Percentages, Prevalence, And Why Women Get Freaked Out By This Whole “Locker Room” Thing

One of the things I set out to do with this blog is to talk about why it is that trans* issues create a complex interplay of conflicts between groups.

The bathroom/locker room issue is one where I feel both sides are talking past each other, rather than to each other.  So let’s talk about it.  This is what I’ve seen, by reading things from both sides and trying to get past the intense personal rages that tend to frame these discussions on both sides.

Trans people, by and large, aren’t rapists and have no interest in sexually assaulting or causing any type of physical or emotional harm.  Many trans women, in particular, believe (often rightfully so) that their physical safety and mental health could be endangered by men in men’s locker rooms or bathrooms.

I accept all of this, completely.  However, what I don’t accept is the idea that no men will take advantage of there being a legitimated way to gain access to women’s spaces.  Let’s talk about some numbers.

It’s hard to estimate the actual number of men who are or will become rapists in the United States.  While very large percentages of women and smaller percentages of men are rape victims, studies suggest that a large majority of rapes are committed by rapists who rape several different individuals, resulting in there being a smaller percentage of rapists than rape victims.  However, the prevalence of rapists in the male population is still estimated at somewhere in the vicinity of 10 percent.

Let’s take a high school as our setting for a bathroom conflict of interests, so I can show you why it’s complicated to allow transwomen access to women’s spaces at some times, and why that doesn’t mean in any way that someone believes all trans women, most trans women, or even ANY trans women are rapists.

Let’s say this high school is about the size of the high school I attended back in the age of the dinosaurs–so about 1500 students.

That’s 750 males, 750 females.

Based on the prevalence of trans* people in the population (around three-tenths of a percent), if all trans* kids came out, there would be about 4-5 trans students in the school, 2-3 of whom would be trans girls.

Now, let’s say you have a locker room–it could be a locker room like the one I had to change in every day, the girls’ swimming locker room, in which full nudity was necessary for changing into and out of your bathing suit.  It’s my contention that the issue isn’t with the 2-3 trans girls, who are just trying to escape male violence that they could be exposed to in the men’s locker room.

Let’s consider, for a moment, the 75 rapists.

Out of 750 boys in the school, 75 of them are already or will become rapists at some point in their lifetime.  A number of the ones who do not become actual rapists will still be creeps of some variety, including your garden-variety flashers, subway masturbators, and abusers.

Do you sincerely believe that out of 75 men sociopathic enough to believe rape is something they’re entitled to, not one of those men would see a naked-girls-changing-clothing space as so worth invading that it’s also worth jumping through some gender hoops for?

Think of the most psychotic assholes who went to your high school.  If they were anything like the people who went to mine, they were males who’d have done basically anything to be creepy perverted assholes.  They knew how to suck up to people in power to make it all look unintentional, so they never got in trouble.

And all it takes is one.  When women’s locker rooms aren’t penis-free zones, the first rape that occurs makes women less likely to go to the gym, to participate in sports, to gain all of the benefits of physical activity that those locker rooms once gave them access to.  Women’s locker rooms, especially for pools and other spaces involving full nudity, were never comfortable places for me as a young woman–but neither were they places where I felt like I had to fear rape.

Now, this means–painfully clearly!–that there should be some place for trans* people to change and use the bathroom where they are not subject to that kind of risk, because those 75 rapists are still around in the men’s locker room.  Please know that I’m not saying that trans women should just use men’s facilities, risking harm.

The solution that seems most obvious to me would be to have a third locker room that involved exclusively individual-sized lockable stalls with good privacy, rather than a large open space for changing–which could be used by any person of any gender identity or sex to change in.  I suspect that some women who currently use women’s facilities might switch to such individual compartment changing rooms, since I have seen large numbers of girls and women who change in the bathroom, risking terrible accidents involving bikinis and toilet water, just so they won’t be seen naked, even by other women.  Not having had the ability to observe men in their native locker room habitats, I don’t know if the same thing goes for them.

If it turns out everyone prefers individual compartment rooms, great, let’s convert locker rooms into that–it wouldn’t be the first time that society had changed how we do rooms in order to create additional privacy.  Anyone who’s traveled abroad for some time, or who has studied history and how houses and castles used to look, has probably seen a row of toilet holes, with no dividers.  At some point, folks here decided that we’d really rather not watch our neighbors take a dump, regardless of their sex or how well acquainted we were.  It may be that it’s come time to do the same with locker rooms.

