Alex Blaze

The Bathroom Issue Gets a Bill in Maine

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 13, 2011 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: bathroom issue, kenneth fredette, Maine, transgender, transsexual

Maine rep. Kenneth Fredette has proposed a bill would "allow the operator of a restroom or shower facility to decide who can use which gender's restroom," basically to reduce legal protections for transgender people (although it does sound like a business owner could make anyone use whatever bathroom).

fredkw.jpgFredette served on the Maine Human Rights Commission when a couple transgender rights cases came up, proving once again that putting people who don't believe in human rights in charge of human rights is like letting a fox guard a hen-house. When people come forward with legitimate complaints, here's what a Republican thinks:

"The concept here is there is not an absolute right for a transgender to go into the bathroom they identify with," Fredette said in front of the overflowing crowd Tuesday. "We have to draw lines in this society so we balance rights with the rights of everyone else."

For example, he said, "What situation do we put young children in when they go into a private place and then what they perceive to be the person of the opposite sex comes into that bathroom? That could be quite shocking."

Several (most?) of the elementary schools I worked in here in France didn't have separate gender bathrooms - there was a big one for the kids and a few small, private bathrooms for the grown-ups. Something tells me kids aren't the ones who care here.

Fortunately, Fredette didn't have to get his hands dirty at the hearing and a random "resident" came forward to say what he really meant:

As Sydney resident Tim Russell said, "[Current law] has created a legal access that predators can use in order to accost women and children in public restrooms."

"It is impossible for young children and women to safely determine whether or not the man -- dressed as a woman -- is a peeping tom, a rapist or a pedophile; and to continue to permit such a scenario to legally exist is unconscionable and inviting disaster," Russell said.

If these folks really cared about fighting rape, there are plenty of policies that they could support that would actually do something (testing backlogged rape kits, for example) instead of arguing against something that's never been shown to cause rape.

But that's a big if and that's not what they're after. At least the local paper quoted a speech on the other side to give some perspective:

Wayne Maines was one of the first to speak against the bill.

"Like many of you I doubted transgender children could exist," he said. "However I never doubted my love for my child."

Maines' 13-year-old daughter knew she was a girl at age 6, even though she'd been born a boy, he said. She was happy and her friends accepted her. But by fifth grade things got scary and the family had to "go into hiding" to protect the girl.

"'She came to me crying and asked, 'Daddy, what did I do wrong? Daddy, please fix this.' That's what dads do, we fix things. I had to break her heart and say, 'You have not done anything wrong sweetie, but Mommy and I do not know how to fix this,'" Maines said Tuesday, crying. "This bill places transgender children in a position of doom and hopelessness."

img Maine House

Update: Kathy Padilla sends in this one:

A junior high track coach in Roy chased down a 46-year-old man police say entered a girls' locker room, disrobed and began touching himself Tuesday afternoon.

There were no students in the locker room at Sand Ridge Junior High School, 2075 W. 4600 South, when the man sneaked in around 3 p.m., said Sgt. Curtis Gibson, but one of the school's track coaches who was working in her office spotted the naked man and went to get help.

What? The little skirt stick figure didn't zap him before he could get into the girls locker room?


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This is a non-issue and can absolutely be reduced to excessive prudence(or puritanism, I'm not sure which one).

Both adults and children can share bathroom and locker room facilities despite gender.

I would like to think that as a species, we're mature enough for a man to be standing at a urinal while a woman sits in the stall and/or washes her hands.

As for causing sexual harassment and/or rape, I would think that the presence of a light gender restriction on bathrooms would not prevent a potential criminal from entering said space to commit theoretical crime...

If someone has a desire to rape another person, is the gender sign on the bathroom door going to stop them?

Testosterone to the left...estrogen to the right. Thanks, hugs.

Kathy Padilla | April 13, 2011 11:57 AM

For example, he said, "What situation do we put young children in when they go into a private place and then what they perceive to be the person of the opposite sex comes into that bathroom? That could be quite shocking."
=======================


Fredette, of course makes no sense. If someone perceiving a person being the wrong sex is a problem needing correction - it's not solved by having that person use the other restroom where......they will be perceived as being the wrong sex for that restroom as well.


