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Transgender, restrooms, and logic. Three things that have not gone together lately.

Updated on February 29, 2016

So then Bruce happened....


So it has been going on and brewing long before this event hit its current apex. Bruce Jenner revealing himself as Caitlyn Jenner. While not a shock to some people, was heralded as an act of bravery. It has sparked a lot of controversial questions, a lot of which are valid, even the one we are going to discuss in this article.

I am never one to refuse to listen to a point of view, and before I get too far into this let me make one thing completely and perfectly clear. I don’t hate, or have any personal issue with the LGBT community. Save this rising, very predictable if you watch history and understand human psychology, movement that is going on. I know one time I joined a guild in an online game called “the rainbow alliance” it was at a more naïve point in my life, but they were just cool people. I had no idea that it was a safe guild for LGBT to talk and be themselves.

I figured it out, and when I did I told them is it an issue that I am straight, they said absolutely not, and we had a lot of fun. I quit the game because the game had some major performance issues server side, but was still in the guild when I left. I might still be if they don’t kick for inactivity. Not that this one small insignificant event would absolve me of being a bigot, it wouldn't. That doesn't mean I can disagree without good reason, and I do.

But we are talking about something different, the same, but different. To what extent do we acknowledge being transgender in the legal sense? Because we are having activist petition for laws to be changed, radically, based on an emotional response.

Emotions have run high

A lot of the LGBT and LGBT sympathetic community wants to claim discrimination. Now when this community was not allowed to get married, I agreed. There was no need for the government to get involved in a private contract between two consenting adults. If it is a religious rite, there should not be any legal weight to it. But so much is wrapped up legally in the status of being married, that it is wrong to unfairly penalize people because of their lifestyle. I would say lifestyle choices, but that is a debate for another article.

But this is not a case of discrimination, I understand that the LGBT community is on a high from the colossal and much needed win on same sex marriage. But now that community is turning its head towards the tyrannical. From demanding that privately own businesses do things against their will, to claiming that how you feel you identify yourself determines which restroom you use.

One high profile case that has occurred recently has been about Proposition 1 in Houston, TX. You can read about it here if you want, but it went down in flames, and rightfully so if we want to be honest.

Should transgender people be allowed to use the restroom of the gender they identify with, or with their biological sex?

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Let's play Dictionary!

Let’s first go over some definitions. I think it is proper for us to be on the same footing. I am going to refer to Merriam-Webster a lot for this. They are a universally agreed upon standard in defining the English language. I am going to show the first line of the simple definitions here, but if you want to read the expanded definitions for yourself please do. I will be expanding on them below.

Gender: the state of being male or female.

Sex: the state of being male or female.

These are the first lines of the simple definitions, there are expanded definitions where gender also refers to the subclass of grammatical class in a language, or behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits. Sex discusses the act of sex and the genitalia one possesses.

The purpose here is to expound upon that the main definition for the two are the same. They can be used interchangeably in most situations. They do have differences in their definition, that are clear and important. Ultimately this is the source of the debate, but we can expand on that later.

The next two definitions I want to go over:

Male: a man or a boy : a male person

Female: of or relating to the sex that can produce young or lay eggs

Truth is a Matter of Perspective

So when we start talking about legalities of things, we need to look at the definition of sex. I know there is a lot of discussion on gender identity. And that is good, it’s great. I encourage us to push on those boundaries, but for the purposes of changing legislation that effects the entire population, we are going to take the term gender and set it over to the side, in the hobby and fun box. Cause we are talking serious now. The kind of stuff where people’s feelings get hurt because reality isn’t full of safety scissors and padded edges.

Sex is a scientific term, and asks about a provable, indisputable biological truth. Technically if we wanted to, we could make this an issue over what chromosomes you have but lets just stick with the definitions, they are firm enough and do technically allow for some variance. What set of genitalia do you have? Sexing an organism is sole based on how it operates under the union of gametes in the reproduction cycle. Who makes the sperm, and who makes the egg. These differences do tend to cause differences in the mental and emotional dynamics of the individual, due to different hormone production levels. But those values are not conclusive in the conclusion made about if you are male or female according to the definition of sex.

Are there three or four boards? Or is the truth difficult to explain for someone looking at it from only one viewpoint?
Are there three or four boards? Or is the truth difficult to explain for someone looking at it from only one viewpoint?

The issue is that they can be conclusive in determining the value of if you are male or female based off of the definition of gender. This is why the debate gets so fierce. On this front, technically both sides are correct.

