The RadRight And The Restroom

The Rhetoric
If you’ve not yet heard, discourse surrounding trans equality has been reduced to arguing about whether or not men should have access to the women’s restroom. Trans equality measures have been dubbed “bathroom bills” by radical right propaganda mills and the media has, of course, picked up their meme. Here are some quotes:

+ “Bathroom Bill Sparks Transgender Rights Debate in AZ” - SouthFloridaGayNews.com

+ “Arizona Transgender Bathroom Bill OK’d by State House Panel” – Huffington Post

+ “Arizona considers anti-transgender bathroom bill” - Telegraph.co.uk

+ “Critics denounce Bill C-279 as “The Bathroom Bill,” claiming it will allow “sexual predators” to commit “violent and sexual attacks” in public washrooms.” – Toronto Star

+ “A resolution offered by Penta referred to the law officially titled An Act Relative to Gender Identity, which was passed by the state Legislature in 2011 and took effect last July, as the “Massachusetts Stealth Bathroom Bill.””– Boston Globe

The RadRight has enjoyed a long and successful history of standing in the way of equality through deploying what I call the Bathroom Meme. Whether it was standing in the way of desegregation, the Equal Rights Amendment or Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the RadRight always deploys this particular meme.

1977 Post Mortem on ERA

1977 Post Mortem on ERA

The above story is worth a read. It’s a glimpse into the very playbook the RadRight is currently using against trans equality. (NOTE: When this article uses the term “integrate,” it is talking about allowing men access to the women’s restrooms under the cover of an equality law.)
Here’s just a few quotes:

“Listening to the opponents of the Equal Rights Amendment, you would think it was designed to… integrate public toilets, legalize rape, outlaw heterosexual marriage… Law professor Paul Freund objected in 1973 to being ‘quoted erroneously and out of context by certain opponents of the Equal Rights Amendment’ and commented flatly, ‘I have not staled, and I do not believe, that the Amendment would require the sharing of restroom and prison cells by both sexes.’ Yet in 1975 a huge anti-ERA advertisement in Baton Rouge papers credited him with the allegation that the ERA would integrate bathrooms. “ – Ruston Daily Leader, Thursday, June 16, 1977

This 40 year old newspaper article succinctly exposes the reason the RadRight injects the Bathroom Meme into public discourse:

“The hubbub over the implementation of the Amendment is designed to elicit a knee-jerk reaction…”

Remember this because I’ll revisit the notion of a “knee-jerk reaction” a bit later. Contrast the RadRight’s 40 year old rhetorical MO to the way they frame trans equality today:

Even if you weren’t around back in the 1970s, the RadRight’s arguments should sound familiar to you because they used it against repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell:

“Most concerns we heard about showers and bathrooms were based on stereotype— that gay men and lesbians will behave as predators in these situations, or that permitting homosexual and heterosexual people of the same sex to shower together is tantamount to allowing men and women to shower together.” – Pentagon’s report on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, page 13

It’s worth noting that the Pentagon’s report goes on to pick apart the various arguments from tradition (page 94) that so frequently accompanies the Bathroom Meme. Consider the way this fallacy accompanied the Bathroom Meme when the RadRight rolled it out against racial equality half a century ago:

“Angry white CIO steelworkers today sought a national union order ending racial segregation on union property… CIO officials several days ago issued instructions to all local unions to do away with separate toilet, fountain and locker room facilities for whites and negroes. Some… told him they would not stand for “Southern traditions being torn down.” – The Tuscaloosa News – May 26, 1950

While we’re talking about the Restroom Meme and racial inequality, nowadays the RadRight is quick to assert that gender equality and civil rights are completely different issues. However, the historical reality is that the Bathroom Meme was deployed in support of both race and gender inequality:

 3/25/1973, The Anniston Star: Men in the women’s restrooms

3/25/1973, The Anniston Star: Men in the women’s restrooms

“If they can integrate restrooms on the basis of race, why not on the basis of sex?”

For a more in-depth review of the way the Bathroom Meme was used against equality, check out Justice and Gender: Sex Discrimination and the Law.

The Rationale
What are the forces of anti-equality hoping to communicate with their propaganda? Are they claiming that because a rapist puts on a snappy wig they might get away with it due to equality laws? Are they suggesting that equality protections somehow condones abhorrent behaviors like rape? Well, yes… that’s the basic argument anti-equality forces are making.

They hope that the revulsion you naturally feel about sexual violence will shut down your critical thinking abilities. Their rhetoric is specifically designed to elicit a knee-jerk reaction in you. They hope that instead of thinking of rapists as being the threat, you’ll instead see trans people (or gay people) as being the threat. Because, if they can get you to do that, the process of vilification and dehumanization will begin and trans people as a whole will naturally seem like a group who should be treated with suspicion. If they can get you to do this mental gymnastic, there will never be any need for them to produce objective evidence which explains exactly how equality laws nullify existing laws prohibiting rape, assault, stalking and/or public indecency/disturbance. No, with the anti-equality blinders on, the risk trans people pose will seem self-evident just as being gay was a risk that seemed self-evident at one time.

(Note the way homosexuality is framed in this news piece. How similar does this propaganda sound to the way trans issues are framed by the RadRight today?)

When dealing with those who are appealing to the Bathroom Meme, I respond by simply asking, “In what way does gender equality nullify laws prohibiting rape, assault, stalking and/or public indecency/disturbance?” They never seem to have a reasoned response. While they’ll rhetorically tap dance all over the place, the one thing they’re never able to do is explain precisely how gender equality nullifies laws prohibiting rape, assault, stalking and/or public indecency/disturbance. When pressed, they’ll even resort to lying:
IMAGE 3

“Since Montgomery County passed a similar bill, there have been 4 rapes by men, dressing as women lying in wait for their victims in ladies rooms.”

Really? Four rapes you say? Well, let’s see what law enforcement has to say about that testable assertion of fact:

“Since this law has been in effect, we have had no reported rapes committed in restrooms by men dressed as women.”

“Since this law has been in effect, we have had no reported rapes committed in restrooms by men dressed as women.”

They are even willing to exploit the very real trauma of rape and twist it to their own sick purpose in the hope that they will dupe you into doing the same:

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What kind of mind gladly takes up the bloody mantle of this type of intellectual hucksterism? The poor woman in this RadRight call-to-action was raped by a cisgender man and not a transwoman. The mere fact that I — a transwoman who’s dealt with being raped by a cisman — had to point this out was repugnant.

The idea the various anti-equality forces seek to set loose within your mind is always the same: separatist bigotry. The forces of anti-equality are all too happy to pick up the very same rhetorical tools that everyone from those who would seek to bar Muslims from holding office to the likes of Dr. Ruth Jacobs would use in their anti-equality efforts and it’s as perverse as it is sickening. Whether it’s a racist separatist, a homophobic separatist or a transphobic separatist, they all trade in the same rhetorical mind games. They all seek to vilify an entire group to specifically encourage you to view that group with intuitive suspicion. Separatists (whatever their flavor) have the blood of very real suffering on their hands.

