Mercedes Allen

The Potty War Comes to Canada

Filed By Mercedes Allen | March 05, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Canada, ontario, ontario human rights commission, transgender, transgender equality

Is it me, or did the circus come to town? Canadian media from The Globe and Mail and The National Post on down have all seized upon a case in which the Ontario Human Rights Commission's mere willingness to circuscomestotown.jpghear a case about a transsexual who was not allowed access to a ladies' gym is taken as proof positive that the OHRC has lost its mind and should be abolished.

With editorial headlines like "Man, oh, man! Get that guy out of the girls' room" (Calgary Herald -- for the benefit of people who point out that the issue involves showers and not washrooms, this headline and a number of the comments that have been made demonstrate that many Canadians are not making that distinction) and "Ontario Human Rights Commission declares -- if you think you're a woman, you're a woman" (National Post), they seize upon every conceivable misconception available to them to whet the sharks' appetite.

This is being offered up as a public reply, because as of this moment, I've yet to see any of these publications devote a single column inch to contrary response (mine or otherwise) or clarification of the misconceptions about transsexuals being exploited. Plus, I'm getting tired of having to write the same letter over and over and over and seeing zero response, formal or private.

The Facts of the Case

The Ontario Human Rights Commission will be hearing a case of a woman-only gym owner, John Fulton, and looking at whether or not he refused membership or access to the facility to a pre-operative transsexual. Mr. Fulton says that he simply stated he needed time to think about it, and a week later, he received a letter demanding money. I don't know if it's true or not that there's some kind of extortion at play, but what bothers me is that the media has taken this statement of events as gospel. We've not heard the complainant's side at all.

The Media's Slant

There is a push in Canada from the resurgent right wing on a number of points. Conservatives (including the ruling federal party) have declared an intent to do away with the part of hate crimes law pertaining to hate speech. Conservatives (not including the feds) have also been pressing for the abolishment of Human Rights Commissions, with that of the Province of Ontario being top priority. These campaigns have conservative journalists and bloggers, the Roman Catholic Church and white supremacists getting into bed with each other -- I guess that as long as the banners one flies are "morality" and "free speech," nobody bothers to ask questions.

The OHRC has been under fire for some time, and recently tightened up policies to make it difficult to bring a case before them unless one has good access to money, but that hasn't been enough. Last year's ruling which reinstated Provincial Health Care funding of gender reassignment surgery is one of a number of rulings that have offended conservatives' sensibilities, with pundit Mark Steyn declaring that "the human right to a transsexual labioplasty" is among those that "tramples on real human rights including property rights, free speech, the right to due process and the presumption of innocence." (I still haven't quite figured out how.)

The Reason For Anger

People should certainly be able to decide what they are in their own minds. By all means, please, be my guest, be whatever you like -- men, women, bullfrogs, butter knives. It is (or used to be) a free country. My problem is with people who want to decide what they are in my mind. The way liberty works, they can decide what they are for themselves, and I'll decide what they are for me.
-- George Jonas, National Post

But the Ontario Human Rights Commission took this complaint seriously. Its code wraps in gender-identity with sex as a prohibited grounds of discrimination.... Sorry about the man who wants to be a woman, but we're more concerned with the women who don't want every Tom, Dick or Harry in their changing room.
-- Nigel Hannaford, Calgary Herald

Commission spokeswoman Afroze Edwards says all that matters is whether the individual considers himself a woman. Wrong. Common sense dictates that if he still has a penis, he doesn't belong in the women's gym, no matter what he thinks he is.
-- Main Editorial, Calgary Herald

The Reply (Old Hat to GLBT Folk But Apparently Entirely New To Canadian Media)

The first assumption commentators typically take advantage of is that a transsexual's gender identity is purely a delusion in their mind. The reality is not so simple: transsexuals undergo therapy, and then a minimum of one year of living as their identified gender before surgery can be obtained (in Canada's various provincially-governed medical systems, this often ends up being several years -- in Alberta, it can be 18 to 24 months on the waiting list just to get one's first appointment with a gender identity specialist).

While we don't yet know the full reason why some people have an identity that does not match their birth sex, studies in recent years have demonstrated a likelihood of a biological origin -- and shown how gender identity and physical sex develop at different times in utero (and occasionally develop incongruously). Additionally, as much as people would like to believe that anti-psychotic drugs, conversion therapy and ECT would help transsexuals "just get over it," modern medicine has realized that this approach simply does not work, and usually results in self-destruction, suicide or extreme anti-social behavior.

Aligning body to mind, however, has enabled transsexuals to become valued and successful people in society. That is why the standards of care set by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) recommend transition and surgery - as also supported by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and the Canadian counterparts of all three.

Quite frankly, if there were an alternate solution to the transsexual dilemma that were proven to work and didn't risk losing one's spouse, children, family, friends, career, financial well-being, respectability, residence, personal safety, privacy and ability to travel freely in society, I can assure you that people with non-congruent gender identities would flock to it. While the mechanism is still uncertain, transsexuality is driven by something that is far more than a passing delusion (or a sexual fetish, as is often assumed).

The incident is also being characterized as a "shakedown." While I can't know the motive of the person bringing the claim, I can assure you that transsexuals who raise issues such as this do so at great risk to their personal privacy, and sometimes (if their identity becomes known) also to their safety. I will also point out that to date, only one party is speaking to the media and only one perspective on the events has been disseminated.

People with transsexual histories most often value "stealth," which is the ability to live unnoticed in society - some of this is because stealth can be the most appropriate conclusion to a transsexual's journey, but some of it is certainly from the fear of discrimination or potential violence typically faced by marginalized and misunderstood minorities. There is a Day of Remembrance set aside every year to recognize the large number those who have been murdered simply because of their gender identity or gender expression.

This brings us back to the original question as to whether it is reasonable to expect the owner of a women-only gym to allow a pre-operative transsexual to use the facility. There are two primary areas of concern in that discussion: respect for privacy, and potential for risk. The latter can be addressed quickly and easily.

The last time I checked, allowing a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual to use a women's changing room still did not change the fact that inappropriate behaviors in privacy facilities were still subject to legal consequences. Since protections for transsexuals were first introduced in Minneapolis, MN in 1975, over 120 jurisdictions in North America have allowed TS women to use public facilities in explicit legislation -- even pre-operative (most of them are listed here).

Only once has this been used to justify seemingly predatory behavior... at a gym in Gaithersburg, in an incident that a group called Citizens for Responsible Government admitted to staging, in order to raise fears about such legislation. There is no statistical evidence to support the specter of predatory behavior in women's spaces by transsexual women.

