Making the Case, Part 8
We might as well talk about restrooms again, right?
I know, we’ve done this before and there’s some risk I’ll repeat myself here. At least I’ll try to avoid recycling the discussion points I mentioned in Part 2 about school policy. But if you haven’t read that, it would be good to do so as it is directly connected to this one.
For the entirety of the recent debate regarding trans restroom access, one of the most compelling arguments has been that there is simply no cases of a trans woman (it’s always about trans women in the minds of critics – more on that in a bit) violating non-trans women in any way in a sex-segregated space in the U.S. There are a handful of cases, something around half a dozen, of non-trans men dressing up in feminine fashion to gain access via false pretense, but these don’t correlate with trans-respecting laws or policies being in place. In some cases they were, in others they were not. But in the entire history of non-discrimination laws which include gender identity as a protected class, reaching back 40 years, there wasn’t a case of a trans perpetrator, nor any evidence that the law made it more likely that a pretender would gain access.
Recently, that has changed. On July 12 in Idaho Falls Idaho, a reportedly self-identified trans woman was arrested on charges of felony voyeurism after having been caught photographing over the wall of the changing room in a Target store. While all the details are not yet known, the story is credible and it’s best to deal with it straightforwardly. After all, if this individual is discovered to not be actually trans, for example, statistically speaking something like this was bound to eventually happen. Honestly speaking, if 1% of all people are sexual predators, then 1% of trans people are likely to be as well. It’s been rare to this point because we are a comparatively small population, but that doesn’t mean non-existent.
The answer to this, when it arises in debate, is to remind the critic that non-trans men routinely violate women and children in sex-segregated spaces without making pretense of being trans. For example, this man. He was able to enter and lie in wait for a victim despite making no pretense at female appearance, and these cases wildly outnumber the tiny few cases where the predator crossdressed. Moreover, these cases demonstrate that predators are no respecters of trespassing policies and often act on impulse without the forethought and planning necessary to create a feminine appearance. Which brings me to the point of this entry which both addresses this particular circumstance and is an operative point in the larger restroom discussion.
While such debates inevitably presume that the only point of contention is the entrance of trans women into sex-segregated spaces designated for females. They assume a, to them, perfectly simple solution is to require all people to use restrooms (and etc) which align with their genitalia (or birth certificate, depending on who you ask). In so doing they generally fail to remember that this cuts both ways. So in that they are willing to callously herd trans women who look, of course, just like women into the men’s room because they haven’t yet had GRS (or alternately, because they were born with a penis even if it is no longer there) without considering that the inverse – trans men, who look exactly like men despite being born without such a penis – would by inevitable logic be required to use the ladies room.
What this means in practical terms is this. These wives and daughters that all these noble men are protecting have a new and much more obvious problem. They say that they are made uncomfortable by the idea of men in their spaces, yet now they will be required to not just assume or guess but to see, with their own eyes men not only allowed to be but required to be in the restroom with them. The discomfort factor just got exponentially greater, but that’s not the real problem. The problem is that they will not, in the considerable majority of cases, be able to visually distinguish between a trans man who was born with a vagina, and a predatory imposter born with and still in possession of a penis. Here’s what that means.
The predatory male who commits a sexual assault is, typically, someone known to a trusted by the victim – over 80% of the time. They engage in what is called “grooming” in which the prepare the chosen victim to be either receptive or intimidated by their abuser. However, of those who are strangers to their victims, the typical predator acts spontaneously, on impulse. So, the upshot is that when you require by law that male-appearing persons use the ladies room, you enable the spontaneous decision by a predator to enter as well, claiming if challenged to have been born with a vagina. A claim that cannot be verified until it’s too late. So we have eliminated the possibility that the occasional predator may exercise the forethought to disguise himself in a plan to access such a restroom, and enable the possibility that any given man might succumb to temptation and just walk right in on impulse.
(all this assuming the unlikely possibility that all trans people conform to the proposed policy)
And therein lies an undebatable argument against the proposition that restroom policies should be based on birth certificates or genitals. Gender presentation is the way it has been working until now and the best policy going forward.
Image by SmartSigns