Bigots will tell you all about how some white people don’t like being in the same space as black people, that some Christians don’t like being in the same space as Muslims or how some ciswomen don’t like being in the same space as transwomen. They’ll tell you that their discomfort is really, really important. In fact, they’ll look you in the eye and tell you that their discomfort is more important than your access to the 14th amendment. But that’s not how things as supposed to work here in America, is it?

Yes, a heterosexual soldier might feel uncomfortable in the same locker room as a homosexual soldier, but that’s tough shit. The soldier who views homosexuals as a whole with a wary eye has the problem, not the homosexual soldier. If a gay person behaves inappropriately after lifting DADT, then the law will deal with their bad behavior instead of reinstating DADT… no matter how much various anti-queer hate groups tie themselves into knots.

Yes, a white racist might feel uncomfortable in the locker room with a person of color, but that’s tough shit… right? We don’t segregate people by race because some white people have bigoted ideas which cause them to feel uncomfortable. No, the white bigot has the issue and they need to just fucking deal with it. If a black person behaves inappropriately after the victories of the civil rights movement, then the law will deal with their behavior instead of repealing the civil rights act… no matter how much the Klan ties themselves into knots.

If a ciswoman feels uncomfortable knowing that a transwoman might use the same restroom, then likewise, it’s tough shit. A ciswoman’s right to believe the Bathroom Meme does not trump the rights of transwomen as a whole. No, the nation shouldn’t set up a system of cis/trans segregation because some ciswomen choose to hold bigoted views which make them feel uncomfortable. If a transperson behaves inappropriately, then the law will deal with their bad behavior instead of repealing all gender equality laws… no matter how much the RadRight might tie themselves into knots.

The disgusting, fatuous and contemptible ideology embedded in the Bathroom Meme is a bigot’s favorite tool. Before you can hate, you must first learn how to vilify and dehumanize your target, so segregation can seem reasonable. The Bathroom Meme is a poison chalice wrapped in tradition and obtuse hubris; it’s an invitation to have you become the co-architect of a system which the American Psychiatric Association describes thusly:

“Discrimination and lack of equal civil rights is damaging to the mental health of transgender and gender variant individuals. For example, gender-based discrimination and victimization were found to be independently associated with attempted suicide in a population of transgender individuals, 32% of whom had histories of trying to kill themselves, and in the largest survey to date of gender variant and transgender people 41% reported attempting suicide.”

The Reality

Now, let’s step away from the memes and examine the reality for trans folk who are trying to navigate the bias the RadRight is all too happy to both create and inflame:

“I have spent so many hours avoiding public multi-stall bathrooms that I have damaged my bladder and put pressure on my kidneys. The problem was a daily one. I’d think about where I was going what bathrooms I’d have access to, how much I drank during the day, whether I’d be with people who could help stand guard…” – Response to a 2002 survey conducted by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission which found that nearly 50% of transgender respondents reported harassment or assault in a public bathroom.

“We live under the constant threat of horrifying violence. We have to worry about what bathroom to use when our bladders are aching. We are forced to consider whether we’ll be dragged out of a bathroom and arrested or face a fist fight while our bladders are still aching. It’s an everyday reality for us. Human beings must use toilets… If I go into the women’s bathroom, am I prepared for the shouting and shaming? Will someone call security or the cops? If I use the men’s room, am I willing to fight my way out? Am I really ready for the violence that could ensue?” - Leslie Feinberg, Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue, p 68 – 69

 “Police officers often harass or abuse transgender and gender nonconforming people regardless of which sex-segregated bathroom they use. This harassment intensifies when coupled with the stereotyping of trans people as sexual predators. As such, the use of the ‘wrong’ bathroom . . . often results in arrests for crimes such as public lewdness, public obscenity, or public indecency. Refusing to comply with or simply questioning a police officer’s direction as to which bathroom the individual must use can often lead to charges such as resisting arrest or disorderly conduct.” – Pooja Gehi, Struggles from the Margins: Anti-Immigrant Legislation and the Impact on Low-Income Transgender People of Color, 30 WOMEN’S RTS. L. REP. 315, 326 (2009)

And it doesn’t stop with bathrooms. This level of stigma and violence is something trans folk must consider when buying clothes, too. Here’s what State Rep. Richard Floyd (R) said he’d do to a trans person if they dared to buy clothes like anyone else might:

“I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry.”

To be graphically explicit about the reality trans folk face, consider this incident from Boston:

And isn’t it just awesome how transwomen are arrested for emptying their bladder? Consider this incident from Houston:

When we talk about the things Rosanne Barr said, we need to clearly address the underlying bigotry. We need to be clear when the RadRight deploys the Bathroom Meme and we need to fearlessly identify the bigot’s game when it’s being played. There is a real difference between a transwomen going into a private area to change, pee, etc. and some abuser of any flavor (cis or trans) walking into a room to parade their genitalia around. If a cisgender woman goes into the locker room and exposes herself to everyone, then there are laws to deal with her behavior. Claiming that those laws somehow magically evaporate if the person is trans instead of cis is a bigoted lie and those who propagate that lie should be called out at every turn.


About the author: Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable health care for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan chairs the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group, serves on the Board of Directors for the Bee Busy Wellness Center, is the jurisdictional representative to the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS), serves on the national steering body for UCHAPS and is the Executive Director of the Transgender Foundation of America.

Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.

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86 Comments

  1. Thumb up 9

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    I think Buck Angel needs to grab his guys and hit Arizona bathrooms. That might wake them the F up. Those who don’t know who he is, he is a trans man porn star and would probably scare the crap out of women in a bathroom.

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    Nice article, but now I’m all cranky. Getting really sick of so many people in this shitty world insinuating that I’m some kind rapist when all I do in bathrooms is pee and run away and all I do in women’s spaces is hide in the corner and not look at anyone and then also run away.

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    This is great, but it still doesn’t feel appropriate for white people to say that transphobia and / or homophobia are just like racism. I mean, all white people still benefit from the economic inequality that segregation created and helped maintain, it feels like by suggesting that the same ‘separatist bigotry’ is behind everything we’re downplaying the historical specificity of racism, its effects and how it benefits us.

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      This is an interesting, while admittedly infuriating, article. But I took the argument of the article to be showing not how the separatist bigotry against trans* people is “just like racism,” but rather, the thread that draws through sly rhetorical ploys with political measures and media scare-tactics. It’s the proof that similar tired tactics are being used to reduce complex issues into big neon red warning signs for the general public. Of course we need to distinguish the social movements and appreciate the efforts of each, but there is undeniably this link: the idea that social minorities AKA “those people” need to be policed in social and private spaces and that gaining equal access to rights afforded to the social majority would mean (everything from unsavory to violent) repercussions.

      Thanks to Cristan!

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      The endgame of bigotry is always some from segregation. The market of ‘separate but equal’ and/or ‘people like you aren’t welcome’ is not cornered by racial bigots alone. No matter the type of bigot, the road to hate is always the same and bigots always use the same rhetoric to support their cause.

      I certainly am not asserting – in any way – that transphobia and / or homophobia are **just like** racism. Racism is a specific type of bigotry (racial), homophobia is a specific type of bigotry (sexual) and transphobia is yet another specific type of bigotry (gender). Racial, sexual and gender bigotry are all different types of bigotry… but bigotry nonetheless. The endgame of all of these forms of bigotry is the same: a thousand forms of (from the micro to macro, from nuanced to blatant) segregation from a self-selected “superior” class.

