Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Comment of the Week: Jane Fae

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | May 01, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Site News, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: bathrooms, Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan

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?


Recent Entries Filed under Site News:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


It's probably an outgrowth of the general prudishness regarding anything to do with sex. Other countries simply aren't as obsessed with religion as the US. The country's hyper-religiosity is the source for most of its social problems.

This from the Australian Human Rights Commission:

Another area of concern that is frequently raised to justify the discriminatory treatment of transgender and intersex people is the possibility of a ‘pre-operative’ transgender person using sex specific facilities (for example, change rooms or toilets) and thereby causing discomfort to other users of those facilities. 16

In my view this concern is often overemphasised, and it is not clear that the sexual re-assignment surgery criterion will resolve such concerns. For example, female toilets have private individual cubicles, so surgical status is unlikely to be revealed, and concerns are more likely to focus on publicly visible aspects of gender presentation. For transgender men, undergoing hysterectomy surgery will make no difference in such situations. While there may be genuine, albeit ill-founded, community concerns in relation to these issues, situations of inappropriate behaviour by any person in sex specific facilities can already be dealt with adequately under existing civil and criminal laws.

16 See eg the discussion in the Legislative Assembly (ACT Hansard, 8 May 2003 at 1716-1717) regarding proposed amendments to the Public Baths and Public Bathing Act 1952, to remove enforced sex segregation of public change rooms, where Bill Wood MLA noted that “ it is disappointing that a number of people seemed to assume that transgender people are more likely to engage in predatory behaviour than anyone else. I think that this quite clearly demonstrates the need for additional anti-discrimination education in our community.”

So yes, it's mentioned elsewhere... as one paragraph in a 16 page report.

Available at http://cdn.justice.act.gov.au/resources/uploads/Advice_Gender_Identity_and_BDM_2010.pdf

Gina9223 | May 1, 2011 8:04 PM

Well, I’ve been around Europe and can attest to the fact that many public places DO have unisex toilets with a bank of sinks and a bank of stalls with doors that go down low and go up high. Big huge benefit that I saw was husbands helping pregnant wives or parents herding little kids as well as dutiful sons and daughters helping elderly parents of the opposite gender. Seriously, it’s beautiful to see families helping their members who need assistance where its often needed most. :’)

Also, I helped you Dr. Weiss a bit on that research. What you may be unaware of is I didn’t stop looking at the end. [1] I just couldn’t stop looking. I knew that statistically speaking ‘Transgender + Bathroom + Assault’ where a Transgender person has at least assaulted someone in a public bathroom has to occur in some form at some time. It simply cannot be a real world ZERO.

Right?

I looked for a total of 6 months and I stopped when I finally found an instance. A woman who was identified as Transgender who used a public rest stop ladies room. 6 men pulled her out and stripped her [to see] and beat her up along the way. They called the cops and when the cops came, they arrested 2 of the men for assault.

That was a few years ago.

After the beating at McDonalds the other week, I went to look again. First search page popped up with 3 assaults against Transgender people in bathrooms. 2 were in college bathrooms, 2 were Transmen in men’s rooms. ….and this is where it gets troubling. I looked at a few pages, that’s all I could bare to look at, and with the constant meme being pushed that Transgender people are bathroom predators, Transgender people are now being preyed upon in public bathrooms across the nation.

Seriously, it looks like it’s open season on those of us who are gender non-conforming.

Last week I went to the Connecticut statehouse to lobby on HB6599 ‘An Act Concerning Discrimination’ which is the state’s Anti-Discrimination statues and the act brings gender and gender expression in to the law. I only managed to talk to one of my state law makers. The bathroom question came up, I talked to it but it’s the meme…
I tried to talk to my other law maker, but she had her staff tell us that she was out. (seriously lame) I’ll still contact her again to make sure she hears me on this but she appears to be uh… well, seriously far right in everything.

So Dr. Weiss, it may be time to do a new study on the effects of the current meme being pushed that Transgender people are sexual predators in bathrooms and how that is leading to an upswing of violent assaults.

[1]
As a person who grew up with a question hovering over my head constantly (Q: Why does everyone think I’m a girl when we first meet? Or that I’m gay?) and searching for an answer a really unreasonable long time (A: I’m Intersexed, expressed as ether a Chimera or a Mosaic with 46XX/46XY genotype. I look like a girl, so people think I’m a girl. When they find out I’m a boy, they confuse my effeminate body and nature with being gay.)

