Friday, August 03, 2007

Bathrooms in Arizona, Letters to The Advocate

Michele DeLaFreniere, a trans woman in Arizona, is suing a bar that kept her from entering.

The bar's owner objects to having been quoted as saying he doesn't want "her kind" in the place, but does admit that he's blocked trans women from coming to the bar because of the bathroom issue: trans women were being harassed in the men's room, and female bar patrons didn't want the trans women in the women's restroom.

As the story was reported in The Advocate, Anderson told the AP, “There was no place I could put these people.”

Two letters to the editor about the issue weigh in on the side of keeping women's restrooms free of trans women, one calling them "men" and the other calling them "'women'."

Yet another "women's space" issue, but I'm not sure the best answer is simply to insist that trans women use the ladies' rooms. Education, unisex bathrooms, - surely there are more intermediate ways of handling this instead of just telling women - who may be ignorant but also fearful, for good reason, of sharing bathroom space with people they view as male. Convincing women raised female that trans women are not male requires a hell of a lot of education, which will take time, so what do we do in the meanwhile?

(My thanks to Joanne Herman for the heads-up.)

34 comments:

emilia said...

What about women who are perceived to be men. Should they be barred as well?

http://www.workers.org/2007/us/lesbian-0719/

Restricting transwomen from bathrooms reinforces the idea that transwomen are to be feared.

helen_boyd said...

I'm not sure dismissing the fears of people who are ignorant about any cross-gender identification is the best PR strategy. The thing is, the laws now are stupid since they enforce genital/legal recognitions of gender, and we don't want to have to research local laws before we go to Colorado so that we know what bathroom Betty is "allowed" to use. And no matter what, I'm not sending her into a freaking men's room.

I'm just saying that I think the education has to be along the lines of "just because someone doesn't look like what you think a man or a woman is supposed to look like, doesn't mean they're not supposed to be in your bathroom."

I still think requiring that all businesses install one unisex, single use bathroom is a good alternative for everyone.

DLevinsohn said...

As usual, the burden of this kind of dispute falls almost exclusively on those who, through accidents of genetics, don’t happen to “blend in” -- another way, I suppose, of saying they look like people think women are "supposed" to look like. (I hate the word “pass,” which, to me, implies pretending to be something you’re not). Trans women who do blend in (wherever they are on the “spectrum”) are appropriately gendered as women; they go right into the ladies’ room and nobody even notices. Those who don’t, whether they’re a first-time crossdresser or a post-op trans women with papers to prove it, have the problems. And they’re the ones who would end up having to put up with intermediate solutions like education or unisex bathrooms (which are a great idea for those who want them, but not, imo, a great idea as an enforced alternative to the ladies’ room for those who happen not to blend in, for the next 75 years until everyone’s properly educated, while their more fortunate compatriots sail on by). Of course, if someone has transitioned and does have legal status as a woman, and female I.D., then, regardless of their appearance or whether someone views them as male because of it, they certainly have a legal right to use the women’s bathroom, like any other woman.

As do people who, regardless not only of appearance but of legal status, happen to live in those jurisdictions with laws barring discrimination on grounds of both gender identity and expression. Of course, someone like that who doesn’t have acceptable gender-appropriate identification, and doesn’t blend in, has to be prepared to be barred from the ladies’ room, and then take legal action — at least until people who live in those jurisdictions (both business owners and police) *are* sufficiently educated to understand what the law provides. Until then, unfair as it is, such a person has to decide how willing they are to stand up for their rights — or, from another viewpoint, to “force” themselves into “women’s space” — in the face of social disapproval.

Donna

helen_boyd said...

to clarify: i meant the single use bathrooms for everyone, & no single gender bathrooms. that is, a lot of restaurants have two single use bathrooms with no gender markers. to me, that's ideal for everyone.

Babylon Sister said...

This standard will make it even more interesting for transgender women to find and keep employment.

