A lesbian transitions to become a lesbian

This article from Huffington Post is about a lesbian who discovers she is “nonbinary” and she celebrates by getting a haircut and a tattoo, after which she finally feels like herself. Someone posted it on Facebook with the intention of mocking the fact that being “nonbinary” is apparently all about how one styles one’s hair. However, I think there’s much here to discuss beyond the “haircut = identity” thing. When I read this article, I saw myself in it a lot. I see a heartwarming story about a lesbian who is discovering how to be herself. The things she did are the same as the things I did. The only difference is that nobody convinced me that my being a gender-non-conforming dyke meant that I wasn’t female. I am female and attracted to females, so I call myself lesbian. That’s what the word lesbian is actually for.

However, this “nonbinary” writer is much more keen to call herself trans than lesbian.

“When I first realized I might be transgender, I was in denial. I didn’t want surgery, so it was like, “Well, what the hell do I want, then?” I thought being trans meant you could be either FTM (female-to-male) or MTF (male-to-female). I thought surgery was necessary, and going on hormones was necessary, and oh my god I’d have to change my name, and I’d have to stop being at all feminine and and and and — !!

But, well, I didn’t have to do any of that.

The word “bigender” entered my vocabulary after transgender did.

Then “genderqueer.”

Then “nonbinary.”

And–

Ah, I thought. There it is.

There it is.

When I was a kid, maybe 12 or 13, I finally got to start experimenting with my hair. My mom took me to a new salon, and I was allowed to get highlights for the first time ever. The next time I went back, I asked for my hair to be cut short. My mom, who was watching, said fast, “Just to your chin.”

“But Mom…”

“You don’t have the right face for short hair,” she said. “Just to your chin.”

I cut my hair “just to my chin” until I was 18. I hated it.

I always hated it.

So I wore a bandana, or a hat, or I tied it up punishingly tight, knotted at the nape of my neck or pulled into a butterfly clasp. My freshman year of college, it got so bad I wore a gray hat every single day, everywhere I went, for almost a year.

I came home from work one night exhausted and emotionally drained, and gchatted my then-fiancee (now wife). “I don’t think I can do it anymore,” I said, curled up in my desk chair. “I can’t stand it anymore.” I was on the verge of taking a pair of scissors to it myself, but she convinced me to make an appointment the next day.

When the stylist took the first fistful of my hair in her hand and sheared the scissors right through it, like butter, like sweet silk, so close to my scalp, my whole world changed. It sounds so dramatic, but it’s true. It was this huge moment for me. There my face was, there it had been for the past year, my hair tucked up in a hat. There my face was, with no hair to frame it.

And I looked just fine.

That was the start of it all. That was my marked moment, when I figured out that what people say I should look like and how I actually want to look are mutually exclusive.

There was my tiny rebellion. My stake driven into the ground. There it began.”

So, to summarize this, in plain English, this writer is female and has a female partner. In the days of old, we used to call this phenomenon by the name “lesbian.” Her mother would not allow her to have a short haircut, and I think I can understand why. Her mother wanted her to look feminine, and short hair is not feminine. Her mother was enforcing femininity on her even though she didn’t want it. This happens to all females of course, but it has a particular meaning for lesbians. We tend to be particularly gender-non-conforming, and we tend to look more obviously gay when we reject femininity. Mothers who force lesbian daughters to leave their hair long despite their desires are enforcing femininity and also refusing to allow their daughters to be visibly gay. Back in the old days, we didn’t call this transphobia, we called it homophobia—the hatred or fear of homosexuals. You know, homosexuals, like those people who are female and have romantic and sexual relationships with other females. Like this writer.

I will not mock the fact that it was a “huge moment” for her when her hair was finally cut short the way she wanted it. I remember my own moment like that. I had long hair during my childhood and teenage years. Sometimes my hair was past my shoulder blades. After I came out I cut my hair short, too. I remember sitting in the hair salon on campus and watching in the mirror as my hair fell away. I felt like I was watching myself being transformed into a lesbian. I know, I know, some straight women have short hair, and some lesbians have long hair. But I was cutting my hair for a reason. I had always worn it in a ponytail and didn’t much care about it, and I didn’t see why I needed to keep it around anymore, and I also wanted to look more like a lesbian. I think it’s a bit symbolic when a newly out lesbian cuts her hair short. It’s a symbol of her being ready to be visible now. And for this writer, it was a symbol of rebelling against her mother who wanted her to be less visible.

