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Hmm, which restroom shall I use today?

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The right of transgendered people to use the public restroom of the gender they identify with is suddenly a big issue in the US. The City of Charlotte, North Carolina, recently passed an ordinance allowing the transgendered to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

Critics say the new law could allow adult male pedophiles and peeping Toms into the ladies' room. In response to the city's ordinance, the State of North Carolina passed a law requiring people to use the restroom that corresponds to their sex on their birth certificate. President Obama has come out in favor of the transgendered.

This is a difficult issue for me. Perhaps we need to install separate restrooms for the transgendered.
 

Timelyn

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The right of transgendered people to use the public restroom of the gender they identify with is suddenly a big issue in the US. The City of Charlotte, North Carolina, recently passed an ordinance allowing the transgendered to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

Critics say the new law could allow adult male pedophiles and peeping Toms into the ladies' room. In response to the city's ordinance, the State of North Carolina passed a law requiring people to use the restroom that corresponds to their sex on their birth certificate. President Obama has come out in favor of the transgendered.

This is a difficult issue for me. Perhaps we need to install separate restrooms for the transgendered.
Adults who have transitioned nowadays are normally imposible to tell apart from someone who was actually born their sex. From this point of view I can't see what the hell does this law do in favour of biggots, which I understand are the ones complaining.

I'm guessing this comes from concerned parents who don't like their children sharing lockers with transitioning children, right?
 

madphysicist

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Adults who have transitioned nowadays are normally imposible to tell apart from someone who was actually born their sex. From this point of view I can't see what the hell does this law do in favour of biggots, which I understand are the ones complaining.

I'm guessing this comes from concerned parents who don't like their children sharing lockers with transitioning children, right?
Indeed, a trans man using the ladies or a trans woman using the gents would stand out and are much more likely to be questioned or attacked. That is why they don't want to use the bathroom of the gender they were designated at birth (in many countries you can legally change your gender, but even legal gender is not what these bills are based on). Forcing people to out themselves every time they go to a special "transgender" bathroom is not a solution; it is obviously more likely to lead to assault.

Trans people have not suddenly appeared in the last 10 years. Nor have single-sex bathrooms, nor have unisex bathrooms. Peeping toms taking advantage of the existence of trans people to spy on others have simply never been an issue. Certain politicians have taken this non-issue and tried to play on people's fears to try to make their discriminatory legislation seem more rational and palatable. That's all there is to it. It's like saying "let's make special gay bathrooms so that gay/bi men won't spy on straight men or boys".

By the way, the bill that passed in NC also removes the right against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. They snuck that one in with this bathroom nonsense.
BREAKING: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory Signs Bill Legalizing Anti-LGBT Discrimination Statewide - Joe.My.God.

The people most likely to be assaulted in public bathrooms are trans, intersex, or otherwise non-gender-conforming people. I think the simplest solution is unisex bathrooms.
Just take the "male" and "female" signs off the door and replace them with "WC" and an indication of whether there are urinals, stalls, baby-change facilities etc. Done. There is too much emphasis on gender in this world.

An educational story that appeared today about a Canadian intersex filmmaker:
At 12 I grew a beard and had a period - BBC News
 

Mike Cash

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Just take the "male" and "female" signs off the door and replace them with "WC" and an indication of whether there are urinals, stalls, baby-change facilities etc. Done. There is too much emphasis on gender in this world.
Have you ever been at a rest area on an expressway in Japan when a tour bus full of oba(a)sans pulls in?
 

WonkoTheSane

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If people are going into the bathroom to use the bathroom I don't care what bathroom they use. If people are going in to be pedophiles or peeping toms I don't want them in any bathroom with others.

Here's a solution: Separate bathroom for peeping toms and pedophiles.

See, everyone is happy.
 
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Great idea, Wonko. lol

The idea of uni-sex restrooms wouldn't fly here in the US. Any suggestion that this solution (or any other) should be implemented by government would fly like a lead balloon.
 

Mike Cash

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The idea of uni-sex restrooms wouldn't fly here in the US.
Neither would the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, integration of the military, women on combat vessels, gays in the military, same-sex marriage, or a black man as President.

In the early 80s I confidently predicted that karaoke would never and could never be popular in America. Shows how much I know.....
 