      When I use the term segregation, I’m using it as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary: “the separation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnic group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.”

      To put it another way, historically being trans has meant:

      – Legal discrimination in housing
      – Legal discrimination in employment
      – Legal discrimination in health care
      – Legal discrimination in all social services

      It means that I’ve been asked to leave cisgender-only establishments.

      It means that I’ve been beaten for thinking I was as good as cisgender people.

      It means that once I disclosed that I was a trans person passing as a cis person, the public school I was attended expelled me.

      It means that I wasn’t allowed to work at cisgender-only businesses.

      Make no mistake, the RadRight is very clear that this is the system they are willing to fight for.

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        This is what I meant by ‘downplaying the historical specificity of racism’, USian racial segregation laws did not appear because of mere bigotry, they grew out of slavery – the end result of racial oppression (in the US) is not just separating people into better or worse groups, it’s creating an economically and socially underprivileged class of people whom white people can exploit for cheap labour. While it’s, of course, horrible that trans people are excluded from certain spaces, this segregation does not happen for the same reason reasons or in the same way as racial segregation.

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          I think we’re talking past each other.

          I was very clear to explicitly state that there are different forms of bigotry and that all of them lead to a systems of segregation, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. You seem to keep reading that I’m claiming that the segregation trans folk face is exactly the same as racial segregation. I’m not making that claim.

          I am claiming that the endgame of bigotry – any type of bigotry – is the: “separation or isolation of… group[s] by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.”

          How that plays out – the various horrors visited upon those targeted groups and the precise way the privileged imposes a shame-based group identity upon those they also oppress – will look different. On the extreme, it may look like human trafficking or it may look like group killings. On a more common level, it might simply look like a glass sealing where people of a particular group are not permitted to rise above. Segregation of the oppressed from the privileged takes many forms and can never take place in the absence of the dictionary definition of bigotry. That’s my argument.

          If you think that the dictionary definition of segregation happens in the absence of the dictionary definition of bigotry or that there is only one type of segregation and it happens to only one group, then those are discussions we can have. However, I think we both agree that both the historic and current experience of racial segregation is different than both the historic and current drive to impose cis/trans segregation within society. I think that we can both agree that there are some similarities while also recognizing the reality of some really important differences. In my mind there was never any disagreement on these points.

          Are we on the same page now?

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          I get what you’re saying, Andreea. While the rhetoric behind bigotry and segregation employed against different groups might look the same, it comes from completely different historical systems of oppression.

          Like Michelle Alexander says in her book “The New Jim Crow,” racial segregation comes out of a racial caste system dating back to the time of slavery. Generation after generation, people of color are born into a worse set of economic conditions than white people because of institutions that prevented people of color from accumulating wealth to pass on to their children.

          So when we see racist bigotry expressed today, it does not come just from the belief that people of color are inferior, it comes from a long history of economic exploitation being justified through ideas. And while trans* people, queer people, and other marginalized groups face material and economic consequences, too, it is different from racism.

          tl;dr When white people (myself included) make arguments comparing racist bigotry with other forms of bigotry, they have to be very careful not to erase racism’s specific meaning that is rooted in historical and present-day institutions.

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          Yes! This! As a homosexual woman of color I have to make sure that one struggle is not co-opted by another. I agree bigotry relies on similar angles to hurt different groups and overtime they are probably recycling tactics, however the implication I gathered from the article is that somehow racism and transphobia are alike and historically that is at worst markedly untrue and at best distinctly unbalanced. I’m not playing oppression olympics, I am just saying that correlating similarities is important to intersectionality, but it is also important to realize that your struggle and my struggle are very different.

          Jim Crow laws and the “bathroom issue” as it applied to race was based on the fallacy that Black Men are dangerous to White Women and African Americans as a group are subhuman, unclean, etc. This same issue was applied to schools, restaurants, water fountains, public pools, and public transportation. The “bathroom issue” as I have seen it applied to Trans* persons seems to be a backlash against the rejection of sex segregation. In the real world I suppose it is silly to require males and females to defecate in separate rooms despite that being the norm for a very long time, but because this gender thing is sort of new and from what I’ve read approximately 30 years behind the gay thing, I imagine it is going to take people sometime to agree that though uncomfortable at first we can all probably pee in unisex situations.

          I appreciated the research in this post and the opportunity to question my own beliefs. I no longer see the bathroom as an issue, so thanks for breaking it down for us.

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          The dictionary definition of segregation is: “separation or isolation of… group[s] by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.” Are you asserting as fact that this has on happened for only one group?

          [The “bathroom issue” as I have seen it applied to Trans* persons seems to be a backlash against the rejection of sex segregation.]

          That’s not the RadRight message. The issue is that the Bathroom Meme spreads the lie that transgender people are possible rapists. Consider this court ruling from a 1970 trans case (the transwoman was trying to change her state ID):

          “There are numerous subjects who would want to change their sex identity in order to perpetrate crimes of homicide, rape, robbery, assault, etc.” – Columbus v. Zanders, 266 N.E.2d 602, 604–06 (Ohio Mun. Ct. 1970)

          … And on the basis of this obtuse assertion of fact, the court denied the transwoman the right to change her ID.

          Please go back and listen to the RadRight restroom pieces. What is the belief about trans folk they are spreading?

          The issue isn’t the segregation of men and women in the restrooms (though more unisex bathrooms are great). The issue is the segregation of ciswomen from transwomen BECAUSE transwomen supposedly pose an inherent risk to ciswomen. It’s seeing all trans folk with inherent suspicion that’s the issue.

          [somehow racism and transphobia are alike] Only in that they both seek: “separation or isolation of… group[s] by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.”

          I didn’t assert that both are exactly alike or that the degree to which trans folk face segregation is the same as the segregation Native people faced (BTW, both my grandparents who were Native, lived in a tent and grew up listening to family stories of forced death marches. My grandmother still bleaches her skin to pass for white :/ ). What I did asset is that what happened to my grandparent’s family was a function of bigotry and that what happens to the trans community can’t happen in the absence of bigotry. What I said is the the endgame of any type of bigotry is the same: “separation or isolation of… group[s] by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.”

          [gender thing is sort of new and from what I’ve read approximately 30 years behind the gay thing] The issue isn’t that this is new. The trans community organized and payed for the original national gay rights national meetings in the early 60s. Trans folk were at the head of every queer uprising from Coopers in 1958/9 to Stonewall. The trans community payed for years of legal battles that came out of Stonewall. If you want to know why the trans community is behind the gay community, please read the following:

          http://www.transadvocate.com/so-what-was-stonewall.htm

          I think we both agree that both the historic and current experience of racial segregation is different than both the historic and current drive to impose cis/trans segregation within society. I think that we can both agree that there are some similarities while also recognizing the reality of some really important differences. In my mind there was never any disagreement on these points.

