or need to.

Balancing the different concerns

To keep things in perspective, New York sociology professor Harvey Molotch reminds us that many people around the world have to go to the toilet in the open, possibly in a ditch full of untreated sewage. Even in Western democracies, homeless people and taxi drivers can find it difficult to easily access a public toilet. And the design of public toilets can cause discomfort and problems for various categories of people.

An ideal public toilet system would meet the needs of all these people. In reality, most public toilet systems are limited by space and financial resources, and so the challenge is balancing the different concerns of everybody in as fair a way as possible.

Sometimes meeting the needs of some people can cause problems for other people. For example, some disabled people need unique cubicle design, while blind people prefer continuity in design. Gender segregation can make some people more comfortable, at the expense of making other people less comfortable or even afraid.

The most basic mismatching of needs is having the same amount of public toilet spaces for men and women. On the surface, this seems fair, but in practice, men and women use public toilets differently.

Largely because of the efficiency of urinals, men can get in and out of toilets quicker than women. Also, women tend to use the washing and mirror area to do their hair and make-up, and chat to each other, more than men do.

This means there are typically longer queues outside the female toilet. Research suggests that, to equalise queuing time, there should be twice as many female toilet spaces as male ones.

Why are public toilets segregated by gender?

Of course, this raises the question of why public toilets should be segregated by gender in the first place. Most of us use the same toilet when at home, or when sharing hotel rooms, or when visiting friends, regardless of our gender. Even many small restaurants have just one or more single user toilets that everybody uses. So why should it be different in shared public toilets?

Terry Kogan, a Utah Law Professor who has written on legal issues relevant to LGBT people, says that the practice started during the Industrial Revolution. Men were expected to work outside the home, and women inside the home. Women would retire to a different room after domestic meals, to allow men to deliberate alone on important matters over brandy and cigars. When women ventured outside the home, they were segregated into different carriages on trains, different reading rooms in libraries, and different toilets in the workplace.

What arguments were used to justify this blatant sexism? They included protecting the delicate sensitivities of women who were likely to become dizzy and faint at work, the Victorian obsession with public modesty among women who had ventured outside their homes, and the inconvenience for men who might be distracted or worse by the presence of women in public places.

Most Western democracies have since repealed most laws that supported this sexist segregation. However, the segregation laws for public toilets were typically incorporated into laws about public sanitation and architecture, then embedded into actual buildings. This has helped this particular aspect of sex discrimination to remain resistant to change, even though there are no health or architectural benefits to segregating toilets users by gender.

Concerns about embarrassment and discomfort

I started to study this topic because of discussions in my comments sections about transgender people using public toilets. Should transgender people use the segregated toilets of their birth gender or their trans gender?

Both cis and transgender people can fear embarrassment and discomfort when sharing the same public toilet. These concerns are real. But they are a factor whichever toilets transgender people use. For example, some cis women don’t want male-to-female transgender people using toilets segregated for females, either because of who they are or because of fears that cis men would pretend to be transgender females.

But, if this thinking was enforced, and male-to-female transgender people were not allowed to use toilets segregated for females, then it would instead be female-to-male transgender people who would use the toilets segregated for females. Surely this would lead to the same problems of embarrassment and discomfort that the concerns are trying to avoid?

Or is the embarrassment and discomfort based on whether a person in a female-segregated toilet has a penis, regardless of whether they are cis or transgender? If that is the case, how would you even know whether they have a penis, unless they undress outside the cubicles or you follow them into a cubicle?

Ironically, embarrassment about seeing penises already exists in existing male-segregated toilets, where some men using urinals are concerned about themselves or the man standing beside them looking at each other’s penis. This can lead to some men using cubicles to pee, which strengthens further the argument for unisex toilets.

Ultimately, whoever is using whatever toilets, we should tackle embarrassment and discomfort with education about tolerance and human nature.

Concerns about harassment and violence

Both cis and transgender people can also fear harassment and violence in public toilets. On the one hand, some transgender people fear harassment and violence if they are forced to use the male-segregated toilets. On the other hand, some cis women fear that they can face these problems if transgender people are allowed to enter female-segregated toilets.

These concerns are also real, but they assume that harassment and violence comes only from cis straight male perpetrators against female victims. Whatever toilets transgender people use, it would not change harassment or violence by straight men or women against LGBT people, or by LGBT people against any victims, or any other combination of perpetrator and victim.

Ultimately, many fears about harassment and violence in public toilets rest on the belief that gender-segregated toilets will keep both cis and transgender women safer from being attacked. But is this belief reasonable? Mary Anne Case, a Chicago law professor specialising in the regulation of sex, gender and sexuality, suggests not.

She points out that crimes against women in female-segregated toilets already take place, independently of what transgender people do. Indeed, she argues that the expected presence of both sexes in a unisex toilet could act as a deterrent, by decreasing the likelihood that a perpetrator will be alone with his intended victim, and increasing the chances of a bystander able and willing to offer aid will be present.

Harassment and violence are crimes. We should tackle crimes with a combination of public education and effective law enforcement, regardless of where the crimes take place, and regardless of the gender of the perpetrators and the victims. We should not allow the fact that criminals will commit crimes to prevent law-abiding people from using public toilets.

Related concerns in other areas

Some of the same issues arise with regard to gender segregation in changing rooms, swimming pools, domestic violence shelters and migrant accommodation. And there can be an overlap between prejudices based on gender, class and race. We should continually challenge such prejudices, and ensure that regulations and laws are based on people’s behaviour, not their background.

A century ago in north America, swimming pools were segregated by gender but not by race. When municipal pools introduced unisex swimming during the 1920s, in order to make swimming more family friendly, they started to segregate by race instead. When that became illegal from the 1950s onward, many white middle-class Americans built private domestic swimming pools, leaving others to swim at inner-city municipal pools.

Today in some European countries, there are concerns about an increase in sexual assaults perpetrated by migrants from countries with cultures that are disrespectful to women. In Sweden, which has pioneered gender neutral toilets and changing rooms, some swimming pools are now introducing gender segregation to protect women and children from such assaults. We should resist eroding our commitment to gender equality in this way.

We should enforce strong legal consequences for people who commit sexual assaults, whether these assaults happen in public toilets or swimming pools or public squares or anywhere else. And we should make both indigenous citizens, and migrants from countries with different cultures, aware of these strong legal consequences. We have to practically protect our values of human rights and gender equality if we are to retain them.

Conclusion

What toilets should transgender people use? My answer to this question is shaped by my belief that we should stop segregating public toilets based on gender. We should treat everybody equally before the law, and free from discrimination, based on gender as much as based on race, when they are going to the toilet.

Until we reach the ideal of public toilets that everybody can use equally, I believe that transgender people should use whichever segregated toilet that they feel most comfortable using. It should not matter to the functional act of going to the toilet what your gender is, or what other people think your gender is.

For as long as we use such arbitrary criteria as gender to segregate people using toilets, we should apply these rules flexibly enough to enable transgender people, disabled people with carers of different genders, and parents with children of different genders, to use segregated rooms if they want or need to.