=========================================
As Sydney resident Tim Russell said, "[Current law] has created a legal access that predators can use in order to accost women and children in public restrooms."

"It is impossible for young children and women to safely determine whether or not the man -- dressed as a woman -- is a peeping tom, a rapist or a pedophile; and to continue to permit such a scenario to legally exist is unconscionable and inviting disaster," Russell said.
======================================

True - It's impossible for young girls, young boys, men and women to safely determine whether anyone is a rapist or predator. This is an argument for keeping adult men from the restroom when boys are using it more than any other group. If Russell were concerned over actual cases of sexual abuse rather than imagined ones - he would note that no such case has actually occurred with a trans person in a rest room of any type. But many, many, many, many have occurred with males like himself who aren't transgender.

Hundreds of thousands of rapes are perpetrated by these non transgender males every year in the US.
Wikipedia notes that:
"In North America, for example, approximately 15% to 25% of women and 5% to 15% of men were sexually abused when they were children."

Again - zero were due to trans people in rest rooms. The perpetrators were people like Russell & Fredette as regards their gender identity.

And if clothing is any guide to whether one might perpetrate such an act against a child - on should screen for the existence of a clerical collar.

I like Kathy's comment at the end. Now let's think about this a moment. If a priest or other pedophile entered a ladies only restroom and encountered a man in a dress along with other people such as a woman and young girl would the pedophile be more or less likely to perpetuate a crime than if the man in the dress wasn't there?

Rep. Fredette's name looked familiar - and it is! The man is clearly a nasty piece of work.

Here is what I wrote over at PHB when he introduced his anti-trans bill:

Rep. Fredette should drop the effeminate "ette" from his last name

The bill would add a paragraph to the Maine Human Rights Act that would make it legal to designate a bathroom or shower facility "to the use of members of the designated physiological sex, regardless of sexual orientation," according to a draft provided by Fredette.

"This is a complex issue and there are not any easy answers," said Fredette, who added other legislators have told him they would co-sponsor the bill.

Of course, Fredette's bill language indicates to me that the issue is way too complex for him to understand. His failure to understand basic issues of trans physiology, or of the fact that there is a difference between sexual orientation and gender identity leads him to write a bill in nonsense terms that does not address a single thing.

Transgender people are different physiologically from the sex they are arbitrarily and capriciously assigned at birth on the basis of exterior anatomical features associated with sex. "Physiological sex" is and should not be limited to embryological genital tract development alone.

The "regardless of sexual orientation" clause is completely mystifying, based on what he wants the legislation to accomplish. It appears what whatever time he may have soent on a human rights commission was completely wasted.

It is clear to me that this bill would not have any impact on or connection to the human rights commission decision he thinks he wants to be challenging.

The only thing I would conclude that this bill language would insure, is that gay boys cannot be prevented from using the boy's bathroom, locker room and shower, and gay girls won't be prohibited from using the girl's bathroom, locker room and shower. It really says nothing at all about trans people, who should be using the bathroom associated with their gender identity and presentation. Any other conclusion would be absurd, but I would not put it past a Republican troglodyte to think that such bill language would do what Rep. Fredette thinks it should.

Perhaps, if he really wants to achieve some personal gender clarity, Rep. Fredette should take a further bold step to assert his own cisgender identity, and make it clear which bathroom he should be using by de-feminizing the diminuitive suffix appended to his surname - so that he will hold himself out as being a man's man with two clearly male names - "Kenneth Fred."

Here is the bill language:

Sec. 1. 5 MRSA §4592, as amended by PL 2007, c. 664, §§5 to 7, is further amended by adding at the end a new paragraph to read:

It is not unlawful public accommodations discrimination, in violation of this Act, for a public or private entity to restrict rest room or shower facilities that are part of a public accommodation to the use of singlesex facilities to members of a biological sex regardless of sexual orientation. Unless otherwise indicated, a rest room or shower facility designated for one biological sex is presumed to be restricted to that biological sex.

- This is exactly the bill I criticized at PHB. "Biological" sex is not just genital phisiology, it inclused brain physiology - and I stand by my earlier assertion that it seems that the bill indicates that gay boys can't be prevented from using the boy's facilities, no matter what some nervous nellie straight types might feel about their sexual orientation - the nervous nellie straight boys can always use soap-on-a-rope as a talisman against their imaginary fears. (I don't think straight women have the same fears about lesbians in the showers that some of these ignorant straight folks do.)

