Senate Republicans' Anti-Trans Bathroom Bills Are Unlikely to Pass—But the Damage Is Already Done

Comments

1
Can't we just pack all the Republican Washington State Senators into a clown car, shove the entirely hopeless train wreck that is GOP off a cliff, and be done with 'em once and for all?
2
I'm a year and a half into my own transition. I've had it relatively easy thanks to supportive friends, family, coworkers, and a well paying job. I was at the hearing for SB6548 and listening to the uninformed fear-based comments from proponents was so disheartening. I knew when I started transitioning that I'm in a highly misunderstood and often hated minority . Now I truly feel it. And some days it's rather terrifying.
3
@2 I'm sorry you had to go through that.
4
Put it to a vote people. This law was never voted on. Basically this law was passed by one government agency making it illegal and punishable to say that you would rather shower with people that have the same genitalia as you. Now before you rant about how insensitive I am and how I am encouraging hate look at both sides.

If you have a daughter in high school this law allows a girl (who was born with male reproductive parts and likes sleeping with women) to shower with her at public and private gyms. This issue is beyond complicated and all the posts seam to demonize people and promote as much hate as they say they are trying to prevent. There should absolutely be laws protecting from discrimination of all LBGT people. There should be harsh punishments for those who threaten are harm any and all in the LBGT community. But, punishing a private business or group who wants to shower in the way they choose also seams like discrimination. Why don't we spend our money and time fighting ignorance and discrimination rather than laws that create distance. I've shared plenty of shower rooms with gay men and it never bothered me. I will raise my son properly so that when he does the same some day it wont bother him.

I never questioned my sexuality or had to deal with discrimination so I know that my opinion is one sided. Maybe if someone explained to me why the need to have this law passed, or how it will actually prevent discrimination. I would think a teenage daughter coming out of the bathroom saying "Daddy there was a man in the shower". would lead to more issues than this law wants. It seams like this is a real gray area that government should stay out of.
5
@4: You mean like the 6'3", 400 lb, fully bearded, deep voiced trans man mentioned in paragraph 11 of the article? Because that's the man in the shower you're going to have explain to your daughter if bills banning trans people from using the facilities that match their gender expression are passed.
6
@4: I would say if you find it uncomfortable to shower with trans people, or find it objectionable for your daughter to shower with trans people regardless of their genitals, you and your daughter should to stop showering in public showers.

The opposition to the bill is about how it is wrong to force a trans person who feels they are and expresses themselves as a gender to use a bathroom that does not match their gender identity/expression, in the same way it would be wrong to force a man to only use the women's room. It is dehumanizing, embarrassing, insulting, and serves to drive a larger wedge between that person and social/personal acceptance.
7
So if I were a perv and wanted to be in a women's bathroom to jerk off in the stall next to girls, I'd just have to say I "identify" as a female?
8
@6: Beautifully put.
@7: In your case you'd have to start by saying that you identify as a human, and I'm afraid no one would be buying that.
9
Just so I understand the basic, is this true:

New Rule would allow a person-with-penis (PWP) to legally use women's shower/locker room so long as PWP self-identifies psychologically as female.

If so, is there any legal standard for "self-identify"?

Without discussing whether it's good, bad or indifferent, I am trying to understand if that is correct.
10
@7: If I'm to believe a number of 1980s teen sex comedies, all you need to do is put on a wig and you'll have full access to the women's bathroom for your jerk party. Or alternately, you could just walk in the door when no one is looking.

Since neither of those scenarios ever really happen, I'm pretty sure it would never really happen with straight males saying they identify as female. Unless you're a Republican straight male, since those guys all seem to presenting this as something they'd be doing for fun. Of course they'll all be arrested, so maybe it'll remove a few sexual predators from the public. Another plus!
11
I ask because I have heard conflicting things about what the new rule from Human Rights board means so it would be helpful to know what it means in practice.
12
If you have a daughter in high school this law allows a girl (who was born with male reproductive parts and likes sleeping with women) to shower with her at public and private gyms.
I'm going to write this a few times to make sure you hear it.

Trans people are not predators.

Trans people are not predators.

Trans people are not predators.

