Trans Phobia

I rarely talk about transphobia and the hijra I used to work with. Well that’s mainly because we don’t work together any more the last I saw of them was a while ago.

But sometimes while poking around the net you do find some absolutely horrendous things.

“I would like to pass out something that shows people what is going on in the rest of the country. Massachusetts and California have passed laws relating to calling a student, irrespective of his biological gender, letting him perform as the gender he thinks he is, or she is. I just want to emphasize: not in this district. Not until the plumbing’s changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here.”

This is from Katherine Svenson, a Colorado school board member.

Look the words we use are important too. A lot of people reported this as “Svenson wants to castrate trans people before they use the bathroom” which is simply untrue. Svenson is a bigot but her bigotry is not fixed or solved by being incorrect.

No, what she is trying to imply in her own mutliated understanding of what it is to be trans is that the only way she will accept trans utilising the loo is post-surgery. And definitely not the people who made it sound like she going to castrate trans people the way we used to castrate sheep.

Yes this was a thing and no it’s not recommended you do it this way unless you want a kick in the face.

No it’s still bigotted and part of the “won’t someone think of the children” but we should hold ourselves to the truth because the truth is stupider than the stuff we make up.

There is a train of thought of the right wing and religious fundie when it comes to the trans people and bathrooms.

They think the acceptance of transexuals into the bathrooms of “choice” will lead to a sordid world where young men pretend to be women solely to spy on women in bathrooms. To which I say that the fundies really don’t know young boys and this seems like too much work to look at naked women when we have access to the Internet and all the depths of nudity that entails to the average teenager. Doing all this seems like too much effort especially considering the level of torment the trans people face.

But trans people are all perverts! They clearly are men who like to dress as women! That’s another common fallacy. Transvestites are different. Look, some men don’t think clothes define your gender and so wear women’s clothes. Big Whoop. It takes all sorts to make the circus we live in. The fact we distinguish our clothes SOLELY based on gender is laughable! Many gay men have corrected me when I said that they are just as promiscuous as straight people by explaining to me that gay men were always ostracised for what they are and so didn’t really have any issues with promiscuity. So I will retract my old stance. Maybe trans people are like that too. But who cares. I have written safe anal sex advice here and I know I am not exactly vanilla in my tastes (More like 99 flake). To the fundie the idea of letting trans into the bathroom will turn the bathroom into their idea of what “cottaging” looks like. AKA a bathroom filled wall to wall with an orgy of sex.

If we let trans women into the women’s room they will look at women peeing. In the fundie world F2M trans people don’t exist after all. Because women are never perverts… No let us assume this is an enlightened fundie who knows about F2M. He may be a transphobe but he is no sexist! Trans people will spy on women/men peeing and get some sort of pleasure out of it. Well I don’t know about you but most men in the men’s room are rather surreptitious about peeing even at urinals. We all know what we got. We aren’t comparing lengths and we go to great effort to shield ourselves from prying eyes to the point that we have unwritten rules such as standing as far apart from each other as possible when using the urinals. And honestly? This fear is as old as time, we feared that homosexuals were going to molest us all in our bathrooms but turns out gay men generally use bathrooms for the same things we straight men do. The whole “women’s” bathrooms is even more puzzling since I know women’s rooms have stalls and I figure women lock them when they use them.

Again the fundies assume the mere presence of trans people would turn the loo into a den of iniquity. Drug dealers will move in, and people will start snorting the crushed ashes of Rush Limbaugh’s speeches or whatever it is they snort these days. There will be glory holes galore and no one will be able to use the bathroom without being peeked on  or stumbling on cottaging.

Trans people just want to go to the bathroom without having to declare to all and sundry what they are. I mean the problem here is how the fuck are you going to enforce the rule? I am a bloody doctor and even I take a few seconds to realise if a person is trans. I have a trans friend (Hola Nadia! Waves) who sounds and looks female and I wouldn’t have known she was trans unless she  bared her throat (Adams apple or the surgery to reduce it) or stood up straight (the male body has some tell tale differences. One of them is the carrying angle. When you semi-flex your arm you will notice your arm bends “outwards”. In women it is more because of women’s body shape. There are a few signs like this that surgery doesn’t change) or spoke without the voice training.

Basically? She looks like an attractive lady who is much younger than she actually is.