Also, until we reach the ideal of public toilets that everybody can use equally, we should add an extra option of new single-toilet rooms that anybody can use, whatever their gender or race or height or hair colour or life philosophy.

We should also recognise that many people sincerely disagree with these views. We should not describe such people as transphobic. They are mostly good people who have a different opinion about something they feel strongly about. We should seek to persuade them of the merits of tolerance and reasoned evidence over unfounded fears and social pressures.

As a reminder, much of my analysis has been informed by the book Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing, edited by Harvey Molotch and Laura Noren. If you are interested ins serious toilet talk, it is well worth reading.

See also: Why do some people feel entitled to casually defame others online?

Join the Conversation

50 Comments

  1. Not convinced Michael.

    The argument about who we share a toilet with at home is by-the-by. Our family and friends are trusted. We know who they are. And in the main – couples aside – we tend not to use a WC at the same time someone else brushing their teeth at the sink. Even good friends have their limits.

    Also I presume that contained in this argument is the proposition that we do away with urinals? That’s a big ask and a huge re-architecting effort.

    And would we be abandoning urinals because it’d be inadvisable to have people of all sexes and ages being exposed to penises? Why is that? I think if you address *that* issue you might expose (heh) some other assumptions and difficulties.

    ‘such arbitrary criteria as gender’ – ‘gender’ (or better, sex) simply isn’t terribly arbitrary. It’s not a hard and fast guide to genital specifics or sexual orientation but it isn’t *arbitrary*.

    You say that in Sweden, ‘some swimming pools are now introducing gender segregation to protect women and children from such assaults. We should resist eroding our commitment to gender equality in this way’. But with regards to toilet arrangements shouldn’t our concern to protect (mostly) women and children from assault should trump our finer virtue-signalling about how terribly transphilic we are? Surely this would be why Sweden, of all countries, is introducing such segregation?

    And finally, taking a leaf out of Alice Dreger’s book, following Blanchard’, you might consider that trans- isn’t a single thing. I know Blanchard has been reviled – unfairly – but it’s something worth considering , don’t you think?

  2. I observed two general reasons why we have this discussion. The first one is – in a nutshell – “what about transgender”, a group that were overlooked due to their small numbers and who are now vocal on social media. The second one is an illustration of how equal treatment produces unfair outcomes, visible in the queue lining up at the women’s loo.

    It’s normal in clubs in bigger cities in Germany that women will simply go to the men’s toilet, when their’s is overflowing, and vice versa. Nobody cares, which is great.

    I agree with the overall idea of reorganizing things according to functionality, but it has some – possibly underappreciated – consequences. They are also functionally socializing places that – in part – work because they are gender segregated. It’s an interesting question: do people need this?

    It’s a fact of life that humankind is bimodally distributed into roughly two camps. As we all love to mix and mingle things together, it’s also an understandable idea that this situation makes people look for some ways to be around people that understand them — whether it’s women exchanging warpaint and inventions that stop the bleeding; or men going for the rubber hunt and find banter over football. Some things fall into place naturally. Literally. The rubber is where the urinals are.

    What it comes down to: women lose their space, but will still mostly occupy it, in exchange for a few more stalls. Men lose their own stalls and have to go to the other toilet if they want to jettison their ballast, but would retain their “own” place. This is of course due to the biological asymmetry and demand for effeciency: men can release their fluids in a special, and faster way.

    However, sources of embarassment can be solved, like people being afraid of hearing certain noises during the ordeal from people of the opposite sex. There will be some things to solve, but as they are solvable, they would come when things get concrete.

  3. David, I am not suggesting abandoning urinals. We could have some rooms with only stand-up urinals, and different rooms with only sit-down cubicles. People could then use whichever room best suited their needs at the time.

    And it’s not just about transgender people. That’s the context in which I started looking at it, but the problems turn out to be much more all-encompassing than that. The segregation also causes problems for cis men and women, parents with children, and disabled people with carers.

  4. Aneris, with regard to the unintended socialising consequences of the gender segregation, I think those are fine if they don’t interfere with the primary purpose of the public toilet.

    The primary purpose is to facilitate people going to the toilet in a way that is fair to everybody. Once that is achieved, then any socialising consequences can be a bonus.

  5. FYI, some trans girls have rejected special trans only toilets/change rooms at high schools and demanded to shower with the girls.

    Because not showering with the girls hurts their feelings.

    As for risks of sexual assault etc, trans women have been shown to be no different than cis men when it comes to rates of violent crime and assault.

  6. We should continually challenge such prejudices, and ensure that regulations and laws are based on people’s behaviour, not their background.

    It’s an ideal to strive for, but our opponents would rightly point out that background is predictive of future behavior, and we have an obligation to to prevent incidents, not simply punish the perpetrators after an incident has already occurred. There’s a balance to be struck there, and I like to err on the side of giving individuals the benefit of the doubt, but when the consequences of being wrong become to high, even I am liable to switch sides.

    You touched briefly on changing rooms, and I believe that’s where the much greater problem lies. People’s discomfort with co-ed nudity alone would be enough of an obstacle to overcome, but can you imagine the first time a group of grown men starts leering at some 16 year old’s breasts at the gym? The people would riot, and I don’t blame them for a second.

  7. Interesting piece. I was in Stockholm recently and all modern buildings seemed to have unisex toilets. In recently built hotels, offices and restaurants, there was no gender segregation at all … and no noticeable problems with that.

  8. This discussion has been really interesting to me as I am a female who has had multiple problems with sexually harassing behavior from men. I find it especially interesting because I don’t understand the problem with segregated bathrooms. (In the US, the handicapped stall is usually in the women’s room.)

    I have never gone into a public restroom and heard any woman complain when a handicapped man enters the restroom to use the handicapped stall. I have never gone into a public restroom and heard any woman give a man grief for accompanying their very young girls into the bathroom. I have never gone into a public restroom and heard any woman complain that there’s a man dressed like a woman in the bathroom. Quite frankly, when we go to the bathroom we have business to take care of. We don’t stand around carefully scrutinizing every other person in the women’s room to be sure there aren’t people with male genitalia dressed like women before we enter a stall and do our business. I would imagine this is the same for men. I doubt many would notice a woman dressed like a man in the men’s room and, if they did, I doubt they would give a damn.

    But, for women who have been preyed upon by men, if we walk into the bathroom and notice a man who has no reason to be in the women’s room, alarm bells go off. What’s he doing here? Am I safe to drop my drawers, or should I leave immediately and report an intruder? Quite frankly, IMO, this whole gender segregated bathroom discussion has been a whole lot of screaming by a very few who want what will make them safer while refusing to admit that the reason they want it is the same reason that ciswomen don’t want it. The demand seems to be because transwomen are unsafe going into mens room. So the solution they are demanding is that we broaden that problem by making it unsafe for all women (cis, trans, lesbian, etc) to go into public restrooms. How is this a solution to the problem that transwomen are unsafe using men’s rooms?

