On Alex Blaze's entry Trans Woman Banned from Hotel for Life for Going to Bathroom, discussing the case of a Las Vegas casino, The Cosmopolitan, Projector Jane Fae commented:
I SO don't get this. Just what is the US obsession with toilets and the gender binary?
Sure: men, mostly, have been known to go into toilets as a means to pry, peek and abuse. But on the whole, they don't do so disguised as women. In fact, being disguised as a woman is pretty noticeable (as well as making a getaway difficult if you're daft enough to wear heels).
There are issues over here in the UK, in Europe. But on the whole we just don't seem to
obsess the way those in the States do. Why? Genuine ask.
Is it some hang-ups about being overheard whilst tinkling? Or is it that there is some US cross-over between toilets and sex that we just don't get.
Speaking as someone with legal protection when i decide to go to the loo or use a gender appropriate changing room, i just can't even begin to get my head around how this works.
Good point, Jane! What is it with us? Why did security guards have to hustle this poor woman out of the bathroom -- is this the same craziness that led to the beating of Crissy Lee Polis in a McDonald's bathroom?
Are we US people particularly obsessed with toilets and the gender binary? In many places in the world, toilets are single use and unisex. And, in fact, in many college dormitories in the US, there are multi-use unisex bathrooms.
Is it toilets that are obsessing us, or a fear of men being contaminated by femininity if they use the same bathroom that a woman uses? Judging from the number of jokes I hear from comedians about men turning into embarrassed sissies if they have to pick up some tampax at the store for their wives or girlfriends, I'd say there's some pretty deep-seated weirdness at work.
Perhaps it's a fear of women about male uncleanliness in the bathroom -- who left that toilet seat up? And there is rare but horrific violence by men against women that occurs in women's bathrooms. But as Jane noted, those people don't dress up in drag to do it -- they don't need to. Having a separate women's room ensures that there are going to be no other men around to protect that female victim, so the felon has a clear field. Having unisex bathrooms might very well make such occurrences even rarer and less successful.
In fact, I have conducted a study on the occurrence of bathroom violence and harassment perpetrated by trans women against women in public bathrooms, and found that despite the fact that most of the US population is covered by gender identity protections, there is a very low prevalence of this: zero.
And yet, every time someone proposes legislation to protect trans people from beatings or workplace discrimination or public accommodations protections, the villagers bring out the torches and run around yelling about men in dresses touching women in the bathroom.
What say you, Projectors? Are we US people all mixed up about sex and gender and that's why we have this trans-toilet-craziness? Is it something about fear of contamination, or fear of violence against women, or fear of homosexuality, or what? Should we all move to Canada, or Finland?