BrandiGirl | May 1, 2011 8:54 PM

Jillian I'd first like to ask were the results of this study you did may be seen ? Next let me say that I don't feel that at the root of this Issue people really believe that girls or women will be raped by Transwomen in restrooms that's merely the battle cry used to conger fear and and turn that fear into action by those opposed to public accommodation laws. I feel the real root of this issue is more about Morality and Decency that comes from the fact that the United States was founded to be a Christian nation and at it's roots it still is, but times being what they are morality and decency aren't big selling points in todays world and they surely wouldn't make for very effective rally cry. I also think theres a certain amount of uncomfortableness for women in having people of the opposite gender in any space were they disrobe and feel they are more vulnerable. I think that everyone should face facts and the facts bear out that ANYONE who gives off the slightest hint of being of the opposite gender is going to send up a red flag. Likewise ANYONE they suspect of being of the opposite gender will cause them to generate a complaint. They (women) as well as those fighting against public accommodations feel that way. None of those opposed to public accommodations want to see any person in the ladies restroom who's obviously looks out of place and looks like a male dressed as a female, they (Women) automatically feel threaten and uncomfortable..I must say I known I would feel exactly the same way if I saw a 6'2” masculine person standing in the ladies room powdering their nose.....and I certainly don't want any penis in the ladies room thats just a very uncomfortable thought to me as well....sorry if there are those that don't like how I feel, but we are all entitled to our opinions and I happen to be someone who likes the binary system and feel it's served us well for over 2000 years. I known that there are those who feel differently and thats fine. The one exception I would make is for pre-ops whom are under the care of a therapist and following the SOC guidelines and if in RTL thus have a carry letter for restroom and such. Also if I might add I still feel very strongly that the point I made about us being a visual society can;t be stressed enough, as I known I've NEVER had a restroom issue and I feel it's due in part to the fact that I've been blessed in that I pass extremely well, likewise others I known of and talk to who pass equality well don't have bathroom issues...passing makes a difference. It is the main reason many who consider transition decide to have ffs first before grs as to help them pass better and thus fit into society better avoiding the hassles that those who don't pass suffer daily.

Carry letter or properly gendered drivers license. Then comes the bathroom genital inspection police meme. Society is told 'transgender' so when they go look that definition up they find cross-dressers and gender variants. If specific language is used to educate the public then maybe they will fill more comfortable using the restroom with a woman who has testosterone damage. Why can't we fight for the rights of women of transsexual history to use the appropriate restroom?

"I feel the real root of this issue is more about Morality and Decency that comes from the fact that the United States was founded to be a Christian nation and at it's roots it still is, but times being what they are morality and decency aren't big selling points in todays world and they surely wouldn't make for very effective rally cry."

Except that's a lie and we are not a Christian nation. We were founded as a secular nation based on secular law. We are a nation largely composed of Christians, but that is not the same thing, especially when so many of the founders, the writers of our core laws, were deist.

"the hassles that those who don't pass suffer daily" What hassles? I thought the binary system was working? Oh, you mean it is working for you...forget the rest of us who routinely get fucked over by it. Forget the sexism, forget the gender based homophobia and biphobia, forget the suffering and death of non-binary or non-blending folks (or outed folks who often blend). Forget that I have yet to find anyone who could present a single fucking example of a cis woman being attacked in a restroom, because it happens rarely to never, but it is pretty damned easy to find trans people and other gender nonconforming people of all genders being attacked in either mens or women's restrooms. Forget that cis heteros are often allowed into the "wrong" restroom for appropriate hetero purposes-yep, a hetero couple fucking in the stall of a women's restroom generally has no trouble but a trans woman or a drag queen seeking to avoid being beaten and raped using a men's room who goes into the women's room risks an attack or a call to the police. My sister used men's rooms when pregnant and no one said a damned thing, because heteros reproducing is just fine, but if I just want to pee, I have to be prepared to face violence.

Look, there is nothing wrong with the fact that you tend to fit these norms just by being yourself, but when you enforce these norms on others, you are doing harm and you are doing damage. You know, sort of like how it is okay for someone to be thin or pale skinned but not okay for them to use that as an excuse to support a system that attacks and harms fat or dark skinned people. You shouldn't ignore or support systematic harms merely because they are not affecting you at the moment.