I think a lot of trans* people, and a lot of women (and, hell, probably some men, too, though I don’t know enough about their overall locker room shyness levels, as I said), would be able to use these facilities.  When trans* women say that this kind of situation isn’t enough (I’m thinking here of the Evergreen State situation, in which a transgender woman was first told she could use a separate auxiliary women’s changing room, but not the changing room where other women were), it sets off red flags in a lot of women’s heads. Why?  Because it suddenly looks like you’re not just trying to get away from an unsafe situation, but instead are creating a situation that others may perceive as potentially dangerous.

Sure, I understand the problems inherent to “separate but equal.”  There needs to be understanding on the trans* side, though, that women aren’t just making up these concerns about rapists and their inability to feel safe in a space that previously was free from possible invasion by men who’d like to rape them.

Even if we make an assumption that zero trans women with penises will use that penis for rape (a bad assumption, as I’d think there are some rapists in any group of that size), it doesn’t mean that a fear of rape by men who are manipulating their way into a locker room is irrational.  People born male are more than 30 times more likely to become a rapist than they are to transition into a feminine gender role, and that matters when it comes time for women to evaluate the risks of letting people with penises into spaces that had, heretofore, been penis-free.

There is no perfect solution, because we do not live in a perfect world.  We live in a world with rapists, manipulators, liars.  If there were no rape, we could easily have fully integrated communal bathrooms and changing rooms with no objections.  That’s not the world we live in.

If you want to understand the bathroom problem from another perspective, let’s consider the perspectives of four groups of people–non-transgender males, non-transgender females, MtF trans* people, and FtM trans* people–as locker rooms open from being sex-segregated to being segregated by man/woman gender identity and/or expression.

For non-transgender males, this change is either neutral (if you’re not a creep) or, if you’re a really incredibly gross dude, it could be positive to you, because you might be able to gain entry into a women’s space to gawk or rape.

For MtF transgender people, this change is significantly positive, removing them from a large majority of potential rapists and into a space where they feel more comfortable, happy, and at ease.

For non-transgender females, the change is neutral to negative.  Rape risks are real, and fears of manipulative men invading women’s spaces, sometimes even at great personal cost, are also real.

For FtM people, the change is unlikely to be positive and could be significantly negative.  If an FtM person is forced to go to the men’s locker room, they risk rape for their gender-nonconformity.  Their alternative is to stay in the women’s locker room, where they feel they do not belong.

So here’s the problem radical feminists have with that: do you notice the groups that are getting positive effects, and the groups that are getting negative ones?  People born with penises, regardless of the gender they identify as, are at worst looking at a policy change that is neutral to them.  People born with vaginas, on the other hand, regardless of their gender identity, are being hurt by this policy at worst and will find it neutral at best.

Now, let’s look at the three-bathroom idea, and how it affects those same groups of people:

Non-transgender men: this policy is neutral to positive for non-transgender men.  Men who are embarrassed to change in the company of other men may prefer the third room, resulting in a positive experience versus the current configuration.

Transgender MtF people: this policy is positive, with caveats, for MtF people.  It definitely decreases the risk of rape or harassment that could befall an MtF person in a men’s locker room.  However, the positives of this may be tempered for some MtF people by the fact that going to a separate locker room would seem like it was invalidating some aspect of their gender identity.

Non-transgender females: This policy would be neutral to positive for non-transgender females.  Some of these women would choose to use a third bathroom.

FtM people: This policy would be positive–few FtM people were able to use men’s locker rooms without fear of harassment or rape.  The policy allows FtM people to go into a safe space locker room that isn’t designated as being for the gender they do not identify with.

So, that’s the bathroom/locker room problem.  It’s complicated, and like I said, no solution is perfect because we don’t live in a perfect world.  But could we maybe take a few minutes for everyone to acknowledge that yes, both sides in this intense disagreement have very real fears about assault, rape, and identity, and that any good solution for these issues will, in fact, work by taking those fears into account rather than dismissing them out of hand?

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28 thoughts on “Percentages, Prevalence, And Why Women Get Freaked Out By This Whole “Locker Room” Thing

  1. Hi, thanks for this, I think this careful nutting out of the issues is very valuable.

    I do think you’ve been too accepting of the framing of the genderist crew – that gender-critical feminists who support female-only protections are assuming that all women-identifying males are wannabe rapists.

