The Restroom Debate

Woman and man needing to pee
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Nothing sends the transphobes into a hypocritical hissy fit quite like the thought of a transgender woman using a women’s public restroom. Or worse, a transgender girl using the girl’s room at school.

They rage, “I don’t want a man in a dress in the same dressing room as my wife/daughter!”

This from the same crowd that wants to limit women’s reproductive rights, who dismiss Trump’s pussy comment as “boys’ being boys”, who blame rape victims based on what they’re wearing.

When you examine all of their anti-trans rhetoric, every argument falls apart as nothing more than thinly veiled prejudice.

Trans Folks Are Not the Danger

doctor with lab coat
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Let’s start with the claim that transgender people are mentally ill people who are a danger to women/children. As the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics confirm, being transgender is not a form of mental illness.

We are simply people whose assigned gender at birth does not match our neurological gender identity. We are who we say we are. We are NOT a danger.

The only men in dresses I’ve heard of molesting children are Catholic priests. Perhaps we should ban all clergy from public restrooms.

Transgender women and men have been using public restrooms for several decades (think Billy Tipton and Christine Jorgensen) without a single case of one of us attacking someone else. You just didn’t know we were there.

Actual Trans-Involved Restroom Violence

That’s not to say there haven’t been violent incidents in public restrooms involving transgender people. There have been many. But in EVERY one of those incidents, the transgender person has been the victim, while the assailant has been cisgender (non-transgender).

There have also been dozens of cases where cisgender women have been assumed to be trans and have been attacked or expelled by force from women’s restrooms. That’s how ridiculous this debate has become. Instead of protecting women, these self-appointed gender police are assaulting them.

Bathroom Bills Don’t Deter Rapists

Another claim by the anti-trans power brokers is that claim that allowing people to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity will allow cisgender men to put on a dress and makeup and infiltrate women’s restrooms and assault women.

Transgender rights supporters
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Again, in the decades that transgender people have been using public restrooms NOT ONCE has the above “potential threat” occurred. Not once.

And passing bathroom bills (laws banning transgender people from the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity) certainly wouldn’t make women safer anyway. Want to know why? Because rapists don’t care about the law.

Unintended Consequences of these Bills

You know what bathroom bills will do? They will force transgender women to use the men’s room, putting their lives in further danger. I say “further” because murders of transgender people are already at an all-time high.

You know what else they will do? Force burly, bearded transgender men (who are so often forgotten in this debate) to use the women’s room. Talk about the law of unintended consequences! If you don’t want men using the women’s room, don’t pass these bathroom bills or that’s exactly what you get.

The Non-Binary Elephant in the Room

all gender restroom sign
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And let me bring up one other conundrum that is so often not addressed when this debate comes up. People who identify as genderfluid, nonbinary, or genderqueer also need a safe place to pee. These are people who do not identify exclusively as male or female, but as neither or both. Where can they go?

I propose unisex restrooms, even for multi-stall restrooms. These stalls have locks on the doors. We already have “family restrooms” for parents with opposite sex children. This isn’t that much of a stretch.

And yes, when I first went into a multi-stall, unisex restroom, it was a bit of a shock. “Hey, there are men in here, too.” But I quickly got over it. Because everyone was in there for the same reasons. To pee. To poop. Maybe freshen up make up or run a comb through their hair. And hopefully wash their hands!!!!

Just Be Nice

The bottom line is that these bathroom bills are not a solution to any problem. They only create problems.

And if you run into a transgender person in a restroom, give them a smile. Maybe compliment their outfit. Just be nice. We could all use a little more nice.

Unisex restroom sign
Photo credit: tedeytan via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA




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