"If you hire me - you'll have to change your bathrooms or spend $40,000 or so to build a unisex one and give up some office space to do so. Oh - you'll have to ask anyone you do business with to do the same if we come to meetings."

Let's wait on considering this proposal until after you get those bathrooms installed in every building in the country. Until such time they have this interesting invention they're trying out to insure privacy. They're called stalls.

Joanne Herman said...

I’ve been haunted by the bathroom issue, not because I have experienced any problem myself, but because of a film I saw long before I figured out my need to transition. Better Than Chocolate, ostensibly a lesbian flick, includes a transgender character who is a singer. In one scene, she goes to the ladies’ room after her performance. A non-trans lesbian comes in and first taunts, then beats her. Fortunately the beating is stopped when one of the principal characters tackles the beater and removes her from the bathroom.

The closest I have come to this was when trying on clothes in Macy’s in New York City. A non-trans woman friend of mine and I had adjoining dressing rooms and were making comments back and forth. All of a sudden, the dressing room attendant shouted “Is there a man in here? I heard a man’s voice!” As she was running up and down the hallway looking for the man, I could hear others in the waiting line saying “yeah, I heard a man, too” in a lynch-mob tone of voice. I know they had to be referring to me, since my voice absent visual gender clues is frequently taken for a man’s.

Images of Better Than Chocolate ran through my mind as I worried how I was ever going to get out of there safely. I finally mustered all my courage, grabbed the clothes I had tried on, and as I was leaving the ones I didn’t want on the rack, the attendant said “thank you, ma’am,” never suspecting it was me that she had heard.

Dressing rooms, bathrooms, etc. – a very complicated issue. One of the better bathroom guides I have seen is called "Peeing in Peace" from the Transgender Law Center. But more work is needed. I mentioned the Arizona bathroom story to Helen because I think it’s going to take the best minds in the trans community to work this out, and some of those minds are contributors and commentors on this blog.

helen_boyd said...

babylon_sister, i'd be curious if requiring bathrooms for people with physical disabilities decreased their employment rate. surely someone's done a study on that?

all of us have had fears, no? i just don't find saying "don't be scared, deal," doesn't really convince people not to be scared. so i just think there's a lot of education that's still needed while we work something out.

& again: my intention with the single use bathroom was for the person who isn't comfortable sharing the single-gender bathrooms/stalls with people. not some 'separate but equal' bullshit.

helen_boyd said...

apparently the complaints were brought because women could see toes pointing the wrong way in the stalls.

http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/0718andersons0719-ON.html

Babylon Sister said...

I find the analogy to disabled people to be inapt if not disingenuous. We don't require any physical modifications to the facilities in order to use them. It's not the facilities that limit our access or employment, but the attitudes of those who seek to have the power to define our identities and opportunities for us.

In the 33% of the country that has ordinances preventing discrimination covering gender identity, this issue was discussed at length in the legislative process (ad nauseum would better describe it) and nondiscrimination in facility usage was accepted - in those places with implementation guidelines it's explicitly spelled out. To suggest otherwise is revisionist. I also don't see how one holds themselves free from exposure to suits based upon sex discrimination if this type of standard is only applied to transgender women and not transgender men.

Accepting that we're not "really women" could have unintended consequences in so many other areas such as identification, marriage and health care. I'm not willing to accept that risk in order to assuage the fears of someone who wishes to discriminate against me.

The answer to discrimination is not capitulation. A very smart man once said - "power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

helen_boyd said...

babylon sister - you brought up the employment issue. i was talking about bars, as in the AZ case. but the point is, if requiring special physical alterations didn't impact the hiring of people who are disabled, then requiring single use bathrooms in companies shouldn't either. after all, they would be for the good of all, not *because* of trans people, but a modified effort in order to allow people some time to begin to understand not just "passing" trans women & men, but those who don't ascribe to gender presentations that are considered "normal," as donna pointed out above.

i'm not talking about concession. i'm talking about providing places for people to pee while the demands are demanded (which they should be).

but legal ID isn't going to be the end of the issue, since as the incident emilia cited above. a woman who was identified by others as male was the issue. she wasn't FTM. she is a woman, who identifies as a woman.

so until we figure out how to have both people who are legally recognized in their target gender (as per their ID) & people who do not look like their legal gender (when gender is in the eye of the beholder) recognized, there is no easy answer.