    And, just out of curiosity, how did the people who stood up for Watson when she said “Guy’s don’t do” because it’s creepy being asked to someone’s hotel room for coffee while alone with him in an enclosed space, hop on the “we need to make all public bathroom facilities gender neutral” bandwagon so quickly. Were Watson feelings of being unsafe being alone with a man in an enclosed space valid and, therefore, she was right to say “Guys don’t do that”, but my feelings of being unsafe if I walk into a women’s room and find a man invalid despite my having had multiple negative experiences with men? I’m a hater of transpeople because I’m concerned about women’s safety? I would very much like someone who has supported Watson but doesn’t support my concern about gender neutral bathrooms to explain why Watson’s fears are valid and deserve support but my fears are not.

    And, Michael, yes we should prosecute sexual predators. But it’s damned difficult to do so even when we know the perpetrator. It’s even harder when the perpetrator is a complete stranger. Furthermore, it would be better if you didn’t dismiss the feelings of fear that people like me have as a result of past negative experiences with men as “unfounded”.

    Now, I will fully admit that I have a visceral negative reaction to all demands that I drop my drawers in the presence of strange men because on my past negative experiences with men (one of which was in a bathroom). I will read the book you have recommended but I doubt I will be convinced. There’s a difference between looking at a problem from an historical perspective of sexism and racism and the pragmatic perspective of knowing there are many unscrupulous people in this world who take advantage of opportunities they are provided to behave very badly.

  9. @ArdentSkeptic #9

    Because, according to the ‘progressive stack’, trans women are more oppressed than ciswomen. In fact, cis people have ‘cis privilege’ and are simply guilty of oppressing trans person by their very existence. Cis privilege = your gender identity matching your body.

    Also, Muslims are more oppressed than everyone, which is why progressives did not speak up on behalf of the two trans women who were nearly stoned to death during the mass Cologne sexual assault. (Muslims tried to sexually assault these trans women, found penises, and tried to murder them. Luckily they escaped).

    As for bathroom safety, this:

    http://www.ci.bellevue.wa.us/11824.htm

    On January 18, at approximately 1:00 p.m., Bellevue Police responded to a call at Bellevue College where a suspect was being detained by security. A female was in a restroom with her two friends when one observed an smart phone tipped towards her from underneath the adjoining bathroom stall.

    The victim told her friends to leave with her and, once outside, she told them what she had seen — not only the camera, but what appeared to be a man wearing a pink wig (which she saw through the crack in the stall door while washing her hands).

    One of the victims went to alert security while the other two waited for the suspect to exit the bathroom. The two women saw the man in the pink wig, wearing sunglasses, exit the restroom and head toward a car. Security followed the suspect to the car where he removed the wig and glasses and put on a baseball hat.

    The suspect was positively identified by the witness and arrested by Bellevue Police. Police brought the suspect in for questioning and obtained a full confession. Officers recovered the wig and glasses along with one iPhone from the suspect’s car, which was impounded by BPD.

    A warrant was obtained for the iPhone, and photos were located of four total women in bathroom stalls with their pants down. A Bellevue detective used the GPS coordinates from the iPhone to determine the exact locations of where the photos were taken. Three of them were the victims at Bellevue College, and the fourth was at a location in Seattle.

    You are absolutely correct to worry that such men might ‘get away with it’. In fact, a lot of it is going to come down to he said/she said.

    The guy’s attorney tried to get the charges dismissed on the grounds that authorities can’t prove the women didn’t consent to being filmed in the bathroom! “We don’t know if they (the women) gave consent,” Simons told the judge. “People do odd things.”

    http://www.lowellsun.com/breakingnews/ci_28206378/attorney-defense-cant-prove-women-did-not-consent

    More bathroom peepers. In fact, there are entire fetish groups devoted to filming women while they pee etc.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/police-man-charged-with-peeping-after-he-was-discovered-in-womens-restroom-stall/2015/11/17/2cb8f1ec-8d68-11e5-ae1f-af46b7df8483_story.html

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/police-looking-for-two-time-womens-room-peeper/2015/10/14/9754c660-729d-11e5-9cbb-790369643cf9_story.html

    Your safety, your peace of mind, comes second because you, as a ciswoman, are not as oppressed as trans women.

    And I have had progressives say two interesting things:

    1) that a few bathroom rapes a year are acceptable, in order to protect trans women

    2) that women rape just as much as men, so why be afraid of men in the women’s bathroom when other women are just as likely to rape (but if this is true, then aren’t trans women in danger of being raped by women in the women’s bathroom)

    3) people who want to peep and assault you will do so regardless, nothing will stop them

    4) if those people do start to assault you in the bathroom, simply tell them to leave and all will be good in the world once again

    I am not making this shit up.

  10. While people are arguing over ‘segregated’ bathrooms, others are happy enough with segregated public events:

    An Islamic society at a top university has come under fire after segregating men and women at a gala dinner by using a large screen running through the middle of the group.
    The Muslim society at the London School of Economics sat guests on either male-only or female-only tables at the dinner on Sunday night with a 7ft screen between the two groups.

    http://metro.co.uk/2016/03/16/islamic-society-at-top-university-under-fire-for-segregating-men-and-women-at-gala-dinner-5754752/

  11. I don’t know what side the transfolk sat. Maybe the SJWs would like to educate us on the correct protocol.

  12. There you go again, Michael, being so utterly fair & level-headed – including but not limited to your acknowledgment that some people will find these ideas uncomfortable and won’t agree with your conclusion. I didn’t see you proposing that anyone would be forced to use an arrangement they found to be unacceptable; indeed, wasn’t having options part of your point? As you said,

    We could have single-toilet rooms for people who need or prefer comfort and privacy, and multi-toilet rooms for people who need or prefer efficiency or social interaction.

    I like your suggestions but would point out that cost is a practical barrier. Having more bathroom options, more single-toilet rooms, and/or twice as many stalls for women (or for people who choose to sit down) would each presumably raise the amount of space allotted to toilet, as well as the plumbing & equipment costs.

    While makeup, chatting, and sitting down may add to time spent in what are now women’s bathrooms, there are other factors that slow the process down for women. These are broad generalities & obviously don’t apply to every person of any gender. Women tend to urinate more frequently than men (at least until prostatic hypertrophy develops) meaning more trips per person per day to the bathroom; and tend to need more rearrangement of clothing more before & after using the toilet (not having a handy “fly” built into pants & underwear); and are more likely to have other personal hygiene issues needing attention (particularly related to menstruation). Women sometimes change clothes in a bathroom (maybe men do too, however they generally have more flexibility to do so in public, for example changing a shirt). Women sometimes breastfeed or pump in a bathroom, when there’s not a better place. At any rate, in an ideal world each person could use a public bathroom for whatever personal needs arose that were reasonably appropriate for that space.

  13. It’s worth making this point: Western men’s clothing is specifically designed to make it easy to urinate; women’s is not.

    And that’s because our genitalia make those design options feasible, not because sexism or teh Patriarchy.

  14. If trans women need to access female only spaces out of safety concerns…

    Then can’t the same be said for transvestites? Drag Queens? Cross dressers?

    If a transgender woman is unsafe in a male toilet, change room etc, then the same can be said for the drag queen.

    Ergo, drag queens, regardless of their gender identity, are entitled to the safety and security of women’s safe spaces.