    While there are some gender-critical women who make irresponsibly crude statements on this issue – as there are people who comment unhelpfully on anything – in general, the concerns are not that all or even most trans women/ girls are rapist wannabes.

    These concerns include:

    i) The danger from allowing bepenised males (often adults) in spaces where females (not just adults) will be undressed. Meaning girls will be naked and/or adult males will be.

    ii) The danger, as you say, of males who do not genuine identify as women, taking advantage of the opportunity to access such spaces.

    iii) The general emphasis on attempting/pretending to fix problems by ratifying ‘gender identity’ rather than addressing male violence. An emphasis which is particularly damaging to younger people who are likely to accept this as the solution to their problems.

    iv) The dangers of teaching young girls that, in our society, they should be blase about being around adult penises and accept the assurance of their possessors as to their intentions. The dangers of teaching young people from a social sector whose biological sex is quite relevant to their oppression, that biological sex does not exist.

    It really is very rare to see any gender-critical feminist unaware that trans women are at increased risk of male-pattern violence than other males. However, it’s also worth noting that quite a few trans women who have made the media for being ejected from females’ restroom facilities have stated that they simply didn’t feel the facilities for males to be congruent with their ‘gender identity’. They did not comment on a perceived physical risk to them. There are multiple factors in play here.

    [I also don’t believe males transition into a ‘feminine gender role’. I’m not aware of any males who first get told they’re boys, then feel they’re girls and grow up expecting to be sexually and domestically subordinate to males, to be child-rearers etc. Nor, more crucially, is their development shaped by society’s expectation that they do these things, nor by society’s generally lesser regard for them. Trans girls seem to be given more attention, rather than less. And with adult males? No chance.]

    Getting back to your article, I do like your careful spelling out of best-we-can-find solutions and the fact that we’re not in a position for any solution to be perfect. Until we get rid of gender and its attendant violence entirely, of course 🙂

  2. This is such a smart and poised post. It seems to be a bigger issue. To reduce it to the “bathroom” or locker-room may obscure and trivializes the nature of the problem which is the colonizing of women’s spaces. The important spaces are women’s shelters, prisons, hospital, nursing and rehabs, domestic violence and women’s homeless shelters and shelters for victims of domestic violence—each of these spaces must remain “women only spaces” and by woman I mean any and all XX chromosome or any true “intersexed person, Turners Syndrome et al”. Women have rights to “feel” safe, to have the “perceived notion of safety—whether they are or are not is beside the point. Much like the Trans argument “the perceived identity or “feeling like a woman.” Along a similar line society will ask–do women, who have been raped and traumatized by male violence by the penis—have the right to be able to venture out of their homes and let’s say try on a dress at Macys? Do little girls have the right to be spared the sight of penis until they are old enough to make the choice? Obviously, Trans as evidenced in their behavior and by the out cry of support on the Internet for the likes of that creep at Evergreen College, the answer is no. Women and minor girls do not have rights. We are presented with only males right to occupy either space at will—depending on what he is “feeling” or how he is Identifying. And these men seek to trample the rights of women and girls. Well the blade slices both ways, the argument from rape surviors is based on “feeling” exactly like the Trans argument, except for the fact that women generally have the police report and ER report to support having been a victim of sexual violence.

    Here the argument is based not on the statistical possibility of harm (which is not minor because Trans rape women at the same rate as any other men) but the perceived fear of harm, the fear and trauma of encountering a male in a women space. I am betting that 1 out of five women’s PTSD as a result of male sexual violence trumps some guy’s disphoria. These traumatized women and children have to live in fear and accommodate the male. The stats on Trans violence—in one prison system in CA out of 440 inmates that id as trans 49.9% where register sex offenders and 24% were serving time for violent crimes—murder, serial rape (of women and children) and serial murder. That is 70% Does anyone think women have that rate of sexual violence and murder?

    Theses are men. That is why they demand, that is why they threaten, and that is why women are buying Tasers. They do not care about women. We can’t risk ourselves and our daughters to play who is safe who isn’t game—if that worked no women would be raped. Unisex bathrooms are “the bathroom solution” and laws must be passed to ensure that people that are XY are never be housed in a hospital or rehab, shelter or prisons room with a trans, unless they are in a coma As much as “trans like to mock women and assert the claim it has never happened there are enough cases of women’s being attacked in bathrooms by men in female attire. Maybe only a small percentage like I don’t 49.9% but even if it was just one—why should women be forced to endure the symptoms of PTSD—because men say so, because male disphoria is just the worst pain ever—they are out numbered about 1000’s to one.