“I’ve dressed masculine for years and years. In January, I bought my first expensive flannel button-up. My dad joked that I was ticking off another point on the lesbian checklist, but it wasn’t even about having the shirt, really. It was about going to the women’s section and picking some stuff I liked, things that caught my eye… and then going to the men’s section and, with my armful of pretty blouses, picking out a shirt that screamed masculinity, that pulled across my broad shoulders and showed off how long my back is, how it tapers to my waist.

A few weeks ago, I bought my first pair of clippers.

My mom and I met for lunch at the end of the summer, when I got back from visiting my wife in Canada. “You need a haircut,” she said, eyeing me over the table.

I raised my eyebrow at her. My hair wasn’t long — enough to grab handfuls of, sure, but still boyish on the sides and longer on top, my thick hair gathered up to curl in a forelock. You think it’s too long?

“Don’t cut it ridiculously,” she clarified.

“Not ridiculously,” I echoed, knowing she meant well.

Then I went to Walmart and bought a pair of clippers with rainbow guards, and I cut my hair myself. Shaved down one side and left the other long.

Dyed it purple, too.

I thought of the last time my mother implied I ought not be ridiculous with my hairstyle, and I thought of the looks I’d been afraid to try for fear of coming off too weird. I’d always wanted to shave one side, and I’d always wanted to dye it purple.

So I did. And it was as perfect as I’d thought it would be.”

This is when you learn a bit more about her mother’s attitude. Her mother doesn’t want her to look “ridiculous.” I can’t help but wonder if what her mother really meant is that she didn’t want her daughter to look gay. I have no proof of this, but I have a feeling that if this writer was straight and married to a man, mom would feel a lot more comfortable with an unusual hairstyle.

I, too, have dyed my hair purple. I, too, have wandered both the women’s and the men’s sections of the store because I needed both clothes that fit my female body well and also clothes that made me look more masculine. I wear mostly women’s clothes but I’m a fan of boxer shorts and men’s shirts. I love wearing jeans and a men’s shirt. They go great with my short hair and no makeup. I don’t shave my head, but my partner does. She owns her own clippers, too. Pretty normal stuff for lesbians.

“I think I became more daring after that. Getting a new tattoo seemed like a logical step. A color progression.

My first tattoo was about reclaiming my body. About moving on from a bad relationship. About reminding myself that what happened to me wasn’t my fault.

This one?

This one is because my body is mine again. Wonderfully so. There’s a freedom in thinking: no one can stop me from doing this. No one can change this but me. No one can have this but me.

No one can have my skin but me.

I wrote what I know about my queerness on that skin that night.

I’m not a girl. I’m not a boy.

I have a fierce love of space. Galaxies and black holes and blooming nebulae. I like to think, as Carl Sagan said, that we are made of star stuff. That the core of my body once belonged out there, somewhere, and that I have the last dregs of a struggling star clustered up in my cells.

That’s what I am.”

Wait…you’re not a girl? See, this is where I disagree with transgenderism. Just because you don’t want to look feminine doesn’t mean you’re not female. Regardless of what your hair looks like, if you were born with a body that can produce ova and bear young, you are biologically female. That’s what the word female actually means. The only reason that dykes believe they’re not female is because we are taught that female is necessarily feminine and therefore we don’t meet the standards. It’s the standards that need to go, not our knowledge of biology.

“My tattoo artist is in a band with two trans guys. He knows I’m trans. In February, when I got my first tattoo, he told me about them, and said that over the summer, they were going to lay down an album. When I got this second tattoo, I asked him about it, and he lit up. “I actually have the raw tracks on my phone,” he said. “Do you want to hear it before anyone else does?”

So we listened to it together, this entire album about being young and trans and angry and feeling like you’re broken, like your skin doesn’t fit on your bitter bones. And I maybe cried a little, and my artist said, “Yeah, now imagine this scene: big trans bar full of hulking trans dudes, all bawling their eyes out just like you.”

Just like me.

Trans is trans is trans.

In my own way, I’m transitioning.

I love this body of mine. It’s a beautiful canvas.

And I’m making it look just like me.”