  15. I am terribly sorry to say that I find being cast as a pearl clutching prude rather upsetting for being dismayed at the prospect of the man that cat called me in the street can simply and legally follow me into a toilet or change room. I have had the disturbing experience of a man on a bike follow me nearly to home, mumbling abuse at me because I ignored him and I could only stop this when I threatened to call the police.

    I’m afraid what “research” was done here was from advocates, who typically are promoting only the claimed needs of one set of people, and ignoring any concerns expressed by another, much larger set. Can I ask if trans women are women even to the point of rewriting history to make it as if they were born as such, why don’t they listen to the concerns of women and address them? Is it because this is about men, and men typically have little or no interest in women’s concerns and needs and find them easy to dismiss? There is no wage gap either apparently, so I am told by some men keen to dismiss that.

    Toilets and changing rooms are not separated by use, or by what people wear, or what race they are (as apparently it is akin to racism to not wish males be in women’s private spaces) but by sex. Because of anatomy, men and women have different needs, women need to sit, and require facilities for menstruation needs, men can use urinals. This is not about claims women waste time in toilets putting lippy on, anatomy demands it takes longer to manage clothing and so on for women. Depending on through-put required you have a variety of facilities, some single-use unisex, others single-use by sex, and other places have multi-use areas. Generally, women are under served by toilet and other facilities, the amount of men that can use the same sized facility is much higher but women are not given any additional spaces.

    In Victorian times, while this seems to be cast as prudishness now, the idea was rigid gender separation. Men were meant to be in the public sphere, doing the important things and women the private or domestic sphere (not that it was really true for women, they have always worked pre- and post-industrial revolution outside of the home). The argument made for this separation was that women were inferior and mentally incapable of coping with public life. Women lost their legal identity as a individual on marriage, and were disbarred from many things like tertiary education, participation in politics and so on. Getting public facilities was yet another battle, they simply were not provided to women as they weren’t meant to be there participating in the public sphere in the first place.

    Move forward to places like India today, where women are forced out of education because they lack facilities – some 89% of schools where they have facilities provide none at all for girls, where women find themselves at risk and must harm their health restricting fluid and food because they simply cannot find a safe place to relieve themselves. Not that long ago, two girls were gang raped and murdered as they went out, after dark, to relieve themselves. See here:
    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/aug/28/toilets-india-health-rural-women-safety

    This isn’t prudery, it’s reality. You can add on top that all the issues of the objectification and sexualisation of women’s bodies and it’s still not prudery but a real concern about women’s needs for privacy and safety.

    Gender neutrality is all well and good, but it is only “neutral” for males and is not neutral for females who face overwhelming gendered violence coming from males (to boot males also overwhelming face violence from other males) among other issues. A significant proportion of that is stranger violence, as the case of the rape and murder of Jill Meagher over in Australia shows. She couldn’t even walk a short distance home without the risk, which turned out to be a very real risk, of rape and murder.

    That’s not covering other problems like invasion of privacy that already occurs – you can google “toilet voyeur” – About 18,400,000 results (0.29 seconds), “toilet rape” – About 31,500,000 results (0.37 seconds) many of which are reports of males raping females and children including one of a 7 year old girl but others are pornography results, “toilet assault” – About 31,500,000 results (0.37 seconds). The University of Toronto trialled gender neutral facilities and predictably, and very quickly incidences of voyeurism occured, leading to them changing some facilities back to female only.

    These proposed policies are asked for on basis of alleged need, but have the effect of allowing any male on basis of a subjective claim of having a “gender identity” into female toilets and changing areas. They often have provision for penalty should someone question this and the intentions of the person there, and they say the person with questions should be the one kicked out even if the question is valid (e.g. as in the swimming pool incident in the US when they changed the rules where a male, in board shorts, used the female changing areas causing a lot of issues for the women in the room. The idea appears to be that women, on seeing a penis, must regard male anatomy as female if the person claims as such). These policies more simply have the effect of making all toilet and changing facilities where people partially or fully disrobe male spaces over any objection to the contrary.

    Apparently also, despite that males can easily overpower a much smaller female the solution is that will have to wait until they are assaulted or their privacy invaded before they can act at all. It is ignored that preventing this happening in the first place is a better solution and does in fact mitigate a lot of the problems women face being able to use the facilities safely. That there might be pre-existing issues is not an excuse for making things much less safe and much harder to handle when they occur than they were before.

    I cannot find anywhere where they have looked at alternatives like making male toilets safe for all users, and simply using an alternative unisex facility is discarded despite that being a safe, reasonable accommodation that doesn’t impinge on anyone else.

    Notably, none of the first pages of results feature trans persons being victims of this, but we are told with no apparent evidence that it is so that there is a huge risk of violence to them and therefore, despite that women also face risks of violence from men women must accommodate men in female facilities. Female and male facilities are separated by sex, not how you feel or what you wear. Interestingly, apparently some trans persons did a selfie in the toilet campaign to claim they were “out of place”, often these images were invasive and showed other occupants. Despite all of that, these people were able do this and I cannot find where any of them came to any harm.

    I find it abhorrent that women’s objections are being compared with the racism of slavery and segregation. Women are not pushing out other women, they are refusing male access to their private spaces and that is not a crime or discrimination against males who incidentally, have plenty of provision for their own facilities and no real need to subject women to their presence while they are going to the toilet and getting changed. This is not a human rights crisis for men.

  16. Michael, my original contribution was a little light-hearted and made only allusive reference to some of the issues Michelle address front-on just above this. Does her contribution change your mind or at least make you think the issue isn’t so clear-cut?

  17. #16 Michelle

    They often have provision for penalty should someone question this and the intentions of the person there, and they say the person with questions should be the one kicked out even if the question is valid

    Yep. Not only will you be the one kicked out, but you might also be the victim of assault if you misgender a trans woman.

    The battery occurred in November 1997 at BT’s, a Port Richey bar frequented by cross-dressers. Hagan was accused of battering Partsch because she questioned his presence in the women’s restroom.

    But before he held out his wrists to accept a bailiff’s handcuffs, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound Hagan asked for a moment to remove his jewelry.

    https://archive.is/1Wu9k#selection-701.0-701.138

    Gender identity laws protect this individual. I was reading the Transadvocate this morning, and the trans umbrella does in fact include cross dressers, or basically, anyone who feels that they are the opposite gender or dresses as such.

    Woman kicked out of a gym for questioning the presence of someone who presented as male:

    Yvette Cormier encountered someone she described as a “man” in that Planet Fitness locker room. “I wanted to know why there was a man in the women’s locker room,” she told CNN. “He [sic] looked like a man, and that’s what stopped me in my tracks.

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/03/09/3631333/a-transgender-woman-went-to-the-gym-and-nothing-happened/

    As for other points made here about special gender neutral bathrooms and locker rooms, no, that won’t work, sorry. It is dehumanizing to expect trans women/cross dressers/etc to use anything other than safe spaces designated for women. As their identity as women *must* be validated. Anything else is transphobic.