WonkoTheSane

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I dunno, if I can get used to some old lady hanging out in the men's locker room at onsen where I walk around naked, I think Americans can probably handle unisex bathrooms.

I think this idea that a woman can't urinate in a stall adjacent to a man using a urinal without a sexual assault occurring is a bit of a disservice. It's like assuming a person can't carry a concealed weapon without being tempted into committing a robbery. It assumes the worst. The problem is that when we treat people like we expect the worst from them, we usually get it.

To me the solution is obvious. Expect high standards to be met and immediately correct failures to meet those standards.

Remember, when bathrooms are illegal, only criminals will pee (inside)! :D
 

madphysicist

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I'm not completely deluded, I don't think everyone will suddenly want to adopt unisex toilets just to make life easier for minority groups. But the status quo in most countries is far from ideal for anyone whose gender isn't straightforward or who isn't perceived as the gender they feel.

An actual trans person's perspective:
Transgender in public bathrooms: Why does our safety always come second?

Gender segregation can also be problematic for others, e.g. for the single father who finds that the only baby-change facilities are in the ladies' room. And who amongst us women has not at some point used the men's room because of the long queue for the ladies'? Having at least some unisex facilities available in public places would go a long way to fix these issues.

Even going the way of the Tokyo train carriages and having a small "women only" bathroom and the rest unisex might work for larger places like airports. Then women who are genuinely afraid of assault or the possible sight of someone using a urinal could go in there. But to be honest, I think we could all get used to it fairly quickly.
 

WonkoTheSane

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I read the article you linked, @madphysicist , and I can't help but wonder if some of the problem isn't manufactured by the author. He dresses like a man, identifies as a man, has gone to great pains to ensure his outer appearance matches his gender identity but not a single time does he mention just simply using the gentlemen's room. Seems to me this solves his problem.

Hell, I think most men would, if asked by a typical woman, be fine if she just came in and used a stall just to avoid the line at the ladies room. Most of us aren't that uptight. The author stated that men with long hair get harassed in men's bathrooms every other time they go in, which is complete BS in my experience. When I was in high school, way back in the 1980s, I had long hair and I never, not once, was harassed when using a public bathroom. I think men don't really care who comes in as long as they do their business and leave.

I don't really follow politics, but I read that Trump said this shouldn't be an issue. There shouldn't be laws for or against, just go where you feel comfortable and people ought to leave you alone to pee in peace.

Regardless of how I feel about any other views, this seems pretty reasonable to me. Straights, gays, transgendered, religious, etc. ought to all just get over themselves and leave each other be. We're talking about pissing here, not exactly the moral dilemma of the century.
 
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Well, I for one don't want women using the men's bathroom. In some places they already clog up the ladies' room with long lines. Leave the men to piss efficiently and quickly in their own space. lol
 

WonkoTheSane

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Well, I for one don't want women using the men's bathroom. In some places they already clog up the ladies' room with long lines. Leave the men to piss efficiently and quickly in their own space. lol
Don't worry, they'll only use the stalls anyway, we can still ninja through.
 

Mike Cash

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I demand the right to go take a dump in the ladies' room when all the stalls are occupied in the men's room.

Let's be for real here, no guys are going to raise hell over a woman who just can't hold it any longer coming into the men's room but we all know what sort of grief any man under the same circumstances would face for barging into the ladies' room. He'd be lucky not to get arrested.
 

madphysicist

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I read the article you linked, @madphysicist , and I can't help but wonder if some of the problem isn't manufactured by the author. He dresses like a man, identifies as a man, has gone to great pains to ensure his outer appearance matches his gender identity but not a single time does he mention just simply using the gentlemen's room. Seems to me this solves his problem.
I wondered about that too, but he mentions several times being on his period which may be why he preferred to use the ladies'. I have read a whole lot of similar accounts from trans people, and several have the problem that whichever bathroom they choose they are sometimes not deemed "male enough" or "female enough" to go for a wee without questioning. That seemed to me to be what the author of the article was implying too and why he started using the disabled whenever he could. (I am certain it is not the case that it has never occurred to him to use the gents, that would be ridiculous.)

Also the bill that the OP mentioned actually forces people to use the bathroom of their birth gender, so whatever the trans guy chose to do in the past, he would now have to use the ladies' by law when in NC. As would that intersex person with the full beard in the article I linked above.

