Transgender Access

There’s this issue of what’s appropriate for trans versus cis people. If we face facts we need to understand that the vast  majority of folks are cisgender and their biological sex is not affected by any kind of intersex condition. It is therefore somewhat understandable that we get the simplistic notions that men have penises and women have vaginas because by and large it’s true.

It’s also generally true that penis owners have an XY karyotype and vagina owners have an XX karyotype. I can (and have) spent paragraphs earlier in this blog describing the many cases where all this isn’t true and those reasons are important, but for this discussion we need to keep in mind that 99% of the population is not intersex and more than 99% of the population (estimates vary) have no gender issues.

Needless to say this is all just an opinion piece. I’m one who tries to find validity in both sides of an argument.

There’s been a great deal in the news about various states making fools of themselves trying to keep transgender people out of women’s restrooms, but what if we concede that there ought to be a reasoned discussion about limits. Being trans (MtF) and accessing the ladies room would seem to vary at some level. At one end you have someone who cross dresses and generally we accept that most cross dressers identify as men. At the other end are transsexuals who are post operative and are females from a mental, hormonal and structural viewpoint.

It seems to me that these are not all the same. Outside of a trans event, I might well be uncomfortable, even as a transsexual, encountering a cross dresser in a public restroom. Cross dressers generally are identifiable as undeniably male regardless of the quality of their clothing and makeup. I sympathize with their need to pee, but they aren’t living 24/7 as a woman and probably, given the limitations of beard cover, able to plan their outing to not require public  urination.

Diagnosed transgender individuals who are living at least part time as women are in another category. These people might or might not be taking hormones, but definitely don’t have the luxury of planning. They could also be reasonably expected to carry documentation if that were made a requirement (I think it is hard to pass without HRT because of skin appearance). Personally I think this is the appropriate borderline for bathroom access.

The other two points that could be used are going full time and having GRS/SRS. An argument could be made for being full time, but I think it’s too high a bar since there are many trans people who need to live a life in duality. SRS is clearly too high a bar for bathroom access, and even HRT may be too high for some since there are medical reasons that HRT can be impossible or inappropriate.

Changing room and locker room access is another hot topic. A lot of the above seems to apply. I’m of the opinion that much of the uninformed opposition is envisioning that a pre op trans woman’s genitalia looks just like a man’s normal genitalia and would be given to a normal man’s response to naked women. Neither is generally true since estrogen and anti androgen therapy tends to dramatically shrink things as well as either make erections impossible or at least make spontaneous erections impossible. Still, having a small additional neutral facility seems reasonable in case there are objections. Post op access shouldn’t be restricted in my opinion.

The other argued access point tends to be more on the feminist side of things with women only events. For some of these they want only “women born women” to be able to attend. Personally I think it’s a bit much. However, if activities involve nudity I’m somewhat sympathetic. While it may feel bad to have to avoid such activities unless you’ve had surgery, it seems inappropriate to expect that people would not have visceral reactions when faced with a “woman’s” penis. As long as one is dressed it need not be an issue, but nudity destroys that grace.

The bottom line to me is that there ought to be more constructive engagement and less judgment and assumptions. Vilifying trans women as predators is reprehensible as was doing the same to homosexuals a generation ago. There may need to be some degree of compromise to make it work and be comfortable as well.

One woman’s opinion

 

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