    Hillsboro Trans Student Lila Perry Says “It’s Dehumanizing” to Use Gender Neutral Bathroom (VIDEO)

    A few dozen student and adult supporters turned out Friday night from the surrounding area to support transgender student Lila Perry.
    lila perry rally

    The protesters want more money and effort to organizations that promote transgender students.

    Lila Perry made national news after she started using the girls locker room at rural Hillsboro high school.
    The school had set aside a gender neutral bathroom for the student’s use.

    TGP reporter Adam Sharp attended the event and had a chance to speak with student Lila Perry.
    Perry says she was asked to use a gender neutral bathroom but that it was “dehumanizing” and that’s why he started using the girls lockeroom and bathroom.

    Lila Perry: I’m fighting for transgender rights not just for me but for all transgender students across the state… I used the girls restroom and people kind of lost it.

    Adam Sharp: And there were reports that there was an extra bathroom made available to you. Is that correct?

    Lila Perry: It was. But it’s very dehumanizing to be reduced to just “gender neutral” to where I feel like they’re just going to take all of us and put us in our own bathroom which I don’t like.

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/09/hillsboro-trans-student-lila-perry-says-its-dehumanizing-to-use-gender-neutral-bathroom-video/

    ————
    Also, abusers and stalkers etc can sneak into a bathroom and wait for their victim. Gender identity laws are so vague that anyone claiming to be a woman now has the legal right (in some regions) to access safe spaces designated for cis women. The domestic violence shelter is no longer a safe place for cis women who are fleeing an abuser.

    But, no worries. As *feminists* have repeatedly told me, if a few women are attacked, raped, or murdered per year, it is an acceptable loss in order to protect trans persons. It is the same reason that borders must remain unrestricted to the flow of Islamic migrants who view women as animals who deserve to be raped for the crime of being out of doors without a burka. The rights of the most oppressed group override every other group.

    Curiously, pro-lifers use the same argument. Women oppress embryos, ergo it is ok if women die through forced gestation as the priority *must* be that embryos are protected at all costs. What is really cute is that these same ‘feminists’ argue that it is unacceptable if even one woman dies from forced gestation.

  18. Then can’t the same be said for transvestites? Drag Queens

    Drag queens are no longer PC. Gender is a social construct but only women and transwomen get to dress as women.

    Drag is the new blackface.

    In the interest of disrupting gender binaries all gender binaries must be rigidly enforced.

  19. “The rights of the most oppressed group override every other group.”

    And that is point, in a ideal world an idea like having gender neutrality in toilets and bathrooms would be fine, with everyone being equal and being treated equally. In an ideal world no one would be oppressed or discriminated against on any basis either.

    But for women, things are anything but equal. Women worldwide face an struggle for basic rights and basic parity with men, we are still a long way off even equal representation by population in politics and business alone, before you get to all the other issues. Gender is not something that is neutral or equal, it is hierarchical, with women and femininity being subordinate to men and masculinity and that is a sex based system and women don’t and didn’t choose that. Instead they’ve spent quite a bit of time fighting it and trying to make things more equitable.

    Yet, today they are cast as if they are. Women are an oppressor, purely by existing. But it’s very funny to observe that it’s taken decades and decades for women to get the rights they have now, but when this other group starts claiming they are oppressed things seem to change very rapidly and provisions that have worked just fine suddenly become unworkable, like males using the male toilet and that must be changed. Changed, not so that provision is made for them, nor that the current provision is made more suitable or safer, but changed so that women must accommodate. That would not be because they are actually not oppressed, but rather privileged because they get heard and their claimed needs catered to when women as a class don’t, would it? (Rhetorical of course).

    The fact that men can now in many places access women’s refuges and just by attesting and requiring everyone to take it on trust they are who they say they are is really terrifying, abusive males will stop at nothing to get at their victims and the risk of the woman and/or her children being killed or harmed rises after they leave. It’s always been a thing, there’s always been a reason why they keep the location secret and apply a strict filter as to who can access these places.

    That’s all pretty much gone or going. I doubt many have noticed that the legal regulations and rules for this all not only have no penalty for false declaration, they hold no penalty for any abuse of these provisions. There is no provision even for obvious risks, like men that have been previously convicted for a sex crime against women and children being prevented from being in these spaces. Women’s privacy and safety needs are not considered at all, in any way, shape or form, apart from that fairly obviously the authorities consider anatomic sex and that females are the sex which gives birth and are reproductively different to males is a load of tosh. A woman is someone that defines as such, completely disconnected from biology which is now reframed as a ‘construct’ apparently.

    That women’s refuge, if they seek to stop any male accessing their services for women’s safety could be acting in a discriminatory manner according to these rules, and they could end up in court. There is no provision available to them to change this and no provision made to protect the safety of women within the shelter from misuse of the rules. They can only act in a reactive way, once something actually happens. Similarly, where previously you could stop from entering or throw out a male from female change areas, now you can’t. And there is nothing to stop a male from misusing this, and in fact they could act in a sexually harassing way but still the women complaining would be considered the ones in breach.

    That’s really, really unfair. It’s really unequal, especially where men are already getting their fair share (or perhaps even a better share, after all they get more through-put when it comes to toilet facilities). It’s really not neutral at all. Men get to go where they want, whenever they want, and women just have to suck it up and if they don’t like it or feel it is too risky for them they should be the ones to stay at home.

  20. Michael, you err first by stating that public facilities are segregated by gender. This is untrue: they are segregated by sex.

    Second, you present the false equivalency of segregation by race and by sex, saying “If we were today segregating public toilets based on race, we would immediately know that it was wrong” The reason we know this is wrong is the principle that people of different races are fundamentally the same. Yet you go on to note that ” in practice, men and women use public toilets differently.”

    The assertion, that racism was the impetus for the rise in popularity of private swimming pools in the US beginning in the 1950’s, is completely asinine and ignores the post-war onset of suburban, single-home culture. One might as well argue that two-car garages are racist.

    Terry Kogan’s just-so story is unpersuasive. Even if segregation of restrooms had originated in Victorian times coincident with other segregations by sex, does not mean the reason for the former is as antiquated as the others. Nor are ”health or architectural benefits” the only conceivable, valid grounds for segregation by sex.

    You touch upon the “embarrassment”/discomfort factor. If this is, indeed, the primary reason for segregating facilities, then how can you justify mollifying the discomfort of the few (0.3%) at the expense of increasing that of the many (99.7%)? By focusing on WCs, you deftly skirt the fact that many of these controversies in the US concern the use of school locker rooms and public changing rooms, as well as those in private businesses such as health clubs. In these venues, the discomfort, especially among youth, is even more pronounced.

    Your conclusion that ”we should tackle embarrassment and discomfort with education about tolerance and human nature” is a disturbing call for what can only be described as social engineering, or worse, re-education of thought criminals. Would you apply the same approach to those intolerant of public nudity?

    Finally, you ignore that (in the US at least) the call is not for unisex facilities, rather to replace segregation by sex with segregation by gender identity. No rational grounds for this change have been offered; no clear thought given as to the utter impracticality of its implementation.

    All in all, this essay is a disappointing example of humanism’s propensity for placing the cart of emotion-based wishes before the horse of logic.