What I don't understand is why the newspaper seems to think this is an anti-trans bill - the language clearly falls way short of what it would need to be to have such an outcome.

Joann when you made this statement you were wrong: Transgender people are different physiologically from the sex they are arbitrarily and capriciously assigned at birth on the basis of exterior anatomical features associated with sex. "Physiological sex" is and should not be limited to embryological genital tract development alone.
Transgender is an umbrella term and only transsexuals and intersexed have been proven to be "different physiologically from the sex they are arbitrarily and capriciously assigned at birth on the basis of exterior anatomical features associated with sex."
Your misuse of the word transgender is one of the reasons I find the term and it's use by those who identify as TG highly offensive.
Anyone arguing for a CD, or gender queer person who was born male is fighting to allow a man to use the women's room.Those two groups are under the transgender label. With all the confusion and BS being pushed by the transgender crowd it is no wonder bills like this are being offered.
While I believe the vast majority of CD's and possibly gender queers only would use the opposite sex bathroom without causing a problem. I believe my needs as a transsexual to use the appropriate gendered bathrooms should not be attached to their needs to use the opposite sex bathroom. It is time for the umbrella term transgender to go away.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

There are good theoretical reasons to believe that it's at least possible, and in my opinion, likely, that so-called "TG" is a less severe form of cross-sexed neuro-anatomy than TS, at least in some cases. It would fit well with what we know.

BUT.. no-one's studied it in a systematic way.
We have no evidence, so my conjecture remains just that, a conjecture.

Just as was the case for biological causation of Transsexuality before 1995.

I better clarify: when I said "no evidence", there are no large-scale studies. But we do have indications, not convincing ones, but not ignorable either.

Sexual differentiation of the human brain in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation D.Swaab & A.Garcia-Fulgaras Functional Neurology, Jan-Mar 2009:

One person we studied had untreated male gender dysphoria (S7), took no hormones and kept his transsexual feelings under wraps. He appeared to have a large INAH3 volume - in the male range - but a female INAH3 number of neurons (68) and a female BSTc somatostatin neuron number (95). Hence, this individual's hypothalamic characteristics were mid-way between male and female values

Interesting, no? We can't say that there's definitely no biological cause now, even if we don't have any good evidence that there is.

Doesn't apply Zoe you bring up one person that was listed as transsexual not transgender or even a transvestite. The reasons for someone to be a crossdresser or gender queer have no relation to being transsexual. That said it doesn't mean that I don't believe that there is either an underlying psychosexual reason or possible differentiation in their brain. One could also argue that being Lesbian or Gay is a lessor form of transsexualism based on this http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7456588.stm
I would love to see those pushing umbrella terms ask to have some studies done instead of unscientifically making false claims of similarity of obviously different groups with obviously different needs.

@Amy,

I think we're possibly having a semantic issue here, over the term "transgender." In the evolution of the legal terminology used to protect people who don't fit perfectly into the sex/gender binary, I did some research when I wrote the first draft of the NEw York GENDA bill in December 2002.

The proposed definitional language for "gender identity and expression" is found in Section 3 of the New York bill, which reads as follows:

S 3.

Section 292 of the executive law is amended by adding a new subdivision 34 to read as follows:
34. THE TERM "GENDER IDENTITY OR EXPRESSION" MEANS HAVING OR BEING PERCEIVED AS HAVING A GENDER IDENTITY, SELF-IMAGE, APPEARANCE, BEHAVIOR OR EXPRESSION WHETHER OR NOT THAT GENDER IDENTITY, SELF-IMAGE, APPEAR ANCE, BEHAVIOR OR EXPRESSION IS DIFFERENT FROM THAT TRADITIONALLY ASSO CIATED WITH THE SEX ASSIGNED TO THAT PERSON AT BIRTH.


When I wrote the first draft of the GENDA bill in December 2002, I was cognizant of the language for a similar amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law, (Local Law 3 of 2002, passed as Intro 24 in April 2002), and I was aware of the history of the adoption of housing, employment and human rights laws that cover transgender and gender-different people since 1995. An excellent resource for this is "Transgender Equality," published by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) available online at

http://www.nclrights.org/site/DocServer/transeq.pdf?docID=1302

(I am cited in footnote 74 in this resource.)

