Known as “keep the men out of the women’s bathrooms”, “bathroom bills”, or some variant of this, these bills frequently say their purpose is to keep women and children safe. People eat this up without a second thought. No men in women’s bathrooms? Keep women and children safe? Common sense right–after all, keeping men out of women’s bathrooms just makes sense doesn’t it? Who would want to have men walking in to peer at you peeing, or putting a camera under the stall? Who wouldn’t want to protect the kids? So it’s just a “common sense law” as they say.
However, these bills don’t really do any of what they say. If they were truly a “protecting women and children” bill, it doesn’t make sense. Not only does it completely ignore boy’s safety, because we’re allowing men to use the men’s and men do molest boys in the men’s, but we don’t even prevent people who are guilty of a sex-crime from using the bathrooms. Convicted rapists, murderers, and child predators are all allowed to use the public bathrooms, changing rooms, and locker rooms. We don’t ban them, and they’ve been convicted of it—as in they were found guilty, and now are possibly on parole or just served their time. People we know have done something, and in some cases know they may again, we let use the bathrooms. Even if the child predator molested children that were the same gender as them (i.e. men molesting boys, women molesting girls), we don’t ban them from the bathroom even though we’re letting them be around kids not even two feet from them, with their genitals exposed to go pee. But we tell our kids to be careful, keep an eye on them, women even go to bathrooms in groups at times for safety and other reasons.
Even with that, no one cared about the women and children. Their safety wasn’t even a concern.
Then people realize that transgender people may be able to use the bathrooms legally, and some people immediately go on a rant about “men in women’s bathrooms, predators may take advantage of this!” Some even say “it’s not the transgender people, they’re harmless, it’s men possibly taking advantage of it to commit crimes.”
Yet these don’t make sense either when you think about it. Transgender people have been using the bathrooms forever. Chances are, you’ve gone to the bathroom with a transgender person, both the men and women have that is. You probably didn’t even realize it–because there are both trans men who were “born as a female” and trans women who were “born as a male”. Or to put it in a less confusing ways: men have been using the bathrooms with people who may still have a vagina, and women have been using bathrooms with people who may still have a penis. It’s been happening for a long time, as transgender people have existed throughout history. Yet there are few to no cases of any man tossing on a dress to use the women’s to molest girls/women. Even so, they want to make it illegal for a transgender person to use the bathroom “just in case” a man decides to do that.
But here’s what would happen if transgender people followed the laws. People who you thought were women would start using the men’s, and people who might be bald or have beards would start using the women’s. That will make it much harder for men to use the women’s right? Think of it, people are worried a person will say “I’m a trans woman” and walk into the women’s. Ban them, and they’d just have to say “I’m a trans man” and walk in. The only difference? They could walk into the women’s with a beard and no dress, and claim to be a trans man, you know, not have to put any effort into it.
People are worried about the wrong thing. Predators who want to use a bathroom as the means to assault/molest someone will just use the bathroom. It doesn’t matter if it’s legal or illegal for their gender to be in there–they’re already going to commit a crime! What they’re planning on doing is already illegal.
But let’s think about transgender people in the bathroom for a minute. How many times have you gone to the bathroom, seen someone not causing issues (they’re just going to the bathroom, cleaning up, helping their kid, whatever), and you instantly asked them “um, excuse me, what gender are you?” You may have wondered a few times, but you probably didn’t really worry that much about it, and probably didn’t even think of asking them. If you’re in the bathroom, and you see a camera appear under the stall, or eyes looking in—chances are you’re like “um, excuse me!” or “Occupied!”– perhaps you even just kicked or taken the camera, but then odds are you’ve never ran into this either. It’s fairly safe to say if you saw someone spying on you, your first question wasn’t “what gender are you?” because that’s not any issue—the issue is someone’s perving on you, it’s uncomfortable, and illegal. A woman don’t see a woman recording you peeing and think “oh, it’s just a woman, no big deal”–you’re still pissed off about it! Just like a guy wouldn’t be at a urinal, and see the person next to him holding a camcorder recording him and first think “oh, you’re a guy, no problem”–he’s probably going to punch the guy in the face. It doesn’t matter what gender the person is, you’re going to want justice for the crime happening.
Here’s the issue that people seem to forget: laws don’t stop people from doing things, it just puts consequences in place if they get caught.
No really, think about it. If you kill someone, you could get the death penalty. You could die. So we have no murder right? Ok, theft? It’s illegal, so no theft right? What about using drugs? How about other illegal things? How about speed limits? You can basically guarantee that everyone has broken the speed limit, even though it can cost money, and eventually cost your driver’s license. Now I’m not going to get into why people still do these things, although the thought that no one will catch them may be part of it, but it’s just the point. People will violate the law if they really want to do the thing that’s illegal. Saying “no men in women’s bathrooms” won’t stop someone who wants to rape a woman in a woman’s bathroom. They aren’t going to see the sign and be like “I would’ve gotten away with it if not for this pesky sign!”—no, they’re just going to follow the person in, do the crime, and leave.
Now we have congressmen using religious organizations materials saying that transgender people in bathrooms that match their identity is the biggest threat to be banned, not because they’re evil but because men could take advantage of it. It’s not family members, or friends of the people (both of these who are the main threats in reality), it’s not convicted rapists and child molesters, it’s the possibility that a man could use the women’s and do things to her or kids. It’s all based on fear of the unknown.
Really, fear of the unknown. People don’t understand transgender people, they think of them as a “man in a dress”—they don’t understand how transgender people exist. So, they’ve become the perfect target for the fear. People assume transgender people are “a guy in a dress” so obviously any guy could put on a dress, claim to be transgender, and then rape women. The reality, however, is much different. Transgender people are normal everyday people. They may look masculine, or feminine. They could have been born as a male or female. Just their gender identity doesn’t match their birth sex. Their IDs may be different, at least driver’s license or passport (some states don’t change, or require a $20K-40K surgery to change gender markers). They’ve spent potentially years, or decades living as their identified gender, or perhaps they just recently came out to others. Many times, if they didn’t use the bathrooms of the gender they identify with, they’d be threatened. They are the main victims of bathroom violence of all groups. They are so common (in some ways, numbers vary), that there’s a good chance that most people in the USA have met, talked to, or interacted with a transgender person at least once—they just may have never known.
It’s not even entirely accurate to say transgender people want to use the bathroom their comfortable in. Transgender people want to use the bathroom that has a less chance of them being raped, beaten or killed. It’s not their comfort they’re seeking; they’re seeking to survive. This has the side effect of transgender people needing to use the bathroom they identify with, especially at some points or degrees of transition. This also provides for comfort for the others in the bathrooms (unless men want to see a woman walk in when they’re peeing at a urinal, or a woman see a man walk in—because that’s what happens if transgender people follow the law when bathroom bills are passed).
Here’s the thing that many people have said, that can’t be said enough it seems: the activities that people are trying to prevent happening in a bathroom are already illegal. You can’t get all pervy in a bathroom without people saying something or you being arrested—it doesn’t matter what the law is on which gender can enter the bathrooms legally, the people will just violate it to do the other illegal activity.