You know, this scene where a bunch of “hulking trans dudes” are in a bar crying over the pain they feel because they are not comfortable in their female bodies really reminds me of something. It reminds me of the way Leslie Feinberg described, in Stone Butch Blues, the pre-stonewall gay bar scene where butches and femmes went to meet each other. The first time she went to the gay bar:

“I picked up my beer and walked toward the smoke-filled backroom. What I saw there released tears I’d held back for years: strong, burly women, wearing ties and suit coats. Their hair was slicked back in perfect DA’s. They were the handsomest women I’d ever seen. Some of them were wrapped in slow motion dances with women in tight dresses and high heels who touched them tenderly. Just watching made me ache with need. This was everything I could have hoped for in life.” (27–28)

Also from Stone Butch Blues, in a letter that Jess writes to her ex-girlfriend:

“There were two kinds of fights in the bars. Most weekends had one kind or the other, some weekends both. There were the fist fights between the butch women—full of booze, shame, jealous insecurity. Sometimes the fights were awful and spread like a web to trap everyone in the bar, like the night Heddy lost her eye when she got hit upside the head with a bar stool.

I was real proud that in all those years I never hit another butch woman. See, I loved them too, and I understood their pain and their shame because I was so much like them. I loved the lines etched in their faces and hands and the curves of their work-weary shoulders. Sometimes I looked in the mirror and wondered what I would look like when I was their age. Now I know!

In their own way, they loved me too. They protected me because they knew I wasn’t a “Saturday-night butch.” The weekend butches were scared of me because I was a stone he-she. If only they had known how powerless I really felt inside! But the older butches, they knew the whole road that lay ahead of me and they wished I didn’t have to go down it because it hurt so much.

When I came into the bar in drag, kind of hunched over, they told me, “Be proud of what you are,” and then they adjusted my tie sort of like you did. I was like them, they knew I didn’t have a choice. So I never fought them with my fists. We clapped each other on the back in the bars and watched each other’s back at the factory.” (p7)

See the similarity between the “hulking trans dudes” and the fist-fighting butches? There are some common themes here. Women who are taught that their natural personalities are men’s personalities, that they are not proper women because they aren’t feminine, who carry around shame and pain because people won’t accept them for who they are and because they are survivors of misogynist and homophobic violence that is designed to punish them for being homosexual gender-non-conforming females. In Stone Butch Blues, the women who cannot help but shave their heads and wear men’s clothes call themselves “he-shes” and currently in transgenderism these same women call themselves “trans men” or “genderqueer” or “nonbinary.” They’re the exact same women! In every generation, there are some women who love other women and who have personalities that happen to align with what our culture defines as masculinity. I’m not going to call these women he-shes or trans men, I’m going to call them by their proper name, LESBIAN. This is not because I “hate” trans people, it’s because I love lesbians, and it’s not shameful for us to call ourselves female and lesbian.

“In my own way, I’m transitioning.

I love this body of mine. It’s a beautiful canvas.

And I’m making it look just like me.”

These words are beautiful. They’re about a lesbian becoming herself. She’s “transitioning” all right—into the dyke she wants to be. But she’s not embracing the word lesbian. She’s not calling herself a female-loving female. It’s like we haven’t made any progress since the 1950s. We still think that women who can’t or won’t perform femininity cannot really be women. But we are. It is normal, acceptable, and beautiful for women to be strong and burly and to love other women. We don’t have to deny who we are, we don’t have to pretend to be anything else. We are lesbians.

Screen capture from film Butch Jamie (2008)

Screen capture from film Butch Jamie (2008)

If these walls could talk

Screen capture from film If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)

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36 thoughts on “A lesbian transitions to become a lesbian

  1. “Wait…you’re not a girl? See, this is where I disagree with transgenderism. Just because you don’t want to look feminine doesn’t mean you’re not female. Regardless of what your hair looks like, if you were born with a body that can produce ova and bear young, you are biologically female. That’s what the word female actually means. The only reason that dykes believe they’re not female is because we are taught that female is necessarily feminine and therefore we don’t meet the standards. It’s the standards that need to go, not our knowledge of biology.”