  21. I am 63 and have been around long enough to have known of many cases of women and girls being raped – or even raped and killed – in public restrooms. Only a man could so casually propose such an idea. As long as you are completely detached from social and biological realities this may seem like a good idea, but it puts girls and women in danger.

    You may be a nice man who would never dream of assaulting a woman or girl, but there are still too many in the world who would. That is why we have prisons… There are a lot of weird people in the world. After you figure out a way to tame them then you can fairly pose such a suggestion.

    Women should not feel compelled to need to enter a public toilet as part of a group, as that is not always possible. Most women certainly do not want to enter a public restroom alone with a strange man in it. How can you know the intentions of a stranger? Sacrificing common sense for ideology is not working out in Europe – as the rape of Europe continues, much to the grotesque indifference of the Western Left – and it will not work out here.

    Already many reports have been made of straight men abusing the transgender bathroom law. I remember using a public restroom with transgender men as far back as 40 years ago. It was a little weird, but did not bother me that much. We did not need new laws to make this happen. It always happened.

    What we did not need was a law allowing immature and aggressive young (or older) straight men to feel they have the right to intrude upon women in a public space. Not all men are nice guys. The population is large and there are predators, psychopaths and sociopaths who have no regard for others. They should never feel welcome in women’s facilities – yet now they do.

    Gender neutral bathrooms may suit men just fine, but keep it among men. You will bring harm to girls and women with such thinking. A more realistic and thoughtful approach to this issue is overdue.

  22. Whenever you hear, “in an ideal world…” you can bet the ranch that the speaker’s personal opinion on a complex issue is about to follow.

    Give Michael credit for a fair attempt to cover the subject. Nonetheless: “We should stop segregating public toilets based on gender” more succinctly covers his opinion top to bottom.

    In my view, public restrooms are segregated for the sound reasons articulated above most forcefully by women.

    Michael moves closer to defining the pertinent dilemma when he says: “The primary purpose is to facilitate people going to the toilet in a way that is fair to everybody. ” In a democracy, we the people try to be “fair to everybody” by enforcing the will of the majority while upholding the rights and dignity of the minority. The LGBT community comprises about 3.5% of the U.S. population. Under the LGBT minority, transgender persons represent about .3 percent of Americans, a tiny minority of a tiny minority. Why invent a problem of public toileting for three tenths of one percent of a population when a solution already exists? The single-toilet handicapped/disabled private restroom can also be made available to transgender persons. Problem solved.

  23. “We could have some rooms with only stand-up urinals, and different rooms with only sit-down cubicles. People could then use whichever room best suited their needs at the time.”

    Inadvertently, Michael finds himself compelled to address the logistics of implementing a gender-neutral system of public toilets and actually lands back on square one with a de facto sex-segregated arrangement. Because only men can use urinals with the female contortionist supplying the rare performer, “rooms with only stand-up urinals” would be reserved for men only. The “different rooms with only sit-down cubicles” would constitute a private space by definition shielding the user from view by the walls and door of the cubicle. Moreover since members of both sexes would be ‘sitting’ in such close proximity, the cubicles would require floor to ceiling partitions with no open spaces at top or bottom and no cracks in the door where the casual or perverse viewer could peek at the occupant. (Powered ventilation to expel odors from each secure enclosure would also be necessary). The suggestion only awkwardly re-configures, the existing architecture of the separate Mens Room and Womens Room.

  24. Melvin, lol! You clearly haven’t known too many women, or come across a She-Wee.

    “The suggestion only awkwardly re-configures, the existing architecture of the separate Mens Room and Womens Room.” No, as you rightly point out, the architectural change is minimal, but the benefit is that all members of society, including transgender and cis-gender, parents with children, and carers with charges of different sex, get to use the facilities on equal terms, thereby eliminating an awkward inconvenience (see what I did there?) for more people than you appreciate.

  25. Patricia. “I am 63 and have been around long enough to have known of many cases of women and girls being raped – or even raped and killed – in public restrooms.” That’s truly awful. How has segregated public restroom prevented these terrible crimes?

  26. Mark Beard at 26

    How has segregated public restroom prevented these terrible crimes?

    So we should make it easier then?

  27. Hi Mark. The fallacy of the exception gives the illusion of arguing against the rule. We’ve all experienced the exceptional ’emergency’ where a caregiver accompanies a disabled person of the opposite sex into our “private space” (perfectly legal). We’ve experienced the rare occasion when a mother intrudes discretely to guard her young son. I’ve experienced a man escort his female partner into the Mens Room whose bladder or bowels couldn’t wait in the long line for the Womens Room. But such occasions are so rare I honestly cannot remember when they last happened. We’re human and flexible and work around such awkward moments.

    The deal breaker is modesty. Most men but especially the female demographic does will not suffer gender-neutral toilets. The ideological wish-fulfillment for people “not to care” is defeated by the reality of widespread and deep-seated modesty. If women don’t want men present urinating and defecating and vice-vera for obvious reasons that settles the matter. “In an ideal world, etc.”…. There ain’t no such place except in the small minority imagination.

  28. I feel compelled to represent a different male perspective, since all the other voices I hear on this issue recently have consisted of “terrified” Conservative Dads and angry Feminist “rape culture”-crusader women. Both groups seemingly labeling 99% of us with penises as dangerous, rapey, creepers.

    Addressing what ‘Aneris’ said: “It’s normal in clubs in bigger cities in Germany that women will simply go to the men’s toilet, when their’s is overflowing, and vice versa. Nobody cares, which is great.” I guess it’s “great” from your perspective only if you’re a strong-willed woman, or just a frisky straight man who enjoys lots of women walking around in the men’s room potentially gazing upon your apparently-large, exposed manhood. But the far more common scenario I’ve observed at concert venues, sports stadiums, music festivals, theme parks, even travel rest stops, feels quite different and is usually pretty awkward.

    When the lines are too long for the women’s room, gaggles of women and girls never hesitate to enter the multi-toilet public men’s room anymore. They just barge right on in rather impolitely. This inevitably leads to a backlogged queue of females waiting around inside the men’s room to use the stalls and the sinks. The men and boys waiting to do #2 have by this time pretty much given up on getting a stall in the “men’s” room, so they leave and look elsewhere. So then you have a row of urinals in full view of lots of idle female eyes. Depending on the venue, often alcohol has been consumed leading to giggles and even “dick size humor” by the women watching guys urinate – yeah, I’m not even kidding. By this point, the less confident men and boys not interested in putting all their business on display walk in and walk back out looking for a “men-only” men’s room (does one even exist?)

    As an adult man, I can handle myself. But I’ve seen many cringe-inducing moments for dads with sons of varying ages in tow, trying to use the urinal and get everyone zipped up again with a bunch of rude, grown women staring them down. Wondering how one explains this side of womanhood to one’s young sons? So it’s funny to me how all these “Traditional Dads” have become “White Knights” of late, guarding their wives and daughters delicate sensibilities in their sacrosanct women’s room. But why were these men so silent all these years regarding their own privacy and that of their sons inside the men’s room?

  29. @Ryan M.

