Delaware Passes Transgender Protections

Delaware became the 17th state to pass a law protecting against discrimination on the basis of gender expression or identity in housing and employment. And I’ll make a wager that there won’t be a single case of some predatory male cross dressing to get into women’s bathrooms to ogle anyone’s daughter, which is the only argument the bigots use against such protections anymore.

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  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Here’s the thing with that, Ed.

    I agree that the specter raised – a non-trans guy dressing in a feminine manner to gain access to a private space segregated by gender for people of a gender to which he doesn’t belong, and doing so solely to prey upon victims he might find there – is complete BS and is unlikely to happen.

    However, when the right says this stuff, they actually believe that trans* folk are not trans*, that there is no such thing as being trans. So the first time some trans* person reacts to harassment with physical self defense (“We were understandably upset at having this invader in here, made some reasonable comments, and Bam! He started hitting beating up my poor little daughter!” [daughter being 22 won’t be mentioned]) they’ll “prove” that you’re wrong.

    I don’t want to hang the justification of this law on nothing bad ever happening. It’s wrong to discriminate against trans* folk. If in the process of ending that discrimination we find that conflict happens, I won’t be surprised. But the answer is to prosecute trans* folk who commit crimes exactly as often and exactly to the same degree as non-trans* folk who commit crimes. It’s not to insist that non-discrimination is a threat to all we hold dear.

  • Childermass

    Ed, be sure that any person you make the wager with is not so deprived as to pretend to be transgendered just to create a case.

  • Wouldn’t it be simpler for a predatory male to not cross-dress and just go in to the women’s washroom that way? I mean, sure, they can cross-dress if they want to make a night of it, and go out for appletinis and dancing afterwards, or something, but it’s not like the “woman” symbol on the door is a force field that keeps out tighty whiteys and sensible footwear.

  • CaitieCat

    What Modusoperandi said. Seriously. It’s one of the stupidest objections to trans* people in the history of stupid objections to trans* people.

    And let’s make it clear: who’s more unsafe, the trans* woman forced to use the men’s bathroom by bigotry while presenting as a woman, or the cis woman using the bathroom alongside someone trying desperately hard to stay the hell away from the police? As MO pointed out, there is no special force field to stop a guy who wanted to abuse a woman in the bathroom now. And frankly, he’s a lot more likely, if he’s inclined to do that anyway, to be dressed as a man, because otherwise he’s got all the rest of the life to deal with, from getting out the front door to the place where the bathroom is, at constant risk of all sorts of harrassment. It just doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s bullshit.

    In (then-West) Germany with the CF back in 1985, I went to a baths called the Caracalla-Therme in Baden-Baden for a relaxation day. The bathrooms on the whole sauna-circuit floor were unisex; every toilet had a stall with a door, and the urinals were sort-of segregated-ish, being off to one side a bit. Given that the whole place was nudity-friendly, it just made sense. And a friend of mine who lived and work in the town said she couldn’t ever remember any reports of bad interactions in the bathrooms. Most people seemed to use them just to, y’know, do the waste-elimination activity of their choice, wash up, and get on their way.

    Is it possible people could be harrassed in bathrooms? Of course. But it’s no more likely in a place with protections for trans* people than it is in a place without, because there are so few of us we hardly register above statistical noise.


    And CripDyke, I have to admit I don’t get what you’re saying at all, and I’m trying to be good-faith and see it in as charitable a light as possible, but it does sorta sound like it’s leaning toward transphobic some? I recognize I could simply be failing to understand, and if it’s my error I’ll happily apologize for that suggestion. Would you be willing to clarify, perhaps?

  • There was recently a case here in Edmonton of a man being caught in a women’s bathroom at one of our hospitals with a camera. He made no attempt to disguise himself.

    And men who want to do this don’t even have to be in the bathroom physically…

    And women aren’t the only victims…

    So really, if the transphobes were serious about bathroom safety, they’d do more to contribute to that by banning men from buying or possessing cameras than they would by discriminating against trans* people

    This being the internet, I feel I must make the disclaimer than I’m not in favour of banning men from buying or possessing cameras.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    We had a unisex bathroom in my college dorm way back in the late 70’s. There was one bathroom per floor, and the upstairs bathroom had been original designated for men only, but there were women living on the floor who didn’t like the inconvenience of having to go downstairs to use “their” facilities. We had a sign posted outside the shower area indicating which sex (if any) was currently in a state of undress within, and as far as I know everyone obeyed it. The only thing that happened (other than the use of the room for its designated purposes) was that after several weeks, one of the guys ended up complaining and the women started having to go downstairs again.