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          So I am taking a deep breath because I don’t think you can gain tone from text and I would like to think that you are not trying to belittle my racial opinions because I want to respect you. I am not asserting that segregation/discrimination is the hallmark of the black experience and that no other minority group based in race, sexual orientaion, gender identity, or religion have ever felt the end results of these practices. I am aware of the definition, there is no way to not be and to be a black woman in America today. I am simply suggesting that (and maybe I’m missing where you’re agreeing or conceding this point)historically Africans were treated as commodoties, enslaved, seperated from their families, eventually freed, and then symbolic forms of racism were created. SEGREGATION is one stop in a long journey of oppression faced by black people. I remain critical of the Trans* movement because of the heavy reliance upon using the narratives of other groups (Intersex, Homosexuals,Blacks) to sell the message of their own. We are not the same, the definition of segregation and the literal ways in which these practices are carried out are very different. I did not fail to see the point of the article that the RadRight is using the “potty rapist” meme to scare the public into rejecting equality in restrooms, but at the end of the day the true issue (without the arguments rooted in hate) is based in same sex bathrooms. The only difference between ciswomen and transwomen that I can see is sex. I may be crucified for rehashing science, but I don’t see anyone arguing about the gender identity, they seem to be more tied up with the implications of the difference in sex organs. Clearly there is no way to police this issue and I am not free to discuss my opinion in this space so I guess I’ll just leave it with I empathize with what you’re going through I will just never really be able to equate it with my grandmother marching and being spit on by white people so my Mom could go to school or my Dad being attacked by dogs for marching in the South. I can’t fathom not being allowed by law to enter a bathroom of the sex your gender identity aligns with and the lie that transwomen are just trying to rape ciswomen is reprehensible, but there is a difference and when that line is flirted with it sends up a red flag. I believe these movements to some degree have co-existed over time, but your history and my history are not the same. When you co-opt my experience without consent it is a problem.

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          @Lanie Sorry, I missed your response in the mix.

          [I am simply suggesting that (and maybe I’m missing where you’re agreeing or conceding this point)historically Africans were treated as commodoties, enslaved, seperated from their families, eventually freed, and then symbolic forms of racism were created. SEGREGATION is one stop in a long journey of oppression faced by black people.]

          Yes, we are in absolute agreement that bigotry continued to flow – of 1000 forms that still persist in significant ways – from slavery and the systems set up which led to slavery. We are in agreement that this affects the lives of people on both the micro and macro level today.

          [I remain critical of the Trans* movement because of the heavy reliance upon using the narratives of other groups (Intersex, Homosexuals,Blacks) to sell the message of their own. ]

          I suppose that this is where we disagree. It seems that your saying that when trans folk note that bigotry has a price and that trans folk and black folk have, in **some** similar ways, paid similar prices, you see co-option. If I’m misunderstanding you, please correct me.

          If you’d like to listen, I’d be happy to share with you what it was like to go to school trans and what it was like to be barred from attending public school because I was trans. I grew up in Pasadena, Texas only a couple of blocks from the HQ of the Klan on Red Bluff Road. I know what it’s like to have a Klan member hand my mother propaganda warning about “fagots” with caricatures of cross-dressed effeminate men. Was that the **exact same** experience that black people faced in Pasadena? No, but it is similar. Me saying that this is what happened to me and worse – I wasn’t able to share that pain with any adult in my life at the time – isn’t an appropriation of any narrative; it’s just the trans experience. If that experiences sound familiar, that isn’t evidence of appropriation of co-option.

          Speaking for myself, I have never once in my ~20 years of trans advocacy said that the trans experience is just like the black experience here in America. That doesn’t mean that both share the experience of being segregated from the privileges enjoyed by an elite class. That doesn’t mean that the outcome of that othering doesn’t share some similarities even when the system creating that output are different.

          I could go on and list the various ways in which privileged cis people have segregated trans folk from “their” society to ensure that we are explicit excluded from enjoying the same freedom as cis people. Currently it looks like a homelessness rate of ~50%, the highest HIV infection rate in America, a suicide attempt rate of ~50% and a similar unemployment rate.

          When I tell you that I know what it is to stand over the murdered body of a transwoman I knew and grieve because she was tortured and then mutilated, I’m not stealing anyone’s narrative. When I tell you that I had to watch another transwoman I knew die because the cis doctors didn’t want to mess with her, I’m not stealing anyone’s narrative. When I tell you that I – because nobody else could understand – had to comfort a mother over the death of her son who was gunned down in the streets for the crime of holding a purse, I’m not stealing anyone’s narrative. This is what it means to be trans here in America.

          If my experience sounds familiar, it’s not because I co-opted your “experience without consent.” If it sounds familiar it’s because the outcome of bigotry is often similar.

          [I may be crucified for rehashing science, but I don’t see anyone arguing about the gender identity, they seem to be more tied up with the implications of the difference in sex organs.]

          Yeah, there’s a reason some would find this statement problematic. Exactly what is implied when a transwoman walks into a restroom? Framing these “implications” as “science” is a bit rhetorically disingenuous. That’s the exact “scientific” thinking that made this intersex youth homeless:

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          Yes, this is what I was trying to get at – racial segregation does not work (primarily) by separating people into groups or denying a group of people access to certain spaces, it works by creating a group of people who are marginalized and exploited economically and then coming up with an ideology and laws that keep that group of people marginalized, whereas economic exploitation of trans people is not the main reason behind segregating bathrooms. I think it’s misleading to say some kind of universal ambiguous ‘bigotry’ is behind all forms of oppression.

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    This was a really important article, thank you for putting all this together in one concise way. I signed a petition the other day against the Arizona ID/bathroom use bill and I find the hatred and fear from those backing it and similar measures absolutely revolting.
    Also, I somehow missed that nonsense from Roseanne, and I *was* following her on Twitter. Ugh, gross.

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    I am trans, but what I just don’t understand is this is all based on appearance. Somebody sees someone that they don’t think is in the “right” restroom so they make a fuss. I know a lot of women who don’t look stereotypically feminine. So they go in to use the restroom and someone calls the police. What then? This law is going to harm a lot more people than the trans community. What recourse does someone embarrassed and inconvenienced by being falsely accused have???

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    I wonder if those radright men fear predatory trans women in woman’s bathrooms because it’s their unfulfilled fantasy to rampage a woman’s bathroom, but it’s been suppressed by their radreligion and comes out as bigotry.

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    the other thing i’ve picked out that makes no sense is why these politicians think that this “will allow men disguised as women into the womens washroom!” cause last i checked there was no force field surrounding the entrance to any womens rest room. allowing trans* women the basic right to use the bathroom wont magically destroy a non-existent force field. a guy can walk in, and they do walk in, and they don’t need to be wearing womens clothes. a rapist knows this, so why the fuck would a cis-sexual man go through the trouble of disguising himself as a woman? we’ve had sooooo many issues with straight cis-sexual men walking into the womens room and then hiding in stalls at our campus. and guess what? THEY WERE ALL DRESSED LIKE MEN (GASP)!!! allowing trans* women to use the womens room is a basic right and nothing will change because of it for us cis women, and it will be a marked improvement for trans* and intersex women. this scare tactic is so stupid in that it’s just illogical. if trans* women really were rapists, i highly doubt they would wait until they were allowed into the womens bathroom to rape us. i’ve never heard of a rapist that respects boundaries, cause you know its kinda just one of those words that for some reason i dont think rapists have in their vocabularies and all you know? to put it in perspective these radrighters are saying trans* women think “ooop cant rape cause we cant go into the bathroom, gotta wait till we’re allowed into the bathroom, OMG we’re allowed into the bathroom! rapes away!”… i mean anyone who sits and thinks for a second realizes how convoluted this argument is. it literally cancels itself out in its out stupidity. i’ve not heard a single story about a trans* woman raping a cis woman… anywhere. so. if a cis man dressed like a cis man can waltz into the girls room easy peasy lemon squeezy, and if there is scant evidence of trans women raping us outside of the bathroom… well whats the dealio? can we not just let these poor women take a shit when they need to in peace?