Babylon Sister said...

Helen

I didn't say that legal ID would end the problem. I said that legally accepting transgender woman as not being woman would have effects upon other legal issues - like the right to have ID that reflects ones transitioned gender. Or the right to marry opposite gender partners. Both of which are already heavily under assault.

A precedent of that nature would certainly be exploited and expanded upon by those who do not wish as well.

Nor do I see any great likleyhood of government or industry stepping forward to fund separate facilities for transgender people. It's a red herring. They aren't willing to fund any of our needs as it is, haven't even been able to bring themselves to pass hate crimes legislation saying that murdering us might just be a somewhat bad outcome - yet - they'll spend lord knows how many hundreds of millions in a nationwide infrastucture campaign on "our behalf".

On the extremely unlikely chance this were possible - the natural constituency to advocate for this is the very same people who are and have been consistently advocating against such a dubious solution. It's an idea that has been successfully fought by activists over several decades and that experience has shown is not needed to pass non-discrimination legislation.

You'll find very few transgender woman (or men) lobbying their representatives for separate but equal facilities.

I ain't riding on the back bumper of the bus. Accepting lesser status only delays equality - It doesn't foster it.

Even if some wish to tell us it's for our own good.

helen_boyd said...

fair enough, Babylon Sister. it's easy enough to get stuck with 'separate but equal.' i mean it's not like the ERA ever made it on the federal level, either.

either way: how do you resolve the issue of woman-raised-female being upset by toes pointing in the wrong direction, when women are standing to pee? how do you educate women that a woman who dresses & presents as butch is supposed to be in the ladies' room? how do you recognize or "prove" gender identity when their legal ID doesn't always reflect the person's chosen gender, or it does reflect their gender but not their sex?

Babylon Sister said...

How would I? I've provided training on what the law requires to police departments, legislators, prisons, heads of government agencies, hospitals etc. These trainings included the concepts of gender identity and expression and information on the situations you refer to and how the law would be applied (other than the woman that I would sit down and advise to sit down). They were not in NYC - which I think would be a much easier task. These people may wish to understand transgender and transsexual people better - and if so - I welcomed that. However - implementation guidelines have covered the issues of identification & appearance you raise for - God - decades.

For myself - I don't feel an overwhelming need resolve the issues that people who say they were raised in the same sex and gender have that cause them to feel privileged to discriminate. They are welcome to resolve those in therapy or choose to retain bigoted attitudes as are those who have other prejudices. They merely have to obey the law - not agree with it. Supporting someones discomfort with a persons appearance as a valid reason to discriminate has a somewhat long and troubled history.

No one would argue that women should accept or respect the limitations misogynist men wish to place upon them. That doing so has some positive good. Or that it would lead to equality any more quickly. Even if those men were raised and born men.


I think the DC government has some decent Implementation Guidelines on their web site if you wish to familiarize yourself with the information people provide in trainings that addresses these issues. It's being done, it has been done. In every town where a bill passes the same issue is raised and addressed.

helen_boyd said...

I think we're talking past each other at this point, but I was trying to figure out what you do in the case of a woman who stands to pee.

Is she still covered under gender identity/expression/presentation laws? Are there distinctions for looking like your target gender vs. acting in ways considered "normal" for your gender?

Are women who object to women whose toes are pointing the way really just to be dismissed as bigots?

Noir2001 said...

I know of only one restaurant/bar in Arizona that has two unisex "s/he" bathrooms (with private stalls inside) -- which I think is Helen Boyd's suggestion. It works really well at that restaurant, which of course is a gay-owned/gay- and trans-friendly nightspot that also happens to be in Scottsdale, not far from the bar where this fracas over TG clientele occurred.