Why aren't women trying to beat the door down on the men's restroom? Why is it the other way around? Men have oppressed and controlled women throughout history and continue to do so. Instead of educating men, telling them that some guys wear dresses, they want women to bear the brunt of this bathroom issue.

Jillian, there are more incidents than you think out there. TG Inc will squash any mention of incidents. I posted one on a TG activists' FB wall and she deleted it.

A girlfriend of mine told me about a cross-dresser she came across in a nightclub bathroom.

"A couple of months ago, I saw a girlfriend I hadn't seen in a few months. We started catching up on things and she told me a horrific story. She was in a nightclub in Philly one night and went to the restroom. As soon as she walked in she said she saw what she believed to be a cross-dresser standing there. She said he asked her "Is this noticeable"? She said, "Is what noticeable"? He said "This, and pointed to the front of his skirt while he was either just finishing or had ejaculated. She became horrified. After the shock wore off she told him how much damage he is causing to the TS people who need to use those facilities and then she angrily told him about me. She had him thrown out but he should have been thrown in jail."

I say educate MEN before intruding on women's private spaces.

Jane's name is actually Jane Fae, so it's spelt correctly in the title.

That's lewd behavior. It doesn't matter if it's a hetero couple copulating in a stall, a woman coming to orgasm or a cross dresser ejaculating. It's lewd behavior which is unlawful, and you're perfectly entitled to complain about it.

Before you get holier than thou about being a real woman when this particular cross dresser was not, just recall there are still radical feminists who don't consider you a woman either and want you out of their spaces.

There we go with the 'holier than though'... I am NOT better than anyone else based on transsexual or non-transsxual status.

And to add...this is what makes it so hard to talk with you and other 'tg' leaders. You discount and demonize us. What you are telling everyone else in this thread is that Dana Taylor thinks she is better than everyone else so don't listen to her. That is what is going on here.

This is a variation on the "transier than thou" accusation so popular with the TG crowd. What it actually is saying is "you are being an uppity tranny" and that "you will never be a 'real' woman so stop pretending you are"

This is actual transphobia and neo-gynophobia and why I consider Beyer a mysogynist and anti-women. There is actually no difference at all between this and "you will always be a man if you were born one" from the radfems. It is exactly the same thing coming from the exact same basic premise...once a tranny, always a tranny, no escape, no cure, no being real.

Thank you, Radical Bitch! I am really getting sick of this crap.

You misspelled Jane's last name. It's "Fee," two e's.

Read this, a perfect example why I stopped rushing to the defense of every trans who seems to have a problem in a public accommodation situation.

http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/05/was-it-a-hoax-the-curious-case-of-the-transgender-at-the-comso-hotel-at-4-a-m/

And when this gets wider coverage, it will be used against the next trans rights bill, be assured.

If she lied about all of that, it is seriously a bad thing for those who need protections.

Justus Eisfeld Justus Eisfeld | May 2, 2011 7:16 AM

Unlike many other cultures, Americans are obsessed with anything that has to do with genitals, and their bodily functions: urination, menstruation and sex. I believe that a lot of this obsession is rooted in Puritanism - and especially the belief that a woman's purity has to be preserved by the complete denial of the existence of genitals, as well as the assumption that sex and sexuality is always dirty and somehow forbidden.
This leads to all kinds of issues: people who repress sex get more violent about it, people who don't talk about bodily functions get weird about sharing (naked) bathroom space with family members (hence the need for all those bathrooms in US homes) etc. The branding of people as 'sex offenders' or 'sexual predators' does not help with normalizing sexuality either - only open and honest talks about sexuality, teaching kids when to say no (and when to say yes!) and a positive approach to sexuality and genitals and any of their functions will do that.
Trans people's problems in US bathrooms are a symptom of these underlying extreme beliefs.

G Joseph | May 2, 2011 9:21 AM

When I was 17 I went to Germany as an exchange student. I noticed that most public restrooms are gender neutral. At first I thought it odd, but then came to see it as logical. Why build an extra room with the same function? On a canoe trip, the German kids were changing out of their wet clothes on the bus, boys and girls in front of each other. We American kids were a bit horrified, but there were no lurid stares, no sexual comments (despite the elevated hormore levels of adolescents), just a bunch of kids in wet underwear. It occured to me then that as Americans, we have very strange views on privacy, nudity, and sex. Since then, on more than one occasion I have been in a restroom in the USA when a person of the opposite gender comes in (often times, but not always, with children). No big deal. People need to relax and realize that there are more important things going on in the world than who is in the bathroom with you. After all, we all go in there for the same reason.