    What I am sure they want is to terrify women as an empowerment as an erotic charge. This is rape too and about male power over women—they are forcing entrance—just like rape. Lesbians have long complained and noted first–Trans are rapey. And this becomes clearer and clearer as more and more snap and become violent toward women. This is part of the pathology. As you pointed out they are not at risk—no trans was killed in a men’s room—but they have attacked women in significant numbers. They have exposed their penis to minors girls—and really assert that is that a civil right now—and protecting your daughter is Jim Crow—that is exactly what this guy argued and he is not even one of the violent ones. He just happens to feel that minor girls. “better look at his penis.” Or his civil rights are being violated—because he is a male.

    Google is great—here is a few on the fly list of trans violence against women and children. I certainly do not mean to suggest they all murders,certainly a fair share are serial rapists listed. Count the victims—soon it is going to be Transgender Day of Remembrance. You think they remember who they killed—no I highly doubt they give a crap about women.

    1. A transgendered woman: Thomas Roy Forster, 35, pleaded guilty to the June 2010 second-degree murder of Zachary Waller, 21.”
    2. Sgt. Lynn Benton aggravated murder in the violent death of his estranged spouse.”
    3. Herman Burton, man who police said dresses and identifies as a woman, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, arson and abuse of corpse in the Oct. 30, 2010 killing of Patrick Michael Brady, , was arrested in Center City on Nov. 2, 2010 and charged with strangling Burton and then setting the eighth-floor hotel room on fire.
    4. Donna (Douglas Perry) Serial killer of women 3 women, suspected in several others
    The Women Perry Murdered,
    (Yolanda Sapp, 26, Nikkie Lowe, 34, and Kathlene Brisbois, 38, were all shot and killed within three months of each other in 1990. Sapps and Brisbois were found completely nude, while Lowe’s body was partially clothed)
    5. Ronny Edward Darnell, Rape, Convicted of repeatedly raping a 13-year-old girl
    6. Thomas Lee Benson, identifies as woman, serial rapist of children
    7. Lynda Myers, NB (Timothy Myers) 2011 sexual assault on a child—2 boys
    8. Sherri Masbruch, CA (Richard) Rape x2
    9. Richard Rendler, CA on trail for raping a woman
    10. Leslie Ann Nelson, a transsexual killed a police officer and an investigator with an AK-47 rifle.
    11. Nevada Raven Navajo, murdered woman
    12. Robert Kosilek, murdered his wife, sliced her head off when he strangled her with piano wire
    13. Vonlee Nicole Titlow, once known as Harry Titlow, was found guilty on two
    counts of second-degree murder for the death of Donald Rogers, 74, of Troy.

    14. Olsen serial rapist of children. We should hear his side of it: testified that he is 61 years old and now refers to himself as a woman, although he has not undergone sex change surgery. He admitted that he was convicted of raping three girls. He intended to rape M. and T. but changed his mind.Olsen acknowledged the facts of his prior sexual offenses and explained that he was on drugs at the time and was cross-dressing in secret. He was angry because he felt that he did not have any control in his life He expressed his anger through rape “[b]ecause it was a control issue” and because he “identified [himself] as a woman [he] took it out on women.”
    I doubt he is a rare bird–

    • Your list, which includes people who are not even convicted, people who are clearly mentally ill (and may not even actually be trans) and also included Leslie Ann Nelson whose name I recognized because I’m from NJ. Her crime took place over 15 years ago! Now, compile a list in the last 15 years of violent crimes committed by non-trans people and lets see how it compares percentage wise. Additionally, as the writer points out, transwomen are also in danger of rape and violent crime especially if they used the opposite rest room that they are presenting as. Lastly, you seem to be only talking about people who have not fully transitioned and ignoring people with a trans medical history (who have had surgeries and fully transitioned).