But legal documents ask you about your sex, and not your gender. Your Drivers License or State ID, Birth and Death certificates, citations for speeding, indecent exposure, or any other crime whether of a sexual nature or not, all ask for your sex, not your gender. When we segregate a women’s and men’s room, it is not because of some ideal of convenience, it is about hygiene, sexual abuse, harassment, and indecent exposure liability. When you have large business or public facilities, they separate the two to cut down on these liabilities.

I understand, that it feels good to try to make people feel included, cared about and valued. Because we too want to feel like this, and accepted for who we are as individuals. That is important. What is occurring with this phenomenon though, is that a very small group of people are asking that a much larger group of people be subject to discomfort, and even danger, because they feel a certain way about themselves. Most Transgender individuals feel truly that they are sexed wrong.

Far be it from for telling someone that they can’t do what they want for themselves. But we are not talking about that anymore. We are talking about changing a law that can easily be abused. For a man to enter a women’s restroom, they would have to say they identify as a woman. What is the criteria for proof? They wear a dress or makeup? Plenty of women already don’t do that. They feel feminine and have feminine features? Plenty of straight and gay men have features like that. What about "gender fluid" individuals that basically change if they are male or female by how they feel that day?

There is no real way to prove how someone identifies. As such, there is no real mechanism for enforcement. With no mechanism for enforcement the law would be open for abuse. All because a very small group of transgender men and women feel discriminated against. I will use women as an example, but this could easily apply to a man in reverse, but if this was made law, a woman would have to wonder if the guy in the restroom was really transgender, or are they a potentially dangerous sexual predator? Imagine the first pedophile who beats his indecent exposure to a little child court case because he says he is gender fluid, and that becomes a possible defense in these court cases.

Sex is something that can easily be determined. What role do you play in the gamete union reproduction cycle? You make sperm or eggs? Well that might be unfair, some people are sterile, or maybe someone went through sex reassignment surgery and changed their genitalia, but you can still determine their sex by the kind of genitalia that they possess, there is not changing it at a whim, and if compelled in court it is something that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

If we want to get technical

I am going to use another definition, with as much love possible.

Delusion: a belief that is not true : a false idea

Some transgender people really try hard to believe they are the opposite sex. When as much as they don’t want it to be, it’s not true. It’s a simple biological question, do you create sperm or eggs. They believe something that simply is not true. That is technically delusional. And the need to not be forced with the reality of this delusion can potentially put a lot of people in danger, and make many more feel just as uncomfortable. To this end we have been fighting about gender, and using the term interchangeably as a logical fallacy. Just because 6+4=10 and 5*2=10 doesn't mean the logic to get us there is the same.

But why is there so much importance on it? The reason is if a dude in a dress walked in a public men’s restroom. A lot of people would degrade and demean someone because of what they did to make themselves happy, that does not affect them at all. While I completely disagree with trying to push putting people in danger by exposing them to people who would use the system to their advantage for malicious reasons. I cannot write that without sympathy, knowing that the attempt does come from a good place.

They want to change the law because they think that it will change people’s opinion of them. Make them more accepted. I agree they should, but there is little success in forcing love and kindness out of people at gunpoint. At best you get obedience, but that isn’t a long term solution to the problem they, and every person who expresses a love of personal liberty have. We need to be able to tolerate people for who they are, even if we don’t like or even understand it. Especially if we don't understand it, cause that is an opportunity to grow as a person, and every time we do that, we get better as a society

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    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 15 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      Interesting piece that provides solid factual reasoning. I agree with your summary - you cannot force acceptance at gunpoint. Unfortunately, the militant lobbying arms of the LGBT seem to think otherwise and "demand" their so-called needs be met when they are usually at the expense of the super-majority of the population. Why should we let one "identifying" person use the opposite restroom when it infringes on the privacy of every other straight person?

    • Michaela Osiecki profile image

      Michaela 15 months ago from USA

      #1: "Sex is a scientific term, and asks about a provable, indisputable biological truth. "

      Merriam-Webster, frankly, is not an accepted source of information or definition when it comes to the differentiation of gender and sex. Because their definition is actually based in mostly lower life form sexual reproduction and not in the complexities of human sexuality and genetics. So let's clear that away, shall we?

      #2 Caitlyn Jenner is probably the worst example ever given to describe a trans person's experience. Mainly because she's a white person with a lot of privilege and money, and due to the nature of reality tv fame, some psychological issues. The majority of trans people know from a young age that the gender expression that is expected of their assigned gender feels wrong to them. Most of them, from a young age, feel wrong in their bodies. Most of them try in their own ways (with family support or otherwise) to express themselves in a way that feels most natural and normal.