Yeah, the current rules allow women, who have penises, and who are attracted to women, to use women's facilities. So what? They also allow women, who have penises, but who are attracted to men, to use the same facilities. Somehow I don't think you'd let them stay, though. And I also doubt you'd want to kick out the women who are attracted to women, but have vaginas instead of penises. I don't know about you, but I typically don't use my genitalia (or those of others) when showering in public, so I don't see how it's particularly relevant.
But, punishing a private business or group who wants to shower in the way they choose also seams like discrimination.
Yeah, I mean, why shouldn't a business be allowed to have separate showers for white and coloredblack people? That's discriminating against that business! They just want to shower in the way they choose!
I would think a teenage daughter coming out of the bathroom saying "Daddy there was a man in the shower". would lead to more issues than this law wants.
Issues raised without this law in place: trans people being forced to use facilities inappropriate for their gender, leading to social ostracization, the inability to use public facilities (including at work, impeding their ability to do their jobs), and increasing the possibility of abuse and/or assault (particularly for femmes forced to use men's rooms).

Issues raised with this law in place: teenage girls asking possibly-awkward questions, and subsequently learning about trans people.

I'll take the second one, thanks.
13
As a cis white person-with-a-big-penis who identifies as a dwarf Muslim woman of color, I'm personally uncomfortable using any restroom that permits infidels. Do I not deserve a Muslim bathroom of my own?
14
@13: We've talked about this before. Stop eating paint chips.
15
@12 Not feeling the need to say it three times to make my voice heard clearly, NO ONE IS CALLING TRANS PEOPLE PERVERTS!!!!. I have never heard of such a thing being reported. I have never heard of gay men assaulting straight men in showers either. If it ever happened those people should be locked up. Besides the mean tone that creates more problems than good on the subject I would agree that the only issue is discussing with women that trans people exist and deal with it. This law seams to say that trans men who identify as women are being assaulted if they shower with men. I haven't read about this happening (that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen). I would think that prosecuting these men would be a better avenue for social understanding on the issue. You say they it forces trans gender people to shower in a place that is inappropriate for their gender but many trans men prefer to sleep with women so which one is more appropriate? You lost me on that argument. Couldn't we create harsher and stricter laws on discrimination and get the same resolve? If you step back from the law you will realize that it allows people to shower wherever they want without prosecution. That to me is a little weird, and not the place of the government to decide. Then again, maybe that is a better idea. Lets create open showers! We could save a lot of money on bathrooms. My college dorm was coed and I thought it was cool.
16
Why is it so difficult to shower with people with the same genitalia that you currently have?
17
@2, I am sorry you had to go through that. That sucks, and is NOT representative of how most of us cispeople feel.

@16, because people in transition want to look and feel like the gender they identify with. If you're a woman inside, and you act and dress like a woman, but still kind of resemble a guy physically, then people that don't understand, or have never met a trans person, take exception to that, and you're at risk very much, of sexual and other kinds of assault. My trans friends are sometimes terrified of using 'male' facilities, because men can be very cruel and violent. Trans women are not men. They are not violent, or prone to assaulting others because they're different. They just want to live in peace and all get along.
It is difficult, it is very difficult. Every day, they deal with that difficulty.
If all it took was a little education and compassion, then we could make huge changes here, and people would realize that women need safety, whether that's trans or cis women.
Would you ask a cis (by birth) woman to shower in the men's room? It's the same thing for a trans person, the differences are only on the outside. You're still asking a woman to shower or pee with men.
18
@17. Agreed to a point. Never the less, we can't read minds. A dozen women, all strangers, in a shower room cannot read the mind of a trans male. Everyone only sees the external. Most women don't want to publicly shower with someone who is externally male. They can't read minds. So a choice, is it harder to ask one person to put up with an inconvenience, or a dozen random strangers?
19
@17
What is to prevent a hetero male sex-criminal, say a peeping-tom, from using women's locker room by claiming that his gender identity is female? Since the law seems to say that gender identity is self-determined by the individual, who is to claim otherwise?
(Serious question & not looking for a lecture.)
20
@19: The same thing that prevents a female from going into a women's locker room just to leer at people; if they are behaving inappropriately, they will be noticed and asked to leave on that basis, not on the basis of their physiology.

Further, have you ever met a trans woman? Most of them do not behave anything like a man, and many don't look anything like a man either. We typically go out of our way to avoid both of those things. The idea that self-identification-based access somehow removes any ability for women to police their own spaces is just not true.
21
@15: First, a point of order on vocabulary: "trans men" refers to trans people who identify as men, and "trans women" refers to trans people who identify as women. It'll help if we're all using the same terminology.

NO ONE IS CALLING TRANS PEOPLE PERVERTS!!!!
I respectfully beg to differ. Every single time this issue comes up, the opposition implicitly trades on the lingering public perception of trans women as deceitful, predatory men in order to drum up support. No one directly says trans people are predators, but they invoke that imagery every time they raise the specter of men invading women's spaces, because they can count on the general public to be unable to distinguish between a trans woman and a rapist. You did it yourself; you wrote "If you have a daughter in high school this law allows a girl (who was born with male reproductive parts and likes sleeping with women) to shower with her at public and private gyms." What did you mean by that, if not to imply that the hypothetical daughter was in some kind of danger?