I too am very concerned about the 'ghettoizing' of TG folks: I don't think it's inappropriate to bring up the obvious comparison to the Jim Crow south, as Babylon Sister did.

Thanks for keeping up such a thoughtful stream on this current issue.

Betty said...

Trainings are a first step. A logical, good, kick-ass step. But how do we train a populace?

Obviously, we can't herd them all into a room and say, "This and that and that and this." Because we're talking about a non-homogenous group of people.

Nevermind the fact that we should be open enough to the idea that there are women raised female out there who would like to pee standing up. And they'd like to do it in the "ladies" room.

Frankly, I think the solution is non-gendered bathrooms. But, like all solutions that feel good, even that isn't actually possible in all cases, i.e., hotel conference bathrooms.

So, you do what you can and you educate everyone around you as best as possible. And you encourage those in similar circumstances to do the same.

Legislative fiats are great and do wonders. But they're not cure-alls. Grassroots education outside of the classroom should be an option as well.

Babylon Sister said...

Is she still covered under gender identity/expression/presentation laws? Are there distinctions for looking like your target gender vs. acting in ways considered "normal" for your gender?

Are women who object to women whose toes are pointing the way really just to be dismissed as bigots?
============================

Yes people are covered. I'd personally ask this women to sit - but I'm very aware that some men and women who say they were born and raised men and women would still object.

They are bigots.

I also don't think that bad examples make good law. I don't hold lesbians equality rights hostage to the examples of those two Australians lesbians who murdered and cut up the body of a transsexual woman who rented a room from them. Nor the example of Houston lesbian activist Ann Rostow who joked about the murder in her column "Is that a humerous in your pocket" while decrying the press coverage of lesbians. We're being mutilated & murdered and it's an effin joke. She still desrves full civil rights.

But some indiscrete individual breaks a social taboo and we're all to be held responsible? We're all to have our rights in jeopardy?

No.

helen_boyd said...

some are bigots, no doubt.

but a lot of women have had pretty horrible experiences in their lives, & most of the violence women experience comes from male-bodied people. (likewise, i suspect most of the violence directed at MTFs & FTMs comes from male-bodied people, too.)

for non-trans women to be suspect of people who were born male isn't really insane, imho. the fear isn't irrational - it's ignorant of trans lives, that you all face the same kind of hateful violence that non-trans women do, often (or worse).

the issue is educating women so that they understand that trans women aren't men. but when they see a male behavior - like peeing standing - they're going to react to that. & while you're right that one person's bad behavior shouldn't cause a whole group of people to lose their rights (or not gain them in the first place), i'm trying to explain that dismissing women's fears of people they consider "men" isn't going to help anyone because women & trans people have good reason to fear some men, right?

so how do we turn that shared fear of violence toward all of us into something that might be educational & bonding, instead of another "us vs. them" scenario?

Babylon Sister said...

i'm trying to explain that dismissing women's fears of people they consider "men" isn't going to help anyone because women & trans people have good reason to fear some men, right?
=============

As the above murder story documents - I have reason to fear men & women. Particularly non-transgender men & women. The violence can (and has) been physical - but also economic and social. Non-transgender men shot at me (among other things). Non-transgender women limited my employment and advancement and caused my then unemployment. Restrooms never entered the discussion.

I don't advocate limiting the rights of non-transgender people besides my very real reason to fear them.

Politics isn't a support group meeting & I'm not seeking their friendship. I'm happy if it happens & happy to have allies but I'm not responsible for anyones bigotry & won't hold my rights hostage to it.

They are responsible for their behavior. To make me responsible for their behavior is to say that a minority is responsible for their oppression - blaming the victim.

Please apply your thoughts to any other situation where a minority is being oppressed & ask if you would advise them to withold progress until they bonded with their oppressors.

helen_boyd said...