Respect for privacy is a more subjective issue, and I can only point out that transsexual women are just as concerned about their own privacy as any other woman -- and in turn are just as inclined to respect others' right to privacy. Many gyms offer privacy stalls for changing clothes, and I'd expect that someone who is pre-operative would prefer to use them. Likewise, satisfactory arrangements can almost always be made regarding showers.

Gender Dysphoria (the medical classification for transsexuals, sometimes also called Gender Identity Disorder) is most often accompanied by a person's own aversion to their own genitalia, and it is certainly uncharacteristic for a preoperative male-to-female transsexual to allow that to be exposed to anyone else (most also "tuck" to ensure that even when dressed, nothing is visible).

In the end, the only genuine argument that remains is that other gym patrons may experience the "squick factor" -- the fears that exist based on misconceptions and misunderstandings of transsexuals. This epidemic of fear will probably persist for as long as the reality is shouted down by sensationalist press, and shamed into hiding.

Until the overwhelming societal condemnation that pushes people of transsexual histories into stealth changes, few will be willing to share the truth about their lives, and the public will not see that the reality is far less "creepy" than at first imagined. As much as one might sympathize with the "squick factor," misinformed prejudice is not considered justification for any kind of segregation, and instead needs to be challenged.

By the standards set by WPATH, it is appropriate for a transitioning woman to use ladies' facilities, and to some degree even required as she adjusts to living as female. Certainly, using a male facility is inappropriate and often unsafe. And presenting as one's birth sex in order to conform to others' standards is considered by the WPATH Standards of Care as reneging on one's commitment to transition - not to mention a serious step backwards. Transsexuality is not a new phenomenon, co-existence has not been harmful to date, and the realities are far different than the perceptions being exploited by the media frenzy surrounding this case.

(OT footnote: I don't know if this means I'm "back" or not. But for the benefit of someone who I know will be reading this, screencaps had been made, IPs have been traced and should anything happen to myself, my partner, the person we're taking in until she's back on her feet, our home or anything related, the possibility of incitement will be investigated.)


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Thank you for laying all the facts of this case on the table, Mercedes. There's nothing like hard information to counteract misinformation and sensationalism.

I am a pre-op at this point. Ever since I thought it was appropriate for me to use women's washrooms, I have, with no hassles. I have no problems being in just about any space as myself, a woman. I have to say, though, that I don't think I would try to join an all-women gym, not until I was post-op. I think that has more to do with my own discomfort with my body in its current state than with any worries about offending or shocking others.

Thank you for the detailed post on this. Always good to see the similarities and differences between the U.S. and other countries--I just wish there were signs of progress somewhere.

It's little wonder that the newspaper business is struggling to survive. We as consumers have a choice: we don't have to buy their papers. And I think it's safe to say the Herald and the Post lost some readers this week.

I noticed that another Canadian newspaper had linked to your post from their blog. Let's hope the information gets out of the choir loft soon!

I've mentioned this recently, and this seems an appropriate place to bring it up again.

There are a considerable number of Lesbians who will have significant issue with the appearance of or suggestion of anatomically male genitalia in women's dressing rooms or showers.

I do not know how to sugar coat or render politically correct this issue so that I do not get at least a bit of a firestrom let loose upon my head, but there it is.

And I can empathize with that to a point. The trouble is, it's still a bias based on assumptions and misinformation applied to an entire category of people. To be fair, I can't promise that every transsexual using a womens' facility will be respectful and responsible. Nor can I promise that about any other category of person.

Many years ago, before my transition, a co-worker surprised me with something. She had no issue that a person I spent a lot of time with was outish as bisexual (I say "outish" because she stopped short of saying it outright, and later went back into the closet). The co-worker even said things that were tacitly supportive of that -- but then it came to my attention that she refused to use a public restroom at the same time as this person, for fear that she "might be checking me out." She felt creeped out and it's her prerogative to own that feeling, but that doesn't mean that it was based on any valid danger.

No sugar coating is necessary Maura, this is a no-brainer issue. What's disturbing is that a pre-op will actually feel entitled enough to bring a suit in the first place. RLT is just that, a test to see if the candidate can integrate into women's space, it is not a license to go out and change women's space to suit the candidate.
We have been blogging this story over at tgnonsense for a few days already.

These things are far from as cut and dry as trans-activists try to play them. I have personally witnessed outrageous examples of outright criminal lunacy that was then defended as a discrimination against a poor defenseless trans person. Not once but many times. I am, as a result, very very hesitant to jump to the defense of a trans "victim" because I've witnessed first hand taking to the internet cases where, for example, penises were actually waved in lieu of flipping the bird.

Realistically, the insistence on the "right" to have male bodies in intimate women's space is indefensible to the general public. Saying one is a woman can and has been used as a defense for criminal behaviour and ultimately shows total disregard for the rights of women. It would seem that those who get involved in these issues are often those who least fit definitions of classic transsexuality.

When perps use the "transsexual" defense, exactly how many of these cases are never reported as a result? I'm guessing a hellva of a lot since I know of quite a few first hand myself.

The lesson is simple, before you jump to the defense or against someone in these incidents, it's better to see what actual facts emerge. This I do know, almost every woman of transsexual history I've ever discussed this sort of thing all agreed that they would never have dreamed of putting themselves in such a situation pre-operatively. (being in intimate women's space) so I'm first inclined to think someone who does is not transsexual in the first place.

I am, as a result, very very hesitant to jump to the defense of a trans "victim" because I've witnessed first hand taking to the internet cases where, for example, penises were actually waved in lieu of flipping the bird.

I'm not necessarily siding with the victim either, but pointing out that we haven't heard that side of the story.

When perps use the "transsexual" defense, exactly how many of these cases are never reported as a result? I'm guessing a hellva of a lot since I know of quite a few first hand myself.

That's interesting, because I've not heard of any, and I know that the media would make big play of that element of such a story. But again, I can't guarantee that everyone will be respectful -- I just don't think that's a reason to disqualify an entire class of people.

This I do know, almost every woman of transsexual history I've ever discussed this sort of thing all agreed that they would never have dreamed of putting themselves in such a situation pre-operatively.

Aside from those who are body conscious and always spent time in the gym before. Or require physiotherapy. Why is it so inconceivable that there might be a good reason?

As I said in the other thread MauraHenessey, there are plenty of straight women for whom being naked in front of lesbians is an uncomfortable experience too, and for many racists being around people of other races makes them uncomfortable too.

The answer is to fix those within them and then it doesn't matter what peoples bodies are like does it!

Bats;
This is a strawman argument. The presence of a Lesbian in woman's space is a hugely different issue to the presence of anatomically male genitalia in women';'s space.