      • Well to protect “trans women” from rape I think a unisex space is needed along with a women’s and a mens room. The violence against “trans” has been either male or trans violence–maybe one case of females. My position is very simple–no penis in women’s spaces. How that plays out. I have no idea. I mean if a person can be legally considered a woman because he “feels” like a woman and gets to keep the penis than either the law needs to change or they can build spaces for women born with a vagina–and the other “women” with penis can go to the women with penis room. It is not safe for women and girls. Men exposing themselves to young girls and then asserting that not allowing that is Jim Crow–come on. That is not an exception–that is the movements position. They hate women, they hate girls. And girls are human beings do have the right to choose when and who’s penis they see the first time. But until more women are rapped and murdered by trans everything is “but that was such a rare exception or they are not really trans, or they were mentally ill–sure.” You think it is fair to expose young girls? Okay I understand. It needs to stop–period. All kinds of spaces come into play–girls sleep away camp, youth hostel. As for the victims–I just did a quick google search and took some down–I will get it more up to date. I mean the victim is still dead and still a woman–sorry if she has gone out of style–don’t worry these guys will kill and rape again and there will be “fresh” names to the list. Percentage wise based on a study done by the prisons system in CA it looks like trans commit violent and sex crimes(meaning rape not prostitution) at the same rate as men and not at the much lower rate of women–you can google that too. Anyway the “trans” wanted the Gender Identity laws to be based on “feeling” not whether they have had SRS which some many say they do not want–okay that is their right. And they got what they wanted. And it is women’s right to safety and privacy. No one should expect women to wait until that is sorted out like a bunch of sitting ducks. They want to assert male privilege and they get turned on by it. They love the ladies room and they will take it up a notch for more “get off” it is just a matter of time.

      • First, I doubt that was a complete list; second, people who kill other people (except in self-defense) are generally crazy. Third, percent wise trans people are 0.3 -3% of the population. So, logically, they should have less criminals numerically than everyone else; it’s the percentage of the population that is criminal that matters. Fourth, doing the whole trans vs. cis thing just creates another harmful binary.

  3. I would like to express wholehearted support for the idea of individual toilets and lockers. Especially in schools and other places where young people are often herded against their will, it would provide relief for people who are bullied in the locker/toilet. They are often cisgender (bullied for something else, from “seen as gay” to just “being a nerd” to race to anything else) and any arrangement solely for trans people would do nothing for them. It might also be *better* for trans people because they are not immune from bullying from people of their chosen gender (and yes biological females CAN bully a biological a male, if they have strength in numbers and confidence).

    However, these would need to be made available on a mandatory basis (whether by regulation or threat of lawsuit) and that involves a cost, which is why this might be harder to push through than any gender identity regulations.

    Not so easy to resolve with homeless shelters, where individual solutions are likely to be unaffordable. There are many homeless young trans people (because of family rejection) and putting them into male shelters creates a strong risk of rape and violence. On the other hand, putting them into female shelters creates a risk of impersonators (since a homeless shelter can not resource proper testing). And yet there might not be enough of them to warrant a shelter just for trans people.

    Perhaps there should be shelters for “GLBT” people – with lesbians icked out by male presence having an option to go to the female shelter, with straight women, instead of the GLBT one. After all, gays really ARE in danger in an all-male facility, too. (Whether lesbians are in an all-female one is debatable and they can make up their own minds). Impersonators would be less of a problem there since the community is mixed anyway – so they would really only impersonate if that’s the only shelter that has places (or is much better than the others), which is a different issue.

  4. This is a good post, but I disagree with your assumption that a very small percentage of mtf’s transition for sexual reasons. Furthermore, many mtf’s do behave in ways that are sexually intimidating and/or dangerous.

    Personally, every mtf I’ve ever met who started transition as a teenager was either creeped on or sexually assaulted at a trans support group, by an adult male crossdresser, non-binary maab trans, or a late transitioner. Or sometimes by another mtf their own age!

    Also, I came across a study last month which found that the rates of violent crime in mtf populations were the same as non-mtf male populations. I will post that link when I find it again!

  5. Not to mention the issue of ‘butch’ women (I think the concept of butch women to be silly, as I do all designation of sex to objects or actions beyond the biological ones); what if butch women are told they must go to the men’s room? Or really effeminate men told to go to the women’s room?
    All this (the whole, M2T into women’s bathrooms) does is allow people to punish people who do not conform to their gender stereotypes.

  6. The thing that strikes me about this issue is it has been blown out of all proportion by both sides not listening to each other’s feelings.