So you do see it as "us vs. them" already. There's no use in talking further, then.

Babylon Sister said...

Agreed - you wish to have power over another community. A discussion can't happen under those conditions.

helen_boyd said...

I'm not trying to have power over anyone. I'm trying to figure out ways to prevent people from getting kicked out of clubs or not being welcome in them that takes into account all sides of the story, so that all people can feel safe in their bathroom of choice.

Babylon Sister said...

The essence of your post is telling transgender people what they should advocate for and how they should do so. (Particularly transgender women)

When every transgender person who comented told you these weren't their goals, desires or strategies - you persisted in trying to tell them what they should do and value.

You can certainly have whatever opinions, goals & strategies you wish for yourself - but - assuming we can't decide our own seems to fit my description.

Betty said...

Huh.

Well, there's the danger in assuming your take on the essence of anything will be shared by others.

While you, Babylon Sister, see Helen as trying to tell transpeople what they should advocate for, I, on the other hand saw it like this:

Helen, to me, was saying that while we have far reaching goals that are admirable and desirable, we should also recognize that those goals have not been met yet and that it perhaps might be prudent to look for interim solutions in the meantime that while not perfect, at least begin to address these issues in an immediate way.

Which, obviously, doesn't seem to translate to her wanting power over us and our choices for what we want to advocate for.

Which is why I'm very leery of blanket statements about the "essence" of something; I think they should be met with some measure of skepticism. I'd much prefer we work with what was actually said without looking for hidden or distilled meanings.

So, I respectfully disagree with you. But I honor your opinion.

Babylon Sister said...

Updated story:

"Anderson said he has no bias against transgender individuals, but could not afford to put in a third restroom specifically for that group."

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0806netransgender0807-ON\
.html
=================

Anyone who had worked on these issues when passing legislation would be aware that this is one of the first objections raised by opponents of including transgender people in civil rights ordinances. That it will incur these costs on business owners.

Our answer has always been that this is neither needed nor desired. Allies questioning this now put pending legislation, like ENDA at risk.

helen_boyd said...

first, i think you overestimate my reach. & when it came to legislation, i would endorse what trans activists have decided would work. to me, this is an intra-trans community conversation, not one being had with lawmakers.

second, i'm going on what has worked for us & what i hear works for other trans people; more than one transitioning person has opted for a single-occupancy restroom during transition & before a legal change of ID. again, i'm reporting a preference i've heard from many trans people, especially those that express their transness in genderqueer/androge kinds of ways, or who are not pursuing a change of ID and/or genital surgery.

third, mostly i just wanted, for once, to say that women's concerns are based in fear, imho, not bigotry. for some it's both, but the majority of women i've heard express qualms about sharing the ladies' room are worried about their own safety, & i don't think it's fair to dismiss anyone's fear of safety - anyone's, trans or non-trans.

fourth, they could just put a lock on the door so that anyone uncomfortable sharing it could have it herself for a minute. surely that's not cost-prohibitive.

Betty said...

The fear of "increasing costs" as a byproduct of progressive legislation is one of the basic differences in the political dialogue between left and right. It has nothing to do with trans rights, civil rights or anything else.

It's a basic, fundamental divide in the political culture we live in. To label it as anything other than that is disingenuous and politically myopic.

Of course the business owners will scream, "It costs more!" Why is this surprising?

At some point, we're going to run into these fundamental things and instead of using them as excuses (or whatever) we need concrete answers to those complaints, i.e., perhaps a targeted tax break to businesses that offer non-gendered facilities. Sometimes encouraging people to do the "right" thing isn't enough; sometimes carrots are necessary. Or to put it another way: a spoonful of sugar can go a long way towards meaningful accomplishment.

I realize that on some level I've just opened myself up to accusations of appeasement or some such nonsense, but I don't care. I'm interested in getting things done. Period. Compromise seems to have become a dirty word in these highly partisan times. And yet, this country has a rich tradition of compromise being the single most effective way of affecting change. Yes, it tends towards the incremental side of change rather than the whole shebang, and yes, it takes longer, but it does tend to get the job done.

