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.