    This is really captures the essence of the issue: Internalized Misogyny. Seriously, millions of straight women don’t “gender conform” because much of the expectations placed upon females of any orientation are INVENTED and MUTABLE, dictated by trends and constructed societal “norms.” In the 1960s or 1970s, babies were babies and children wore a lot of primary colors. The pink/blue stuff was far less prevalent. By the time my friends atarted having babies in the early 2000s, it was damn near impossible to find layette sets that weren’t pink or blue. The few that weren’t were limited to premie or newborn sizes to accommodate baby showers for parents who were not revealing gender, and the choices were yellow or green or gray. It may seem like a minor point, but WHY? Why is it so damn necessary to declare to the world what gender the baby is? Since when does color have gender? Why do we need giant headbands with bows (which, IMHO are ugly as sin and look uncomfortable) to indicate “this is a girl?”
    And ear piercing on infants. WTF? Let’s MAKE CERTAIN THAT EVERYONE KNOWS SHE’S A GIRL. I worked in malls for years and every day several babies were screaming bloody murder at Clair’s or Piercing Pagoda as their parents inposed this bizarre and pointless ritual. Why does it matter so much? Isn’t it more important to keep the baby happy, healthy, and cared for? Why must we insist that girls present as “girly” all the damn time? Why do men (and a lot of women) think a woman is sexy only if she keeps her hair long, wears skimpy clothes and totters and teeters around in shoes that have no practical function? Now, if a grown woman of any orientation chooses these things for herself, that is one thing. But if she is doing it solely to fulfil the world’s expectations regardless of her own feelings, I call bullshit. I have really long hair (and I’m admittedly vain about it sometimes). Inwear makeup when I want to, and have learned to apply it skillfully without looking overdone. But 95% of the time I am wearing jeans, a concert t-shirt, keen shoes or hikers, my hair in a practical bun or ponytail, and no more than sunscreen on my face. I do semi-feminine once in a while. I wear a dress only when I’m doing my public presentations (because I present first-person history as an historical figure in the 1890s, so I’m in full Victorian garb!). But I’m told I’m “not feminine enough” or assumed gay. Why is our society SO hung up on appearances somehow defining our gender and sexuality? I love me a slightly “effeminate” man. Every boyfriend I’ve ever had, though, has felt degraded by other, more “masculine” men (and some women) who assume he “must be closeted.”
    Bullshit. It is all bullshit.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Ear piercing on infants is evil. I don’t get why it is not outlawed. I mean, circumcision of (male!) infants is difficult to outlaw because it is an important part of some religions and religious freedom is protected.
      But ear piercing is not. It is simply an exercise in misogyny. It belongs to the religion of genderism, which is not acknowledged as religion. It is hurting a helpless baby (or toddler, that’s just as bad) so that she looks more “feminine”.

      Now that I think about it … there may be some sadism involved. You can use clip-ons if you want your baby to wear earrings. But apparently that is not enough for some parents.

      Liked by 3 people

      • My mother pierced my ears as a baby. I don’t remember it, but by the time my daughter came along I was on board with the whole no-circ thing and I thought, “What’s so different about an ear piercing? The poor baby doesn’t know what’s happening, all she knows is she’s in pain.” Within a week after my daughter was born and we were home, I had her lying in my lap and was looking at her and she reached up with her right hand and twisted her own earlobe. The look of horror that crossed her face right before she screamed made me laugh in that you-poor-baby-but-you-are-so-cute kind of way but I thought, Wow, this is just an earlobe-twisting. Imagine if it were a needle. So I didn’t get it done.

        I realized as she got older and had various accidents that stuff hurts little kids a lot more than it hurts older people because little kids don’t have experience with pain and their neurological systems aren’t matured at all. Which just cemented my decision.

        Finally we got her earlobes pierced earlier this month, at her request. She’s eleven now, old enough to know what’s happening, old enough to know why it is happening, old enough to have gotten hurt a time or three and to understand THAT whole process, and it went more smoothly than I could have ever hoped. Helped that we went to a pro piercer instead of frigging Clare’s. The needle hurt going in, but there was almost no blood and she was totally fine by the time we were done and left.

        I think parents get their kids’ earlobes pierced as babies because they think it’ll hurt like hell for an older kid but a baby wouldn’t remember the pain. I’d love to tell them all otherwise now that I know better.

        Besides, if my newborn could grab her own ear, imagine a baby or toddler yanking out an earring. OMG. No. Hell no.

        Liked by 2 people

        • And then there’s the fact that those parents who think it will hurt like hell for an older kid … do not consider that someone might not want their earlobes pierced at all.

