A butch lesbian wrote an article for Time magazine about her experience with public washrooms and her take on the “bathroom bills.” I really appreciate the fact that a butch lesbian was published in Time magazine at all, but she follows the transgenderist party line, which means I was left disappointed by her article.
“I’m Proof Bathroom Bills Are Not Just a Transgender Issue”
“I hate using public restrooms. Airports and rest stops are my least favorite. I avoid locker rooms whenever possible. But really every restroom is bad. In fact, it happened to me just the other day in my fancy office building in New York City. I was at the sink, washing my hands, when a woman walked into the restroom and did a double take, first looking at me and then looking back at the sign on the still-open door of the restroom. Was she in the wrong place? Or, implicitly, was I?
“I am a biological female who identifies as a woman. I am not, for any intents or purposes, transgender. But as a non-gender conforming butch lesbian, I have my own tiny window into our nation’s current political debate about bathrooms—the always looming fear that easily slips into shame, and the occasional outright harassment, all because I have to pee. And that’s from using the bathrooms that I “should” be using according to vicious anti-transgender bills sweeping the nation.
“The first time I was actually yelled at in a bathroom, at least that I can remember, I was 19 years old. I was, and still am, 6’1″, but back then I had straight shoulder-length hair that dangled as awkwardly around my chin as everything else about me at that age. I was openly gay but still otherwise finding myself. I still wore dresses sometimes. Also awkwardly. I was a study abroad student in England on vacation in Bath. I don’t remember much of anything from the entire semester, but I remember going into some lavish hotel along the beach to use the bathroom and, while I was washing my hands at the sink, getting yelled at by a group of women.
“One of them, standing next to me at the sink, yelled to her friends in the stalls: “There’s a boy in here!”
“As the others came out, they loomed at me and shouted things like: “What are you doing in here?” and “You’re in the wrong place!”
“And in a sense, they were right. It turns out the women were all part of a bridal shower, wearing those most conventionally feminine pastel dresses to participate in that most quintessentially heteronormative of traditions. They belonged—in that bathroom and in society more broadly—and I most certainly didn’t. And still don’t.”
The belief that she doesn’t belong in the women’s washroom is coming from sexism and homophobia. She doesn’t perform femininity, which is a requirement for being viewed as a proper woman, and she is obviously gay, which for some reason still makes people uncomfortable even though it’s the goddamn twenty-first century. She truly does belong in the women’s washroom though, because she is a woman. Women come in all different types, we don’t all look like princesses, and that doesn’t mean we’re doing woman wrong.
She is disagreeing with the people who want to ban men from using women’s washrooms. No doubt she is identifying with the men who wish to be women and their struggle to find a safe washroom to use, because of her own struggle to find a safe washroom to use. Having compassion is good, but I think we need to pay attention to who we’re giving compassion to. There are lots of nice gender nonconforming people who need access to safe washrooms and there are also fetishists looking for opportunities to practice their fetish, and who would honestly do just fine in the men’s washrooms that they’ve always been using. We need to pay attention to who’s doing the lobbying and why.
Those of us who believe that men belong in the men’s washroom come in two major types—conservatives and feminists—but this author doesn’t distinguish between the two groups. Conservatives understand that certain men will use any excuse to prey on women and children and they want to protect them. They are also homophobic and do not accept ordinary lesbians and gays, and they promote traditional gender roles and marriage. Feminists know that men with sexual fetishes like to declare that they have a gender identity and therefore have a right to expose themselves in women’s locker rooms. We differ completely from conservatives because we are against gender roles and sex stereotypes. We want the entire range of women in all our diversity to feel comfortable in women’s spaces, which will be accomplished by eliminating sexism and homophobia. We also want men to feel comfortable in male facilities, regardless of their personality or presentation, which is also accomplished by eliminating sexism (masculinity) and homophobia; however, men need to work on this amongst themselves.
The transgenderists do not have the right analysis or politics to make people safer in bathrooms. They promote old-fashioned sexism through their belief that anyone who is masculine is necessarily a man and anyone who is feminine is necessarily a woman. They refuse to distinguish between men with sex dysphoria who want to fully transition and men with autogynephilia who are fighting for their right to practice their fetish on non-consenting members of the public. And they refuse to acknowledge sex-based oppression and male violence against women.