    The bathroom issue is a nasty thorny problem to which there isn’t really an optimal solution.
    I’m a transwoman, though i’m probably better defined as simply generically gender non-conforming. Since everything I say these days about trans* issues seems to upset the wider trans community and i’m sure this will be no exception.
    With bathrooms it comes down to
    1) I want to pee without being assaulted or murdered
    2) I feel genuinely guilty and concerned if I make anyone uncomfortable or feel threatened with my presence.
    3) I actually don’t want to see women naked unless they’re my partner – it makes me feel bad and not attractive, enough ,etc as well as being invasive to her.
    4) Men’s toilets are discussing, filthy and unsafe. I won’t use them unless it clear there’s no men in the area.
    5) I actually do get women’s concerns, i’ve been transwomen who creep the hell out of me and don’t come across to me as women. I’ve met more who creep me out than those I know who I forget are trans, yet i’m not allowed to mention this because i’ve been made some sort of unwilling poster girl for the trans community and would be accused of being internally transphobic.
    I’m regularly invited by the organizers of events which don’t normally allow transwomen. I generally consider myself not welcome in women-only space unless invited.
    6) the idea of actually exposing my genitals in a women’s changing room totally grosses me out, i’m genuinely surprised a transwoman would ever consider it. Maybe It’s because i’m a rape survivor so it’s immediately obvious.. it would freak me out if I shared a change room with another person and I could see their penis if I was feeling triggery.
    7) some straight women tell me they want to have sex with me, which makes it pretty clear to me i’m not exactly the same as if I was born a woman.

    Where single stall toilets are available I use those and bypass the whole issue. I won’t use the men’s because the few times I tried that I got the crap kicked out of me and/or sexually assaulted. If I have to use the women’s I pay attention to the apparent feelings of those around me. Eg if a group of female friends acts as if they expect me to wait in line as part of the group i’ll do that, if they act as if they expect me to go else where, that’s what i’ll do. They are actually subtly communicating information about what makes them feel safe or unsafe and as a transwoman it’s essential to put it to good use. This is all very much not ideal.

    in an ideal world there’d be single stall toilets available and I could just use those and put that in the too hard basket.

    As for changing rooms, I don’t participate in any activity that requires changing rooms and probably won’t until I have surgery, if I do have it.

    • Thanks for your comment–I agree that it’s a thorny problem. I wish the trans community at large didn’t shout down opinions like yours (and mine). Thanks for your respectful approach. I suspect that you’re right…being a rape survivor (I’m one too) makes a big difference to how you perceive threats and options.

      • I’m glad to see the approach I take is largely working. 🙂

        Every community seems to have an issue they don’t want to talk about and will silence anyone voicing.
        For the trans community the most badly taboo issue is trans-on-female rape, they won’t accept it even exists. That we’re not 100% the same as women is a close second.
        For the feminist community, the most taboo issue is probably female-on-trans rape, again they won’t accept it even exists. I’ve been a victim of it, so yes it exists.

        I’m in the definite minority though. Granted in all cases she was intoxicated, but that shouldn’t be an excuse any more than it is for me. On that one I would like to see the attitudes to it change, that it’s not really rape if I have the strength to force her off me (dubious, I didn’t at the time whether frozen in fear or actually not strong enough makes little difference in practice) or that I must have some how really wanted it (the memory still haunts me, more than the men who’ve raped me actually. I reserve certain sexual acts for those I deeply love and trust)
        As for threats though, I think an evil clone of me who would do something bad is a bigger threat than a woman is to me.

      • Rape can happen in any configuration. I’ve been raped violently once and have also been raped while I was extremely intoxicated and my rapist was only slightly intoxicated…it can happen any way and it doesn’t make it easier no matter how it happens.

        I certainly don’t believe (like some, but not all, radical feminists) that there’s some huge number of trans women rapists. At the same time, I think it’s absolutely absurd for people to think that literally no men will grossly abuse gender identity policies…men are pretty amazing in the lengths they will sometimes go to in order to secure access to women’s spaces, and there’s a certain type of “rules lawyer” dude who loves being able to say “but I have every right to be here,” smugly, while watching people get mad. Most trans women will always be going to women’s rooms just to be free of men’s oppressive behaviors…but it’s going to be incredibly complicated to figure out what criteria should be used to keep people from abusing these rules.

