On June 28th, 2016, Trav Mamone, a colleague of mine on FreeThoughtBlogs rather humbly suggested to thehumanist.com that the solution to all the trans bathroom brouhaha was to ban the actual offenders of public violence–cis men–from public accommodations. We just couldn’t take the risk, they argued, since the vast majority of sexual violence is carried about by cis men. I thought at the time that it was a capital idea, but I see now that it is an unfair and incomplete solution, and so I am compelled to voice my disagreement with them.
Us women are so busy being protected by men, see, that we seldom have time to really think about our circumstances. In the name of “saving us,” these conservative men have previously stripped us of our healthcare, blamed us for crimes committed against us, imprisoned us for having miscarriages, and supplied us with poisoned drinking water. Clearly, they have a track record we can trust, right? We can’t ban them from public spaces!
“But Siobhan,” my intrepid readers ask, “surely you are writing this because you have discovered something to the contrary?”
Quite so. I was thinking that there surely must exist some form of circumstance where all freedom-loving Americans can publicly and loudly void their bowels without being subject to invasions of privacy from the opposite sex. I mean, we already have solid stalls between ourselves and another stranger, but do those stalls do anything to stop those insidious infiltrators of the opposite sex, from hearing, and later remembering in nightmarish fever dreams, the grunts and tribulations of our digestive system? Why it would be positively indecent for men to learn that women poop, sometimes vigorously so!
However, I learned that they were in fact many different reasons men tell us to be offended by the notion of sharing public facilities with a trans person, which had rather complicated my search for a reasonable solution. One of the local priests, who quite insistently pushes on me an appointed church-husband every time I interview him, has proclaimed that it is a matter of Christian purity for one’s butt cheeks to not share a porcelain surface with a member of the opposite sex (when asked for which Commandment contained such instructions, he mumbled something about common sense). I instead turned to a local rally of self-styled radical feminists who held up a lot of signs that said “ABOLISH GENDER,” who with breathtaking tragedy accounted their tendency to faint any time they came within 100 metres of a suspected penis, and who were protesting an abortion provider who serviced trans men and who believed women are people. “We need an extremely specific definition of ‘biological sex’ in order to protect our feeeeeemale bodies,” they told me. Mere suspicion was enough to set them off, like some kind of Schrodinger’s Genitals related allergy. A truly tragic condition in which to live, but one that seemed to add to the burdens of blessed porcelain. One wonders how they ever manage to leave the house.
After a long day of investigation and having no answers to show for it, I began the long trek home during which time I felt the pinch of a full bowel. As I was approaching a public washroom, I noticed a man follow another woman into the ladies’ room ahead of me–the nightmare scenario happens at last!–only to discover that he was making super-extra-sure the woman in question was in the right facility. “How thoughtful of you,” she reassuringly said, patting him on the shoulder and thanking him for the interrogation and threats. She produced her woman card for proof. “Great,” I thought bitterly. A third group who thinks the solution to the bathroom brouhaha is the employment of bathroom warriors. I suppose it would create jobs for the economy. Keynes would approve.
I took the stall next to this woman (the man challenging her seemed to have no problem with me), and as we took turns expelling a violent eruption from our bowels, it donned on me that there was, indeed, a way we could all be accommodated. My modest proposal, as it were, is a separate–but certainly equal!–set of facilities for transphobic bigots. I pitched the idea to her as we washed our hands at the sink and was assured in my brilliance. We high-fived, but only after soap and water.
I’ve already mastered the design. It’s quite ingenious. Common sense, you might say. The symbol on the door is a head crashing into a desk. Posted at the exterior is a large, muscle-bound mustachio’d man named Hugo (just “Hugo”) wearing a black t-shirt labelled “Bathroom Protector.” As you approach, he will kindly subject the bigot with a full bladder and/or bowel to one of three tests in order to determine their (sorry, “his or her”) appropriate access: Ask him or her to name the commandment that bans trans people from publicly existing; ask him or her to submit a sample to a DNA scanner that tests for the presence of a Y chromosome, permitting entry after he or she is cleared (results available in 2-3 business weeks); or ask him or her to produce a copy of his or her original birth certificate–as in, the one filled out after you left the hospital.
Unlike my colleague’s proposal, this perfectly reasonable solution still allows for transphobic bigots to realistically participate in public life without unnecessarily scapegoating trans women for the piss poor behaviour of cis men. And since there are far more transphobic bigots than there are trans people, we can’t even pull the excuse that these costly renovations aren’t worth it for “0.05%” (we’re approximately 0.6%, but never mind that) of the population! And a particularly enterprising Republican informed me that he would be happy to even provide a separate water fountain for transphobic bigots. Finally, the same psychotic assholes perverting the banner of radical feminism have a reason to share water with religious fundamentalists. Think of the JERBS–sorry, jobs–that would be created for Real™ Americans.
Now, us delicate, silly ladies will still need to submit this idea for Manly Approval, but I am convinced the plainly obvious fairness of this solution will prevail. It serves all of our needs, given that those who never had a problem sharing facilities with trans women before will continue to do so, while the fake goths and God-botherers have a No Trans Cooties space to protect their wholly logical sensibilities. Everybody gets to make their own choice, obviously the ideal solution for a nation that prides itself on its freedom and cooties-free tree houses.
Yes, the transphobic bigots must deal with the onerous burden of meeting one of the three criteria. But obviously we have to do something to keep America safe, right? After all, can we really trust the motives of people who legitimately think genital checks on children is the sort of thing to increase safety?
What, gun control? Police & prison reform? Universal healthcare?
Don’t be preposterous. We’re talking about the real threats here, you know, that population of trans people who are just small enough to justify ignoring our oppression but simultaneously large enough to justify wasting several legislative sessions micromanaging where we can pee. It’s what Jesus wanted, I’m pretty sure.