While working on the first GENDA draft in December 2002, I took the history of the development of human rights law language over the years very seriously. The fact that half the population of the state was already covered by a well-drafted and inclusive ordinance, made it fairly easy for me to choose the language adopted by New York City earlier that year.

In the 1980's, New York City changed its human rights law - the word "sex" was replaced by the word "gender." it is believed that this change may have been an early attempt to broaden the protected class, but all it did was make the definitions seem more vague. See, e.g., Maffei v. Kolaeton Industry, Inc. 164 Misc. 2d 547; 626 N.Y.S.2d 391 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. 1995), which broadly interpreted the change.

The language of the New York City Human Rights Law definition of gender as adopted in 2002, now includes "gender identity and expression:

23. The term “gender” shall include actual or perceived sex and shall also include a person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth.

The New York City language was adapted from a statutory formula first adopted at the state level by the State of Rhode Island in 2001.

2001 - H 5920 Substitute A, amending Chapter 34-37 of the Rhode Island General Laws

34-37-2.3. Right to equal housing opportunities -- Gender identity or expression. -- Whenever in this chapter there shall appear the words "sexual orientation" there shall be inserted immediately thereafter the words "gender identity or expression."

34-37-3. Definitions -- When used in this chapter:
. . .
(17) The term "gender identity or expression" includes a person's actual or perceived gender, as well as a person's gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression; whether or not that gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression is different from that traditionally associated with the person's sex at birth.

Prior to the use of the formulation in Rhode Island, legislation to protect the human rights of transgender and gender-different people used various formulas. It was not until the 1990's that the term "transgender" began to be used to describe transsexual and other gender-different people. The earliest ordinance from 1975 was enacted in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and amended that City's human rights law definition of "affectional preference" (what we would today call "sexual orientation"), to include "having or projecting a self-image not associated with one’s biological maleness or one’s biological femaleness."

In 1986, Seattle used the terms "transsexuality and transvestism." In 1999, based on a recommendation from the City of Seattle Commission on Sexual Minorities recommended an amendment to make the law "more accurate, inclusive, and more easily administered."

The language adopted in Seattle may be the first use of language that was adopted at a statewide level in Rhode Island. The Seattle language defined: " ‘gender identity’ means having an identity, expression, or physical characteristics not traditionally associated with one’s biological sex or one’s sex at birth, including transsexual, transvestite and transgendered, and including a person’s attitudes, preferences, beliefs and practices pertaining thereto."

One can see that this Seattle language can be related back to that first Minneapolis enactment, which was the source of the use of the term "self-image" in current definitional formulae.

While there are other inclusive formulas out there, since the adoption of language similar to the Seattle or Rhode Island Language in New York City in 2002, all county and local ordinances adopted in New York State have followed the New York City formulation with slight variations.

When it comes to what this language does or should cover, that is going to depend on how the courts end up interpreting it - and that's possibly going to depend on what science the court might take into account in the determination of "who is transgender."

Here is what some of the science tells me:

In 1995, in a peer-reviewed article in Nature, entitled A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality [Nature 378, 68 - 70 (02 November 1995); doi:10.1038/378068a0] the researchers involved gave us a first glimmer into transsexual brain structures.

This was confirmed in a follow-up study in 2000, entitled Male-to-Female Transsexuals Have Female Neuron Numbers in a Limbic Nucleus, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 85, No. 5 2034-2041

..
In 2008, two separate studies from Australia established separate genetic predispositions for different kinds of transgender development.

