A Lot of Fuzz About Peeing

A transgender woman from Idaho in the US was banned from a grocery store because she was using the women’s restroom. The local police captain explained:

The store security officer said he had been dealing with a problem over a couple days with the person going into the women’s restroom and urinating while standing up.

Apparently this made other female customers feel “very uncomfortable”.


Firstly, I don’t think that is a problem. Breaking discriminatory normative standards often makes people feel uncomfortable. Great. I say fuck normativity anyway. The question is still though: was this necessary? or even helpful? Maybe it helps to get these issues talked about in a small conservative community, but also maybe it makes it harder to be trans* in that area. I’m not going to make any judgement on that as I have no idea how things are around there.

However this story has caused a bit of a split among trans* people too. A lot of trans* people do like to enforce a certain level of normativity, i.e. enforce traditional gender roles on some level. Like in this instance: “women don’t pee standing up.” Which is of course not true, as you can pee standing up without a penis. I have no idea how people with various medical conditions that involves peeing through a bag or tube does this, but I assume that’s one way it can be done. In any case, the normative argument is still bullshit because most people with a vagina and people with a penis pee in the way that makes it most practical for them to do so. It really has nothing to do with gender, but with plumbing. I personally think everyone should sit and pee because it is less messy, and apparently there are some medical benefits. I don’t know. The messy reason is good enough for me.

The issue here is really a different one though. To these other women, the act of peeing while standing, and I assume that was determined either by an open stall door, or the sound of splashing, clearly indicated to them the presence of a penis. Everyone knows that penises are dangerous. They have a mind of their own you see. Ok, rape is a serious issue, so is stalking women in a private environment, and hypothetically a creepy man could dress like a woman to sneak into a women’s restroom for sinister purposes; but for that matter, creepy women could be there for the exact same reasons. Theoretically. However there is no reason to believe that trans women, or trans men for that matter, do that any more then cis people do. As the vast majority of people of the non-creepy kind, we go to the restroom for the obvious reason: when nature calls.

Then why can’t trans women just use the men’s restroom and trans men the women’s? Well, for the same reason cis women use the women’s and cis men use the men’s, trans women use the women’s and trans men use the men’s. If you want to argue that point without getting into discrimination, you’re basically arguing for unisex restrooms; which you sometimes find around here at least, and they work pretty well too. Except that I find, from my experience at least, that women’s restrooms are generally less messy than men’s. Both from having cleaned restrooms as an evening job in my early 20s, and from being transsexual and having gone from using one kind to the other kind on a daily basis.

Also, if we truly were to address this issue from a safety perspective, a trans woman in the men’s restroom is probably the most risky situations of all considered here. Risky for the woman that is. Although I’ve seen plenty of women entering men’s restrooms in pubs and clubs simply because there’s a shorter queue. Which has never been a big deal when I’ve seen it. It’s actually a little refreshing when people let go a little and stop being so damn anal about everything.

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  1. Maxens says:

    Well, most cis women don’t pee sitting because it’s the most practical way to do so, but because they are only taught to pee sitting and taught that they can’t possibly pee standing up and (the idea of) a woman peeing standing up is mocked, seen as ridiculous, even offensive (otherwise, even if taught only to pee sitting, most would try and figure out themselves how to pee standing up or see other women/little girls do so and imitate them. Now if a little girl tries and fail, she sees it as confirmation that girls and women can’t pee standing up, because little girls aren’t parents so they don’t know that little boys fail too when they try the first times and have to be taught or see another boy pee standing up to learn.)
    For the majority of cis women, they can pee standing up by using the finger “method” (I hate how it’s called a method and not seen as “natural” like cis men peeing standing up touching their penis is) and some can pee standing up without fingers. Women peed standing up for centuries, and there are still countries like Ghana where it’s a thing. It’s not more uncomfortable to pee standing up without a penis than it is with one, unless you’re one of those (mostly women) persons able to pee standing up without using hands or fingers but have hips/legs issues. In this case, well, other things will be uncomfortable for you to do standing up, so it’s really unrelated.
    For some reason, they now make objects supposed to make women able to pee standing up… thus contributing to the idea that their bodies aren’t made for this. I find this insulting. Not because it’s bad to pee sitted, but because it’s about lying to people about their bodies!
    Plus, not only there are urinals in the men’s rooms, the toilets are larger to make peeing standing up more comfortable… so it’s not really a question of having a vagina or a penis.
    A bit unrelated, but I’m a genderqueer person from France, and people seem to obsess on the idea that people without penises can’t, no never they never can’t, pee standing up without using an object? which is why I came here searching about people peeing standing up.

  2. Maxens says:

    Though if you want to use such objects to pee standing up to avoid touching yourself, then go ahead and use them… I just find the marketing behind it (“Now women can pee standing up!” yeah, well they did before and without this!) insulting, not the object in itself.

  3. Women’s colleges should not be in the business of policing people’s bodies or identities, or deciding what kinds of people get to qualify as “women”. Many women’s colleges are already sites of inclusion for some trans and gender non-conforming folks, but this behavior should not be limited to certain kinds of trans* people. It’s both arbitrary and discriminatory to label a space as “for women” and then deny access for many women just because they were not assigned female at birth. Stating this, and demanding that women’s colleges include trans women in the group “women,” is not akin to calling for the end of women’s colleges by any means. Rather, it is calling for a policy change that will strengthen and bolster the mission of women’s colleges and bring them back in line with the feminist activism of today.

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