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    And at the same time all this is going down, the HRC is demanding that trans pride flag be banned from the Supreme Court steps because “marriage equality isn’t a trans issue”

    http://transitiontransmission.tumblr.com/post/46499135017/hey-transphobes-at-hrc-were-gonna-need-an-apology

    And where the hell is Lady Gaga? The spoiled pop princess can demand to use her preferred bathroom when she’s in drag, but when trans people are facing arrest for using their actual appropriate restroom, crickets.

    Screw Gay Inc, screw silent “LGBT allies”, screw everyone who has a pro-Marriage Equality facebook icon right now and couldn’t care less about this.

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    Ironically, as we have this same conversation over and over and over again, I’m gradually more and more convinced that the answer is that we *should* desegregate bathrooms completely. I can’t help but think that all these “man sneaks into the women’s bathroom” claims subtly reinforce the idea that men “can’t help themselves” but sexually assault women. And that is in itself one of the ultimate patriarchal lies: the idea that it is in a man’s “nature” to control a woman, and that it is in a woman’s “nature” to be subservient to a man. Why do we believe this shit??

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    Great article!

    Your paragraph beginning “bigots will tell you…” allowed me to nail down the queasiness I felt when I heard about these laws. I was searching for a clear way to express this position to others who are confused about the issue, and now I have some easy talking points.
    Thank you.
    And a big thank you to all the strong and beautiful men and women who stood up to bullies and bigots at Stonewall and helped in countless ways to improve the world. You girls go! The only things that ought to be left standing in the cold are shitty (pun intended) bathroom bills.

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    I also think that as gender is a spectrum the only picture on a bathroom door probably ought to just be a toilet. I might not like the short term cleanliness hit, but long term effects could be great. Shorter lines. Everyone is just a PERSON without needing to be divided a longer gender/ race or whatever lines.

    Note: historically there were places in the US which had
    5 toilets-
    ——————
    1 for white men
    1 for white women
    1 for black men
    1 for black women and
    1 for Native Americans.

    Things seems to improve the more we recognize that we aren’t really that different from one another.

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    If a guy is going to rape someone, I’m pretty sure they don’t care if they are “allowed” in the bathroom or not….but it would be poetic justice if a guy WAS trying to rape someone in the womens bathroom and a transwoman kicked the @#$@#% out of him. I’d love to see what the religious right would say about that.

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    Thankfully I work in New Jersey, and despite Governour Christie’s fence straddling concerning LGBT issues, we have some of the best legal protection in the country. I transitioned on the job which made life interesting. Our ladies room has three stalls so in the beginning our HR director invoked a doorknob hanger system where I had the white one, and all the other women had orange hangers. She also made it clear to the other six women that after my SRS the door knob hangers would go away and they would have to like it or lump it.

    So to the cis world, it really does matter if the kitty is in the jeans. But since the lifting of sanctions, or knob hangers, the reactions when women meet me are so varied. The contracts director will look under the stall as she comes in to see if my shoes may be viewed and will scamper out, or f she REALLY has to go, she will break Olympic peeing records and hurry out. On the other hand I have two really good friends and we will chat in the bathroom if we chance to meet.

    Arizona is currently on my, “not where I want to retire” list, as if I’ll ever retire.

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    I don’t have any unique rage to articulate besides the fact that it’s so outrageous that all of this propaganda is written FOR MEN ONLY. “Protect your wives and daughters”. Yeah, thanks for reminding women that we are incapable of protecting ourselves from scary men.

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      Gwen, you are playing victim where there has been nobody victimized. Places that have already implemented transgender rights laws show no problems with what you are speculating about. Trans women go to bathrooms to pee and dressing rooms to try on clothes.

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      Gwen, are you admitting that trans equality IN NO WAY nullifies laws prohibiting rape, assault, stalking and/or public indecency/disturbance?

      Yes?

      Then, what is the underlying reason for wanting trans/cis segregation?

      Shall I provide a list of the many, many cisgender women who make the news for sexual assault, violence, murder and theft while in the women’s bathroom? Do you really want to set the standard for restroom exclusion at the *someone At Some Point who was part of your group behaved badly* standard (yeah, I refer to this as the ASP standard. Goofy, I know)? If so, you’ll be advocating for cisgender exclusion from the women’s restroom.

      Make your evidence-based argument and stop appealing to fear. Stop appealing to the bigoted notion that trans folk pose an inherent risk. Stop appealing to a the ASP standard – a standard that you yourself as a cisgender women aren’t willing to embrace.

      [And yes I realise not all trans women have penises, but unless I missed it, this article didn't restrict its call for access to female facilities to those without them. Fix that issue, and then get back to me.]

      No, I’m not advocating that YOU or people like you get to inspect the genitalia of transwomen/intersex people before they go pee. I know you think this is unreasonable. I know that you feel – on an instinctual level – that you have a right to know the genital configuration of the trans and intersex people who need to pee.

      I also know that you’re a victim of the bigotry too. I know that, should you ever actually realize the damage you participated in causing, it will hurt. I know that you’re trapped in that you can only view trans folk as a problem to be solved. Bigotry poisons so much; it’s a shitty deal all around.

      Trans folk aren’t your problem. Intersex folk aren’t your problem. Your problem is bigotry. Your problem is the folk who help cultivate that bigotry within you.

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      Wait, saying that the fear that a man will put on women’s clothes to sexually assault women in bathrooms needs to have some basis in reality before we go “protecting” cis women from it is equivalent to saying trans women have to wait until they’re sexually assaulted (which happens a lot, btw, not that you care at all) before we’re allowed to pee without fear of being harassed (in either bathroom) or arrested for going to the women’s bathroom?

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    Yes, there are no trans female rapists, and cis women who are concerned are just bigoted, that’s all. “Tough shit,” the trans women say, “We know cis women are raised from birth to fear rapists and be hyper vigilant against them but: tough. shit.”

    Oh, and using police reports to “prove” rape hasn’t happened? As if rape goes 100% reported all the time in the real world? Haha, wonderful. Separatists, ~whatever flavor~, are by default oppressive? So amusing.

    Otherwise, yeah, trans women should use women’s bathrooms. That’s my opinion too.

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      [Yes, there are no trans female rapists, and cis women who are concerned are just bigoted, that’s all.]

      If one thinks that transwomen pose an inherent risk, that person is someone who chooses to hold bigoted views. Their choice to hold those views does not trump a transwomen’s ability to empty her bladder.