To be clear, I am NOT speaking of washrooms/water closets/bathrooms/restrooms. I am talking about a particularly psychologically vulnerable environment for many women, locker/changing rooms and shower rooms.

Further, it will not just be the Lesbians. For ages the LGBT community has denied any intent for the introduction of individuals with male anatomy into the locker rooms or showers of women. Now, come to find out, we've been deceiving the Christian Right, for that is what our trans-sisters are demanding. Our oft repeated claim that there has never been such an occurance is shown to be a lie.

I've never gotten funny looks in any kind of women's space, and neither have most Lesbians. This is NOT about predators, etc, or any other kind of diversionary issue. This is about the basic issue of this kind of women's space, and I am limiting the scope of the argument and the effect of the objection, is felt by many women to not be suitable for anatomically male genitalia to be found in.

Also, checking with my friend of operative history, hormone therapy is no guarantee of useless bits, but that is not the issue either.

Women simply are not comfortable with anatomically male genitalia in such a vulnerable space. There has to be a finite end point of inclusion in this one instance. The insistance of bringing male bits into female space of this nature, and keep in mind that I've very narrowly defined the kinds of spaces thatw e are referrign to, is perceived as disrespectful of the women involved and intrusive and a penetrative invasion.

Strawman? Hardly!

I know straight women who are so very intimidated by the potential presence of lesbians that they do not access those spaces, and not just the one who was sexually assaulted by a nun as a child. So you are ignoring the real fear and intense psychological discomfort, thankfully diminishing, of straight women about the presence of lesbians. Or of women of colour or of any other group that space may be shared with for that matter!

You are claiming that one bias gets a special exception to other biases.. an intrinsicly biased argument! And you cannot measure the current lower levels of discomfort in the presence of lesbians or women of colour but must compare to it at it's absolute height!

As every major increase of justice has shown the discomfort no matter how profound or intense of a larger or more powerful group is NOT considered a valid reason to oppress another group. Every inclusion has discomforted the privileged group, women in 'mens education spaces', women in 'mens workplace spaces', Aboriginals in 'white's swimming pools' etc etc etc.

These are all utterly comparable and not a srrawman argument.

These facilities do not exist to provide women a place to enjoy the nudity of other women, only poor design may allow for that. They exist as public ammenities to allow for an essential function. Everyone needs a changing room or public shower who uses a gym, absolutely everyone needs a public toilet who leaves their home and engages in any public activity from neccssary shopping to political life to entertainment. If you leave your home you have equal need of public toilets as anyone else.

As such all citizens MUST have access to facilities for those purposes. Otherwise their capacity to use the facility - as in the gym, or all of public life - public toilets are unfairly limited.

They need not be communal, they need not have exposure of nudity to others. But they MUST be provided for ALL citizens. We used to generally divide them into four catagories, white male, white female, other male, other female. With of course no provision for the disabled in the designs drastically limiting their capacity to public life.

There is no intrinsic reason to provide for public spaces of communal womens or mens nudity. Private nudist clubs could fulfill that function where it may be totally consensual if such a space needs to exist! Otherwise that space does not need to exist! All that needs to exist are facilities that serve the needs of ALL citizens, and I argue that there is no justification that logically demands that it be communal. Like the QWERTY keyboard the most inefficient (and in this case DANGEROUS) design is standard out of laziness and convention.

Thats not a strawman argument, thats a total disintegration of any justification for the spaces your complaining about the alteration of even existing at all! Logically every person is served best by non-communal public ammenities!

Now while personal facilities are rare and communal ones more common that is no abrogation of the facility owner's, whether business's or the state's, obligation to provide such neccessary facilities to ALL citizens. And as the discomfort of white people was IRRELEVANT to the right of non-white people to equality and the discomfort of men was IRRELEVANT to the right of women to share education and work places and the discomfort of straight men and women is IRRELEVANT to the right of Gays and Lesbians to access to even those areas of potential communal nudity then so too is the discomfort of which you speak IRRELEVANT to the rights of Transmen to mens facilities and Transwomen to womens.

And you have issues with gender non-conforming and bigendered folk? Well they have an equal right to somewhere to pee, wash and change! And the businesses and state has an equal obligation to provide such opportunites equally for them!

If you find that because of your and others discomfort with a group of people being in communal spaces with you then you are experiencing exactly the same discomfort as some women and men who find sharing those spaces with Lesbians and Gays discomforting and the same as some white people find sharing those spaces with non-whites etc etc etc. There is NO difference!

You are just dissmissing their discomfort while claiming your own as exceptional, it's special-pleading through and through. Look up the Veil of Ignorance to understand your EPIC FAIL.

If you find that treating transgender people as equals with an equal need to pee and shower etc in communal spaces makes you too uncomfortable it is not the equality that is at fault, it is the communal spaces! So fix the problem by campaining against the dangerous communal spaces rather than trying to justify inequality!

Cause yes, even the bi-gendered are as good as you and your friends in every single way and they have just as much need to pee as you do and every much as great a right to use a gym as you do!

So face down the hypocracy of your argument and the cisgender privilege and cissexist nonsense and start from the base point that all people are equal with equal rights and with equal responsibilities to the rights of others! And then realise that means you have an obligation to bi-gendered people no matter their anatomies and you do not outrank them nor are your needs intrinsicly greater than theirs! So any solution to your problems must entail equality for them or you lose the validity of your claim to your rights too.

Oh and Maura... where should an Intersex person with 'ambiguous' (as it's medically referred to) genitalia who has been fortunate enough to escape genital mutilation as a child then pee shower and change?

Well, bats, we could restructure the spaces based upon anatomy, penis vs vagina. Would that work better and not offend gender expression?

Bats, I advocate frequently for trans issues, but I am a Lesbian activist and I've an obligation to put forth the feelings, desires, ambitions and issues of Lesbians. Many simply will not concede or agree to penises in women's showers or locker rooms.

There is no grat consern about washrooms/wc's/bathrooms or whatever you call them, but the locker and shower rooms are going to have to represent a finite endpoint, that place which will not be crossed. It is not just the Lesbians, Bats, the straights will have a field day with this. This is political reality, both Lesbiana and straight. It is not a life threatening concession, and risking ENDA and bills comparable to ENDA on a demand to have penises in the showers is simply unjustifiable.

BBB wrote:
"So any solution to your problems must entail equality for them or you lose the validity of your claim to your rights too."

This is exactly why I judge the GLB types so harshly. Entirely too many Lesbians and gays preach "equality lite," as Maura is doing here. Maura's insistence on judging women by their bodies is particularly hilarious coming from a self identified feminist.

Anyway, the Lesbian trans-misogyny arguments are well documented elsewhere, and have literally been beaten to death elsewhere.

