What is it with this bathroom obsession?


Now that same-sex marriage is the law of the land, the next frontier is obtaining justice for the transgender community, the ‘T’ in LGBT. The discrimination they face is terrible. But apart from the major hurdles and cruelties they experience, they also face many indignities, such as how people feel that they can ask them the most intimate questions.

In his latest episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver looks at the many challenges that transgender people face and calls out those who take such liberties when talking with them.

And what is this obsession with bathrooms? I recall that this issue loomed large during the debate on the Equal Rights Amendment a long time ago, when opponents made a big deal that this proposed amendment, that was largely a response to the unequal treatment of women, would outlaw gender-segregated bathrooms and that this was unthinkable.

People seem to think that public bathrooms are currently absolutely safe places to be free from sex-related assaults (they are not) and that allowing transgender people the right to use the bathroom that is consistent with their gender expression will be to give criminals greater freedom to assault others (it will not). If a sexual predator wants to attack someone, the sign on a bathroom door is unlikely to deter them.

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    You know, I never get an answer when I ask a bigot, “well, what stops men from putting on a dress and going into women’s bathrooms now?”

  2. says

    Why on earth anyone would want to see what goes on in bathrooms is beyond me. Hasn’t internet porn removed enough of the mystery from those facets of life?

  3. moarscienceplz says

    According to Wikipedia, Barbara Walters had open-heart surgery five years ago. So I guess that means it’s totally OK to ask to see her scar. Also, I’m sure she has interviewed some women who have has mastectomies. So does she ask them what their boobs look like?

  4. Irreverend Bastard says

    The overly religious are obsessed with sex, particularly non-procreative sex. Because they’re not allowed to have any.

  5. Trickster Goddess says

    Someone once asked me if I’d had surgery. I answered, “Yes, I had appendicitis last year.”

  6. rietpluim says

    What do public bathrooms have to do with sex anyway? Urolagnia is not that widespread, is it?

  7. says

    It’s the same old story, the same failed tactics that can be defeated with facts. The rightwing extremists are repeating the lie often enough in the hope that people will believe it. It worked in the past when the lie about “gay pedophiles and adoption” made the rounds.

    The key difference between then and now, however, is that the majority now recognize the first lie for what it was. Research proved that LGBTQ people are less likely to be predators than heterosexuals, and the public’s own experience has matched that. It’s going to be a much harder job for the real predators (far right hate groups) to catapult the propaganda when the public’s own experience says differently and many are much more open about their own sexuality.

    Things are changing elsewhere as well. Massively.

    http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/6/29/mozambique-scraps-colonial-era-homosexuality-ban.html

  8. Freodin says

    The key difference between then and now, however, is that the majority now recognize the first lie for what it was. Research proved that LGBTQ people are less likely to be predators than heterosexuals, and the public’s own experience has matched that.

    Ah, but there point is that by allowing transgenders in bathrooms, you give an excuse to all these heterosexual predators, who could now pose as transgenders and couldn’t be persecuted anymore.

    Right wing logic… you have to love it… and ignore it.

  9. says

    Freodin (#8) –

    Wnen I called the far right the real predators, I wasn’t suggesting they would sexually violate people (but you never know). I meant they want to legalize and enourage harassment and violence against anyone who looks different.

  10. Dunc says

    I’d chalk it up as being fundamentally linked to the concern with “purity”. Bathrooms are strongly associated with thoughts of hygiene (both good and bad), so they inevitably become linked with concerns about purity. It’s an entirely irrational and unconscious process which is then rationalised with ad-hoc arguments, which is why the arguments are so bad. It’s not really about safety from sexual predators, it’s just that thinking about bathrooms heightens people’s “ick” response, and transphobes think trans people are icky, therefore they find thinking about trans people in bathrooms particularly icky.

    It’s very similar to the racist obsession with swimming pools.

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