And you think the Bathroom police are going to catch her out? What are they going to listen while she pees? Either this person is trans or is peeing from a great height! SUMMON THE TOILET COPS! Would these be called Porcelains instead of Coppers?

Again the same issue with F2M trans.. They can simply use the stall.

No the legislation or rules to ban trans from basically using what bathrooms they like are solely designed to harass the few trans who MAY get caught out or who are reported by those who know their status.

It’s just so ridiculous. Pragmatically it’s a waste of time. Socially it’s a waste of time and it’s forcing trans people to out themselves to simply use the bathroom and economically it is a gigantic waste of time. There is absolutely no argument for this that isn’t scare mongering or just out and out stupid.

I have this expression on my face too when I hear the right wing say this

I use public restrooms to pee and maybe wash my face. Most of the time it’s a pretty harrowing experience since it’s India and people take a very lax attitude to plumbing and hygiene. Even in the UK I have the same attitude and most people I know tend to not linger around the place.

Trans people do not wish to be noticed for being trans. They spend their entire transition changing to be like the gender that they wish and need to be. It is a simple case of privacy. We owe them the basic right to not be bothered while they wish to use  the loo.

The ideas pushed by the fundies about trans people and indeed the GLBT in bathrooms boils down to the fears that are created by the dialogue. It’s simple.

Let people use the loo in peace. I don’t want to be interrupted by some stranger in a uniform (or not) demanding to check the contents of my boxers when I fly. Why do you think I would think  it’s acceptable for that to be the case when someone else uses the bathroom?


  1. says

    In the past, many farmers didn’t really have access to anything special to castrate things with so they just used their teeth…

    It’s still practiced by some rural cultures including the Sami who do it to their reindeer but it has all but been replaced by more humane and hygienic methods.

  2. dangerousbeans says

    Maybe the trans are like that too.

    you have used trans as a noun, which is offensive. instead of “the trans” you should be using trans person, trans woman, trans man, ect.

    it also makes it really difficult to read, cause my brain keeps interpreting it as a noun and assuming it must be a misspelling of trains :P

  3. says

    Yeah, I don’t get what the big freak-out is over.

    Everyone does the same things in the loo — use toilet, wash paws, maybe check hair and make-up while having a chat, and leave. I’m assuming men and trans-folk aren’t too terribly different to women in their toilet habits. (Do correct me if I’m wrong, though.)

  4. angharad says

    Snorting the crushed ashes of Rush Limbaugh’s speeches? I shudder to think of the trip that would give you…

  5. Rich Woods says

    @WMDKitty #4:

    I can honestly say I’ve never checked my make-up in the loo, but I must admit to occasionally wiping beer froth out of my beard.

  6. Rich Woods says

    When I was a student the SU bar at my college had a unisex toilet, and to the best of my knowledge the sharing never bothered anyone. A cubicle is a cubicle. I remember running out of toilet paper one time and being very relieved (no pun intended) to hear the main door open and someone enter the cubicle next to me. I knocked on the partition and asked if they’d be kind enough to pass some toilet paper over. It appeared, but — shock, horror — it was in a woman’s hand! Who knows where that hand had been! Maybe that’s what the fundies are truly scared of…

  7. says

    Rich Woods @6

    I should have noted that Your Mileage May Vary, as not everyone wears make-up, or goes to loo in groups.

    What is that, anyway? Why do women do the group bathroom thing? I’d really rather not have a chat while I’m doing my business.

  8. Cayenne Bird says

    What about the 60,000 straight boys who are cheering in California about being allowed access to the girl’s bathrooms? It’s not the transgenders that are going to be the problem, it’s the pranksters who will exploit the access to a long-forbidden territory.

    I studied cultural anthropology and was fascinated by the Hijras and India’s societal attitude regarding them. In many ways we in the U.S. are less advanced, but Hijras still suffer in India.

  9. thascius says

    @9 What are you talking about? Do you really think cis-gendered straight boys are going to pretend to be transgendered, with all the stigma that implies, just to use the women’s bathroom? As Avi notes, there are much easier ways to see naked females if that’s what they have in mind. You do realize that most teenagers don’t want to be seen as different from their peers, correct? If a student presents as male in every other aspect of his life, I think the school would have no legal problem insisting he use the boys’ bathroom. And “access to long-forbidden territory” seriously? I can’t speak for straight guys, but as a cis-gendered gay man you could not pay me enough to go into a women’s bathroom.

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