  • CaitieCat

    Oh, good point, Hercules, my first-year stay in the residences had me staying in the same place as the guys who wrote Animal House (on the same floor, actually, though several years later). The building was Y-shaped, and had a mens’ wing, a womens’ wing, and a co-ed wing on each floor. The bathroom/showers associated with each wing had the same gender associated with the wing. The curtained-off section that had the showers had the same arrangement you mentioned, a pair of keyhooks: whichever side had a key on it had the shower area for fifteen minutes or so or until needed otherwise, whichever came later. That way people could step out of the cubicles without having to concern themselves with who was watching while they dried off (the showers themselves were also curtained).

    Anyone who didn’t want to use the neutral bathroom had only 30 or 40m to go to one of the others, and only if they happened to be right at the outward end of the neutral wing; all three were wheelchair-accessible, too. As I recall, only one woman on the neutral wing went to the women’s wing, and that was because she was being bullied by a woman two doors down from her, more than because she was opposed to the neutral room. It was kind of surprising how easily this group of 18- and 19-year-olds adapted to something which probably would have been kind of unthinkable two years earlier (to put this in context historically, I’m talking end of the 80s, graduated in 92).

  • CaitieCat “…(to put this in context historically, I’m talking end of the 80s, graduated in 92).”

    That long ago? What was “The Golden Girls”? Was it the Two Girls One Cup of its day? And what the heck was “dial up”? Was that like a booty call? And is it true that there was a Coke before Coke Classic?

  • CaitieCat, I believe what CripDyke is saying (or at least what I got out of the post) is that the kind of people opposed to these kinds of protections, the ones who use the “pervs will crossdress” argument, are not the kind of people to actually acknowledge the validity of the trans* identity to begin with. Therefore, justifying these kinds of laws with “nothing you’re saying will happen” is a dangerous proposition because, in the minds of its opponents, the first bad thing to happen (for instance, a transwoman defending herself from abuse/harassment in a ladies’ room) will be viewed by them as the their proverbial “man in drag attacks a real woman” scenario and they will be (so far as they and their followers are concerned) proven completely right. Instead, the only rebuttal that is necessary is “discrimination is wrong”. You’re not likely to win these people over, but you don’t need to hand them their political ad on a silver platter.

  • CaitieCat

    Thanks, chriswalker, that does clarify somewhat.

  • Gsh. I have a comment stuck in moderation because I linked to four new stories, but what it boils down to is that if the bigots were really concerned about protecting people from bathroom spying, they’d pass laws prohibiting men from purchasing or possessing cameras.

    They shouldn’t actually pass those laws, but unlike their fear mongering, that kind of spying is something that actually happens.

  • News stories, not new stories. Damn it, I thought I got all the typos before submitting…

  • =8)-DX

    I can’t think of many unisex public bathrooms I’ve been to (apart from the “there’s only one toilet, so it’s unisex” ones), but unisex saunas/steamrooms with associated outdoor hot springs and a mandatory no-swimming-trunks zone are the best kind of spa I’ve experienced ever. No one was gawking or behaving in any sexual way, the nakedness of other people and genders in the saunas or showers was mostly an irrelevancy, people would casually wrap on or take off their towel according to the place without. The only feeling I felt was how good it was to be naked outdoors in the fresh air and not have to worry about it. The only odd thing was that they only allowed children on special “family days” on Sunday. My daughter used to go with me to the sauna in our segregated shower areas before she was old enough to go to the women’s section alone and nothing inappropriate ever happened.

    That said I’m no nudist usually, but creating official clothes-free-unisex spaces is a great idea. Predators are more likely to abuse women or children when alone in a secluded area, make use of situations to their advantage, not “tricks” such as cross-dressing, that’s just absurd.

  • Am I allowed to move to a more trans-friendly country?

  • marcus