          Liked by 3 people

      • Oh and the “on board with the no-circ thing”, what I mean by that is I didn’t know which I was getting when I was pregnant with my daughter, so I had to consider that issue, not knowing it wouldn’t BE an issue. I hadn’t been enlightened when her brother was born almost nine years prior and I still feel bad about that.

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        • There are distinct advantages to being circumcised. Circumcised men get and transmit fewer STDs and it is a lot cleaner. Sure, men can be trained to clean themselves better, but not all men and boys are the cleanest (shocker!) and not all men and boys will apply what they have learned.

          Liked by 1 person

      • We did our sons ears too, and this is common where I live. On my block more boys have earrings than do girls.
        They like the “bling”. Maybe it is regional? I like earrings, so both kids got them. It took 2 seconds and no one even cried. If they don’t want them, they will grow back. (I do let them pick all their own clothes and haircuts and such).

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        • You are aware that there are nerves in the earlobes that are damaged by the holes? Sure, it doesn’t do MUCH damage, but it does do damage.

          Where I live, there are unwritten rules in which ear men can wear earrings (not sure which ear means “gay”), and male toddlers are usually not pierced.

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  2. Do lesbians want to be called “he/him”, though? And do they ever feel like they would much prefer their body of it had a penis and no breasts? A lot of this is just semantics about what it means to be “a girl”, but wanting a man’s body or set of pronouns seems pretty distinctly un-girl.

    Liked by 2 people

      • And I wouldn’t be surprised if many lesbians wanted a penis, because your life in patriarchy is so much easier if you have a penis. Actually, I am heterosexual, and if I could take a magic potion and become a fully functioning male, I would consider it. Because I am lazy and like to take the easy way out.

        If you have a penis, heterosexual “sex” as defined by patriarchy does not involve someone penetrating you and putting you at increased risk for STDs, for example.
        I wonder how many women want a penis because they don’t enjoy being penetrated.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Isn’t that really playing with words, then? Like if some “trans man” said, “hey, my name is Matthew, and I want to be called he/him/brother/mister, never she/her/sister/miss, and I’ve removed my breasts because I’m uncomfortable with them being there, and I’m looking forward to getting a phalloplasty. I’m into girls, and I feel like I identify with and have the most shared experience with the straight male community.”, you’d call them a lesbian.

          Doesn’t that dilute the meaning of the word? Suddenly it’s less about a shared community and sisterhood, and more about XX people being into women, ignoring everything else.

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        • I personally don’t think that calling a trans man a lesbian dilutes the word lesbian, provided she is biologically female and attracted to females. If a lesbian takes testosterone that doesn’t make her less of a lesbian in my book. Apparently this makes me a big evil TERF, but I still see female homosexuals as my sisters and comrades even if they deal with dysphoria by taking hormones.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I think a lot of other people have a different definition of “lesbian” (or, more precisely, a definition of “woman”) but that’s the limitation of language; we’ll never have a 100% comprehensive and agreed on dictionary.

          Really the question of whether you (or anyone) are an “evil” discriminatory person doesn’t rest on your perceptions, but instead it rests on how you treat people. I believe you mentioned that if a lesbian wanted to be called “he/him”, you would oblige? If so, I’d imagine names and titles like sir, mister, brother, dude, etc. wouldn’t be a problem. If they wanted to be called “man”, would that be okay? Or “straight”…

          At some point, the way they want to be treated/identified runs at odds with how you perceive them. What do you do in those situations?

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        • I am a rather nice person, if a lesbian wanted to be called “he” while still acknowledging that she has a female body (in fact, that such a thing as a female body exists and male bodies don’t belong into female only spaces), then I would probably do so. Not because I don’t want to be seen as a discriminatory person but because I am nice to people who are nice to me.

          This doesn’t matter, however, as I am officially a bad person for using expressions such as “male body”.

          Liked by 3 people

        • @sellmaeth: are there spaces defined as XX-only spaces? I know bathrooms are usually gender-segregated, and ofc that brings up the question of what “gender” actually is for the purposes of that space. An XY person in an XX-only space is definitely violating the terms of the space, but do we really need XX-only spaces to begin with?

          @purplesage: Do you think your friend would like that behind their back you use a different set of names and pronouns? Also, depending on how your friend defines “woman”, and by extension “lesbian”, they may be telling the truth, just with different words than you would use.