In any case, it's not just this one person who's been talking about the abuse they've faced. It is a genuine problem for a substantial number of people.

Straights, gays, transgendered, religious, etc. ought to all just get over themselves and leave each other be. We're talking about pissing here, not exactly the moral dilemma of the century.
It would indeed be great if everyone did that. Unfortunately a lot of politicians have decided to make other people doing their business into everyone's business. And they are sneaking in extra legislation to remove LGBT anti-discrimination rulings at the same time. It's all very well us saying "it's a big fuss about nothing" but this bill has actually passed and will now start affecting people's lives negatively.

Let's be for real here, no guys are going to raise hell over a woman who just can't hold it any longer coming into the men's room but we all know what sort of grief any man under the same circumstances would face for barging into the ladies' room. He'd be lucky not to get arrested.
Sexual harassment and assault against women is a real threat that we face constantly, so I can't really blame women for not wanting men in the women's bathroom, even if there is no greater risk of assault happening there than anywhere else. (Sexual assault IS shockingly common, but most often happens in private at the hands of someone the victim knows, not a random stranger in a public place.)

I'm willing to cater to people's fears or discomfort, but not up to a point where someone else is being disproportionately harmed by this catering. There are more effective ways we could deal with the genuine problems of harassment and assault than strict bathroom policing - educating young people about consent and what is inappropriate when pursuing someone sexually, training police and other officials to take cases seriously and treat victims with dignity etc. etc.

I really don't appreciate politicians taking a serious problem like this that actually affects my life and making it into a stick to beat minorities with. (I do not for one second believe that these lawmakers are really concerned about women.)

Once again, I think having at least some unisex facilities available in public places could do no harm and be of use to minorities. We could also get rid of the silly situation where a small restaurant has a "male" and "female" toilet even though they're both individual single stalls.
 
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WonkoTheSane

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Ivan wrote his article in 2014, so it can't have been in response to this law. I have a hard time believing, given that his article was specifically about being discriminated against in the bathroom, that he wouldn't have mentioned the issues he faced in the men's room if he had faced any. Are there special stalls or something for women on their periods? I've not been in a woman's restroom looking for such things so perhaps I'm missing something but I'd think a stall in either restroom would afford the necessary privacy? I don't know, it's certainly not an issue I've faced.

From what I've read sexual assault happens about as frequently to both genders when language which allows males to describe their experience makes it into the law. Just as domestic violence seems to be pretty balanced between the two. It appears that there are just some basically screwed up human beings of both genders.

I'd be willing to bet, however, that neither gender is all that likely to be assaulted in a public restroom.

So women not wanting males in their restroom is about as phobic as anyone not wanting transgendered people in their restroom. It smacks of the same assumption that all of a particular gender are perverted.
 
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mdchachi

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The idea of uni-sex restrooms wouldn't fly here in the US. Any suggestion that this solution (or any other) should be implemented by government would fly like a lead balloon.
This photo is from an American university. It's one solution; but not many facilities have the money to create a 3rd class of restroom. I agree that U.S. people wouldn't accept creating all restrooms as unisex.

This is a difficult issue for me. Perhaps we need to install separate restrooms for the transgendered.
People should be allowed to whatever restroom is closest to their gender (and I don't mean DNA). If we can allow people to change their sex surgically as well as on their passports and other official documents, how can we possibly insist they can't use bathrooms accordingly?? This is simply hate legislation that provides a solution to a non-existent problem. Look at it from the transgender person's point of view. It's really heartbreaking what they go through. It would be hard enough as it is without society's reactions.

I don't know if you know the story of Nicole Maines; it is so awesome and lucky that she landed in the lap of parents who did the right thing by her. So many others don't get such support and end up homeless, drug addicts or dead.

'I'm Nicole, I'm Incredibly Happy': Born Identical Twin Boys, These Siblings Are Now Brother and Sister - ABC News
Viewpoint: Why bathrooms matter to trans rights - BBC News
 

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Timelyn

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There used to be in the Fnac in the center of Madrid normal restrooms, seperated for women and men.

They eventually changed them and there are now about 10 doors on the wall which lead to individual toilets with a small washing basin and a mirror. These are obviously unisex, there are lights on top of the doors and you are free to enter which ever is free at the moment.