    I haven’t personally experienced anything like that, but it’s not implausible, and raises the excellent point that Michael, although polite enough to not actually do this overtly, seems to be slipping towards the tactic of describing his opposition as the wicked “conservative”.

    Ultimately, whoever is using whatever toilets, we should tackle embarrassment and discomfort with education about tolerance and human nature.

    In other words, if you’re embarrassed or uncomfortable with something it’s *necessarily* because you aren’t educated or tolerant enough. Progress is always good. The status quo is always bad.

    It’s at this line that I part ways with my fellow liberals. Progress is only such when we can point towards a demonstrable benefit that outweighs any plausible damage sustained in getting there. As far as I’m concerned that hasn’t happened in the restroom debate.

  30. Trans women will not accept unisex toilets, even if they never plan to transition and they purposely present as men.

    The reason trans women want to use women’s toilets etc is because it validates their gender identity, and for society to refuse to validate that gender identity is wrongful discrimination, kinda like racial segregation in the U.S. South.

    Some examples:

    1) Lila Perry. Trans girl was given a unisex bathroom and shower, she refused, as it was important for her to shower alongside the girls, even though she was still packing male genitalia. The girls were bigots for refusing to shower with a male bodied person:

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/09/hillsboro-trans-student-lila-perry-says-its-dehumanizing-to-use-gender-neutral-bathroom-video/

    2) After a woman is assaulted by a trans person using the woman’s toilet at a popular Nebraska bar, the owner decides to build a unisex toilet. Drag queens and trans persons protest, stating that it is their *right* to use the women’s toilet, and to deny them this is wrongful discrimination:

    http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/the-hive-owner-s-comments-on-transgender-people-bathrooms-spark/article_ab33239d-3675-5263-bfbb-f9d58f5a7bf6.html

    3) This is currently going on on Facebook (feel free to censor this part if you want Mike, I will understand if you do)

    http://i.vimeocdn.com/video/524935201_1280x720.jpg
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/11/17/today-im-saying-goodbye-to-my-old-self/

    Danielle Muscato identifies as a woman. She needs to use the woman’s loo for her own safety. She has said so on twitter. As you can clearly see from the photo, she will become a victim of violence if she uses a man’s bathroom looking like that! (She chooses to present as a man, but because she internally identifies as a woman, she will not accept the unisex option and will only use the women’s)

    http://i.imgur.com/DGHnRex.jpg
    https://twitter.com/daniellemuscato/status/714802570062004227
    https://twitter.com/daniellemuscato/status/719554026233155584
    https://m.facebook.com/comment/replies/?ctoken=10154035574290856_10154035639965856&count=120&pc=1&ft_ent_identifier=10154035574290856&gfid=AQC3V2fWxQc5hLwS
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154115045619004&set=a.10150095136374004.287398.501474003&type=3

    Danielle Muscato wrote:
    Male. Female. Unisex.
    That should solve the problem. Because I am not sharing a public bathroom that allows men in because of way too many experiences that don’t work in the favour of the argument.
    And people who are adamantly against the three bathroom model are illogical and I can’t bother debating with them.

    So, in conclusion, no, unisex is not an option. Sex segregation stays, and people who internally identify as women regardless of how they present themselves to the outside world have the right to use women’s facilities and to deny them this is wrongful segregation on par with racial segregation in the southern USA!

  31. “The reason trans women want to use women’s toilets etc is because it validates their gender identity, and for society to refuse to validate that gender identity is wrongful discrimination, kinda like racial segregation in the U.S. South.”

    Ghost, you’re letting the specious language of analogy get between you and the issue. Genitals are not analogous to skin pigmentation. Women are not mind-readers. They cannot know if the person with a penis that follows them into the Womens Room thinks of himself as a[nother] woman, a rapist, or a garden-variety horndog. Now, what we have here is a failure to communicate.

  32. Melvin, you’re letting your antiquated notions of Chivalry get between you and the issue. Penises are not analogous to perversion and evil intent. Males are not mind-readers. They cannot know if the person with a vagina that barges into the Mens Room thinks of herself as a[nother] man, a voyeur, or just a Misandrist on a power-trip. Now, what we have here is a failure of logic.

  33. Exactly Melvin at 32.

    And there are numerous documented cases of men sneaking into women’s facilities to perv on them and in some cases film them as they undess or pee.

    And women have been raped and even murdered by men who managed to get into the bathroom undetected.

    Search Google for “women filmed bathroom peeing” and there will be hundreds of fetish sites that pop up. There is an entire industry built around filming women in bathrooms change rooms etc.

  34. >”And there are numerous documented cases of men sneaking into women’s facilities to perv on them and in some cases film them as they undess or pee. And women have been raped and even murdered by men who managed to get into the bathroom undetected.”

    Not one documented case of a pre-op trans person committing any of the above.

  35. Others pointing your factual inaccuracies is “goalpost moving”? The topic being a bunch of worried Xtian White-Knights crusading against all the “Caitlyn Jenners” who might be “potential rapists and serial killers” if let into the women’s restroom around your daughters? News flash for you: there have already been pre-op transsexuals in all public restrooms for the last 40 years. Women didn’t notice or care. You and Ted Cruz didn’t notice either until same-sex marriage became legal. Hmmm.

  36. Ryan M 37

    Nice strawman cupcake. I was backing up Melvin’s point, that predatory men do in fact try to gain access to women’s facilities in order to film them peeing etc.

    This is not unknown. I am sorry if facts hurt your fee fees.

    You just want to make it easier for them to do so.

  37. Predatory heterosexual men. Stall peeping, upskirting and hidden-cam “toilet vids” have also existed for 40 years, probably longer. The current bathroom bills have no effect on those crimes. Not a documented case of a pre-op (penis intact) trans-individual filming, raping or killing a female in a public women’s room. So these laws would restrict no predatory hetero man from doing what he’s done for 40 years.

  38. Ryan M at 39

    Yeah Ryan, we get it, you want to make it easier for such men to enter women’s facilities without anyone questioning them or even having the legal right to tell them to leave.

    Rock on, bro.

  39. “Not one documented case of a pre-op trans person committing any of the above.”

    We’ve lost touch with Michael’s thesis: “Why We Should Stop Segregating Public Toilets by Gender.” The argument suggests that women and men should get over their modesty; that a course of “education” should knock some sense into both sexes alike.. The view envisions everyone commingling in ALL public toilets at ALL times without a care.

    We’ve all conceded how contingencies and sometimes overcrowded venues create valid exceptions to strict gender segregation. We’ve discussed the gamut of male sex crimes from rape to sexual assault; from exhibitionism to voyeurism including secretive filming.

    The argument has dwindled , perhaps logically, to the case of pre-op trans persons with penises. Trans persons constitute .3% of the population in the United States and among this tiny group, no one has documented how many would prefer or insist on using women’s toilets, or worse, disrobing completely for womens showers and changing rooms.

    I agree that consensual accommodations for pre-op trans persons should be made available in designated venues, say gay bars, drag queen show clubs, or restrooms in neighborhoods with dense LGBT populations. In open public spaces, trans persons with severe comfort issues should use a private single-toilet restroom.

