By Nadine Spirit, AP Contributor
There has been a growing debate about who gets to use the women’s restroom. Some people are straightforward with their disapproval of transgender people, regardless of where they go to the potty. Some people, like Andrea Peyser, are a little subtler:
I’m not transphobic in the least. I support people’s rights to live, work, date and marry as the genders with which they self-identify. (I just want any stranger equipped with junk to keep the hell out of my bathroom.)
In general, many people are against gender variant individuals who wish to use the restroom that matches their presentation. And it may appear as though it is just that simple; if you have junk, stay out of the “no junk allowed” restroom. By the way, all of these concerns are primarily aimed at male to female transgender people; apparently if you identify as female at birth and personally identify as male nobody really cares what facilities you use.
In practical terms, these restroom ordinances or laws are really against anybody, regardless of what is between your legs. Who is standing outside of the restrooms performing a pre-potty genital check? Nobody. And even if anybody attempted that, the general public would not stand for it. You may think then that the prerequisite to using the restroom could be some sort of ID check. But even if you require people to carry around their papers, most likely a birth certificate, not even that can prove without a doubt if people are junk-full or junk-less. In several states, like California, a birth certificate can be amended to reflect a gender change without requiring surgical alteration of the genitals.
So then, what determines who can use the female potty? It is whether or not other people perceive you to be a female; in other words to not be a “stranger equipped with junk.” If you fit the mold of what a female is supposed to look like, then you will receive your potty pass from the potty police and you use the no junk allowed restroom. But if you are not perceived as feminine enough, well then you too may find yourself barred from the restroom that you think is appropriate for you to use.
Already there are reports of women being accosted while attempting to use the women’s room: a woman at Walmart, a woman at a medical center, a woman at a public restroom, a woman kicked out of a restaurant. And these are women that were not born with junk.
Clearly what is happening is that people are now judging others on whether they are feminine enough or not. For transgender women this boils down to you having passing privilege or not. If you look enough like a woman, then most likely you will be able to use the women’s restroom. But what about applying the same reasoning to cisgender women? Should you, as someone who does not possess any junk, be afraid to cut your hair short, be concerned about not dressing feminine enough, be concerned because someone may think you actually have a penis and not allow you to use the proper facilities?
Do not be fooled people. This is not an effort to protect women from the evil junk possessors. This is an effort to legalize discrimination. Discrimination against not being feminine enough. And who gets to decide what is feminine enough? Another shopper encouraged to be a vigilante? A congressman who thinks they are protecting the weak and innocent? A potty policeman staring at you trying to decide if you are actually a woman by what you are wearing and how pretty you are?
Is this really the direction we want to take? Are we going to just sit back and accept this pernicious discrimination out of fear of the unknown? I seriously hope not.
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Hi, I’m Nadine Spirit and I have been a lifelong gender non-conformer. I have always understood that I am a bit different than most but it was not until sometime in my thirties that I came to understand that I am transgender. While I spend most of my time presenting as a male I am always presenting in a gender non-conforming manner.
I started my blog, Unordinary Style, with the idea of being able to show a stylish side to those who identify as transgender. Since that time my blog has evolved into showing my personal style, discussing a wide variety of transgender topics, as well as posts about my personal life. My personal style continues to evolve as I attempt to continually push myself to pick stuff off of the racks, take it into the dressing room, and try on as much as I can. I am a firm believer in ignoring tag sizes, never paying retail prices, and due to a terrific allergy – that nickel should never be in any jewelry!