      #3 Trans people (especially trans people of color) experience the highest rates of violent assault and murder than ANY other group of people in the united states. Yes, simply existing and expressing yourself the way you feel best CAN GET YOU KILLED. A trans person walking down the street in public can be killed or harassed just for existing. And guess what? A trans person who is forced to use the restroom that corresponds with their biological genitalia or birth assignment face GREATER RISK of harm than if they use the restroom of the gender they identify as.

      Let's face it, a female presenting person walking into a men's restroom to urinate is gonna wig any straight, cis-male out. However, if that female presenting person goes into the women's restroom, uses a stall like every other woman, and goes about their business....no woman is gonna care. Seriously.

      And this doesn't even BEGIN to address those identify outside of the male/female binary - which by the way, is a unique western imperialist concept....

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 15 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      Always with the "presenting" description....you seem to want to redefine everything to fit your version of things. If a man (that's a person with a penis) wants to play dress up and wear women's clothes and talk in a higher voice and doll up with makeup, that's his choice, however society doesn't change to accommodate his mental illness.

      Merriam Webster is the foremost publisher of language related works with a 150 year old history - I think its the gold standard in defining things - let's be clear, shall we?

      Your logic is faulty across the board - truth is truth, fact is fact, and made-up is well....what you are saying

    • Morgaren profile image
      Author

      Tim 15 months ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      Thank you both for your comments.

      RJ, I always appreciate your input, I would argue that straight doesn't enter the equation in this decision making process, and that we need to watch out for the "tyranny of the majority" in dealing with this situation, because asking them to suck it up and deal with it might not be the best approach, but as I stated, this is not the answer.

      Michaela, Merriam-Webster has been the foremost publisher on language related reference works for over 150 years. They are THE authority on what any word means, not just sex and gender. I will agree that Caitlyn is not a good example for the typical tran's persons experience, but be that as it may, she is the reason this conversation is getting any attention from the people at large. And I am sorry if that metric is true, and really don't have the data to refute it. I do know that all transgender people in America, make up about .25% percent of the population, or about 700,000.

      And I totally agree with you, a female presenting person, going into a female restroom, and doing nothing out of the ordinary will not trigger red flags, and as long as they keep up that lie ( cause that is what that would be) Once it is known though there will be a huge scandal, at least for that person, and alot of shame and possible repercussions because of that lie, and correct me if I am wrong, but that is what this movement is about, not being ashamed of who you really are.

      and no the male/female binary is not a unique western imperialist concept, it is a biological concept. Well documented and scientifically proven, to even have "anomalies" in a small portion of any species. But if you want to talk about the assigning of gender roles, go have a conversation in china where they kill female children because they are not as valuable and used to bind women's feet, or make females in Thailand extend their necks with brass rings. Men's and women's restrooms are a western concept, the gender binary as you define it is not.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 12 months ago from Tasmania

      The mere fact that you people are making such a big deal out of this matter shows what a narrow-minded attitude you have towards sexuality.

      It also begs the question, what danger do you suppose there would be for any heterosexual woman when using the rest room at the same time as a transgender woman?

      We are talking about a person who has to change gender from that biological gender existing at birth. We are NOT talking about "cross-dressers." The latter are predominantly heterosexual men, dressing up in female attire, acting out their fantasy.

      What is regarded as female and male attire is so varied in our "Western" societies today, that many heterosexual women dress in masculine-type clothing. Is the nature of a person's dress how you will determine the gender of a person entering the rest room? There is a huge potential for you to be wrong.

      Are you going to insist that a person expose their genitalia for you to inspect? Just so you can be sure?

      Anyway, there has always been the potential for any person to walk into restrooms, suitably disguised, in order to assault another person, male or female. Laws exist to punish offenders, but laws don't prevent an offense from being committed.

      All the logical arguments in the world will not stop someone like the OP having a strong moral objection to those who are transgender. But morality also requires you to be considerate of the needs of others; and to use a bit of down-to-earth common sense.

      The world is big enough for all of us, provided individuals don't think they have the monopoly on freedom of expression.

    • Morgaren profile image
      Author

      Tim 12 months ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      I appreciate your comment Johnny.

      It is not that I think that there is an inherit danger to A trans woman using the restroom with a hetero woman.

      But that comment alone arises a ton of questions that would probably best be explained in a follow up article. But you bring about the point of you are not talking about cross dressers, and THAT is in essence the heart of the problem.