      • You have a definite point there. I’m glad to see not all radical feminists are completely insane – until I had this conversation I thought the radical feminist point of view that even being trans was oppressive to women.

        The metric I use is “if i’m creeping any [other?] women out, I probably shouldn’t be here.” unfortunately this cannot be enforced, since it depends on trans women having a concence and being prepared to put others before themselves, which depends on how they were socalized.
        I don’t actually have much of a problem with the way things are now as I effectively have the right to use women rest room because when my transness has been brought up, it’s only ever been by men and women who were complete strangers immediately stood up and defended me, but that sort of right granted by informal consensus at a particular instance in time isn’t able to be formalized. It is however immune to that sort of nickpicking abuse because it can be revoked by the group at large if abused at any time.

        I know i’m kind of privileged and a bit of an unusual case in that being accepted by women as one of them is how I even became trans in the first place. That happened before I knew what trans* was or that I could take estrogen and anti-androgens to get rid of instrincts that feel alien to me. I doubt i’d enjoy the privileges that I do if I didn’t pass well for example. I don’t 100% pass in terms of what I look like, but I do pass in terms of how other women feel towards me which is what really matters.

      • I would like to use some of your points in my Presentation on Keeping some of the Sex-Based Bathrooms and Making some of them Unisex.

    • Your post gives me so much hope that reasonable discussion is possible! I’ve had so much frustration trying to talk with transgender individuals who seem completely incapable of understanding anything you just said. I would love it if they’d put in single stall bathrooms and changing rooms everywhere, as I can’t stand changing in front of anyone, trans or not.

      Everything you’ve said just makes so much sense to me, thank you 🙂

  7. Naw Radfems and Transwomen getting along and respecting eachother’s identities as well as boundaries! I have been searching for you and I found you!
    *hugs this commenter section*
    I am happy. I was struggling with incorporating this trans conundrum into my feminism without negative impact to females, I see how it can be done now.
    ❤ ❤ ❤
    I like radical transfeminists

  8. Also I want to point something out. About where you say although large numbers of females are rape victims studies suggest that many rapists are serial rapists and this therefore results in there being less rapists than there are rape victims. I challenge this logic on the grounds that many rape victims are serially raped. Be it by different men in separate situations, multiple men in group/gang rape, or by one man on multiple occassions sometimes over a period of years which happens a lot when the victim is a child or a girlfriend/wife in domestic violence. Women are serial rape victims as much as men are serial rapists.

    • 10% is a pretty big chunk of the male population. Do you assume that the numbers are even higher? I don’t want to live on this planet anymore … actually, I don’t even want to live on a planet with more than 5% of the general population being rapists, but even more?
      I want to scream, but it’s midnight and other people are sleeping. *sigh*

      • I googled it, and found this study:

        http://www.newsweek.com/campus-rapists-and-semantics-297463

        So, about 30% of men on campus admit that they’re rapists.

        Giving birth to a son therefore is like holding a gun to another woman’s head, playing Russian roulette, with two bullets instead of one.

        Unless we assume that the rapist percentage on campuses is higher than anywhere else. Which would be comforting, but why would it be?

  9. I want information and statistics on faab women’s violence against maab women. One of the commenters has presented detailed information on maab women’s violence against faab women, yet the reverse situation isn’t even mentioned. Females have instigated violence against other females (granted not in the epidemic rates that males have committed violence against us) and I do not believe that not one single such attack has occurred. I have no idea the statistics on faab women perpetrating violence against maab women. This article has made an attempt to consider all positions and perspectives on this issue and it has been brought to my attention that this information not being included has the potential to skew analysis in favour of bias against transwomen. Where can this information be found so we can include it in the discussion?

  10. How refreshing to read a balanced view of the situation, with no judgements or pointless idealisms to block any meaningful progress. Call me a cynic (or a realist), but your statement “There is no perfect solution, because we do not live in a perfect world” superbly encapsulates what we have to deal with in reality rather than where all of the loudest activists in both camps seem to wish that we were…

    “I understand the problems inherent to “separate but equal.” There needs to be understanding on the trans* side, though, that women aren’t just making up these concerns about rapists and their inability to feel safe in a space that previously was free from possible invasion by men who’d like to rape them.”