And so, despite the fact that the architects of my oppression constantly tell me that I'm not the problem, they continue to treat me as though I am, by trying to restrict my access to appropriate facilities as though my having rights will endanger everyone else.

You say they it forces trans gender people to shower in a place that is inappropriate for their gender but many trans men prefer to sleep with women so which one is more appropriate?
What are you talking about? We do not separate facilities by sexual orientation, we separate them by gender. That means women (straight and gay) in one room, and men (straight and gay) in another. I am a trans woman. I also happen to prefer women. I belong in the women's room, just like any other gay (or straight, or bi, or pansexual) woman.

Couldn't we create harsher and stricter laws on discrimination and get the same resolve?
We've already done that. We have had a law in place for ten years that says public facilities may not discriminate on the basis of gender identity (meaning, trans gals get treated the same as cis gals, and ditto for trans/cis men). The current bills in the legislature are trying to undo what we already have.
22
@20, leering is hard to identify and can be quick, a glance. Inappropriate behavior is illegal and already on the books. Sorry, but we still can't read minds
23
@20.
Thx but on what basis would they be asked to leave if they are simply sitting there, changing into gym clothes or whatever and otherwise behaving totally appropriate -- except this person has a penis and beard. He is not leering or anything which could be called inappropriate -- but he is still there and looking.

So what do the women say? "Leave." And he'll say "Why? I am here legally. I self-identify as a woman."

Many want to make this law work but I don't think that they are thinking through the issues.

Your response doesn't deal with the problem I am suggesting might (and likely will happen since there are plenty of sex-criminals around).

Look, I don't care one way or another about this particular Rule (except I generally support rights for transgender people.). I am simply trying to figure out whether this particular law is going to work.
24
@20
Point of clarification. If I'm understanding you correctly you were saying that the law already exists, has been for 10 years. So why is the human rights board creating a new rule?
25
I seem to remember a "ban the box" bill. Is this the "check the box" bill?
26
The basis would would be if that person had male or female genitalia and what locker room they entered. Why so much concern over the trans person rather then everyone else? Why would a Trans Woman be any more welcome in a woman's shower than a men's shower?
27
@24, your guess is as good as mine. Justifying their existence?
28
@23-we've had gay men & lesbians in locker rooms since the dawn of time (or at least the dawn of locker rooms). No one gets upset about the concept that there might be someone attracted to their own gender in with them and everyone generally behaves appropriately. I've never heard of a gay man hassling or offending straight guys in the locker room, let alone the bathroom at the mall. Or is it the fact that women might have to view a penis (really, you can just look away) that is the problem?
29
@24: Good question! The WSHRC's job is to work out how to administer and enforce existing laws. From "Q & A Regarding Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Rules WAC 162" on the WSHRC site:

The WSHRC is an administrative agency, and cannot pass laws. The Washington State Legislature passed the law that prohibits discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity in 2006, and those protections became part of the Washington Law Against Discrimination. The WSHRC is responsible for administering and enforcing that law by investigating complaints of discrimination brought under the WLAD. Since the time the 2006 law went into effect, the Human Rights Commission has been enforcing it in a manner that provides equal access for transgender persons to the gender-segregated facility with which they identify. Now there are rules in place that explain how the law is interpreted and enforced by the Human Rights Commission. Those rules are consistent with how the Human Rights Commission has been enforcing the law since 2006 and consistent with the information that has been provided to businesses and with written guidance available on our website.


More details:

Human Rights Commission

Washington SAFE Alliance
30
@28
Yes I think that is the issue as you mentioned in your very last sentence (though there is pathetically little straightforward discussion so I may be all wrong.)

As I understand it, the issue is that many women don't want to see a penis unkess they know the penis very well, such as husband, boyfriend young boy child.

31
@28, they all had the same genitalia.
32
Why stop here? Why not (by law) make all locker rooms and public showers gender neutral and see what happens. How can the Trans ever be happy with that?
33
@23: Honestly, I think your example is contrived and unlikely to actually occur. I suppose that if enough of the other women are upset about this hypothetical person, they could ask the staff to intervene and attempt to ascertain the person's actual gender identity. The rules as effected do not prohibit such legitimate inquiries. If the person really does identify as female, that would be very very unusual, as I've never known a trans woman to have a beard. But they could conceivably produce some evidence of their gender identity, and consequently would have the right to that space. Hell, some cis women have beards.