I leave their recounting to folks with greater tolerance for Lesbian (as related by Maura) hypocrisy.

I have been down this road before and I have an unresolved question in my mind. This does not pertain to me personally but it does pertain to the trans community. The question is, Does a trans person let, the management or the owner(whoever is in charge}, them know that they are pre-oped so they can makesure of privacy issues? I know most gyms have places to change for privacy issues and it doesn't have anything to do with Trans issues. Then there are some of the older gyms that do not. I would think that if they did have stalls for changing then the issue wouldn't come up but if they didn't and you needed privacy then do you disclose your issue or what could be done? I have in the past say you out yourself to the person in charge so they can take care of the privacy issue but then with a little more thinking they can also say for their own privacy, as being shy about being naked in front of others. Then there is the question about FtoM who have not had top surgery.

And how many Lesbians get funny looks walking into the women's room? I can attest to more than one. It's peachy that lesbians might get offended but people are denying the truth of the matter: preoperative transsexuals in washrooms and gym lockers are there to do the EXACT SAME THING everyone else is in there to do. Pee, wash their hands, take a shower after a workout. I'm not sure how many of you are there to ogle others in the restroom and locker, but I sure as heck aren't. Also bring in the fact that hormones would render the majority of their bits useless? There really is no argument here, just misinformation and lack of education.

Trust me, most likely they don't want to look at their own body as much as you don't want to look at it either.

The issue is not limited to pre-operative individuals persuing their Real Life Examination, the issue extends to anyone temporarily or indefinitely presentig as a woman yet remaining anatomically male.

Further, there exists a core of feminists who do not see individuals who have no intention to become anatomically female, but prefer to remain anatomically male living as female, do not see them as women. There is a feeling that the desire to retain the penis remains symbolic of the desire to retain some degree of male priviledge and dominance, and that dovetails neatly, in their minds, with the desire to bring anatomically male genitalia into female space.

I agree that there are a large number of people, many of whom are women who identify as feminists (of course, "femininists" are so diverse in opinion, that it's a whole different kettle of fish) that essentially make that argument in regards to transsexual women and genital surgery.

I don't buy the argument that not having SRS yet identifying as female is a way of keeping male privilege. As a transwoman, the whole logic is just bizarre. People largely accept me as a woman, but to the extent that I need to discuss my medical history, it's all downhill-- I don't have privilege as a male, a woman, or anything-- I feel vulnerable and disposable. I don't gain privilege when my genitals are exposed, I lose cis privilege. Of course, there's no way I'd show up in a locker room-- for that very reason.

Anyhow, there are those of us who aren't in a position to have SRS (the economy hasn't exactly helped), and arguments like this put us in a bad situation. If you seriously expect me to avoid women's spaces, it makes it very hard to live my life; I can't (and shouldn't be expected to) use men's spaces, and it's a pain avoiding *all* gendered spaces (I was literally bemoaning not being able to use the gym earlier this evening).

I suspect that many those trans people that don't desire surgery feel the same annoyance about being excluded from gendered spaces. Their presence (on the very rare cases when genitals are exposed) would actually challenge many of us. But ultimately, I don't see how it's a big deal-- we deal with people with all types of bodies all the time, and showers are just showers (not a place to display or "use" genitals-- that's pretty taboo). I just see the whole argument as a red herring-- trans people creep many folks out, so they've come up with an excuse to keep trans people away.

Kate,
I specifically limited my discussion only to showers and locker rooms, not a general segregation.

And imposition of male anatomy into female areas with a demand that they accept this when many of these women have been fighting to create a sense of sisterhood and unity is similiarly unjust

We are talking about a very narrow, non life threatening concession, Kate

"Further, there exists a core of feminists who do not see individuals who have no intention to become anatomically female, but prefer to remain anatomically male living as female, do not see them as women."

Public ammenities do not belong to certain groups of femminists. They exist for citizens, required usually by law. They are not special places belonging to women that are intrinsically full of and for art and culture and science, they are places people expel biological waste and remove sweat and dirt and change clothing etc.

Everyone who is capable of and desiring of engaging in any public life has a need and a right to have such facilities provided for them.

A Drag King needs to shower after sweating at the gym, a Drag Queen also needs to too, a GenderQueer of every and any genital and chromasomal configuration needs to too, an Intersex person needs to too, an MtF or FtM crossdresser needs to too, a pre-op post-op and non-op transsexual of every form needs to to, someone in a wheelchair may still use a gym and they also need to shower....

The list is near endless as it includes every possible human.

And I'm pretty sure many and likely most would rather maximise their privacy when doing so!

You need to consider not who meets your or others criteria for who gets to be considered woman enough but instead what happens to all the people who may not meet THE SAME INVERTED CRITERIA FOR MAN EITHER! So guys who haven't had bottom surgery aren't guys then? So with their beards and their receding hairlines and their male torsos they should use the womens showers and changerooms? Really?

There are many many people who do not fit such a neat exclusive 2-catagory system! Yet they have every right you do to have places to pee, shower and change. There is no excuses for denying anyone a place so you have to consider how yo fairly provide places for all. For every single human permutation!

You can't just argue about the 'womens' facilities or about the needs of groups you belong to, that is a Veil Of Ignorance failure and so automatically defines your arguments and views as unjust. Take the intellectual step upwards out of personal tribal bias and into looking at the whole issue from a foundation that not everyone is being treated as equals when everyone should be.

Bats,
there is no way that a large number of feminists are going to concede on penises in showers and locker rooms, period, and the argument that drag queens, by definition "part time women" should have the right to discomfit these women on the day that the mood seizes them is not only unfair upon your part, it is unjust and smacks, to feminist sensibilities, fo the imposition of an agenda upon women.

We are discussing a very limited, non-life threatening concession that would keep ENDA, at the federal and state levels, viable...

"We are discussing a very limited, non-life threatening concession that would keep ENDA, at the federal and state levels, viable..."

Note Maura this article is about Canada! And it's about Human Rights! What may or may not be politically advantageous to help garner votes for ENDA in the USA has no say whatsoever over the Human Rights of Canadians!

Should Canadian TG people suffer abuses to their Universal Human Rights so as to support the political expediancy of Americans? There aren't enough expletives in all human languages combined to place before the word NO to adequetely describe the only logical response to that.

Human Rights don't work that way. I suggest you try learning about the subject and please do read the Yogyakarta Principles http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/

Just to keep on point Bats;
I was talking about the practice as it could be applied in the US.