      [Oh, and using police reports to “prove” rape hasn’t happened? As if rape goes 100% reported all the time in the real world? Haha, wonderful. ]

      I thought it was a very good thing that we could fact-check when the RadRight made a assertion that there’s trans serial bathroom rapist on the loose.

      Forgive me if I’m not understanding you. Are you asserting that we should seriously consider that:

      – there is, in fact, a trans serial bathroom rapist on the loose who targets women living in that particular county only after trans equality was approved;

      – that this trans serial bathroom rapist consistently got away with it;

      – that should the RadRight make similar assertions (sans evidence) when trans equality measures are up for a vote, we have an moral obligation to consider such assertions as probable because any effort to fact-check such assertions is part of rape culture and should not be undertaken?

      If so, in what other arena of discourse is that level of credulity acceptable?

      [Otherwise, yeah, trans women should use women’s bathrooms. That’s my opinion too.]

      I’m glad for that. However, I’m also saddened that it seems that you were swayed by the RadRight’s assertions. That kinda hurts my heart.

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      No one is saying trans* women are incapable of rape. Cis women are also capable of rape. Men can also rape men. Does that mean that no one should be allowed to use the bathroom at all? That every bathroom should have a single stall? This argument is completely absurd.

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    @Cristan I can no longer reply to my own comment or your most recent, but I just want to say this because I still think regardless of the personal histories the facts need to be addressed. African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV. If a black transwoman had offered this statistic she personally could account for black transwomen being counted on both the black and trans side of the situation, but that didn’t happen and that is an example of co-opting the facts because if I hadn’t said it you wouldn’t have. My first job after college was working with the homeless, more importantly to address the factors that lead to homelessness and how we can work on prevention. I worked in a major urban area and the way these facts are collected are by a simple count. We take the day off of work and take to the streets asking known clients and their friends to stand and be counted so we can offer a true picture of homelessness for the federal government. It happens nationally. 42% of America’s homeless are African-Americans again trans* status notwithstanding. The suicide rate among black women is low and probably as a result of support received from other black women, and the high stigma of weakness attached within the community. I have attempted suicide, but the fact remains that black women just refuse to be counted for demographic purposes or honest in collection of this data. Finally the unemployment rate for black people is second only to teenagers in this country despite being an employable segment of this population for some time. Being a passable white girl in this country, even with minority status, does not give you a license to take the facts and misrepresent them. My own personal resentment aside, I feel like this space has taken up an important effort in creating a discussion about the state of equality, but being a black homosexual FAAB woman and not seeing a call for writers, several articles a week from people like me, and then reading your article on how America’s bigots are using the same scare tactics as DADT and Civil Rights seems a bit horse before the cart because we haven’t addressed a problem we’re aware of. We don’t talk about Civil Rights here, we don’t talk about how hard it is for a black woman to have a voice here and when it is mentioned it is in support of something completely different. That is my point when I say you’ve co-opted my experience without consent. My history, reality in gay spaces, impact on queer decision making, representation in this space is at the very least lacking and nobody is doing anything, but you are allowed to draw comparison. If you hadn’t mentioned segregation as it relates to the black experience at all I wouldn’t be here. LGBT gives you license to explore gayhood and girlhood it doesn’t permit racial intersectionality unless you actually consult one of us or accurately account for this difference as many writers here have done in the past.

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      [African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV.]

      This is an incorrect understanding of what is know about the epidemic.

      For example, Sub Saharan Africa is where the epidemic is raging at its worst. Turn to page 20 of the UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic (2010) and read what the HIV infection rate is in Sub Saharan Africa. The rate is 5%. The rate in the American trans community is 30%.

      When your hear that African Americans make up about 47% of the total HIV-positive population, it seems that you may be reading that 47% of African Americans are HIV+. Trans people will never make up more than a very small percentage of the total HIV-positive population. Nonetheless, this small population carries the greatest burden of HIV.

      [I worked in a major urban area and the way these facts are collected are by a simple count. ]

      Yes, annual HUD point-in-time homeless count. I’ve worked in homeless services since the 1990s.

      Again, you seem to be conflating the rate of homelessness within a specific population with a proportion of total homelessness. If I did a homeless count in Brownsville, Texas, I would find that the majority of those homeless were Hispanic. However, what I would find is that among the Brownsville trans population, the trans population suffers the highest rate of homelessness of any group.

      You’re comparing apples and oranges.

      [Being a passable white girl in this country, even with minority status, does not give you a license to take the facts and misrepresent them.]

      Whoa… You’re dead wrong. At this point, I don’t expect that any evidence I present sway your belief that I have stolen your community’s narrative and have used it for my own purposes. I’m not playing the pain olympics with you; I am merely recognizing what is to be found in the historical record, within the epi profile and within decades of research into the trans experience.

      [I feel like this space has taken up an important effort in creating a discussion about the state of equality, but being a black homosexual FAAB woman and not seeing a call for writers, several articles a week from people like me, and then reading your article on how America’s bigots are using the same scare tactics as DADT and Civil Rights seems a bit horse before the cart because we haven’t addressed a problem we’re aware of. We don’t talk about Civil Rights here, we don’t talk about how hard it is for a black woman to have a voice here and when it is mentioned it is in support of something completely different.]

      Claiming that what is known about the trans experience in America is false, didn’t happen, isn’t real and/or is a theft of your community’s experience isn’t going to do anything to resolve whatever issue it is you have with this site.

      [If you hadn’t mentioned segregation as it relates to the black experience at all I wouldn’t be here.]

      I think you read into this WAY more than what was said. I quoted two articles to make the point that the RadRight uses this meme against any anti-equality effort. That’s a fact. The historical record is clear on this point. Recognizing that this rhetoric seems to be part of a standard issue bigot playbook (‘playbook’ – not literal) is merely recognizing the truth. It seems that you took from this something other than the point I made.

      [ I feel like this space has taken up an important effort in creating a discussion about the state of equality, but being a black homosexual FAAB woman and not seeing a call for writers, several articles a week from people like me, and then reading your article on how America’s bigots are using the same scare tactics as DADT and Civil Rights seems a bit horse before the cart because we haven’t addressed a problem we’re aware of. We don’t talk about Civil Rights here, we don’t talk about how hard it is for a black woman to have a voice here and when it is mentioned it is in support of something completely different. That is my point when I say you’ve co-opted my experience without consent.]

      I wish you well, but I’m done with this discussion, Lanie. If you’re unhappy with this site, please take it up with someone who might be able to help resolve the issue. I’ve been very clear in my responses with you that we agree on a number of points. Where we disagree – and where you will win no sympathy with me at this point – is your fact assertion that recounting the experience of being trans in America – or daring to note that the experience in some ways look like the DADT fight, the ERA fight and the civil rights fight – is an appropriation of your community’s pain and experience. I’ve clearly stated time and again that the trans and black American experience isn’t exactly alike. I’ve agree with you a few times now. However, you seem to want me to disavow what *is* known about the trans experience because you can’t seem to hear me when I repeatedly say that I agree that the trans and black American experience isn’t exactly alike. You seem to want to hear from me that trans folk don’t face a segregation in our culture which forces them to the edge of our society and that this system reliably produces demonstrable outcomes (some of which you’ve just asserted aren’t real). At this point, all I can do is acknowledge that this has been a really painful discussion, Lanie and that right now I feel exactly like I do when I get through interacting with a TERF.