In one study, the predisposition for those who develop with female-identified brains and male genital tracts was shown to involve a long androgen receptor gene:
Lauren Hare, Pascal Bernard, Francisco J. Sanchez, Paul N. Baird, Eric Vilain, Trudy Kennedy and Vincent R. Harley. Androgen Receptor (AR) Repeat Length Polymorphism Associated with Male-to-female Transsexualism. Biological Psychiatry, Advance online publication date 27 Oct 2008, Jan 2009 print edition

The other study,aimed at those who develop with male-identified brains and female genital tract development, was entitled A Polymorphism of the CYP17 Gene Related to Sex Steroid Metabolism is Associated With Female-to-Male But Not Male-to-Female Transsexualism by Bentz, Eva-Katrin; Hefler, Lukas A.; Kaufmann, Ulrike; Huber, Johannes C.; Kolbus, Andrea; Tempfer, Clemens B., published in Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey: December 2008 - Volume 63 - Issue 12 - pp 775-777
doi: 10.1097/01.ogx.0000338093.21452.0b

These studies, and the brain structure studies from 1995 and 2000, provide clues to the ontological developments that result in transgender people. While there is much additional study required, these studies make it possible to discredit the earlier understandings of transgender people that date back to 1965, in which transgender people were seen as merely delusional members of their initially-assigned sex, for whom any treatment is seen as merely palliative.

- excerpted from my blog essay at:
http://trans-cendence.blogspot.com/2011/04/e-pur-si-muove-response-to-keith.html

--
When I use the term transgender, I'm usually using one of the umbrella definitions - something on the order of:

"Having a gender identity that is at variance with that expected based on the sex assigned at birth."

This could conceivably include a larger group than those who are "full time" and on HRT or have had GRS - but that is likely to depend on court interpretations.

On the outside of the umbrella would be
a. that segment of CDs who do *not* have a gender identity at variance with their birth sex assignment (people one might think of as "fetish dressers" based on their reasoning for cross-gendr clothing choice),
b. those dreg performers who identify as men, and
c. "men in disguise" - the kind of people Rep. Fredette (and just about anyone else) might see as predators.

The things is, existing laws against sexual predators, criminal trespassing and other crimes were not repealed by the inclusion of transgender people as a protected class in the Maine Human Rights law, and Rep Fredette's intention to victimize trans people to "get at" possible predators is like using a nuclear bomb on a major city to kill one person.

A few years ago, I helped someone with a research project searching the internet for certain city news papers, law journals and police blotters to see if we could find ‘Transgender + Bathroom + Assault’. We looked for about 3 months and no one found an instance of a Transgender person in a bathroom committing an assault. 100 cities were checked, but no one found anything.
I’m Intersexed, so I know the difference of ‘impossible’ and ‘improbable’.
Very little is impossible and far more is just improbable.
The odds that a Transgender person would be involved in an assault in a bathroom are infinitesimal, but are not ZERO.

So, I kept looking. I did a search of the internet and essentially left my computer running and just let it sit on the searched pages and after 3 more months of trolling through those finally found an incident.
A woman walked in to a public restroom at a rest stop in Florida. 6 men felt she was transgender and went in and pulled her out, stripped her, beat her and called the police to have her arrested. 2 of the 6 were arrested for the assault.

I found 1 assault AGAINST a Transgender person. You have a computer, you go look yourself. Type in or just copy and paste;

Transgender + bathroom + assault

The world has moved since a few years ago. Looking now, a prison guard sexually assaulted a trans woman in a Hawaii prison, a trans man was assaulted at a Houston college bathroom, a masculine appearing lesbian was assaulted in a public bathroom in Canada, another trans person assaulted in a bathroom in Oregon, yet another college student in Long Beach bathroom on campus. More and more pages on THE QUESTION.

So, there more assaults AGAINST trans people but still not a single event of any trans person sexually assaulting anyone in a bathroom.

Force those who are afraid of the unknown that they are only afraid of shadows.
Let them see for themselves what WE who are Transgender fear and what we have to deal with. The cis-gender and straights are not in no peril, we are.

Ethan Alister | April 14, 2011 10:03 AM

One of my problems with the whole "transgendered and transsexual people don't belong in the same camp" arguments, is that we run into pre-op, post-op, non-op, pre-hrt, hrt, non-hrt designations used as a measurement of a person's legitimacy. For example: if I identify as a man, was born in a body that has been identified as female, but I've decided that I don't want a huge swathe of flesh removed from my forearm and grafted onto my crotch ... I'm somehow less of a man than someone who has had a phalloplasty. It's STILL not nice to put people in boxes. If they want one, let them pick their own please.

One thing I like about living in Quebec is the French word "toilettes." That is my only object of interest in that particular room. I want to excrete waste products when I'm in there. I'm not there to "rest" or exclusively to "wash" (though hopefully I will afterwards), I'm not there to take a "bath" (although if I were homeless, that might be something I'd have to do there) and I'm not there to meet with anyone named John.