Fiat legislation tends to strengthen polarization no matter how well intended or just it may be. Note the use of the word "tends."

Interim solutions provide a framework for further dialogue. They also tend to have the effect of "training" on a mass level, i.e., holy shit, the sky didn't fall like we thought it would.

Joanne Herman said...

A new letter was posted on Advocate.com today, by a woman who said “I feel raped when I see a transsexual woman going into a woman's restroom.” This is Janice Raymond-esque language that we really must work to nuke. But then I read on in the letter that the trans woman in question “tried to show me the results of her SRS surgery.” This is inappropriate behavior by anyone in the presence of a stranger. I think I end up feeling the same way Arizona resident Donna Rose does, as she said her August 2 post on www.donnarose.com about the incident that started this discussion:

“If this were as simple as a group of trans-women minding their own business in a nightclub and being told they can't use the bathrooms that's one thing. From everything I'm hearing, that's not what happened here. I'm hearing rumblings that some of these trans-women were harassing other patrons. I'm hearing whispers that one or more of these women took part in a "Dude Looks Like A Lady" contest shortly before this incident. Does anyone wonder why others would be uncomfortable around that? I don't. Being trans does not give free license to do or be anything you want with impunity, thinking that you can wield the "discrimination" card whenever it suits you. You still need to respect others as you would expect them to do for you. That's stuff you learn in kindergarten.

“If the facts do indicate that this is a clear-cut case of discrimination, then I'm all for ensuring that justice is served. Hang the club owners out to dry. If, however, there are other agendas involved that will ultimately indicate otherwise then that will make me angry. I work hard to overcome all the outdated stereotypes and that kind of boorish behavior would simply reinforce them. Either way, I think it underscores our need to act with a sense of dignity and respect - both towards others and towards ourselves.”

Jude said...

I often find it interesting to examine asymmetries in the MTF and FTM experience, and bathroom usage is a good example. When does the typical transman start to use the men's room? When he can no longer use the women's room - often months or years into a transition, and when he is passing consistently.

And when does a typical transwoman use the women's room? Typically, as soon as she starts to present as female in public - regardless of how well she is passing.

When this sort of imbalance is evident, its a good clue that there is some privilege and power in the mix, and we transwomen would be wise to consider that. Not that we deserve 3rd class status or need to be relegated to ungendered spaces, but we need to enter such spaces thoughtfully and respectfully.

And Joanne - you have a position of prominence, and have assumed the role of spokesperson for the trans community. When you suggest that something (even as ephemeral a thing as language) be "nuked" I get a sinking feeling in my gut. Language and imagery (albeit rhetorical) like that provides evidence for those who would seek to keep us out of spaces. "See, we told you...."

I expect the loudmouth bigot in the next office over to be promoting "nuke 'em" as an effective problem solving strategy. I do not want that sort of iconography from someone who purports to speak for me.

Babylon Sister said...

If someone is acting in a dangerous or threatening manner, any business owner has a right to ask them to leave. I’m not sure that singing and dancing in a nightclub meets that standard. Or that it maters if they were singing that Arrowsmith song, rather than something insulting or threatening to another group. I’ve never been out with a group of transsexual women where they sang that song; perhaps it was a mixed group. This raises the question of transition and whether crossdressers should use the women’s room. Not something I care to discuss.

But – to return to suggestions to move things along. In Milwaukee yesterday they passed the first bill I’m aware of that recognizes that partners of transgender people may be subject to discrimination and currently law provides them no protection – unlike partners of gays & lesbians. This would be an excellent area for partners to work on. I won’t speak for them as that would undermine their agency – but I promise to not do a few things while I support them.