    We should not lose sight of compelling facts that apply to 99.99% of the population. Physical genitals are sexual features because they are intimately associated with imminent sexual interaction. Even in common public showers, most people respect the privacy of others by averting their eyes from genitalia on reluctant display, perhaps curiously peeking now and again but never staring.

    Public restrooms are segregated by sex to protect the privacy of both sexes but preponderantly to protect the privacy and safety of women.
    The anonymous male who enters a restroom with the anonymous female poses not only more physical threat but also more stress to the woman than vice versa. The bio-neurological sexual nature of most men render them far more easily aroused than women, inclined to pursue, confront and objectify women in the grip of aggressive sexual urges, fetishes or masturbatory fantasies. Consider the distress of a pretty young woman who enters a stall in a deserted or near-deserted restroom to urinate and dispose of a tampon only to be “joined” by a husky man entering the adjacent stall who defecates copiously and noisily into the receptacle, emitting an open-sewer stench. She knows that Hulk Hogan has probably followed her into the restroom, cased her stall to inspect her shapely calfs and high heels. After finishing his business, she hears heaving breathing and knows what is going on. Hulk fixes himself up properly and leaves the restroom without speaking to the woman or touching her. All perfectly legal but not appetizing.

    Sex-segregated public toilets can never eliminate sexual assault or lewd conduct completely, but the arrangement can go far towards keeping such conduct to a minimum by providing the greatest privacy and comfort for the greatest number.

  40. What part of “it’s already been happening for decades” don’t you Conservatives understand? Men (with penises) who LIVE as women and use the women’s restroom has been a thing for a long, long time. So please explain how I want to “make it easier” for said reality to continue? The proof it’s never been an issue is in the pudding. Women and girls in all these decades never made a peep about “Divine & Dame Edna” using their toilet stalls, because clearly trans-women got in, did their business and got out again. They’re not sexually interested in females! It’s only being made a political issue by the good ol’ GOP to attack all LGBT causes.

  41. Ryan M at 42

    You hear that Melvin, we are evil Conservatives because we disagree with Ryan!

    Speeding. Drunk driving. Rape. Murder. Have all been happening for decades yet they are still illegal because they violate the rights of individuals. And male bodied people can use their own facilities, they do not need to use women’s.

    Arguing that all men should be able to access women’s facilities ‘because peepers gonna peep’ is one of the worst arguments I have ever heard. Ever heard of risk reduction? Thought not.

    Bathooms were made gender neutral at the University of Toronto and shortly thereafter men started filming women as they showered. Cell phones appeared over and under the stalls. Shortly after this, the UFT re-introduced sex segregation.

    And Ryan, we are discussing UNISEX facilities, not transexual use of such facilities. Stop moving the goalposts, it is getting tiresome.

  42. >”preponderantly to protect the privacy and safety of women. The anonymous male who enters a restroom with the anonymous female poses not only more physical threat but also more stress to the woman than vice versa.”

    Melvin, you’re speaking ONLY for yourself as a heterosexual, probably middle-aged or older, husband and father of daughters. I can assure you that many of us younger, single-by-choice men do not share your vision of modern woman as helpless, wilting flowers in need of of bodyguards. You have no idea how much stress other men or boys of various ages feel when women enter the men’s restroom uninvited. Just because you feel none, doesn’t mean you can speak for your entire gender.

    >”The bio-neurological sexual nature of most men render them far more easily aroused than women, inclined to pursue, confront and objectify women in the grip of aggressive sexual urges, fetishes or masturbatory fantasies.”

    Again, please speak only for your OWN “easy arousal, aggression, sex urges, fetishes and masturbation”, sir. You do not describe my behavior or any men that I associate with.

    >”Consider the distress of a pretty young woman who enters a stall in a deserted or near-deserted restroom to urinate and dispose of a tampon only to be “joined” by a husky man entering the adjacent stall who defecates copiously and noisily into the receptacle, emitting an open-sewer stench. She knows that Hulk Hogan has probably followed her into the restroom, cased her stall to inspect her shapely calfs and high heels. After finishing his business, she hears heaving breathing and knows what is going on. Hulk fixes himself up properly and leaves the restroom without speaking to the woman or touching her. All perfectly legal but not appetizing.”

    But enough of your pornographic fantasies, sir. By the way, how many women’s restrooms have you sneaked into to dream up this stuff?

  43. “But enough of your pornographic fantasies, sir.”

    So people tell me, but my books keep selling.

    My generic example addresses only one scenario among hundreds of unintended consequences of the ambition to stop segregating toilets by gender. Once realized, any man could walk into the “Womens” Room anywhere at anytime and just wash his hands at the basin, use a stall, chat up the ladies coming to and fro…or merely observe.

    Where is the harm? Ironically, you describe the harm up the way when you make the reverse complaint about women intruding into the “Mens” Room to survey the manhood of men and boys at the urinal and make raunchy slurs. I stress male against female transgressions because the pool of male miscreants is far more numerous, aggressive and dangerous than that of females. But, yes, apply the same standards and law equally depending on feasibility.

    After carefully re-reading Michael’s post I find that he actually makes an airtight argument for the status quo with some red herrings thrown in for seasoning. There’s not a whole lot new to say. When you walk into the Womens Room and a woman tells you to get out…Get out. Don’t argue.

  44. Ryan@35

    Not one documented case of a pre-op trans person committing any of the above.

    I have to wonder if you even looked. Just running a basic google search shows a pre-op trans did indeed sexually assault women in Toronto (notice how that city keeps popping up?). I suppose you’ll argue this person wasn’t “really” trans, but that’s the entire point, isn’t it. If you want to support progressive bills like the one in Toronto you forfeit your right, legal and rationally, to make that kind of judgment.

    Denying obvious points like this and dismissing your detractors as “conservative” is rude to say the least.

  45. Of course men would be writing this BS. None of you have had to endure the indignities of being out shopping and noting your pants and underwear soaked in blood. None of you even have to think about blood flowing from your body at inopportune times when you are least prepared. Imagine being a 14-yr-old girl dealing with this undesirable aspect of womanhood and having men wandering into the bathroom while trying to figure out how to wash blood out of your clothing when you have nothing else to wear. And some of us use bathrooms as a place to breastfeed. And some of us have miscarriages and other discomforts of pregnancy. Let’s just be graphic. Because being a woman is graphic; it’s not just a matter of peeing. Men cannot even imagine what it’s like to be a woman or young girl. Stay out of our bathrooms.

  46. Ok I see your point on womem and men on rape but how many times have you heard of a women raping a 2 or 3 year old to the point of no return never so sir k tell you that if this becomes a law in my.state I will spen d some time I’m sure of it because I’ll be damned if I let any men into a restroom with my little girls or wife .ost women prey on boys going into puberty or older so to me I’ll say if I was a young man and that happened ID be saying hell yeah because we know 9 outof 10 boys are willing to were these little girls are not. So debunk all the hell you want to right is right and wrong is wrong putting a man in the same.restroom as my.child could.be hazardous to his physical well being. Opinion are like asshole accept Democrats have a nastier just want to get there rocks off WELL SAID SANDRA

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