It is already illegal to commit rape. It is illegal to harass other people. We do not need specific legislation to reiterate that it is illegal to do such things in a bathroom. It is also unnecessary to have specific legislation to tell us which kinds of people cannot commit rape or harassment as it is illegal for ALL people to do so.

As for shocking: many things can be considered shocking. Some people's facial piercings and hair styles are shocking. The amount of breast hanging out of a particular woman's shirt could be shocking. Things that are written and pictured on people's T-shirts can be shocking. Those pendants people wear around their necks depicting a man dying from being tortured and nailed to a wooden cross are certainly shocking. LIFE, in general, will shock you over and over again. These shocks are often called "learning experiences." I'm sorry. No matter how much you bubble-wrap yourself and your children, these shocks will still get through.

People are raped in parks, in subway stations, in parking lots, in their own homes, and none of these things are gender-segregated. It doesn't help, folks. If you absolutely want to make sure your little girl is okay when she goes into a public restroom, how about you make it legal for you to go in with her Mr. Fredette?

Ethan a post-op person should not be placed under the transgender or transsexual label they are now that gender not something other than that gender. Someone who is pre-op,or any of the other statuses you mentioned should have experienced a level of discomfort with their birth sex that required them to seek some sort of medical help whether it be hormones or psychological counseling and they are the gender they professs to be just not totally physically it.Someone who can't take hormones would have had to go to the doctor to find out why.
The whole purpose of this bill revolves around people picking labels for themselves and forgetting about the other atleast 95% of the general public and their opinion on it.They are speaking and people aren't listening. Many in that 95% may not care but there are enough that do that the bathroom issue continues to be a problem.
Then there are the gender queer are they really just using the bathroom to go to the bathroom or are they using it to make a statement? What about heterosexual male crossdressers is there really a legitimate reason to expect a woman to have to share a restroom with them?
If those who label themselves transgender and transsexual can't agree on this how can you expect the general public to?

@Amy, I prefer to look at it this way - if the law is going to provide legal protection, it's best to cover the broadest class (i.e. include the post-ops, even though post-ops are not the "same" as all the other people int he class); if the law is designed to deny legal protection, it's best to deny protection to the narrowest possible class.

The way it is, a lot of the really bad legal decisions out there in the thicket of American jurisprudence, including Littleton, Kantaras and Gardiner, do involve post-op individuals. Intentionally excluding post-op folks from a protected class would not make sense.

As I suggested in an article over at The Hill newspaper's Capitol Hill blog, there is a need for federal and state Gender Recognition Acts as well as the various human rights laws. Bit that's another story entirely.

Some of the gender queer folks and at least some of the "heterosexual male crossdressers" possibly represent bi-gender phenomena that are about as societally misunderstood as bisexuality. We're dealing with gray areas that are not easily reduced to black and white.

Let's assume that some of them should be included - from the perspective of doing the least harm, if people having an appropriate apparent gender expression are using bathrooms solely for their intended purpose and not loitering, it makes sense to allow these people to choose the gendered bathroom based on their gender expression even if they're in a gray area, especially if the only alternative can be dangerous to them.

It does less harm to allow a drag queen or "heterosexual male crossdresser" who are in part of the gray area, to use an available women's restroom if there is no gender neutral restroom available, than it would be for them to risk what might happen to them in a men's restroom.

Many states on the eastern seaboard have old statutes that provide for enhanced penalties for crimes performed while wearing a mask or costume. These laws date back to the early 1800's, when crimes were often committed by people wearing the costume of native Americans, so that the victims would blame the indigines rather than the criminals - this is pretty much what the perpetrators of the Boston Tea Party did.

Those statutes can be used to provide a deterrent (or greater retribution) to any sexual predator who would want to put on a dress to sneak into a women's restroom, without denying gender variant people a reasonable place to pee in peace.

Ethan Alister | April 14, 2011 12:12 PM

"a post-op person should not be placed under the transgender or transsexual label they are now that gender not something other than that gender."