    Yes, and even in the UK where Gender Identity is a protected category from most employment, services, and memberships discrimination (Equality Act 2010), this is still a grey area. Personally, I will only eat out in places with single stall or gender neutral washroom facilities. I am happy to use disabled washroom facilities if that is what is on offer (From a certain perspective, I *am* disabled). I do think the inventor of the communal stand-up urinal should have been shot, but that is neither here nor there…

    At work, though I am protected from discrimination (which is just as well, as we have a lot of hardcore religious folks in the place), I am also required to use the disabled washroom until such time as all the women in the building state they would be comfortable with me using the ladies’ washroom. If they never do, then fair enough. Though it would feel like a curious sort of honour, I won’t deny, the only thing I expect from society is that it facilitate and protect me in discarding the thing that makes me dysphoric (My masculinity, and its social obligations and trappings). Beyond that, it is completely necessary that I am sensitive and respectful to other people who – understandably – do not wish their lives to revolve around my disease.

  11. “Separate and equal” is not the case for women, as we are separate and not equal. Not that a lack of separation from males would mean less inequality, but … well, in school I was always annoyed that we girls had to do graceful “sports” while the boys could just play soccer. (I am about as graceful as a rhinoceros, and would have much preferred to be allowed to just get some exercise)
    Separate locker rooms, on the other hand, cannot do much harm. At worst, one can be smaller than the other.

  12. As women we don’t owe transwomen any more than we owe the rest of the male population when they invoke the same “not all men” or “nice guy” red herrings. Not all males are rapists and murderers. Yes, we are aware of that. We are not infants. We have fully functioning adult brains. What we have is a rational and evidence-based fear based on the reality of global, brutal violence by males towards females. “Not all men” is an obvious logical fallacy. Feminists certainly agree with that. “Not all transwomen” or “but I’m a nice transwoman” is no different and just as irrelevant. To some degree this reads as though it’s bending over backwards to make sure it’s known that we’re not implying that *any* transwomen are predatory or violent. That’s bull. Transwomen are predatory and violent in the exact manner and frequency as the rest of the male population. So we don’t need to separate the 3 assumed harmless transgirls from the 747 potential rapist boys. What we have are 750 males, all with male aggression and male violence tendencies. None of them have the right to abolish female spaces.

    Further, even if none of those 750 boys would harm any of those particular 750 girls, that is also irrelevant. In a group of 750 girls it is ***impossible*** that none of them have ever experienced any form of sexual harrasment, molestation, or rape at the hands of males. The ones who haven’t experienced any physical assault will still be very aware of the world and their place in it and their risk of being assaulted purely due to their female biology. Regardless of the presence of absence of any immediate threat of violence, they have a right to their psychological health in not being forced to be nude or semi-nude around males, and not being in the presence of nude or semi-nude males.

    These two concepts (the retained male-class criminality of transwomen and girls’ and women’s right to psychological health) I believe are paramount in this discussion. The idea of whether any particular transwomen may or may not pose a threat is a distraction — not that you indulge this distraction here, but that’s how the individual news stories are always framed. The conversation must not be derailed towards individuals and their feelings about being confronted with the reality of their class membership.

  13. I understand that you’re concerned about men that might pretend to be women in order to access and then sexually assault women in bathrooms that were open to trans women. Let me tell you something: Several states have non-discrimination laws on the books that allow trans women to enter women’s bathrooms without legal repercussions. According to this compiled account on Media Matters, there have not been reports of the crime that you describe as a result of this non-discrimination law. What you’re saying is literally not happening:

    http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/03/20/15-experts-debunk-right-wing-transgender-bathro/198533

    Also, I’m not sure your fictional high school example is the best. In a high school, teachers can, to some extent, control who goes into locker rooms and bathrooms. (Obviously faculty don’t control all the restrooms all the times. My point is that there are authorities nearby that can deter the crime, and catch and punish offenders quickly.) If a boy is going into a girl’s bathroom he can be stopped by faculty. A trans girl can be allowed in the girl’s rooms. All the school district will need to do is set up a policy that requires transgender children to visit a psychologist that specializes in gender issues to verify the existence and consistency of their cross-identification. Since there are only a few trans kids in the school, this should be no problem for faculty to know who they are and allow them into the appropriate rooms. (The Los Angeles Unified School District in California has had a such a policy in place for decades, with no problems. In fact, other school districts around the country are copying their policy)

  14. If I see a penis-bearing MAN (under whatever label HE cares to use) in a woman’s bathroom while I’m using it… he’s getting shot. Period, end of story.

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