Brandigirl | May 2, 2011 9:48 AM

Cat to begin with if your getting Fucked over by the binary and by society it because you and those who "Choose" to not fit into it are fighting a system thats WAY bigger then you and much more entrenched with Thousands of years of history. All who "Choose" to not fit in with society have to accept confrontation as a consequence. WE all make choices every single day and with each one we make there are consequence it's NO different when you try to go against the flow of society. What do you expect for society to just bend over and take it from you just because it makes you feel better or suits your purpose and ignore 2000 years of history ? No I don't think so just like the salmon who struggle just to reproduce even risking death to do so, you my friend have chosen the direction you are going don't bitch about it when things don't go your way.

You keep saying the binary has been around '2000 years'. I am not toatlly sure what you mean by 'the binary'...I assume you mean the gender binary? Or is it binary math?

Anyhow, I have to ask: How did it get establiched 2000 years ago? Was their an imperial edict or something? Or did someone invent it or discover it? Or perhaps (based on the 2000 years), was that one of the teachings of Jesus?

I just have to know!

Carol, if we were to go by stereotypical gender roles of 2000 years ago, then women would be nothing more than property of men. I don't know about you, but I won't be property of anyone, especially a man. Now, if this is the goal of the "classic transsexuals," to be considered property of men, then I say, "Have fun. Knock yourself out."

Sometimes I wonder if you are serious with the pure illogical garbage you spew.

I am bisexual, I am no mans chattel and never will be and you personify me as "classic transsexual" since I promoted the use of the term.

Go back under your bridge troll.

First of all, I wasn't targeting you. It's nothing more than your constant paranoia victimist condition flaring up again. "Boo hoo! Boo hoo! The nasty tranny is picking on me again!" You may want to see someone about that.

And, as far as you being a bisexual, I can care less. But, since you brought it up and you subscribe to the 2000 year-old gender role model, then does that mean you want to be the property of a man AND a woman?

Monica, I have a screw driver if you need one. You have a few screws loose. Seriously, you really do. boohoohoo? really?

Monica, take a Valium, please. If you think that we all can't see you going batshit crazy, guess again.

You remind me of Autumn Sandeen..

http://stoptranssexualhate.blogspot.com/2011/04/oh-sandeenno-you-didnt.html

I'm not looking to start a fight or bring up bad issues, I just what to know what 'Brandigirl' is talking about! I have never heard such a statement before, I am curious where this is coming from.

Justus Eisfeld Justus Eisfeld | May 2, 2011 11:35 AM

The gender binary has not actually been around for 2000 years. For a complete overview of the development I can recommend reading 'Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud' by Thomas Laqueur. It is a great read, and very enlightening.
In short his argument is that views of sex and gender have changed over the course of history, and have not always been the binary model we know in European-based cultures today.

Thanks, Justus. I pretty much feel the same way. I am just curious to see what she is talking about. :)

Jillian as you and several other people mostly prominent transactivist are aware I recently experienced potty policing through a horribly lopsided article in my college Newspaper. Where are all the trans activist on bringing attention to it? Could it be that because of my anti transgender label position I'm a black sheep unworthy of sticking up for? Or is collateral damage to another student at my college who may be transgender identified acceptable if it leaves me hanging or stops me from talking to the media? Jillian of all the Trans-Activist so far you are the only one that spent a little time communicating with me about it and how I should handle it. But don't you think that article is so badly written it deserves to be put out there in a big way?

Ps for all their talk about non transgender identified transsexuals being uncaring I mentioned this incident in a comment to Monica Helms. Dana Bayer was heavily involved in responding to comments in that post as well and responded to me several times. In my comment to Monica I specifically refered to having a bad incident happen and asked that Both Dana Bayer and Mara Kiesling work with me to tackle the issue.Monica kept rambling like usual with her you'll do it my way crap and personel attacks. Dana kept refering to all my comments accept for the one about the incident and working together to solve it. I even refered back to Dana that she missed an important issue in my comments. She never responded to it.