“Whatever you might have heard to the contrary, the “bathroom bills” that have passed in North Carolina and Mississippi and are now pending in other states have nothing to do with public safety. The simple fact is that under existing laws, it is already a crime to dress up as a man or woman in order to falsely gain entry to any public restroom to harass or harm anyone. That is a crime in states with transgender legal protections and a crime in states without such laws. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace noted that such crimes have not taken place in communities that have transgender rights laws.
“What these “bathroom bills” are actually about is enforcing traditional gender codes and norms in an increasingly diverse and shifting America. Single-sex restrooms just like single-sex dormitories have always been rooted in compulsory heteronormativity and the sense that we have to protect women from men who can’t expect to be reigned in. This still echoes today, as when an all-male elite club at Harvard University suggested that allowing women to join would increase the potential for sexual assault. And notice that no one seems to worry about pedophiles being forced to use the little boy’s room instead. The point is that girls need protecting.”
She’s implying here that the reason for sex-segregated facilities is the misguided notion that women need protection from men, and that people only believe that women need protection because of gender roles/stereotypes about women. But in the real world, women do need protection from men, because men abuse women on a regular basis through assault, rape, harassment, stalking, flashing, taking photos without consent, and the list goes on. Unfortunately this writer didn’t check the stats on violence against women before writing her article.
By the way, people are worried about pedophiles in the men’s washroom, which is why mothers routinely bring their young sons into the women’s washroom with them. Parents know not to leave their sons alone with strange men, same as they do with their daughters.
Single sex facilities aren’t based on heteronormativity, they are based on the biological differences between men and women which remain the same regardless of sexual orientation. Lesbians aren’t made safer by desegregating these spaces—we are just as vulnerable to male violence against women as any other woman.
What would make lesbians safer is single-stall facilities so that we can be in full privacy instead of sharing spaces with men who can be dangerous or women who can be hostile. (And even more importantly, what would make lesbians safer is the elimination of sexism and homophobia.)
This writer is on the side of transgenderists, but transgenderists are not on her side. They are hostile toward lesbians in multiple ways. They want lesbians to consider males as potential sexual partners despite our objections, they are encouraging young lesbians to medically transition before they’ve gotten old enough to develop a lesbian identity, and they are arguing against separate single-stall washrooms which would accommodate gender nonconforming people.
“And femininity must be protected, too. Or even enforced. A video that recently went viral shows a woman being forcibly evicted from a restroom because she looks more masculine. Should women not only have to be born women to use the ladies room but wear skirts? Maybe have their hair a certain length and curled?”
I’m gonna start sounding like a broken record here, but the reason why masculine-presenting women are kicked out of women’s spaces is because of sexism and homophobia. People believe that all women are supposed to be feminine and heterosexual, and they punish those of us who don’t comply. I can always tell between a butch woman and a man, but there are plenty of conventional straight women from heteroland who look at a human with a buzz cut and immediately think MAN, despite her tits and her female voice. It’s about fucking time they got used to lesbians.
In this last paragraph, the author almost reaches the gender critical position. She complains that women are expected to display femininity in order to be seen as women. This is exactly what gender critical feminists are saying. We’re saying that women shouldn’t have to perform femininity to be considered women, that all females are female regardless of their personality or presentation, and that we all have a right to our womanhood, and to female spaces. Same with men—they shouldn’t have to perform masculinity in order to be seen as real men. Anyone who is male is a real man, and should have the right to use the men’s facilities in safety.
The reason that gender nonconforming men can’t safely use the men’s facilities is because of toxic masculinity, homophobia, and MALE VIOLENCE. Transgenderists are not tackling these problems, instead they’re just trying to shove the girly boys into the ladies’ room. If they actually gave a shit about gender nonconforming men, they’d work on making it safe for them to use the men’s facilities by tackling male violence.
We absolutely need to have a conversation about what can be done to make butch lesbians safer in washrooms, but we need an honest conversation. Allowing Stef-on-knee into the women’s washroom is not going to make lesbians safer. Single-stall unisex washrooms can help in the short term, and in the long term, ELIMINATE SEXISM AND HOMOPHOBIA. Feminists have been saying this for fucking decades already. We’ll keep saying it forever and ever and ever until hopefully it happens.