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        • @Lissa: Yes, we do. We do need spaces without Y chromosomes. (X and XXX women are a thing, and I don’t have anything against them in women’s spaces)
          If you look up some statistics, you will notice that it is disproportionally those XY people who watch objectifying porn, rape and kill.

          It is also exclusively XX people who menstruate and need facilities for that in public toilets.

          On the other hand – why would we ever need gender-segregated spaces? There is no need at all for them.

          Liked by 2 people

        • @purplesage: I think you have less of a disagreement than you make it out to be. Both you and your friend should agree that they have a female-sexed body. Both you and your friend can agree that they are a person who “identifies” as a man. I think both you and your friend also agree that the word “lesbian” should be for women attracted to other women. The only thing you and your friend disagree on is what a woman is. What happens when you try to convince your friend that they’re a woman?

          @sellmaeth: I was unaware women’s bathrooms have facilities for menstruation. Although, simply not needing them shouldn’t exclude someone from access to the room, like an XX woman who doesn’t menstruate for a medical reason.

          When you mention statistics on men and rape/murder/porn (isn’t all porn objectifying?), are you saying it’s the Y chromosome that makes them more likely to do those things? Or is it society that says to women, “don’t fight, don’t be violent, don’t have a sex drive, women can’t rape, be a good girl and stay out of trouble or else a man won’t want you.” that keeps women from doing those things as much? Meanwhile, men’s moral upbringing is consistently neglected behind “boys will be boys!”

          Really, I agree the whole idea of gender-segregated restrooms is kinda silly. It seems to stem from some old-fashioned idea like “I might walk by a man using a urinal and see a penis! Society says that should be devastating!!”

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        • I think gender-segregation of bathrooms is necessary whenever we are referring to a bathroom with multiple stalls. Using the bathroom is a private act for anyone, especially amongst strangers. And especially for children or anyone who is physically limited and more easily a potential victim, it is best if they have a safer option. Of course we should accompany children in public bathrooms when possible, but kids reach a certain age where they often go places where they have no adult supervision. I’d like to think a 14-year-old can use the bathroom at the movie theatre or the mall in relative safety.

          A large percentage of people feel vulnerable when they are partly undressed. It is pretty normal to want to feel safe when peeing, changing clothes, etc. In order to allow people to perform a private function of relieving themselves, we provide separate stalls. But those stalls are rarely so secure that they might prevent a motivated person from entering uninvited. That means that a person who is very young, or physically limited, or just not as strong as a potential intruder, would have a hard time feeling safe while using the bathroom.

          Of course men can be, and often are, attacked by other men in public bathrooms. But women are more often the targets of sexual violence. By maintaining the separation in bathrooms, we do have a little bit of insurance against that, because the mere presence of a man in the women’s bathroom is generally acknowledged as inappropriate behavior and a warning that the person may be dangerous. I have been followed into the bathroom by a man more than once, and by immediately shouting and making a commotion, anyone outside the door immediately reacted by helping to extract the offending male. I don’t want to think that one day it would be normal to share a bathroom with a strange dude all the time. It would be a lot harder to feel safe in any multi-stall bathroom if unisex were the norm.

          Once, I was at a very crowded club with my male cousin, two brothers and our little sister (who, 23 at the time, had the height and stature of a middle-schooler, and was not exactly strong). She and I crossed the room (~50 yards) to the bathroom and were followed in by a very imposing man about 6’6″ and easily 275 pounds. He was staggering but that didn’t mean he wasn’t dangerous. I told my sister (who was very inexperienced at clubbing etc) to get in the stall and stay there. I gave him my most determined angry stare as I shouted at him to “get the hell out of here!” and rushed toward him, fists beating at his chest. He was so huge and just laughing at me with that menacing “what donyou think you’re gonna do about it?” attitude. I was terrified. He kept moving closer and I kept swinging and shouting in my deepest, lowest-register voice to tell him I meant business. The door opened inward, and the sink was in my way, so trying to open the door while pushing him out proved to be a colossal challenge even though I’m a rather strong, average-sized woman who always wears sensible shoes. I didn’t know if he was going to rape me or throw up on me but I wasn’t waiting to find out. I kept beating his chest and shouting. Finally some guys near the door heard what was happening and burst inside and grabbed him, wrestling him outside. They shoved him through the nearest emergency exit and set off the alarm. Thank god.

