Should the transgender community, including cross-dressers be able to use the woman’s bathroom? This is a major concern for this group who consider it their “right of passage” to use the woman’s bathroom. It is becoming a highly contested issue for this community who feel it is their right to use the woman’s bathroom. They identify as a woman and thus believe it is where they should be allowed.
Bathrooms are coveted. They are gender-specific for privacy. Having a man in a woman’s bathroom threatens this privacy causing anger and fear for the women and girls who use them. What about the rights of these females who were born women and don’t welcome men into their bathroom?
Some states like Florida have current legislature pending to make it a crime to use a bathroom that is not one’s given gender. Many of the transgender population is strongly opposed to this potential new law, feeling discriminated as they identify as a woman and want the same rights as women who were born women.
Yet, is it really a discriminating practice to prohibit them or the right thing to do for our society, at large? This debate is building as more transgender women and male cross-dressers “come out” and are “going out” as their new female gender or in a fem role, as cross-dressers do.
I encountered my first experience with men identifying as women using a woman’s bathroom at the Chi Chapter cross-dressing support group meeting. While in the bathroom washing my hands, three cross-dressers came in to use the bathroom. These ladies looked like men dressed in a dress and heels, yet acted as women applying lipstick and face powder.
Giddy with excitement to be able to use the woman’s bathroom, something that was a habit for me, they looked at it as a form of acceptance of their female role, even if it was part time for them. It clearly was a right that they felt they should have. Yet, the reality was I was surrounded by three men in my private bathroom.
Personally, since I have many cross-dressing and transgender friends, it wasn’t an issue for me, yet I am sure it would be for many women who would be threatened. The cross-dressers were in and out as I was, but most women I know would not be as tolerant as I was. They would be uncomfortable having a man in the stall next to them.
The major issue for the transgender and cross-dressing community is “when is a woman a woman?” Most of the cross-dressers are part-time women and who prefer to maintain their male status. Other cross-dressers, I know are finding their fem role is more of who they are and are taking hormones to feel more feminine, along with cross-dressing mostly full-time.
Then there are the transgender, transsexuals in this case, who identify as a woman. They strongly believe that they were born the wrong gender and whether they have fully transitioned via surgery, they still identify as being a woman. Many transgender women have not had the reassignment surgery due to a lack of funds or are facing a health risk if they had the surgery. Some are in the process of transformation by getting electrolysis to remove their beard, taking hormones to get a rounded figure and seeing a psychiatrist to better understand their female identity before surgery to fully transform them.
So mentally and spiritually they are women, yet physically they are not. Herein is the problem. What constitutes what kind of woman can use the woman’s bathroom? Or is it only important that they can pass as a woman? For the transgender community and cross-dressers when they are dressed as a woman, they are a woman and expect to be treated as such. He is now a she and they take offense to be anything, but being addressed as a woman.
Something to consider is that the cross-dressers and the transgender community have been hiding for years in shame and fear knowing that this fem side needed to come out. So when they do come out, they are excited by the possibilities of their new gender.
For many of the cross-dressers, the last time they were in touch with their fem side was when they were in high school when they started dating and purged their own female clothing. They went on to get married and have children. Yet, their need to cross-dress was still part of who they are and didn’t go away. They eventually start dressing again. So when they do they are like teenagers, experimenting with their fem side and pushing societal limits.
Many people in the transgender community come out later in life as they become weary of trying to be something they are not. Failed marriages, and lack of self-esteem haunts them, until the finally decide they need to be their authentic self and to change gender. This is happening at a younger age as our society has become more tolerant of this possibility.
I see the “bathroom issue” as bigger than actually using a woman’s bathroom, after all with the exception of the lack of urinals, the bathrooms are the same. A woman’s bathroom is symbolic of “acceptance.” If this community can use a woman’s bathroom, they feel they are condoned by society. This couldn’t be further form the truth, when in fact it, will take years for many people to truly understand and embrace the transgender and cross-dressing community.
These communities should heed advice from the gays who have fought for their rights and acceptance into society. Being gay or a lesbian is widely accepted; being a transgender person or a cross-dresser is not. It will be, it just takes time for our society to learn about these groups.
In the meantime, the bathroom issue isn’t going away. What I would suggest is to replace community bathrooms with single stall, private unisex bathrooms that anyone can use, so we as a society can focus on the real issues of being transgender. But then that may take the fun out of it.