I am done debating it with you.
And I am tired of feminist and women's sensibilities being daemonised

If you truly wish to radicalise gender, you could insist upon carrying the "mystique feminine" ino men's space. No one will, because of the safety isuue which has been brought up time and time again. But there will be a continued insistence upon bringing penises into women's showers because of the perception that we will simply gran under the burden and accept it.

How about a third set of facilities?

Sigh. You seem to be having comprehension difficulties. You are still only considering the subject as about only womens facilities when I have just descrived the entire binary-only system as unworkably discriminatory.. please do try and catch up! Try reading about the Veil Of Ignorance. That may help you.

I didn't just mention drag queens but first I mentioned drag kings. Get it? I'm not narrowly talking about womens ammenities because to do so is idiotically stupid when both womens and mens must be considered and the people who are not neatly catagorised as either! This is not just about the womens. Please ponder that sentence till it dawns on you. IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU, YOUR GROUP AND YOUR COMFORT! It's about an intrinsic flaw in the ENTIRE current system! That results in profound injustice by denial of equal access to public life!

A third set of facilities? Based on what criteria? Where does an Intersex woman with ambiguous genitals who identifies as a woman go? How do you fairly split people up when every group and subgroup of human kind may find sharing space with any other uncomfortable after you dissolve the current basic false rubbish.

And we must add additional facilities to all public buildings and business for a slight revision of a catagorisation that will always be arbitrary vague and irrational?

Here's the easy answer! Single-user. No sex or gender or race or sexuality segregation. Personal Privacy. Safer spaces for everyone. If we need to renovate all the existing ammenities for fairness anyway why not fix the whole broken system entirely?

Get it? Personal Privacy! For everyone! That is the answer. It's the only one that is fair to all and no other possibilty suggested so far is!

Consider what would be equally fair to all people under all circumstances matter how common or rare. Child, teen, adult, elderly.. fully abled through to severely disabled.. male through the many forms of intersex to female... hypermascukine through all the variations to hyperfeminine... every sexuality every race and every creed.

Oh, and my daily appearance is quite androgynous and I have indeed, at least once a week in fact, used mens public toilets when doing my weekly shopping with my long hair, long painted nails (not just black but reds and pinks and purples and with goth nail-art) and eyeliner eyeshadow lipstick (again not just black) and unisex clothing. And I live in a rural town! So your 'no-one will' is nonsense.

And again what about the Transmen who haven't had bottom surgery? Mens showers or womens? If defined by genitals you would have people like Thomas Beattie and Buck Angel showering with straight cis women. Do you think that is appropriate? Do you think that would be more or less comfortable for the concerned straights and lesbians than feminine pre-op transwomen?

Really Maura? Do you think Straight and Lesbian Cis-women would like to shower next to this man http://malcontent.typepad.com/malcontent/images/buck_angel.jpg do you? Do you really think that the genital configuration makes showering next to him comfortable for all those Ciswomen? Or should Buck change and shower and pee in the mens ammenities?

As I said, this is about an utter failure to look at the whole picture, to treat everyone as equals and displays collossal double standards if a pre-op or non-op MtF TS needs to use the mens but so does Thomas and Buck!

There is a way that can suit both people involved and that is for private stalls. To go and build a whole new facility is not possible. No one will go for it. To make private stalls for dressing and showering can be arranged in a very inexpensive way. This will suit the people who are shy about nudity. It will also suit the people who are pre op and especially the FtoM who can not afford bottom surgery which hasn't been really that good. Most gyms these days have facilities for the people who are modest. I think people are putting way too much into this. For the feminist, if you don't see it then it isn't there and for the pre ops, if they don't see it its not there. I know pre ops don't want it to be seen as much as the feminists don't want to see it. Same goes for the mens side of the gym.

I am bowing out of this. I've stated the Lesbian community's concerns.

Bats, many of us are not deconstructionists and our philosophical, religious and generally feminist conceptions are based upon the binary in the sense of Luce Irigarray and Julie Kristeva's works on feminism. When you push the point of mandatory deconstruction of gender to obliterate the binary than you cut into the heart of many women's beliefs in those areas.

They don't get it Maura .. they never do.

You said it best when you said they never try bringing their brand of feminism into the mens room for fear of getting their butts kicked, but women are supposed to just grin and bear it.

Take care

Thanks Battybattybats for your patience in continuing this discussion at length. I really like the way you have framed your arguments.

I kind of chuckled cynically to myself when Maura brought this issue up. Anyone who has spend some time in the feminist and queer blog world knows that there is a segment of feminist and LGB people who would be relieved if trans folk quietly packed up their bags and looked for greener pastures. That's the great thing about the internet: people express a degree of honesty that you don't find in real time. It's scary and informative all at once.

There's only one thing in this world that truly doesn't discriminate: prejudice. Every group of people on the face of this planet manifests prejudice of one type or another. Like any form of prejudice, it's going to take a lot of hard work to challenge and change people's attitudes. Ultimately, this process is going to involve older, more conservative members of the populous aging, loosing power, and eventually passing from this planet. I hope I'm alive to see it take place.

Thanks Battybattybats for your patience in continuing this discussion at length. I really like the way you have framed your arguments.

I kind of chuckled cynically to myself when Maura brought this issue up. Anyone who has spend some time in the feminist and queer blog world knows that there is a segment of feminist and LGB people who would be relieved if trans folk quietly packed up their bags and looked for greener pastures. That's the great thing about the internet: people express a degree of honesty that you don't find in real time. It's scary and informative all at once.

There's only one thing in this world that truly doesn't discriminate: prejudice. Every group of people on the face of this planet manifests prejudice of one type or another. Like any form of prejudice, it's going to take a lot of hard work to challenge and change people's attitudes. Ultimately, this process is going to involve older, more conservative members of the populous aging, loosing power, and eventually passing from this planet. I hope I'm alive to see it take place.

Sorry Maura, but Universal Human Rights come first and foremost above and over and beyond all else. No creed or faith or ideology or belief is above those rights.

Universal Human Rights demands full equality and fairness for women as the full eqyals of men, for all races, for all people of any classification and that is dependant on the responsibility of each to respect that equality of others. And pretty much all the post-enlightenment ideologies have been irrational hack-jobs to attempt to justify getting out of having to treat others as equals while feathering the nest or of ones own group.

But just as freedom of religion requires members of each faith to respect the existence of other faiths and hence requires a secular seperation of church and state etc so no faith gets favouitist treatment so too are feminist of any belief set required to put up with the rights of others. A Jehovahs witness can choose to forgo a blood transfusion for themselves, but not for you! Get it now? Cause your freedom of religion and choice negates any claim over you. Your human rights belong to you.

So no matter how much it might strike to the heart of the Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs that you might be free to recieve blood transfusions or that the local museum might have dinosaurs labelled as 70 million years old the first exists because you have a right to the choice of the transfusion and the second exists because thats what the data says no matter what they want it to say.