      How do you tell a male cross dresser from a transgender woman? Both are acting out as a woman, both have male genitalia. So the difference must lie in something completely untangle and PROVABLE in a court of law. My comment on dress is just pointing out that short of an in depth conversation with each individual, there is no reliable way to define who is what, besides physical attributes. The only reliable thing is breast, cause you can see them while clothed. And true enough that can be simulated and faked, so ultimately it comes down to people need to choose the correct one based on a certain set of criteria.

      I happen to believe that the correct path is to choose criteria that is defensible and provable if needed. The genitalia you possess is quite provable, in a court of law, if needed.

      This ultimately boils down to statistics. What this movement is doing is making .3% of the population comfortable in exchange for adding the possibility that someone be victim of some form of assault. I am not saying that Transgender people are violent or would do this, I rather think that they would be the last people to do this kind of thing, unless they had other much deeper issues.

      18% of the female population are victims of sexual abuse. which in turn would make the assumption that 18% of the male population have committed some kind of sexual assault. (I realize that there are women who could have done it, and there are some serial rapist, but lets just say for the sake of argument)

      These rules make it easier for those 18% of males to access and commit crimes, and have avenues of legal defense. All to make .3% of the population feel better.

      That is the point of the argument. There is a concept of the tyranny of the majority, and the tyranny of the minority. This, is a almost textbook example of the tyranny of the minority.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 12 months ago from Tasmania

      Thanks for your reply, Morgaren.

      Just a couple of fairly obvious points: first, it's possible for a transgender, female-to-male person having very little to show in the form of breasts. In some cases considerable effort is made to obscure their outline, the object being to appear as close to male-gender as possible. If such a person were to walk into a gent's toilet (sorry, rest room in the American vernacular) while it was occupied, they would most likely go into a cubicle anyway.... so who would suspect such a person as being transgender?

      Most transgender, male-to-female persons I have known desire strongly to be seen and accepted as female. In some cases hormone treatment can cause them to put on bodily height, and exhibit other traits that might indicate transgender, but would that matter? Tell me what a "typical" biological female looks like!

      However, a "cross-dresser" can be much easier to recognize, although not necessarily so.

      Where is the fear coming from? What do you really expect from a transgender person in the public rest room? Do you suppose that "they" are morally inferior to biologically based people of either gender? Do you suppose "they" are more often on the hunt for someone to interfere with, more than would be expected of a heterosexual person?

      Is there not a greater risk from people who are overtly "straight," yet secretly have deep psychological wounds originating in social rejection or cruelty sometime in their early life? Such people we cannot prevent from being in our midst, but we can build up strategies to protect ourselves; coping skills, if you like.

      Is there a reluctance on the part of religiously-led persons to talk about and discuss sexuality matters with young people? - so that lack of communication leads to marginalization and loneliness?

      I suspect that the details are not really important here. The primary reason for any objection to transgender and homosexual activity is simple ignorance and misunderstanding. In essence, it's a biological/animal instinct that we are acting out: fear and wariness of the unusual, the odd-ball, those who are different or deformed. You can observe it in many other animal species; gregarious birds in particular. So we are not so different in our make up. It just helps to be honest about ourselves and to develop a willingness to learn new facts, new skills, develop greater empathy.

      And, in the process of learning as adults, we can help the new generations coming behind us to learn as well. Increase the ability of everyone to "get along much better."

      Sorry - this post has extended way beyond what I expected.

    • Morgaren profile image
      Author

      Tim 12 months ago from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

      No, my objection is not one of ignorance or misunderstanding. I get it, I truly do.

      We do look at this issue from different perspectives, that is obvious. The morality of it, and whether or not it is a delusion, if it is wrong or right to me honestly doesn't matter. I could really care less what someone does to live their own life.

      This is about understanding the roles that very small groups of people play in role of society, understanding legal systems, how laws and rules can be enforced and what get's people off in criminal court cases.

      The proposed system completely has no enforceable mechanisms when rules are broken. Yes, rapist and other people who would sexually assault people are not going to care about the law. But now you can't keep them out of an area where people have to make themselves vulnerable and prone. A burly man with a full beard can technically walk into a restroom and say they "identify as a woman" or a woman with large breast and a dress can enter a mens room cause they "identify as a man" and no one can do anything.

      If these extreme examples are technically unable to be confronted any lesser variation can not be as well. Someone accused of peeping can state the gaps in stalls are too wide, and deny they were. Since there are no cameras allowed in restrooms it will always be a tale of two opinions on what happens.

      The system opens up too many possibilities for lack of enforcement, and makes the concept of a "men's room" and a "women's room" practically moot.

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