That is, of course, a matter of opinion. Also, my gender reassignment surgeries cannot make me a man with full sexual function such as sperm production or erection via corpus cavernosum. In addition to this, I cannot, and refuse to, attempt to erase the past, in which I was raised female. I still have those experiences. Surgery and hrt, cannot take them away. Should I no longer be able to identify myself as transgender or transsexual once my final surgery is completed? I think that's up to me.

I'm going to be specific here for you, just so you can have a personal opinion. I will always consider myself transgender because I always want to remember where I came from and because I want to express solidarity for people like me. Even if you could give me a fully functional cis-male body that no scientist could tell the difference between me and other cis-males, I would still identify as trans. I wish to acknowledge that I have had life experiences that no cis-man has ever had. This gives me a special perspective on life in that respect. It's not a disease of some kind that must be eradicated. It's who I am.

"Someone who is pre-op,or any of the other statuses you mentioned should have experienced a level of discomfort with their birth sex that required them to seek some sort of medical help whether it be hormones or psychological counseling and they are the gender they professs to be just not totally physically it.Someone who can't take hormones would have had to go to the doctor to find out why."

This opinion assumes that all transgendered and transsexual people have the same experience. That all are comfortable with dealing with the medical profession, and have the ability to do so. There are many, many places where we are denied care. This does not change our identities. Just how people react to them. The last surgical experience I had left me with PTSD. I am now terrified of doctors and have anxiety attacks every time I have to see one. I have actually canceled tests due to having lost my nerve. This does not change my identity either.

The problem that I was trying to point out by listing those statuses is that I often encounter people who think that non-op, or non-hrt people are less of a man, or less of a woman than post-op, and hrt people. Let me be more clear about that. A transman who binds his chest, dresses in a very masculine fashion and manages to "pass" all the time or almost all the time, and sees no reason to subject himself to the humiliating scrutiny or often-painful, often-traumatic intervention of the medical community is not less of a man for his decision. He still deserves to be called a man, and treated like a man. He deserves to not be forced to conform to other people's ideas of how he should live his life.

I know that many people who champion the cause of separating transsexual and transgender entirely would agree with that. It's just that the nitpicking of the definitions often leads down this way. We get into who deserves protection, who deserves rights, who deserves treatment/care/therapy and it gets messy and horrid and makes people angry. Do we really need people effectively going around shouting "I have had The Surgery!" (irony intended) "Therefore I am more legitimately male than this vagina-bearing person!" You'd think not, but it happens. It makes me sad. I think it's bad for all of us.

"The whole purpose of this bill revolves around people picking labels for themselves and forgetting about the other atleast 95% of the general public and their opinion on it.They are speaking and people aren't listening."

Yes. I think people should be able to pick their own labels, or not, as they so choose. My problem is with other people picking labels for them.

"Then there are the gender queer are they really just using the bathroom to go to the bathroom or are they using it to make a statement?"

There are no bathrooms exclusively for genderqueer people in most establishments. They HAVE to pick one. That is not a political statement. It is an indication that they have to pee and therefore use the facilities available for those purposes. This is a challenge many genderqueer people face. Everything they do is seen as "a statement" even when they are just going about daily activities.

"What about heterosexual male crossdressers is there really a legitimate reason to expect a woman to have to share a restroom with them?"

Yes. I think gendered washrooms are silly. It's a waste of money and space in a building to have two separate rooms for the same purpose for no other reason than antiquated social constraints. If a male crossdresser were going to harass a woman, he would do it anywhere. Crossdressers are not legally singled out to not be allowed in public parks, at beaches, or in bus shelters. (And where they are they shouldn't be.)

The whole of a public bathroom is NOT private. The only private place in a public washroom is the toilet stalls. If someone comes in the toilet stall with you without your permission, you have legitimate reason to be upset because they do not have a legitimate reason to be there. If you encounter anyone else while washing your hands, drying your hands, fixing your hair, etc, in the main portion of the room, they have just as much right to be out there as you do. The room being a bathroom does not make it different from any other room in the building except that you are allowed to excrete wastes in it at certain prescribed receptacles. Bills, like the one described in the article, betray a lack of understanding of how people actually use washrooms.

Men, women, and everyone else, all pee and poo. Very much in the same fashion across the sexes and genders. Why they need arbitrarily separate rooms to do so in is beyond me. People mention children, but no one has put forward a bill to have a separate washroom where only people eighteen and under are allowed.