Of course, this wasn't done because of gender issues. These restrooms were free to use and they were very well situated in the heart of Madrid, so they became a famous cruising spot, which think this is a much more legit issue than not offending people who don't want to share a restroom with transitioning people. Either way, it serves all purposes and I can't find a complaint about them.

Why is this not done more often? It's not exactly a unisex restroom, since you don't share it with anyone, they are individual restrooms, like the ones you would find in a train or a small shop.
 
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Timelyn, I'm seeing that kind of restroom more and more here, especially in medical office buildings and hospitals, it seems like. Without the occupancy lights, though. Seems like an excellent solution, but undoubtedly costs more to install.
 

madphysicist

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Ivan wrote his article in 2014, so it can't have been in response to this law. I have a hard time believing, given that his article was specifically about being discriminated against in the bathroom, that he wouldn't have mentioned the issues he faced in the men's room if he had faced any. Are there special stalls or something for women on their periods? I've not been in a woman's restroom looking for such things so perhaps I'm missing something but I'd think a stall in either restroom would afford the necessary privacy? I don't know, it's certainly not an issue I've faced.

From what I've read sexual assault happens about as frequently to both genders when language which allows males to describe their experience makes it into the law. Just as domestic violence seems to be pretty balanced between the two. It appears that there are just some basically screwed up human beings of both genders.

I'd be willing to bet, however, that neither gender is all that likely to be assaulted in a public restroom.

So women not wanting males in their restroom is about as phobic as anyone not wanting transgendered people in their restroom. It smacks of the same assumption that all of a particular gender are perverted.
Okay, I don't know that guy personally so I can't tell you why he didn't specifically mention trying the men's room (disposal of sanitary waste may have been an issue, but I don't know). But I can say that I have read again and again about trans people facing abuse in bathrooms and elsewhere.
e.g. from a quick google:
What It's Like to Use a Public Bathroom While Trans | Rolling Stone

"I was 19 when I had my ribs broken. They stomped on me and they beat me so bad they tore my dress off, they tore my panties off [and] they ripped my brand new wig.… They chased me and my two friends. They caught me because I had heels. They were strappy. I would have thrown them away. I wouldn't have cared. They were probably in their mid-20s. Three men, drunk, very large. They kicked me so many times in the ribs. I tried to cover my face to protect my face. As I'm laying there, pretty much lifeless, a guy whips out his penis about to urinate on me. That's disgusting."

I'm not denying men can be victims of assault too, and given the disproportiate number of unreported cases there is really no way of knowing the gender makeup for rape or severe assault. However, men do not generally face the kind of sexual harassment women do on a daily basis. Just in public, I have been yelled at, I have been followed, I have been groped... and that's not the worst of it. All my female friends have had these experiences too. In some places I've lived, this happened practically every day, every time I went out by myself. Yes, it makes me afraid of men, because men are invariably the ones doing this to me. At some times after particularly bad incidents of harassment or worse I have felt anxious being near any men - even those who were my friends and I knew intellectually wouldn't hurt me. Trauma is a real thing, and I don't think you can tell people "don't be afraid of X group". If a person of colour is harassed by white people every time they leave the house by themselves, I don't blame them for being afraid of white people.

I would blame someone who acted on their fear in an unreasonable way, and what you can do is tell people "your fear alone is no basis for public policy, since we have to consider the rights of all groups". And I think that is what we should apply here. Strict gender segregation might make women feel better, but at the expense of another group that faces regular abuse. We do need to deal with harassment of all kinds against all groups, but in realistic ways.

This is why I am so annoyed by politicians pretending to care about harassment and assault, because I wish they did actually care about it. If they are really so concerned about women somehow being harmed by sharing a bathroom with men, why pass a law that forces trans men - who are often indistinguishable in appearance from other men - to use the women's bathroom? It's completely contradictory to their stated intention (an intention which, again, I do not believe in the slightest).
 
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Are there special stalls or something for women on their periods?
There are sometimes tampon dispensers (courtesy or coin-op), and there are almost always containers for disposing of used tampons. If you don't provide somewhere to dispose of them, people will flush their tampons and pads and clog the pipes ... nobody wants to carry a used tampon across the bathroom over to the trash can by the sinks.

Tiny single person bathrooms don't need these if they place the trash beside the toilet, but sometimes have them anyway just so such items are better hidden from sight.
 