          My point here: if we make it commonplace for multiple-stall bathrooms to be unisex, more incidents like this one will happen, because guys entering a bathroom with nefarious intent will get the benefit of the doubt more readily. No one will bat an eyelash when they enter, and that’s not progress. That’s just stupid.

          And before anyone tells me I’m forgetting everyone who is non-binary, I say: let people use the bathroom with the identity they ascribe themselves to. But let’s also have more single-stall bathrooms. With our aging population living longer and being more present in public, we already have greater need for larger private spaces that accomodate medical equipment and a person who is assisting. My mom spent a decade accompanying my blind and nearly deaf grandmother in public spaces, and had to assist her EVERY time she used a bathroom. That’s hard to do in a multi-stall semi-private space. The large, single-room accessible bathrooms were a godsend to her.

          Issues like gendered bathrooms are not limited to able-bodied adults with identity differences. They affect EVERYONE. And I certainly wouldn’t ever send a kid into a bathroom that was multi-stall and unisex–not even a teenager! Just because I know how to raise hell doesn’t mean everyone else does when they feel cornered. I want to limit our risk, not increase it.

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        • @Lissa: So, men should get to use women’s bathrooms if they identify as women, despite the danger they pose to women, but women who identify as men should also use men’s bathrooms, despite those not having acommodations for menstruating people, because …?

          Why not just keep the toilets sex-segregated, which is the best way to do it, and cater to your gender identity elsewhere? Why have the poor cleaner collect used tampons and pads from all over, when they could just empty the waste bins at the women’s toilet and be done?

          (Besides, not wanting to see a random dudes’ penis is about sex, not gender. I do not care if it is a “female” penis. I just don’t want to see stranger’s penises. Nor do I want to see strangers’ vulvas, but women usually do not swing those around for everone to see.)

          @Melanie: If men who identify as women get to use women’s bathrooms, then the situation where you have to share the bathroom with a dude will occur. (Because a dude in skirt is still a dude, I am sure every Scotsman will agree, and you will be called transphobic if you demand that a transwoman not have a beard or be two metres tall, or whatever) Why not just keep them sex segregated, like they used to be?

          Liked by 1 person

  3. It makes me sad that because of genderized socialization and the rigid conformity that goes with it, many people become so all-consumed with hair and clothes and matching their insides and outsides and denying parts of themselves, that they miss out on developing their abilities, their intelligence, and their relationships. So much focus on who we love and what we look like – and real progress out of our grasp. Men have created a truly evil, counter-productive society. And now this trans nonsense…

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  4. In general I’m on track (& on board) with this critical line of thinking about trans-ideology, but want to clarify: when you say:

    “Regardless of what your hair looks like, if you were born with a body that can produce ova and bear young, you are biologically female,”

    do you mean to exclude, for example, people with XX chromosomes and impaired or non-present reproductive organs? What about women who possess the gonads and anatomy but are medically infertile for one reason or another from birth? There are so many aspects of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ to consider when defining ‘woman’ from ‘man’, and placing ‘personal identification with western gender stereotypes’ at the forefront of the list seems at best confused and at worst reactionary. We’ve already got categories of sexual differentiation like hormones, chromosomes, anatomy, and gonads to consider, plus the secondary sex characteristics that are partially shaped by our socialization into femininity/masculinity. But the ‘gender roles’ that lay on top of all that? These should be considered solely as an oppressive force which needs dismantling, rather than social conform-ation through medical intervention.

    I appreciate the frequency of your blog! Thanks for hearing these thoughts.

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      • What can one make of the definition proffered, then? Should an infertile woman read the above definition and assume her own inclusion? Perhaps this conversation derails from the larger, and I think valuable, discussion of this post, but specificity in definition can only lend clarity and strengthen the argument that women are women not because of chosen identity, but because of a composite collection of genetic signifiers which trigger gender socialization from birth.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh for crying out aloud, what does it take to understand that a woman is an adult human female of the reproductive, child-carrying sex? Individual faults in someone’s body don’t disprove our existence as a class, and do you really think there are infertile women who would find the defintion here to exclude them from our sex?

          Liked by 3 people

        • Germaine Greer is (I assume) past childbearing age. She still knows she is a woman. Infertile women all over the world know are insulted that you would exclude them from the female sex, and you know that.

          Liked by 1 person

      • The concept of “chivalry” seems to be native to Europe, in some other countries men don’t even pretend to consider women human. Not sure whether this affects the number of males who trans.

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