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        Reading this exchange has made me realize the NEED of more outreach of trans* people of color in trans* spaces because in my opinion I feel that yes, they do have similarities HOWEVER I guess it’s an issue of the “same *white* voice” saying these things, making these comparisons. I hope that makes sense because as a trans* ally and being a cis woman of color of Nigerian heritage, I often find myself on shaky grounds on the issues that Lanie discussed where white trans* people co-opting the experiences of racial minorities/people of color.

        I hate having the discussion lead to the impression of “Oppression Olympics.” I hate that both of you feel frustrated (please correct me I’m wrong) but I just want to say that I feel for both parties and their respective histories of dealing with oppression regardless of the axises of where they come from, both of you are strong and I hope we can still learn from this and each other.

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          I really appreciate your comment for its supportive tone. I totally recognize the frustration.

          Having said that, it kinda sucks that this, being my very first post on this site, represents just a “same *white* voice.” It’s been a painful introduction to Autostraddle.

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          I think that’s called having your privilege called out, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It hurts, but it’s necessary.

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          No, as it turned out Lanie is a TERF and this crap is a perfect example of TERF tactics. The fact that she supports a world in which trans folk don’t exist didn’t come out until after this exchange.

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          Um, that doesn’t deny the fact that you weren’t too happy about being called out by POCs for comparing the bathroom issue to segregation. You said your experiences were similar to those of POCs which I personally think is absolutely wrong. Look, the denial to bathrooms is a big issue and it sucks and we need to talk about it and change it and yes, society treats trans people like shit and we need to talk about it and change it but your experiences are very different than what POCs experience, ESPECIALLY during segregation and beforehand. Not only was my grandmother, an enrolled Cherokee, denied her womanhood, she was denied her personhood entirely. She was considered scientifically less than human. From birth she experienced a huge amount of persecution for the color of her skin which she cannot change even if she tried. She couldn’t dress in white mode, couldn’t pass, etc.
          I’ve experienced a great deal of misogyny my entire life and I was disowned by my parents and most of my family for being gay. I can’t really get married, not in the same way straight people can, at least not until DOMA gets overturned, I had to listen to my bigoted science teacher talk about how gross homosexuals were in class, I can get fired, thrown off the bus or out of a hotel, etc etc, if I am perceived to be gay but that is not anything like what my grandmother had to live through. As she puts it, I can hide my gayness. She can’t hide her entire body. No one believes I’m not human, or a lesser version scientifically of human, because I’m gay. But that’s what they thought of my grandmother and all other POCs.
          maybe read up on Sojourner Truth, or Harriet Tubman or Wilma Mankiller. I’m not saying you have it better, but your experiences are not similar.

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          [Um, that doesn’t deny the fact that you weren’t too happy about being called out by POCs for comparing the bathroom issue to segregation.]

          Please make you critique in context instead of cherry-picking a strawman argument.

          Either the effect of bigotry (whether personal or social) tries to separate people into privileged and oppressed classes or it doesn’t.

          Either the historical record documents how the Restroom Meme has been used against all sorts of groups or it doesn’t.

          Either the Restroom Meme is only ever used against the trans community and the trans community can claim it’s an oppression unique to their experience or the truth is that the Restroom Meme is used and has been used against all sorts of oppressed communities and the trans community can’t claim this as an unique oppression. Which is it?

          If you cannot or will not provide a reasoned argument addressing each of the points I’ve made, you’ve no relevant argument to make.

          To be clear, my argument is the following:

          A) Bigotry always seeks to separate groups of people, through force and in 1000s of different ways, into privileged and oppressed classes.

          B) The historical record reveals that the RadRight uses the Bathroom Meme when they appose an equality movement. In fact, I show that this particular attack was made by the RadRight in the DADT fight, the ERA fight and the civil rights fight. (BTW, I could have even talked about this how the forces of anti-equality used the same meme against people like my grandmother, Jews and more.)

          Point C) THEREFORE, the Bathroom Meme isn’t a unique phenomena that’s only every directed against the trans community.

          PLEASE, either disagree with this actual argument or move on. Pretending that my argument is something other than this and then arguing against it is a waste of everyone’s time and only reveals your demonstrable unwillingness to honestly deal with my argument.

          The claim you’re pretending that I’ve made is in no way representative of my actual assertion. This is a favorite TERF tactic and, at this point, I resent that you’re using it against me.

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          I’m all for the inclusion of trans women in women’s bathrooms. That’s not what you’re being called out on. You said that your experiences overall were similar to those who experienced government-sanctioned racism not too long ago. You also felt the need to compare the bathroom issue to racial segregation.
          This is not a black and white issue (okay, I see the pun, ignore it). I can agree that trans women should be allowed in women’s restrooms and NOT agree with how you dragged race into it. That’s a pretty little word I like to call appropriation. You don’t get to decide what’s like the racial segregation and what’s not.
          I try very hard not to drag race into the gay rights movement and I have NEVER dragged race into the women’s rights movement. I used to, in terms of the gay rights movement, but my grandmother and grandfather (both First Nation, although my grandfather is of the Mexican variety) explained to me how much that bothered them. My grandfather also reminded me that his father-in-law (my great-grandfather, who was Jewish) fled Romania very shortly before one of the worst mass murder of Jews in history. I would NEVER compare my experiences to that of what the Jews dealt with in the Holocaust. HOW is it any more acceptable to compare it to segregation and the government-sanctioned racism therein?
          I’m a not a TERF, and as I said, I am ALL for inclusion of trans women in women’s bathrooms.
          Also, negating the voices of people of color on the subject of appropriation and race is probably something you should not be doing. It’s kind of not okay at all.
          I get that your opinion isn’t going to change. You’ve made that very clear. And honestly, that’s super unfortunate, especially because you market yourself as an important voice in the trans community. I wish you didn’t wear your white privilege on your sleeve so much.

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          I should’ve clarified: how is comparing my experiences to the Holocaust any different than comparing my experiences to racial segregation and government-sanctioned racism in the US. Ay.

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          The article notes that racists, homophobes, and transphobes all like to believe that their personal discomfort being around a specific group of people justifies systematic discrimination against them. All of these bigots point to specific incidences of people of color, LGB people, or trans people committing violent acts to justify their hatred, not recognizing that whites, straights, and cis people are also guilty of such crimes, but for them, the acts of a few are not seen as representative of the group as a whole.

          How is this unfair comparison? Christan never said that the experiences of trans people are identical to those of people of color (of course these categories overlap, but that’s a separate issue), and when pushed to specifically acknowledge that there are major differences, she readily did so.

          Not appropriating the experiences of others groups is very important, but so is making legitimate comparisons. In deciding whether or not Prop 8 should be overturned, the Supreme Court is considering other cases involving the right to marry, such as Loving v. Virginia (anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional), Turner v. Safley (not allowing prisoners to marry is unconstitutional), and Zablocki v. Redhail (restrictions on marriage of divorced parents are unconstitutional), in determining whether or not it is constitutional to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples. Is recognizing the relevance of these legal precedents to the debate over same-sex marriage automatically appropriating the experiences of people of color, prison inmates, and divorcees? No: looking at specific similarities in the way oppressed groups have been treated is different than saying their experiences are identical.