WonkoTheSane

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Okay, I don't know that guy personally so I can't tell you why he didn't specifically mention trying the men's room (disposal of sanitary waste may have been an issue, but I don't know). But I can say that I have read again and again about trans people facing abuse in bathrooms and elsewhere.
e.g. from a quick google:
What It's Like to Use a Public Bathroom While Trans | Rolling Stone

"I was 19 when I had my ribs broken. They stomped on me and they beat me so bad they tore my dress off, they tore my panties off [and] they ripped my brand new wig.… They chased me and my two friends. They caught me because I had heels. They were strappy. I would have thrown them away. I wouldn't have cared. They were probably in their mid-20s. Three men, drunk, very large. They kicked me so many times in the ribs. I tried to cover my face to protect my face. As I'm laying there, pretty much lifeless, a guy whips out his penis about to urinate on me. That's disgusting."

I'm not denying men can be victims of assault too, and given the disproportiate number of unreported cases there is really no way of knowing the gender makeup for rape or severe assault. However, men do not generally face the kind of sexual harassment women do on a daily basis. Just in public, I have been yelled at, I have been followed, I have been groped... and that's not the worst of it. All my female friends have had these experiences too. In some places I've lived, this happened practically every day, every time I went out by myself. Yes, it makes me afraid of men, because men are invariably the ones doing this to me. At some times after particularly bad incidents of harassment or worse I have felt anxious being near any men - even those who were my friends and I knew intellectually wouldn't hurt me. Trauma is a real thing, and I don't think you can tell people "don't be afraid of X group". If a person of colour is harassed by white people every time they leave the house by themselves, I don't blame them for being afraid of white people.

I would blame someone who acted on their fear in an unreasonable way, and what you can do is tell people "your fear alone is no basis for public policy, since we have to consider the rights of all groups". And I think that is what we should apply here. Strict gender segregation might make women feel better, but at the expense of another group that faces regular abuse. We do need to deal with harassment of all kinds against all groups, but in realistic ways.

This is why I am so annoyed by politicians pretending to care about harassment and assault, because I wish they did actually care about it. If they are really so concerned about women somehow being harmed by sharing a bathroom with men, why pass a law that forces trans men - who are often indistinguishable in appearance from other men - to use the women's bathroom? It's completely contradictory to their stated intention (an intention which, again, I do not believe in the slightest).
Again, someone using a bathroom not of the gender they identify with physically or psychologically. It just proves both men and women can be horrible to people, it doesn't really support the idea that Ivan would face similar in a men's room since that's the gender he identifies with and appears as.

Also, men do face sexual harassment. I've been on a date where I had sex when I really didn't want to because the girl goaded me by calling into question my manhood.

I can't count the number of times I've been put in dangerous situations because, as a male, it's expected. When I was working in a school system we had an active shooter training and one of the women at my table said to me "I hope if it ever happens I'll have you or one of the other guys with me to protect me." The expectation is that, so she can get away, any male should be willing to take a bullet.

I did home visits since I worked early intervention for the school system. I was sitting in one of our schools parking lots eating my lunch when a female police officer showed up, essentially accused me of pedophilia, and even though I had my school ID called over to my base school to check. Some of the female staff at my school laughed as if it were funny.

These are just a few experiences but, unlike you, I don't let this make me afraid of, or hateful towards, women because I recognize that it is a small subset of them who treat me this way. Most of them, like most men, treat other people with respect and care even if those who don't are far more noticeable to me.

I'd appreciate it, though, if you didn't minimize others experiences.

What we do agree on, is that people should be able to pee safely where they want.
 
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"Also, men do face sexual harassment. I've been on a date where I had sex when I really didn't want to because the girl goaded me by calling into question my manhood."

Gosh, I wish I'd had that problem when I was young and single.
 

WonkoTheSane

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"Also, men do face sexual harassment. I've been on a date where I had sex when I really didn't want to because the girl goaded me by calling into question my manhood."

Gosh, I wish I'd had that problem when I was young and single.
It felt pretty crappy actually.

I was on a double date because a friend liked this girl's friend. I didn't like the girl at all, everything about her was repulsive to me, but when she said "What are you, a faggot, wait 'til I tell my friends!" I ended up doing it because we were all in the same circle and I was young and stupid enough to care what they thought.

Trust me, having sex when it's all you can do to hold down your lunch due to shame and repulsion isn't pleasant.
 
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