So I'm sorry that those feminists beliefs are uncomfortably shattered by the existence of Intersex, are rendered unjust by the principle of Equality and that you cannot counter the point about Buck Angel and Thomas Beattie being forced to use womens showers but nevertheless thats what logical cognet thought makes so. You have to evolve the theories to the facts not discard the facts that show the theories are wrong.

And I'm not 'eliminating' the binary. By the existence of many people for whom it does not suit it is proven,as a universal system without exception, quite false.

I'm calling for mandatory fairness, commonly called Equality. A binary-identifying person can be as binary as they want yet still use a single-user unisex public ammenity with no dangerous communal space before or after a Genderqueer and/or Intersex person with no harm done to the rights of the binary person at all and yet now the latter GQ IS has their equality finally at last.

You see the beliefs of no-one, Wiccan Feminists or Patriarchal Abrahamic Fundamentalists or anyone of any catagory nor their comfort is above the basic universal human rights of anyone. Perhaps now you'll have some empathy with those who may find your own behaviour as an Independant Lesbian Woman with the freedom to make her own decisions, decline arranged marriage and travel unescorted by a male relative let alone not wear fully concealing clothing strikes at the very heart of their beliefs on the gender binary!

But you both have to suffer because thats what equality requires.. everyone to be treated fairly! Not just the Abrahamic Patriarchs and not just the Feminist Lesbians but everyone!

"I am done debating it with you.
And I am tired of feminist and women's sensibilities being daemonised"

I'm not surprised that you abandon your 'debate' as you call it, where you ignore the points i raise and complain that a view contrary to your own has been raised.

But please, before you go, do point out where I have in any way demonised (where something is falsely represented by loading it with negative inaccurate emotive associations) any feminist and women's sensibilities?

Because if anything i have said is not apt, if I cannot show where the comparisons I have raised are not valid and appropriate, if at any point my argument rests purely on emotive rhetoric and not measured reason then I will publicly apologise and retract that/those point/s.

Otherwise though, it may well be that the criticisms, comparisons and arguments I raise are cogent, reasoned, apt and accurate and the views you espouse would be unjust, unethical and not demonised by me but instead fairly and accurately shown to be wrong.

After all, no opinion relating to and expressed outside of the self is sacrosanct and to be left free of reasoned consideration and evaluation.

:::sigh:::
I am done debating this, Bats, because a number of Lesbians have decided simply to prevent it from happenng, so it won't. Unfortunately, now the possibility exists of less moderate voices than mine carrying the day. They have votes, money, numbers and influence. And they will likely get exactly their way. All I've gotten out of my efforts is having been excoriated by both sides.

Since neither side will compromise at this point, the stronger side will win.

Thanks Timberwraith :)

Indeed there are bigots everywhere in every group, and few realise they are bigots because they always come up with excuses for why their applying exceptions must be justified.

And amusingly they usually use the exact same arhuments and language and terms as those who are bigoted against them, like a piece of algebra with the A changed to mean 'transgender' instead of 'lesbian' or 'gay' replacing 'catholic' etc etc.

It's the same formula. Irrational, biased and harmful. We need to expose, oppose and refute it amonsgt every group. Anyone capable of logic can see that if everyone rightly should be treated as equal then all bigotry is self-refuting. By attacking the rights of others it threatens it's own claims to those rights.

"You said it best when you said they never try bringing their brand of feminism into the mens room for fear of getting their butts kicked, but women are supposed to just grin and bear it."

Oh of course, because no genderqueer or non-binary folk or Transman who hasn't had bottom surgery ever goes into the mens room...

No long-haired, person with long painted nails and makeup on ever used a mens bathroom.

Sigh, what nonsense. I do about once a week. Usually looking more feminine than this http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tjAfd05x544/SbKc4ZQWDeI/AAAAAAAAABs/ey7Dws_OWWw/s1600-h/gothboy.jpg

Just wednesday I had pink nail polish and purple lipstick and substantial eyeliner on, oh and the same light pink eyeshadow as I'm wearing in this pic http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tjAfd05x544/SbKc6Ag3xCI/AAAAAAAAACE/oXf3ZM7E0Ms/s1600-h/Closeup.jpg when I went to the mens bathroom.

And this is, might I add, in a rural town.

Bats.....for 3500 years women have been systematically oppressed by men. That's what feminism is about. It's about saying no more to male domination telling us to shut up and do what we are told.

Explain to me in 200 words or less how your assault on a feminist lesbian isn't more of the same?

Penises in the ladies showers is the issue that will explode into a backlash the likes of which have never been seen before. Witch hunts of those of us who put trans behind us will result. I will do every thing in my power to prevent this and that means denouncing the lunacy of drag queens demanding the "right" to shower their penises in women's showers. That is the breaking point, that's the bridge too far, that WILL be ceased on as proof transgender people are out and out insane and completely unwilling to give ground on their delusions of gender in the slightest fashion.

You have spent the past 48 hours repeatedly attacking feminism (and misspelling it half the time) attacking lesbians, alienating formally supportive allies.......undermining decades of outreach by some. Congratulations, the damage done will outlive you.

Wow, you criticise my spelling and cannot manage to understand some simple concepts.

Like I'm not attacking a feminist lesbian, only the views expressed by one.

Or when I say that the only solution fair to all humans is single user disabled-accessible facilities rather than sex-segregated communal ones with their inherant dangers.

And somehow you seem to missconstrue when I mention universal equality that this somehow a bad thing antithetical to women being equal to men.

So everyone being equal is somehow meaning women being less equal than men? And you suggest what I am saying is lunacy?

ROFLMAO

Actually, there's a wide continuum of belief surrounding transgender issues amongst feminists. Some are extremely supportive of transgender people and aren't terribly bothered by the so-called "potty issues." Some feminist aren't supportive at all and simply wish trans folk would go away. Other feminists fall in all different places in between.

You can see all kinds of rifts evolving over issues such as: pornography, BDSM, sex work, race, class, queer identity, straight identity, motherhood, academic vs. non-academic, embracing the gender binary vs. abolishing the gender binary, mainstream feminism vs. radical/cultural feminism, etc. Feminism is by no means monolithic and consequently, there are daily battles raging being between feminism's various branches. No one owns the copyright on feminism.