          There are many different kinds of bigotry, arising from very different historical circumstances. Ultimately however, hate is hate, and we should fight against it in whatever form it takes. There shouldn’t be anything controversial about that.

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      What is your point? Guess what, trans women are people – some do terrible things, the same way that some men and some cis women do. The fact that some women hurt other women and some men hurt other men does not mean that no one should be allowed to use public restrooms.

      With a few minutes of research I could come up with a similar list of cis female rapists, pedophiles, and child abusers. I work in the family court system, and sadly you do see that sort of thing occasionally. It happens, and yet it would be absurd to argue that cis women are particularly dangerous just because a few of them are criminals.

      I’d also like to note that I scrolled through the first few pages of that horrible website you linked to, and none of the cases listed involved a rape in a women’s bathroom. It’s perfectly possible that it’s happened at some point, but even those desperately trying to show trans women in a bad light have a hard time coming up with an example of this type of attack. Whether or not it has happened, it certainly isn’t common. By contrast, trans women, especially trans women of color, are regularly victims of violence and harassment.* Forcing trans women to use men’s bathrooms is not only awkward and humiliating, it put them at greater risk.

      *http://www.mecasa.org/joomla/index.php/special-projects/lgbtqqi

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    They’re men. It doesn’t matter how they wear their hair or what kind of clothes. They’re still MALE. And I don’t want some heterosexual Autogynephile male in a stall next to my daughter jerking off to the sound of her peeing. All your tender Queer tolerance, for everyone but Females. It’s not a some will do it kind of thing, it’s part of the fetish/paraphilia.

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      This comment is both hilarious and annoying. So instead of addressing the arguments point by point, I’m going to respond in kind.

      1) “Paraphilia”? I recommend you read Sex Changes: Transgender Politics by Patrick Califia, and “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality” by Gayle Rubin. Also, hilariously enough, Woman Hating by Andrea Dworkin. These texts demonstrate how the hierarchical classification of sex into categories such as “normal” and “fetish” is actually an instrument of heteropatriarchy. And then read Gayle Rubin again, to acquaint yourself with the idea of “moral panic”.

      2) Let me tell you what I do in the bathroom. I am loath to make universal statements about trans women, but perhaps the situation demands it. I pee! And also, sometimes, number two. That’s it! No jerking off to little girls in the next stall. No ecstatic autogynephilic meltdowns initiated by the act of peeing. I don’t know if you know this, but the ladies’ room is not a very pleasant place for trans women, what with people violently trying to keep us out, and beating us up, and everything. Generally, we want to spend as little time in there as possible. Executing elaborate sexual rituals so we can glory in autogynephilic misogyny kinda detracts from that. For all I know, it is perverted cis ladies who are jerking off to the sound of *me* peeing! But now, *that* sounds ridiculous.

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      Do you actually know any trans people at all? I know people who prefer to use unisex bathrooms, when available, because they are afraid of being harassed or getting dirty looks in the women’s bathroom. It’s not somewhere people go for fun – everyone has to pee from sometimes.

      As for autogynophilia: there are many, many, lesbian and bisexual trans women who have stated that this theory is not in line with their personal experiences of their own gender identity and sexual orientation.

      How would you feel if I argued that you were only a lesbian because you wish you were a man, or because your mother was cold and distant, or some other bullshit story a doctor might have applied to you a few decades ago? What if I argued that your orientation was a sexual perversion? They way you talk about trans people is the same way that people used to (and some still do) talk about gays and lesbians. It wasn’t OK then, and it isn’t OK now.

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      In reply to onda:

      What makes you think that transwomen want to “jerk off to the sound of your daughter peeing? Do you know of any documented proof that this is how transwomen behave in the women’s room? You make it sound as if all transwomen are child molesters or some sick perverts. I have never seen it reported that a transwoman molested any child. And furthermore, how do you know you haven’t run across a lesbian that sat in the stall next to your daughter? The way you think maybe the lesbian was getting a sexual thrill listening to your daughter? You really need to educate yourself. It’s people like you that cause unnecessary fear among the population. You are so full of ignorance it borders on being mentally ill if you actually think the whole reason transwomen want to legally use the women’s room is to “perv” on women. Like I said you really need to get educated. You have no idea what it’s like to be a transwoman. I really hope there aren’t many of you in this world. That would make this world such an unpleasant place. You really insult the human population with your rhetoric. I am a transwoman and I have no interest in your daughter peeing nor do I have an interest in anyone peeing. That is sick and I believe anyone trans or not that has a sexual interest in kids should be locked up and NEVER be allowed to return to the population.

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      I’ll prove that I won’t jerk off to the sound of your daughter peeing in a restroom if you prove that you won’t jerk off to the sound of your daughter peeing in a restroom first. Where’s your proof? I’m going to assume you’re perving on your daughter until you convince me otherwise. Where’s child protective services when you need them?

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    Why did you take out the link with the medical explanation of autogynephilia, by an autogynephile doctor? Are you afraid the lurkers and readers might learn something you don’t want them to know. The only reason the males want into the washroom and other Sex segregated places is to perv on women. That’s the whole reason. They know as well as the doctors who shine them on do: they aren’t women. You lot are the only people who fall for it.

    annelawrence.com

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      There’s not even 10 docs who work in the field – in the world – who buy what what Lawrence, Blanchard, Bailey are selling due to its demonstrable confirmation bias and blanket assertions. Their ideas are much beloved by quacks who want to force reparative “therapy” upon trans folk and RadRight folks because it fits their pervert narrative.

      Fun fact: TERFs lobbied TWO US administrations trying to institute a national program of forced reparative “therapy” for all trans folk.

      Onda… You’re are TERF, amirite?

      “I contend that the problem with transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence.”

      Quick! Who said this, an internationally known TERF leader or the RadRight?

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    Onda, your hate and mis-understanding is really appalling. I hope you find something in your life that will allow you to give and receive some level of love.

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    Has anyone ever thought about lesbians in the women’s room? Why aren’t people afraid that a lesbian just might come into the women’s room for a “peek” or sexually harrass other women in the women’s room? This makes no sense to me to not allow transgender people in the women’s restroom. The same could be said about the men’s room. How do the men in the men’s room know that there just might be a gay man in there. Aren’t they afraid they might want a “peek”? I’ve seen some pretty strong looking gay men. How come men aren’t afraid they might be sexually attacked by one of these men? Big deal, a transgender in the women’s rest room. I think this so-called fear is being voiced not out of genuine concern but out of bigotry. It’s just another way to keep transgender people from progressing. Before all the talk about this issue I wonder how many women were in the rest room and a transgender woman was in there and she didn’t know? I have read where a woman asked what is stopping a man from putting on a wig and entering the women’s room just to get a “peek?” Most transgender people strive to look as much as they can like a female because they want to blend in not stick out. A man putting on a wig and nothing else feminine I think would stick out. Anyway if a criminally minded man wanted to rape a woman in the rest room they don’t need a law that says they are allowed to go in the rest room. They will just go in.

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