It's something very odd indeed. I'm a Canadian who's now lived in the USA for three years. Back in Canada, in particular Quebec where I once lived, there are unisex bathrooms at bars, clubs, restaurants. Heterosexual ones. It's not uncommon. Men at the urinals, ladies in the stalls. And nobody flips out.

Toronto: legal for women to walk around topless, if they so choose. Why? Because no court could intelligently state WHY a woman's breasts are inherently more harmful if viewed than male breasts. Size? Shape? Nipple placement or position? Nope, it just seems to be FEMALE BREASTS ARE SINFUL as a rallying cry.

Toronto court said "bollocks to that, that makes no sense"

I have to say I remain continually puzzled by the ongoing Puritanism in American Culture. A fight breaks out in a sports game, and the cameras zoom in to catch the violence.
Janet Jackson exposes a nipple and the whole country freaks the fuck out.
Violence on television, toy guns for kids. Yet a same-sex kiss on TV is "corrupting youth"

yeah. right.

Amy,

You made a cryptic comment to me about something I missed. I clearly didn't see it in your comments. You're now referring to an incident about which I know nothing, not having been informed by you or anyone else.

If you will be explicit and specific I will be happen to listen. I do not discriminate against "non-transgender transsexuals." I don't even like the title "transgender" myself. And my last name is Beyer, not Bayer.

My apologies for misspelling your name and I can now say you have been fully informed of the situation.

Everyone who goes against social norms is an acceptable target for hate and violence? Are you fucking serious?

Even if your bullshit whitewashed history were accurate (which it isn't), your view is still morally repulsive. All you are doing is suggesting that it is okay to brutalize anyone who disagrees with the established system merely because of some asinine traditions. Way to invoke a logical fallacy (http://www.logicalfallacies.info/relevance/appeals/appeal-to-tradition/) as well as condone violence all in one comment. It does not matter if people choose to be queer, genderqueer, trans, etc., because it is not inferior. People should be able to live freely and happily-making decisions about their own lives and bodies-not bound to whatever bullshit standard you try to, in yet another logic fail, invoke as the "natural order" (http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adnature.html). If it were up to you, we would still have slavery, witch burnings, legal marital rape, etc. because, after all, under your worldview no one should ever struggle against tradition and be allowed to live to tell the tale.

You, like many bigots, carve out only a tiny exception from your pile of hate for people who are just like you.

Dana,
I have just sent you a facebook friend invite and identified myself as amym440 in it. Once you accept that I can authorize you to view the entire article in my notes.

Brandi, you are a lesbian right? One should think before using loaded words like "choice" in an attempt to lay blame for those who are policed by the gender binary.

Also, history and culture define what is assigned appropriate to men and women. Your opinion is nothing more than the trans equivalent to "marriage in between a man and a woman because it's always been that way". In this specific case, regarding "gender" I have yet to meet a person of either sex who actually fully conforms to the gendered expectations placed on that sex.

Is anyone monitoring the comments here???!!! TOS violations going on, or do you even care because it is trans on trans abuse.

The fact of the matter is that for public restrooms to be segregated by sex makes no sense, anywhere. We all have bathrooms in our houses, and for the majority of us, both men and women have used those bathrooms.

Most of us have gone skinny-dipping with the opposite sex present at some point in our lives, so whatever our sexual orientation, we've seen it. And that's not even an issue with separate stalls with doors, anyway.

This resident of the US really doesn't understand why it is an issue.

But then, I don't understand prejudice and bigotry at all.

It's called the mammalian binary. Has NOTHNG to do with gender or math

Hmmm...mammalian binary?

That doesn't really tell me much...what *is* this 'mammalian binary'?

Does it mean there are two kinds of mammals, and they are opposites?

Does it mean there are mammals, and then there are non-mammals?

Or maybe you are talking about mammary glands? There certainly are two of those, at least in primate mammals, though most other mammals have more, I think.

I wondered if you meant sexual binary, but that doesn't seem to be right, as there are a lot of intersex ppl around.

Could you explain what you mean by 'mammalian binary'?

I probably shouldn't be telling you this: but actually we are just dead scared you may overhear us gossiping in there. That stuff is not for the faint-of-heart and a male ego is so easily bruised.

So going in with earplugs is fine - as long as you cannot read from lips.