I am a man. Yet, up until my twenties, I went in the women's washroom as was expected of me because of my body type. Don't you think I found that weird? I did, quite.

"If those who label themselves transgender and transsexual can't agree on this how can you expect the general public to?"

I don't. I do expect equal rights and protections for all of us though. In order for that to happen, antiquated, sexist laws need to go.

How did this get from a discussion about bathrooms to what class someone belongs in? As far as I know there are two classes male and female. No, it isn't that clear. If it isn't that clear then everyone is transgender.

Somebody mentioned Maffei, v. Kolaeton one of my favorite. It was pointed out that:

But this is an extremely simplistic view of transsexuality. Experts generally agree that sex is not just identified by external genitalia manifested at birth, but that there are at least seven variables that interact to determine the ultimate sex of an individual, to wit: (1) Chromosomes (XX female, XY male); (2) Gonads (ovaries or testes); (3) Hormonal secretions (androgens for males or estrogens for females); (4) Internal reproductive organs (uterus or prostate); (5) External genitalia; (6) Secondary sexual characteristics; and (7) Self-identity, [citation omitted]. Maffei, v. Kolaeton Industry, Inc.,626 N.Y.S. 2d 391 (S.Ct. of NY, March 14, 1995) (discrimination based on sexual orientation extends to transsexual under NY City antidiscrimination law).

I will repeat "AT LEAST seven variables that interact to determine the ultimate sex of an individual". SEX, SEX, SEX!!! Get over it.

I've read through the Kantaras case. It has been pointed out what an outrageously bad decision it was. A judge with a religious agenda used a dictionary for an awfully inadequate definition that went into the decision. I don't have time to be any more specific than that. Why do people keep going back to bad decisions in an attempt to make it seem people of transsexual history need their interference? There is a wide diversity between male and female. Just because you can find references that use the term "biological sex" doesn't mean it makes any sense. There is plenty regarding the difficulties of sex determination at the Oraganization Intersex Internation/AKS Lakeside site:

http://www.intersexualite.org/English-Index.html

Joan, I wish you well with your birth certificate case. I can't have my Tennessee birth certificate changed, however. Oh, I suppose it's cause for celebration because it puts me in my place??? Just like Neko Case says "people gotta lotta nerve!" I have read about your situation. I sympathize. You do not represent me, however. You have no business representing people whose experience you do not share. Even if you did, who asked you to represent them? This has gone too far. It's well beyond the scope of bathroom privileges.

Sorry about the Kantaras v Kantaras mistake. I was thinking the J'Noel Gardiner/ Kansas case. I always get those confused. Kantaras v Kantaras is not a good case either to bring up in an attempt to drag the rights of post op transsexual people back to the first half of the twentieth century. It isn't right.

I've cited this article a few times before.

http://www.ilw.com/articles/2004,0817-mehta.shtm

How much do post transsexual people have to lose if some of the reasoning that prevails around here is relied on?

In case you are confused about where to look on the A Kindred Spirit/Lakeside portion of the OII site you can start here.

http://www.intersexualite.org/Definitions.html

People have bodies as well as "psychologies". Do you think anyone would have a psychology without a body?

Some of the information is perfectly accurate or presented in a linguistically accurate way but what the information linked to does do is demonstrate very clearly the amount of sex diversity that exists among humans who are divided into two classes. There are many different "biological sexes". Only two legal ones, though.

I read a BBC article about how the bathroom situation was resolved in a part of Thailand. The make special ones for "kathoey". Please, don't third sex me.

here's the BBC article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7529227.stm

last paragraph, in an article that repeatedly refers to "transgender men and boys", reads:

Discrimination remains Tolerance, said Suttirat, is not the same thing as acceptance. Despite their high profile in Thailand, transsexuals complain that they are still stereotyped - they can find work easily enough as entertainers, in the beauty industry, the media, or as prostitutes, but it is much harder to become a transgender lawyer or investment banker. And their biggest complaint is that they cannot change their legal status. Despite a proposal during the drafting of a new constitution last year, to allow them to change the gender on their identity cards, this has not yet been approved.

Please, do not change things so the good laws that are already on the books are repealed so things wind up like this! Please!