When a person suggests that female partners of transgender women people have mental illnesses – and point to some old studies to support this prejudice; and if they further state they fear female partners of transgender women around their children and don’t want them employed in positions where they might have access to children – I won’t suggest that we should validate their fears. I won’t suggest that it could be resolved if only we paid for an aide to be present in the room at all times when this partner was working with children. That would reinforce hurtful stereotypes about her, in ways that would work to derail her enfranchisement.

And I wouldn’t be so na├»ve as to not understand that someone like say - James Dobson wouldn’t love to quote that even a transgender person who is active in politics believes that we need to accept the fears others have when partners are around children.

Joanne Herman said...

Jude - Thanks. My saying that the "language should be nuked" was careless and out of character for me. The only way we are ever going to counter that language is through dialogue and education, so I should not be saying anything that discourages anyone from being receptive to it.

Betty said...

Bablyon Sister,

I think it should be patently obvious that telling someone what they should be advocating for is horseshit. That, in effect, is what you're telling Helen she should be doing: Be a good little girl and go advocate for good little girl stuff. Leave the trans advocacy to the trans people.

I'm a transperson and I call foul.

Allies are crucial to any movement in civil rights. If you'd have been a black person in the 1950s would you have told those white boys from up north to stick to white boy stuff? I would hope not.

Furthermore, dragging James Dobson into the debate is sophistry. Do you actually think James Dobson needs an excuse to spew his particular form of hate? He doesn't. And I would hope that you would know that.

Words matter. Allies matter. Legislation matters. But none of those things on their own will accomplish anything. We need all of those things and more.

That you are so willing to dismiss the concerns of an ally bothers me. It bothers me even more to see the motives of an ally as somehow "against" the cause.

At what point do we realize that the concerns of our allies can only help hone the arguments we wish to make? That listening to the concerns of people who love us can give us a clue about how those who don't might feel? That the fears of our allies might give us an insight into the fears of those who think we're to be reviled?

Being trans is not an excuse to opt out from the rest of the world when advocating for our rights. We do have to live in the world as it exists. We're working to change the world for us. But we cannot do that in good faith if we ignore the realities of the world we live in.

You want justice. Me too.

I just want justice that reflects the actual, complex world we live in. And yes, that means incorporating the feelings and insights of people who are not like me.

Babylon Sister said...

I think it should be patently obvious that telling someone what they should be advocating for is horseshit. That, in effect, is what you're telling Helen she should be doing: Be a good little girl and go advocate for good little girl stuff. Leave the trans advocacy to the trans people.

I'm a transperson and I call foul.

Allies are crucial to any movement in civil rights. If you'd have been a black person in the 1950s would you have told those white boys from up north to stick to white boy stuff? I would hope not.
===================

No - but I would ask them to not presume to speak for black people. To not place themselves in a position to push for restrictions that community has soundly rejected.

I really do live with and respond to the concerns of those not in our community every day of my life - and have for several decades. I don't need instruction in them - nor does the community desire a mediator between itself and the world.

Like when a few years back, you may remember the story of when a gay man had to speak of our issues to the platform committee of the dem party - it was wrong not to have our own voices there. He was a wonderful guy - but he says it was wrong also. However - he had that thrust upon him - he didn't choose to be our voice. And he did so with consent and after confirming what we wanted to say. He didn't push his own solutions. That's a distinction worth considering.

I honor his actions.

helen_boyd said...

I've already clarified that I don't speak for trans people.

I speak as the partner of a trans person, & imho, single use bathrooms are a good idea.

& That's all. I'm not saying the trans community should cop to this idea; I'm not saying we should push legislation for it; I'm just saying, in order to give education a chance to catch up, this might be a do-able option. It might not be, too.

& I will reiterate, AGAIN, that I'm not just going on my own experience as a partner, but also on what I hear from trans people. The other night in CT when bathrooms came up, the first solution someone yelled out - & she happened to be a post-op trans woman - was for single use potties.

That is, just because my opinion is different from your own, BS, doesn't mean it's not an opinion also held by other people who are trans, too.