It may come to pass that the person is ejected from the facility, and if their identity was in fact legitimate, they would have grounds to file a complaint. However, in the vast majority of cases, there will be plenty of cues to demonstrate that a person belongs in that facility, and most trans folks aren't going to try to draw such attention to themselves in the first place.
34
@30:
As I understand it, the issue is that many women don't want to see a penis unkess they know the penis very well...
I dare say that goes for men as well, perhaps even more so. And yet, men in locker rooms can apparently handle it.

@31: Like most people with a limited understanding of trans issues, I think you are placing far more importance on genitalia than on gender identity. Trans women are women, and belong in women's facilities, regardless of their physiology. And trans men are men, and definitely don't belong in the women's room. It may be counterintuitive to you, but gender identity is simply more relevant.
35
ok, seilo.
sounds like I do have my question answered and in the affirmative.
Thx.
I think there is a huge problem with this Rule and it will be amended.
36
@33
And I do have a question.
What is "person's actual gender identity"?
37
And thx for links Seilo.
38
Is it really that hard to believe that cis het men would sneak into women's restrooms and showers, given a chance?

There's an (illegal to make in the US) porn genre based on doing exactly this.

What's so damn hard about giving a straight answer to the question of whether it's allowable to question someone's authenticity?

Simply say, clearly, without weasel words:

Yes, you can kick apparent cis het men out of women's rooms.

...And then the whole thing goes away. The pearl clutchers that are worried about actual trans people will have no support.
39
@36: That just refers to a person's internal perception of their own gender. For cisgender folks, that tends to line up with their physiology in predictable ways (e.g. people with vaginas feel like women, and people with penises feel like men). For trans folk, it generally doesn't.
43
@38
Thanks Mage
It's been getting weird that no one wants to answer a simple question though obviously with unpleasant
Answer.
45
@38 If I prevented myself from going places because of what cis het men *might* do, I'd never leave my room. The idea that dudes *might* pretend to be trans in order to sexually assault women and girls is neither provable nor unprovable; it is the very nature of a wild straw man argument. Here's the thing: Dudes can also, and are far more likely to, assault people they know in bars, schools, churches, and... yes, inside our own homes. So is the goal of the legislation to protect cis women? If it was, and if it was constitutional to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex, it would make far more sense to severely limit the freedoms of cis het men, like the freedoms of the very cis het men who sat on this committee and passed SB 6548 onto the senate floor.
46
Hi Sydney,
Can you please respond to questions/comment in @9?
Thx.
47
Sydney.
I think I understand the Rule but not positive.
48
@47 Is there a legal standard for gender identity? Is "being female" codified in law? No. Would you want it to be?
49
I am simply trying to find out what currents Rule means and I notice that you seem to resist answering simple question. Funny except for such a serious issue.

Again, under new Rule, I ask

"Is it legal for person with penis to use women's locker room if he self-identifies as female?"
50
Then, further question "Is there any definition of 'self-identify' "?
51
@49 I answered the first question. It was "no." As for your second question: It is legal for a person with a penis to use the women's locker room if that person identifies as a woman. But your question also asked if "he self-identifies as female," which assumes that person is a "he." A person who identifies as a woman is a woman, regardless of whether or not that person has a penis.
52
@50 And on gender identity, I think this page may answer a lot of questions: http://www.glaad.org/transgender/transfa…
53
Thx but
Nice try & not very honest answer.
Trying to hide, is what it sounds like.
Oh well.
54
@53 Trying to hide what? What's dishonest?
55
WTF is a "cis woman"? Just say boy or girl, man or woman, male or female. God you people are sick. (actually you are, in a clinical sense. All these attempts to coddle and accommodate the trans person makes them sicker. It's like giving free heroin to an addict. They're sick! They need treatment! Not to be enabled! You wouldn't enable cancer! Fuck!
57
@55:
God you people are sick. (actually you are, in a clinical sense.)
Actually, we're not. Being trans is no longer considered a mental illness. Thanks for playing!
58
@57 Did you even read that article? The condition is still in the DSM, they just renamed it. Everything else remains the same. I bet "cis" isn't in the DSM, whatever "cis" means.
59
@58: Of course I read it. The renaming is extremely significant. From a DSM fact sheet on the change (PDF):
It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.
So, no, it is no longer considered a mental illness, though it can be a condition that requires treatment. And--surprise!--the treatment that works is transition. Trust me, I've studied and thought about these things for years, and I know more about them than you do, guaranteed.

...whatever "cis" means.
This should help.