My mom, although she was working class, had a fair amount of disposable income—enough to keep her comfortable throughout her retirement until the day she died. She paid for my surgery (I’m a trans woman). Without her help, I might still be pre-operative. Plus, I pass as a cissexual person. So, I face little danger of being “outed” as transgender unless I choose to do so my self. I also was born in a US state that allowed me to change all of my identification to agree with my present sex/gender. Consequently, my ID won’t out me either. I also fit pretty darned well into the female side of the gender binary. So basically, I don’t have to worry about where I pee or what gym I decide to work out in. I have many, many privileges over other transgender people.

Were I not born white in a liberal geographic area, into a family of comfortable means, and into a body fitting society’s notions of femininity, my life would be considerably more difficult.

The thing is, my own privilege makes me comfortable enough that I could easily side with folks like Maura. However, I’d be ignoring other trans people who can’t afford surgery because they don’t have access to the kinds of resources that I did. I’d be ignoring trans people who don’t pass as cissexual. I’d be ignoring trans people who didn’t have the good fortune of being born in a geographic location that has liberal laws regarding state issued ID. I’d be ignoring trans people who don’t neatly fit into the gender binary.

To put it bluntly, I’d be a privileged jerk.

Ironically, one of the big things I learned from feminism is the notion of intersecting privilege and oppression and how it shapes our tendency to embrace certain views of the world. Consequently, I have deep philosophical problems with embracing my own privilege while comfortably treading upon the rights of those who aren’t so privileged. Feminism gave me that awareness.

In the end, I’d also be ignoring the fact that in spite of my considerable privilege, I’m still a member of a tiny, hated minority. The highest estimate I’ve encountered is that trans women and men account for about two tenths of a percent of the entire populace. With figures like that, there’s no way you can convince me that fighting for the rights of trans people will somehow disadvantage cissexual women—a group of people who form roughly half the human race.

Maura, in all honesty you clearly have failed to understand what I have been saying. You clearly have no understanding of human rights and what it means for womens rights and so it is really, really important you read and actually this time try and understand this post!

You might want to learn about the history of Rights (and the role of Eleanor Roosevelt in the forging of the UN decleration of Human Rights!) http://www.udhr.org/history/Biographies/bioer.htm

And her work helped create this: http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

And then womens rights advocates went on to ensure these principles were understood to also mean this: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/econvention.htm#article5

And recently the very basic concepts were shown to, when considering the issues of Sexuality and Gender resulted in this: http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/principles_en.htm

I suggest you READ THEM and that you actully try and understand them and then explain them to these powerful friends of yours...

":::sigh:::
I am done debating this, Bats,"

You haven't even started. you just made some assertions and ignored all counterpoints.

"because a number of Lesbians have decided simply to prevent it from happenng, so it won't."

So 'a number' of lesbians have the power to roll back all human rights bills, dissolve all human rights courts and prevent any others from being created...

They would be cutting the throats of all womankind!

No more European Human Rights Commission to protect women from sex-slavery or clitorodectomy or being legally beaten by their husbands, gone the capacity to prosecute the perpetrators.. same in Canada and in the UK. Gone the handbrake on oppressive legislation and guiderails for improving equality.

Gone the philosophical and legal basis of ALL womens rights!

Gone the International standard upon which third world attrocities against womens rights could be tried and convicted, gone the basis of U.N. condemnation of rape used as a tool of warfare in Africa and Former Yugoslavia. And onward it cascades... gone a womans right to abortion or birth control or refusing forced sterilisation either.

And not just womens rights would be gone, all minorities rights. The rights of lesbians, of gays, of people of all races, of workers, of children!

See thats what it would take to prevent this. Because the concept of universal equality upon which all rights are based and upon which the arguments of mine you cannot refute spring from cannot be undone without undoing them all.

And even a small victory, weakening the power of any human rights court anywhere in the world, will harm womens rights!

In international law, in the philosophy from which all rights spring, upon which our protections against genocide and rape and torture are built all rights are INTERDEPENDANT!

And the logic that requires women to have rights requires non binary transgender people to have the same rights.

If your 'number' of lesbians 'prevent this' you will be handing total final victory over to the patriarchy having undone the very keystone of the last several hundred years of progress!

Is that really what you want? Is your obsession about other peoples genitals so important that not only would you prefer showering and changing around Buck Angel that a passing pre-op TS saving for her operation but that you really would be willing to unleash a tidal wave of rape and mutilation and slavery upon women all over the world by destroying the Human Rights upon which womens rights depend which would be needed to have your way in this?

"Unfortunately, now the possibility exists of less moderate voices than mine carrying the day."

If you understand the severity of what you are saying then I suggest you start explaining to them their errors before they harm all women, all people, everywhere.

"They have votes, money, numbers and influence. "

So much so as to destroy all the worlds Human Rights legislation and undermine acceptance of the very principla of Universal Equality? Even if you are right the threat is greater to you than to me, women have more gains over the last few centuries to lose!

"And they will likely get exactly their way."

And so cis women will suffer most of all.

"All I've gotten out of my efforts is having been excoriated by both sides."

I have done no such thing. I have argued on logic and fact and sense and not attacked you as a person but your stated views and their consequences. Alas your view and the view of those who dissagree with me is just plain broken. Non-sense as it is self-refuting, a paradox.

"Since neither side will compromise at this point, the stronger side will win."

Human rights cannot be compromised. Its not possible. They are either not interfered with or they are abused.

And I am not a 'side', I am a person who understands something explaining it to people who do not and who, refusing to listen let alone try to understand are now levelling threats of destroying all of modern civilisation (yes, no joke nor exaggeration because Rights are the progress and advances of modern civilisation, which by the constant struggle to fully implement them or prevent them has been teetering on a knife edge since it's very inception, threats of undoing all that was gained by victory in World War 2, in the rise of modern democracies.

All because while they demand equality for themselves (as they should) they refuse to tolerate others also gaining equality.

And the 'stronger side' that will win if the very basis for human rights are removed, universal equality, will be the Patriarchy all around the world.

I'm not arguing what is expediant. I am explaining why what is right is right and why what is wrong is wrong and I've already explained what will need to be done to fix the problem.

What is right cannot be compromised, it either is or it isn't.

If you oppose universal equality you betray the rights and all the hard work, the blood sweat tears and deaths of Women, of Lesbians.

The only way not to do that is to recognise support and defend the equality of all people of every conceivable classification and variation. Every Individuals right to privacy and their right to equal and fair treatment! Hence with need for personal private space when showering or changing or peeing rater than apparent sex or genital-based communal space!

A story I'd forgotten, but should probably be considered.

A couple of years ago, my partner and I stayed at a hostel in Vancouver for a week, which necessitated the use of a communal shower (with semi-private stalls with curtains). I just handled things discreetly, and no one was ever confronted with a penis in a woman's space. However, someone else I know, whose body has been more ravaged by testosterone than most, had troubles in a similar situation around the same time. The fact that she was post-operative was only taken into account after the fact.

I wonder how much of the issue becomes a question of the perception of a penis than about a person's operative status itself.
_________________________________

BBB, I appreciate the support, but there comes a point where you're not going to win anything by following the same line with the same people. And Maura's against walls on both sides, so I'm not sure that that's where energy is best expended.

You'd think that prosecuting crimes against humanity would have given me some understanding of human rights, wouldn't you?

And Mercedes, thanks for understanding the position I've gotten myself into speaking for women far more invested int he binary than even I am.

I do understand human rights and protections, very well. Unfortunately I also understand the politics of the mire.

Yes, there is a spectrum of ideology in gender; the fact remains that the leadership of Lesbian Feminist Organisations are by and large heavily filled with individuals who are non-deconstructionists. For that matter, realistically, so is the HRC. Than, my dear sisters, is the reason that they find it so easy to "throw ye under the bus."

Rock and a hard place, not a great place to be when compromises are not made....The hard line Lesbian separatists will concede nothing, the less hard line second wavers and the French Feminist School will concede the water closets; the HBS people want everything for them, nothing for anyone else save the water closets, and then only maybe...and so on to Drag Queens demanding everything.

We really need to discuss this at length and work it our, realsitically, prior to ENDA hitting the floor.....because with any resistance at all to it, and there will be, the ccompromise will be again to cut gender identity and expression, which I do not want to see because it affects the Butch and Boi Lesbians, a largely discriminated against group in terms of housing, employment....and I have been tirelessly advocating for them in the face of the Lesbian equivalent of the LCR's; ostensibly democrats though...

simple answer..

Cut the drag queens and transvestites loose..
Medical model trans covered, not fetishists. Spell it out in the legislation as was done in the exceptions of the ADA.

This is now necessary because the drag queens seem to think they speak for women.

"Medical model trans covered, not fetishists. Spell it out in the legislation..."

Some of these things have been discussed before, but there are practical realities that need to be considered. One suggestion is that a carry letter or something similar should be required. Yet how many people have difficulty finding a GID-friendly / aware therapist in the first place?

In Alberta, we have one (certification is required here) who has an 18-24 -month waiting list, and many of us in the community are full-time, name changed, sometimes on HRT long before then. Gender Dysphoria does not wait.

In other areas, money can be an obstacle to seeing a therapist, especially if it becomes hit and miss trying to find one to take you seriously. And immigrants (even legal) can have significant barriers to care.

And then, what if having this letter asserting GID is considered by local state courts to nullify one's marriage, because it would then become a same-sex relationship? I can see people refusing the letter for that reason.

We have to be careful. Every restriction also has the capacity to become a barrier for people who need the law in the first place.

to be clearer:
No crossdressing teachers
No penises in women's showers.......if this is not spelled out, thanks to the transvestite activist position voiced loudly and unopposed, the backlash from women will end inclusive ENDA once and for all.

"to be clearer: No crossdressing teachers"

Why on earth not? We've had a few transitioning and transitioned teachers in Alberta going years back. No kids have been poisoned, traumatized, "given the gay" or died of fright as a result.

Wow. Okay, that just shows how out of it and in a hurry to get out the door I was this morning, to go conflating terms like that. Brainfart. No, we don't have crossdressing teachers in Alberta.

Still, I don't know that it would be impossible for such a person to teach in a reasonable, responsible manner. I do suspect that society would have to lighten up a little first, though.

Bats, Timber, Kate and Mercedes;

I've not stopped thinking about this.

In the face of history, the position that a probable majority of Lesbians are taking now will probably be defeated, either now or later.

Will it generate hard feelings if not hatred and loathing from some Lesbians and other feminists?

Undoubtedly. Based upon what I heard from other members of the organisation in the States that I belong to, most certainly.

Will a more broad model of gender win in the end?

Baring a huge jump to the Right by western nations, yes.

Time is on your side. Conversely, If I can get this far, you've an obligation to be equally magnamous and gentle to the Lesbians and to the transsexuals/HBS/Women of Operative History/Usherites or whatever each particular factionn wishes to be called.

We've got to hear these rifts before we move forward. We cannot win unless we do.

No one goes under the bus this time.
No one.

We've got to hear these rifts before we move forward. We cannot win unless we do.

I agree, and this touches on something I've been thinking about. It's a difficult road, though, because there are immovable people on all sides of it, and just as many happy to sow division.

"Crossdressing Teachers"?? What do you call a person who is in their year or two of Real Time? Do you really call them crossdressers and I'm not trying to be condensenting to the crossdressers. If you are at work and have gone that far as to change your gender at work, then you have gone past crossdressing. I wish they would excise that word anyway.
About the married status, how many transexuals are still married and have no problems with the government? I have not heard of one who has transitioned while married and the government has nullified their marriage. I thought some of you were very knowledgable about our rights and so on so forth. I guess that is why I'm where I am and you are where you are. Just like all the other politians, keep reinventing the wheel.

There are crossdressing teachers everywhere.. just not OUT crossdressing teachers everywhere. Just like when I went to school there were gay and lesbian teachers but they were not OUT gay and lesbian teachers.

And I fail to see any argument why there should be no OUT crossdresser teachers that is not the same nonsense arguments as to why there should not be any gay and lesbian teachers!

I know crossdressers who are NASA engineers, one who was part of the apollo moon project and yes indeed current teachers, none of whom are out. Yet seemingly it's ok to imply these people being out or existing at all are somehow a threat to students, to children.

Automatically being a crossdresser apparently makes you a pedophile or acknowledging the existance of crossdressing will apparently cause irreperable harm to children intrinsicly.

But of course it's somehow 'ok' to use arguments against crossdressers we'd all consider vile and false if used about lesbians et al. Double standard much?

If rifts are going to be healed those capable of rational thought are going to have to face down their own and others double standards. And to start to consider other people as equal humans first and foremost and then consider the differences of variation and the un-equal differences of circumstances and challenges from that foundation.

"No one goes under the bus this time.
No one."

For that to occur we need gender expression protection. It's a trait every human has in one form or another. It's needed by everyone as anyone can be discriminated against for it. Women fired from work for not being 'feminine enough' because their haircut was too short or they refused to wear makeup are good examples as are the women thrown out of womens bathrooms for looking to much like men.

I agree we need gender identity protection every bit as much too. Whether or not we recognise the notion of bi-gender identity. We cannot assume that courts will conclude that protection of gender expression will also protect transsexuals or that protections of sexuality and gender identity will protect anyone whose gender expression is discriminated against. We must specify as much as possible these protections to ensure they cover everyone.

After all equal rights should cover everyone shouldn't they?